Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

Re: [XTalk] Re: Origin of 'mite'

Expand Messages
  • Bob Schacht
    ... Robert, I posted your query to a more likely list, the Ecclesiastical History list, and received the following response [Some symbols, probably smart
    Message 1 of 7 , Jul 22, 2004
    • 0 Attachment
      At 02:41 PM 7/22/2004, you wrote:
      >Does anyone know what a mite was? The older translations tend to render coin
      >denominations in terms of familiar coinage, but I can't find any trace of
      >the 'mite'. Tyndale (1526) has 'And there cam a certayne povre widowe,
      >and she
      >threwe in two mytes, whyche make a farthinge' in Mark 12, so presumably it
      >would have meant something to a 16th-century readership. Henry VIII issued
      >farthings, but not mites, so what would it have referred to?
      >
      > Regards,
      >
      > Robert Brenchley

      Robert,
      I posted your query to a more likely list, the Ecclesiastical History list,
      and received the following response [Some symbols, probably "smart quotes"
      and such, were transmogrified in cyberspace]:


      >From: "Kevin P. Edgecomb" <kevino@...>
      >Date: Thu, 22 Jul 2004 16:33:44 -0700 (PDT)
      >Subject: Re: [ecchst-l] Fwd: Re: Origin of 'mite'
      >
      >Dear Bob,
      >The online OED can be a real lifesaver. Here is the etymology for "mite, n.2":
      >
      >[< Middle Dutch meite, meute, mite, mütte small copper coin, also in fig.
      >use in sense ‘little bit, jot, whit’ (Dutch mijt, mieter, mijter),
      >prob. orig. spec. use of mite MITE n.1 In English perh. partly via Middle
      >French mite (1288 in Old French in sense ‘small Flemish copper coin’,
      >first half of the 14th cent. in Old French in fig. use; also in Old French
      >as mitte). Cf. Middle Low German mīte, mīt small Dutch coin, also in
      >fig. use, German Meit, Meite little bit, whit, jot (16th cent. or
      >earlier), both < Middle Dutch.
      > In early examples in Flemish sources app. denoting a coin worth 1/3 of
      > a Flemish penny, though other, chiefly smaller, values are also found.
      > From the late 14th cent. mite has been the usual rendering (though the
      > Wyclif versions have ‘mynutis’) of post-classical Latin minutum
      > (Vulgate), Hellenistic Greek lept/on in Mark 12:42, where two ‘mites’
      > are stated to make a ‘farthing’ (Hellenistic Greek kodr/anths,
      > post-classical Latin quadrans); hence the word was popularly taken as
      > equivalent to ‘half farthing’.
      > With sense 4a cf. earlier MITING n.]
      >
      >Enjoy!
      >Kevin P. Edgecomb
      >Berkeley, California



      Robert M. Schacht, Ph.D.
      Northern Arizona University
      Flagstaff, AZ

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Jack Kilmon
      ... From: To: Sent: Thursday, July 22, 2004 4:41 PM Subject: [XTalk] Re: Origin of mite ... coin ... and
      Message 2 of 7 , Jul 23, 2004
      • 0 Attachment
        ----- Original Message -----
        From: <RSBrenchley@...>
        To: <crosstalk2@yahoogroups.com>
        Sent: Thursday, July 22, 2004 4:41 PM
        Subject: [XTalk] Re: Origin of 'mite'


        > Does anyone know what a mite was? The older translations tend to render
        coin
        > denominations in terms of familiar coinage, but I can't find any trace of
        > the 'mite'. Tyndale (1526) has 'And there cam a certayne povre widowe,
        and she
        > threwe in two mytes, whyche make a farthinge' in Mark 12, so presumably
        it
        > would have meant something to a 16th-century readership. Henry VIII
        issued
        > farthings, but not mites, so what would it have referred to?


        The "mite" was a prutah, in Greek a lepton. It was the lowest denomination
        coin and was minted by the Hasmonians, Herodians, Roman prefects and
        procurators. It was about the price of one pomegranate. You can view some
        of them that are in my collection of biblical coins at:
        http://www.historian.net/coins.htm

        Jack
      • RSBrenchley@aol.com
        In a message dated 24/07/04 19:36:01 GMT Daylight Time, crosstalk2@yahoogroups.com writes:
        Message 3 of 7 , Jul 24, 2004
        • 0 Attachment
          In a message dated 24/07/04 19:36:01 GMT Daylight Time,
          crosstalk2@yahoogroups.com writes:

          <<The "mite" was a prutah, in Greek a lepton. It was the lowest denomination
          coin and was minted by the Hasmonians, Herodians, Roman prefects and
          procurators. It was about the price of one pomegranate. You can view some
          of them that are in my collection of biblical coins at:
          http://www.historian.net/coins.htm

          Jack>>



          Lepton and prutah aren't normally considered as the same denomination
          though; a lepton was probably half a prutah. I think your Augustus is actually RIC
          vol I 493, the reverse being capricorn R, head L, bearing cornucopia, within
          laurel wreath. Minted in Pergamum, c27-26BC, R2 (ie rarer than the one you
          have it attributed as).

          Regards,

          Robert Brenchley


          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • RSBrenchley@aol.com
          Thanks to everyone for the replies, which settle quite a bit of confusion. Regards, Robert Brenchley [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          Message 4 of 7 , Jul 24, 2004
          • 0 Attachment
            Thanks to everyone for the replies, which settle quite a bit of confusion.

            Regards,

            Robert Brenchley


            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          • Joseph Weaks
            ... This is what J. W. Betlyon says in his ABD article, that the mite was probably a Greek lepton, the smallest coin then in circulation. He also suggests
            Message 5 of 7 , Jul 24, 2004
            • 0 Attachment
              On Jul 24, 2004, at 6:37 PM, RSBrenchley@... wrote:
              > Lepton and prutah aren't normally considered as the same denomination
              > though; a lepton was probably half a prutah.

              This is what J. W. Betlyon says in his ABD article, that the mite "was
              probably a Greek lepton, the smallest coin then in circulation." He
              also suggests that it was "half a Roman quadrans or Jewish peruta."
              (pg. 1076, "Coins", J.W.Betlyon)

              Joe Weaks
            Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.