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For the Byzantine unit, see Byzantine litra.
A litra from Sicily, ca. 430 BC.

A litra (plural: litrae; Ancient Greek: λίτρα) is a small silver coin (or unit of measurement for other precious metals) used in the colonies of Ancient Greece in general and in ancient Sicily in particular. As a coin, the litra was similar in value to the obol[1] and weighed one-third of a Roman libra, i.e. 109.15 g (3.850 oz).[2] In silver, the coin weighed 0.87 g (0.031 oz) and was equal to one-fifth of a drachma.[2]

In the 3rd-century apocryphal New Testament text known as the Acts of Thomas, Jesus sells Thomas to an Indian merchant "for three litrae of silver unstamped".[3]

In the Talmud, the litra is a unit of measurement, the equivalent of 60 shekels, weighing 354 g (12.5 oz).[4]


  1. ^ William Smith, ed. (1845). A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities (3rd American ed.). New York: Harper & Brothers. p. 594. Retrieved 25 July 2011. 
  2. ^ a b Stumpf, Gerd. "Litra". Brill's New Pauly. Retrieved 25 July 2011. (subscription required)
  3. ^ "The Acts of Thomas". Gnostic Scriptures and Fragments. Gnostic Society Library. Retrieved 25 July 2011. 
  4. ^ Ettinger, Yair (9 September 2011). "'Torah archaeology' sheds light on ancient Talmudic dispute". Haaretz. Retrieved 9 September 2011. 

External links[edit]

Media related to Litra at Wikimedia Commons