Some Latin Dry Measures: Visual Dictionary

I recently came across the modius and trimodius measures in Plautus, and became curious about what exactly I should imagine. They’re dry measures, typically of grain, but they are also roughly equivalent to a peck and a bushel (bzw.), so we can illustrate them with apple baskets, since it’s Fall—

 

Sweetango_apples_one_peck

photo credit: Wikimedia

Here’s a peck, a.k.a a modius.

apple-bushel-380x285

photo credit: ipadenclosures.com

Here’s a bushel, which is four pecks (a little more than a trimodius).

Imagine what this basket would look like after the slave helped himself to a few…. that’s a trimodius.

Hold the Quam, Please

The comparatives plūs, minus, amplius, and longius may be seen operating without the use of quam while performing the same semantic work. Generally, these operate with a measure or number and no change in case.

  • Plūs septigentī captī sunt. More than seven hundred were taken.
  • Plūs teriī parte interfectā, nos perditī esse putāvimus, With more than one-third slain, we thought ourselves done for.
  • Aditus in lātitūdinem nōn amplius ducentōrum pedum relinquēbātur. An approach of not more than two hundred feet in width was left. (Genitive of measure.)

The Essential AG: 407c