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Headword: *ta/lanton
Adler number: tau,33
Translated headword: talent, scale
Vetting Status: high
It means many things: either the largest unit of gold and silver, in accordance with which connotation Demosthenes says, "fifty ta/lanta [sc. talents]";[1] or a certain name for a balance, as Aristophanes [says], "but will musical skill really be judged by a ta/lanton [sc. a scale]";[2] also the Homeric [phrase] "father [Zeus] set up golden ta/lanta"[3] [sc. scales]. The third connotation is a weight. The fourth a certain name for quantity, as also 'much-talented', [meaning] a rich person. Also the Homeric [phrase] "two talents of gold lay in the middle".[4] Also "two-talent" and "three-talent" and "half-talent" are attested. Another ancient usage is that of 'third half-talent' and 'fifth half-talent' and 'seventh half-talent'. The third half-talent is two and a half talents, the fifth half-talent is four and a half, and the seventh half-talent is six and a half. Generally, when someone adds to the half talent the derivative form of any number, the number that precedes that one will apply to the talents; for instance, if it is the eighth [half-talent], it is seven [talents]; if it is the ninth, it is eight, with the half [talent] reckoned in, of course. The ancients were also fond of calling one and a half talents 'three half-talents', as also [they used to call] one and a half m[i]nas 'three half-m[i]nas'.
Greek Original:
*ta/lanton: polla\ me\n shmai/nei: h)\ ga\r to\ me/giston xrusi/ou kai\ a)rguri/ou me/ros: kaq' o(\ shmaino/menon *dhmosqe/nhs fhsi/: penth/konta ta/lanta. h)\ staqmou= ti o)/noma: w(/sper *)aristofa/nhs: a)ll' h)\ tala/ntw| mousikh\ kriqh/setai. kai\ *(omhriko/n: xru/seia path\r e)ti/taine ta/lanta. tri/ton shmaino/menon h( r(oph/: te/tarton a)riqmou= ti o)/noma: w(s kai\ poluta/lantos, o( plou/sios. kai\ to\ *(omhriko/n: kei=to d' a)/r' e)n me/ssoisi du/o xrusoi=o ta/lanta. kai\ dita/lanton de\ kai\ trita/lanton kai\ h(mita/lanton le/getai. a)rxai/a de\ h( xrh=sis kai\ h( tou= tri/ton h(mita/lanton kai\ pe/mpton h(mita/lanton kai\ e(/bdomon h(mita/lanton. e)/sti de\ to\ me\n tri/ton h(mita/lanton du/o h(/misu ta/lanta, to\ de\ pe/mpton h(mita/lanton te/ssara h(/misu kai\ to\ e(/bdomon h(mita/lanton e(\c h(/misu. kai\ o(/lws, ou(= tinos a)riqmou= parwnu/mw| me/rei e)ponoma/sei tis to\ h(mita/lanton, tou/tou o( prohgou/menos a)riqmo\s e)farmo/sei toi=s tala/ntois: oi(=on, a)\n me\n o)/gdoon, e(pta/: a)\n de\ e)/nnaton, o)ktw/: sunariqmoume/nou dhlono/ti kai\ tou= h(/misu. fi/lon de\ toi=s a)rxai/ois kai\ to\ e(\n h(/misu ta/lanton tri/a h(mita/lanta le/gein: w(s kai\ tri/a h(mi/mnaia, th\n mi/an h(/misu mna=n.
= Synagoge tau12, Photius tau20 Theodoridis, Etymologicum Magnum 744.18-37. See also tau 34.
[1] This first part of the entry is based on Pollux (9.52), who ascribes to Demosthenes not penth/konta ta/lanta ('fifty talents') but penthkontotalanti/a, a compound noun otherwise unattested meaning 'a sum of fifty talents' (Demosthenes fr. 13.43 Baiter-Sauppe). Demosthenes does use the phrase 'fifty talents' fairly frequently, but the rest of the context here suggests that that is merely coincidence.
[2] Aristophanes, Frogs 797.
[3] Homer, Iliad 8.69.
[4] Homer, Iliad 18.507.
Keywords: comedy; definition; dialects, grammar, and etymology; economics; epic; mathematics; meter and music; mythology; philosophy; rhetoric; science and technology; trade and manufacture
Translated by: William Hutton on 30 January 2014@22:10:34.
Vetted by:
David Whitehead (more keywords; tweaks and cosmetics; raised status) on 31 January 2014@03:43:21.
David Whitehead (cosmeticule) on 31 January 2014@10:18:07.
William Hutton (cross-reference) on 31 January 2014@11:04:24.


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