kados [Greek, κάδος]

In Greece, 7th- centuries bce, perhaps a unit of liquid capacity, in which case it is taken as the equivalent of an amphora or metretes. This is one of those cases where it is arguable whether a word was a general term for ‘container’, the name of a specific type of container, the name of a unit of capacity, or some combination of these meanings.

Among the word's definitions in Liddell and Scott, 7th ed., is “a liquid measure, = ἀμφορεύς Anth.”

Saglio, in their voluminous dictionary, gives as a second meaning:¹

II. Comme mesure de capacité, le cadus était l'équivalent de l'amphore attique ou métrétès, égale à trois urnes romaines¹⁶ [urna]. E. Saglio.

16 Priscian. De pond. et mens. 84 : « Attica praeterea discenda est amphora nobis, seu cadus, hanc facies, si adjeceris urnam; » Poll. X, 71 ; Isid. Or. XVI, 26, 13: cf. Colum. De re rust. XXVIII, 4.

In a lengthy discussion of kadoi, D. A. Amyx says²

But there is also mention of kadoi larger than a man (Philippides, in Athenaeus, X, 781 f) and as small as one-third of an amphora (Hedylios, in Athenaeus, XI, 473 a). … This wide range of sizes suggests that the name was applied broadly to vases of a certain general type, without much regard for details of size or use.

Alan Johnston states flatly, “There is no substantial evidence that ‘κάδος’ was ever used as a measure.”³

1. Ch. Daremberg and Edm. Saglio.
Dictionnaire des Antiquités Grecques et Romaines…
Paris: Librairie Hachette at Cie., 1887.

Volume 1, part 2, page 778, under the headword “cadus.”

2. D. A. Amyx.
The Attic Stelai: Part III. Vases and Other Containers.
Hesperia, vol 27, no. 3 (July-Sept 1958), page 186, footnote 3.

3. Alan Johnston.
Panathenaic Amphorae, Again.
Zeitshrift für Papyrologie und Epigraphik, vol. 161 (2007), page 101.


Sorry. No information on contributors is available for this page.

home | units index | search |  contact drawing of envelope |  contributors | 
help | privacy | terms of use