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Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Faculty of Language, Literature and Humanities - Alexander von Humboldt Professorship

'From words in stone to measurement acts: the Athenian coinage decree'

Serafina Cuomo, Birkbeck College, London

In 447 BC the polis of Athens issued the so-called coinage decree, which stipulated standard coinage, weights and measurements for the allies of Athens, members of the Delian League. So far, the coinage decree has been extensively studied as a document for political and economic history. Scholars have concentrated on what it can tell us about Athenian rule, or economic policy. I intend to analyze the coinage decree as evidence for mathematical practice and numeracy. In particular, how were its words translated into acts - how did the presence of a text inscribed in stone determine the measurement, trade and exchange practices of the communities it was meant to address?