- Dec 2009
We have some idea about ancient Greek talents: "A talent was always worth 60 minai regardless of their weight. The silver coin-talents from Aegina, Euboea, Attica and probably Corinth, too, consistently weighed 26,196 kg. Since talents for coins and commerce were of the same weight on Aegina, Euboea and in Corinth, the bronze or lead weights used for commerce must have weighed 26,196 kg as well. Only in Athens during the historical period, the weight of coin and commercial talents was not identical, since a coin mina was worth 100 drachmai but a commercial mina 105, 138 and 150 drachmai. As a result of this calculation, talents weighed 27,50 kg (2nd half of the 6th cent. to 430/420 BC), 28,81 kg (430/420 to the 3rd cent. BC), 36,15 kg (3rd cent. to c. 146 BC) and 39,29 kg (c. 146 to c. 86 BC). " - Konrad Hitzl, "Talent," Brill's New Pauly (2007-2011).That is a nonsense number. Nobody even knows how much a talent weighed. Estimates today range from 30 to 50 kg. At today's spot price a talent of silver would be anywhere from $17,000 to $28,000. And that doesn't mean anything because precious metal was valued differently than it is today. Better to compare it to a day's wages. During the Pelopponesian war, a talent was valued at the amount needed to pay a trireme crew for a month.