In Egypt, 6ᵗʰ – 7ᵗʰ centuries ce, in Greek and Coptic, a unit of dry capacity, = 2 artabae.
We may probably conclude that θαλλίον properly means a basket or sack (the θαλλίν appears to have been originally a basket made of palm leaves; Ducange, s. v. θάλια) (1), which might be of various sizes, at least when used for corn, but that a standard size containing 2 artabae was so common that θαλλίον came eventually to be a definite measure of capacity. In these ostraka it is used sometimes in this latter sense, sometimes as = sack or basket, always as a dry measure. The form found in Coptic texts is usually ⲑⲁⲗⲗⲓⲥ or ⲑⲁⲗⲓⲥ, but the Greek appears to be θαλλίον or (in popular usage) θαλλίν (θαλίν); hence we have adopted in the translations the forms thallion, thallia.
H. I. Bell.
Chapter IV. Metrology, in
W. E. Crum and H. I. Bell.
Wadi Sarga. Coptic and Greek Texts from the Excavations Undertaken by the Byzantine Research Account.
Hauniae: Gyldendalske Boghandel-Nordisk Forlag, 1922.
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Last revised: 1 April 2011.