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Bible Encyclopedias
Drachma

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature

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(δραχμή, "drachm," 2 Maccabees 4:19; 2 Maccabees 10:20; 2 Maccabees 12:43; "piece of silver," Luke 15:8-9), a Greek silver coin, consisting of 6 oboli (Bockh, Staatshaus. 1:16 sq.), but varying in weight on account of the use of different talents. The Jews must have been acquainted with three talents the Ptolemaic, used in Egypt, and at Tyre, Sidon, and Berytus, and adopted for their own shekels; the Phoenician, used at Aradus and by the Persians; and the Attic, which was almost universal in Europe, and in a great part of Asia. The drachmae of these talents weigh respectively, during the period of the Maccabees, about 55 grs. Troy, 58.5, and 66 (see De Rome de l'Isle, Metrologie, Paris, 1789, page 81 sq.). The drachms mentioned in 2 Macc. are probably of the Seleucidae, and therefore of the Attic standard; but in Luke denarii seems to be intended, for the Attic drachma had been at that time reduced to about the same weight as the Roman denarius (q.v.) as well as the Ptolemaic drachma, and was wholly or almost superseded by it. This explains the remark of Josephus that "the shekel was worth four Attic drachmae" (Ant. 3:8, 2), for the four Ptolemaic drachmse of the shekel, as equal to four denarii of his time, were also equal to four Attic drachmase; and the didrachm (q.v.) was equivalent to the sacred half shekel (War, 7:6, 6; Matthew 17:24) of the Temple-tax. (See Bockh, Metrolog. Unters. Berl. 1838.) Smith, s.v. (See DRAM); (See DARIC); (See SILVER, PIECE OF).

Bibliography Information
McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Drachma'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. https://www.studylight.org/​encyclopedias/​eng/​tce/​d/drachma.html. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.
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