Amphora (unit)

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An amphora is the volume of a Greco-Roman era jar of the same name. They were tall, with two opposed handles near the top. The term amphora was derived from Greek words meaning "on both sides" and "carry".[1]

The Roman amphora quadrantal (∼25.9 litres),[2] was one cubic-pes, holding 80 libra of wine, and was used to measure liquids, bulk goods, the cargo capacity of ships, and the production of vineyards.[3] Along with other standardized Roman measures and currency) gave an added advantage to Roman commerce. The related amphora capitolina standard, was kept in the temple of Jupiter on the Capitoline Hill in Rome.

A typical Greek amphora, based on a cubic-pous, was ∼38.3 litres,[4] The Greek talent, an ancient unit of weight was roughly the mass of the amount of water that would fill an amphora.

The French amphora, also called the minot de Paris, is 1/8 muid or one cubic pied du roi and therefore ∼34 litres.


  1. ^ Rowlett, Russ. "amphora". A Dictionary of Units of Measurement. University of North Carolina.
  2. ^ "Amphora Quadrantal". Convert-me.Com.
  3. ^ Smith, Philip; Smith, William (1875). "Quadrantal". A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities. London: John Murray.
  4. ^ "Metrētēs (μετρητής, Amphora)". Convert-me.Com.