Mina (unit)

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The mina (also mĕnē, Aramaic; Hebrew: מנה)[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. In ancient Greece, it originally equalled 70 drachmae and later was increased to 100 drachmae.[1] The Greek word mna (μνᾶ) was borrowed from Semitic; compare Hebrew māneh, Aramaic mĕnē, Syriac manyā, Ugaritic mn, and Akkadian manū. However, before it was used as currency, a mina was a unit of measurement, equal to 1.25 pounds (0.57 kg).

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 1/60 talents as well as 60 shekels. The value of the mina is calculated at 1.25 pounds (0.57 kg)[2][3].

Evidence from Ugarit indicates that a mina was equivalent to fifty shekels.[4] The prophet Ezekiel refers to a mina ('maneh' in the King James Version) as sixty shekels, in the Book of Ezekiel 45:12. Jesus of Nazareth tells the "parable of the minas" in Luke 19:11-27. In Jewish usage, the maneh is equal in weight to 100 denarius.[5]

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

The Greek mina[edit]

The Aeginetan mina weighed 623.7 g.[6]

The Attic mina weighed 436.6 g.[7]

Purchasing power[edit]

  • The price for a slave in Plautus' Pseudolus (191 BCE) was 20 minæ; one mina being, according to the commentator writing in 1912, "about US$18.05, or £3 14s. 4d."[8] $18.05 USD in 1912 would be equivalent to approximately $470 USD in 2019[9][10][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. ^ Aristotle (unknown date). Constitution of the Athenians, 10.2.
  2. ^ Edwards, Tom. "Bible Weights, Measures, and Monetary Values", SpiritRestoration.org at the Wayback Machine (archived 21 January 2012). Calculation of weight by number of shekels.
  3. ^  Singer, Isidore; et al., eds. (1901–1906). "Money". The Jewish Encyclopedia. New York: Funk & Wagnalls.
  4. ^ Tenney, Merril ed., The Zondervan Pictorial Encyclopedia of the Bible, vol. 5, "Weights and Measures," Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1976.
  5. ^ 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
  6. ^ Oleson (1998), p. 764
  7. ^ Oleson (1998), p. 764
  8. ^ Perseus Project Ps.1.3
  9. ^ "US Inflation Calculator". US Inflation Calculator. Retrieved 2019-07-18.
  10. ^ "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 9780199720149.