In the Sassanid Empire, 3rd – 7ᵗʰ centuries, a unit of mass, = 4000 Sassanid dirhems = about 50 Byzantine litra, about 16.32 kilograms. Half a Roman centumpondium or a Byzantine kentênarion.
H. A. Manandian.
Nina G. Garsoian, translator.
The Trade and Cities of Armenia in Relation to Ancient World Trade. (English translation of the 2nd rev. edition)
Lisbon: Livraria Bertrand, 1965.
This information is taken from Manandian, who has also written works on metrology that have appeared only in the original Armenian: Weights and Measures in Ancient Armenian Sources (Erevan, 1930; the title is translated).
Manandian's principal source appears to be Ananias of Širak's
On Weights and Measures. The edition Manandian cites was edited by K. Patkanean
and published in St. Petersberg in 1877. A more recent
critical edition is
R. H. Vardanyan.
Measures and Weights of Armenia (V-XV centuries) [in Armenian; title is translated].
Ananias's principal source is Epiphanius.
Noeldeke translated the word payvasik by “Beutel (sack),” whereas in the given passage the word has the specific meaning of a measure of weight. However, he noted perfectly correctly that the miskal here corresponds in weight to the Sasanid silver coin, the dirhem. And indeed, in the report of Tabari it is noted that the payvasik “is worth 4,000 miskals in coins,” while in the testimony of Ananias of Širak it is said that the payvasik was equal to 4,000 Sasanid dirhems.
Manandian, cited above, page 119.
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