is an ancient Near East
The Near East is a geographical term that covers different countries for geographers, archeologists, and historians, on the one hand, and for political scientists, economists, and journalists, on the other...
ern unit of weight equivalent to 60 (50) shekels. The mina, like the shekel, was also a unit of currency
In economics, currency refers to a generally accepted medium of exchange. These are usually the coins and banknotes of a particular government, which comprise the physical aspects of a nation's money supply...
; in ancient Greece it was equal to 100 drachmae. In the first century AD, it amounted to about a fourth of the wages earned annually by an agricultural worker. The Greek word mna
was borrowed from Semitic; compare Hebrew māneh
, Aramaic mĕnē
, Syriac manyā
, Ugaritic mn
, and Akkadian manū
In folk language used by the sailors the word mina
came to mean "mines", indicating mineral resources extracted from the ground.
From earliest Sumerian
The history of Sumer, taken to include the prehistoric Ubaid and Uruk periods, spans the 5th to 3rd millennia BC, ending with the downfall of the Third Dynasty of Ur around 2004 BC, followed by a transition period of Amorite states before the rise of Babylonia in the 18th century BC. The first...
times, a mina was a unit of weight. At first, talents and shekels had not yet been introduced. By the time of Ur-Nammu
Ur-Nammu founded the Sumerian 3rd dynasty of Ur, in southern Mesopotamia, following several centuries of Akkadian and Gutian rule...
, the mina had a value of 1/60 talents
The "talent" was one of several ancient units of mass, as well as corresponding units of value equivalent to these masses of a precious metal. It was approximately the mass of water required to fill an amphora. A Greek, or Attic talent, was , a Roman talent was , an Egyptian talent was , and a...
as well as 60 shekel
Shekel , is any of several ancient units of weight or of currency. The first usage is from Mesopotamia around 3000 BC. Initially, it may have referred to a weight of barley...
s. The value of the mina is calculated at 1.25 pounds or 0.571 kilograms per mina (18.358 troy ounces). Accordingly, in modern values, the silver mina would equal US$110.10 and the gold mina US$6,422.50.
Evidence from Ugarit
Ugarit was an ancient port city in the eastern Mediterranean at the Ras Shamra headland near Latakia, Syria. It is located near Minet el-Beida in northern Syria. It is some seven miles north of Laodicea ad Mare and approximately fifty miles east of Cyprus...
indicates that a mina was equivalent to fifty shekels. The prophet Ezekiel refers to a mina ('maneh' in the King James Version) as sixty shekels. Jesus Christ tells the "parable of the minas" in Luke
The Gospel According to Luke , commonly shortened to the Gospel of Luke or simply Luke, is the third and longest of the four canonical Gospels. This synoptic gospel is an account of the life and ministry of Jesus of Nazareth. It details his story from the events of his birth to his Ascension.The...
From the Akkad
The Akkadian Empire was an empire centered in the city of Akkad and its surrounding region in Mesopotamia....
ian period, 2 mina was equal to 1 sila
of water (cf. clepsydra
A water clock or clepsydra is any timepiece in which time is measured by the regulated flow of liquid into or out from a vessel where the amount is then measured.Water clocks, along with sundials, are likely to be the oldest time-measuring instruments, with the only exceptions...
, water clock).