Mina (unit)

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The mina (also mĕnē, Aramaic; Hebrew: ‏מָנֶה‎)[a] is an ancient Near Eastern unit of weight, which was divided into 60 shekels. The mina, like the shekel, was also a unit of currency.


The word mina comes from the ancient Semitic root m-n-w/m-n-y 'to count',[1] Akkadian manû,[2] Hebrew מָנָה (mana), Aramaic מָנָה/מְנָא (mana/mena),[3] Syriac ܡܢܳܐ (mena),[4] Ugaritic mn (𐎎𐎐). It is mentioned in the Bible, where Solomon is reported to have made 300 shields, each with 3 "mina" of gold (Hebrew ‏מָנֶה mane),[5] or later after the Edict of Cyrus II of Persia the people are reported to have donated 5000 mina of silver for the reconstruction of the Temple in Jerusalem.[6]

From earliest Sumerian times, a mina was a unit of weight. At first, talents and shekels had not yet been introduced. By the time of Ur-Nammu, the mina had a value of 160 talents as well as 60 shekels. The weight of this mina is calculated at 1.25 pounds (0.57 kg).[7][8]

Writings from Ugarit give the value of a mina as equivalent to fifty shekels.[9] The prophet Ezekiel refers to a mina ('maneh' in the King James Version) also as 60 shekels, in the Book of Ezekiel 45:12. Jesus of Nazareth tells the "parable of the minas" in Luke 19:11–27, also told with the talent unit of weight in Matthew. In Jewish usage, the maneh is equal in weight to 100 denarii.[10]

From the Akkadian period, 2 mina was equal to 1 sila of water (cf. clepsydra, water clock).

In ancient Greece, it originally equalled 70 drachmae and later was increased to 100 drachmae.[11] The Greek word mna (μνᾶ) was borrowed from Semitic;[12][13] compare Hebrew māneh, Aramaic mĕnē, Syriac manyā, Ugaritic mn, and Akkadian manū.

The Greek mina[edit]

The Aeginetan mina weighed 623.7 g (22.00 oz).[14]

The Attic mina weighed 436.6 g (15.40 oz).[15]

Purchasing power[edit]

  • The price for a slave in Plautus' Pseudolus (191 BCE) was 20 minae; one mina being, according to the commentator writing in 1912, "about US$18.05, or £3 14s. 4d."[16] $18.05 USD in 1912 would be equivalent to approximately $470 USD in 2019[17][18][failed verification]
  • In the first century AD [in Greece?], it amounted to about a fourth of the wages earned annually by an agricultural worker.[citation needed]



  1. ^ In the Hebrew tradition, a maneh had always the weight of 100 silver denarii.


  1. ^ https://www.ahdictionary.com/word/search.html?q=mina
  2. ^ http://www.assyrianlanguages.org/akkadian/dosearch.php?searchkey=man%C3%BB+%284%29&language=rawakkadian
  3. ^ https://www.sefaria.org.il/Jastrow%2C_%D7%9E%D6%B0%D7%A0%D6%B5%D7%99?lang=he&p2=Jastrow%2C_%D7%9E%D7%A0%D7%99.1&lang2=he
  4. ^ https://www.assyrianlanguages.org/sureth/dosearch.php?searchkey=7971&language=id
  5. ^ 1 Kings 10:17.
  6. ^ Ezra 2:69.
  7. ^ Edwards, Tom. ""Bible Weights, Measures, and Monetary Values", SpiritRestoration.org". Archived from the original on 21 January 2012. Retrieved 28 November 2008.. Calculation of weight by number of shekels.
  8. ^ Public Domain Singer, Isidore; et al., eds. (1901–1906). "Money". The Jewish Encyclopedia. New York: Funk & Wagnalls.
  9. ^ Tenney, Merril ed., The Zondervan Pictorial Encyclopedia of the Bible, vol. 5, "Weights and Measures," Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1976.
  10. ^ Maimonides (1974). Sefer Mishneh Torah - HaYad Ha-Chazakah (Maimonides' Code of Jewish Law) (in Hebrew). 4 (Seder Avodah). Jerusalem: Pe'er HaTorah., s.v. Hil. Kelei HaMikdash 2:3
  11. ^ Aristotle (unknown date). Constitution of the Athenians, 10.2.
  12. ^ Jastrow, Marcus (1903). Dictionary of the Targumim, Talmud Bavli, Talmud Yerushalmi and Midrashic Literature. London, W.C.: Luzac & Co. ; New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons.
  13. ^ Henry George Liddell, Robert Scott (1940). A Greek-English Lexicon. Oxford. Clarendon Press.
  14. ^ Oleson (1998), p. 764
  15. ^ Oleson (1998), p. 764
  16. ^ Perseus Project Ps.1.3
  17. ^ "US Inflation Calculator". US Inflation Calculator. Retrieved 2019-07-18.
  18. ^ "The Inflation Calculator". westegg.com. Retrieved 2019-07-18.


  • Oleson, John Peter (2008). The Oxford Handbook of Engineering and Technology in the Classical World. Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780199734856.