Shekel (sheqel, Akkadian: šiqlu or siqlu, Hebrew: שקל, pl. shekels, sheqels, sheqalim, Hebrew: שקלים), is any of several ancient units of weight or of currency. The first usage is from Mesopotamia around 3000 BC. Initially, it may have referred to a weight of barley. This shekel was about 180 grains (11 grams or .35 troy ounces).
The word shekel is derived from the Akkadian šiqlu or siqlu, a unit of weight equivalent to the Sumerian gin2. Use of the word was first attested in c.2150 BCE during the Akkadian Empire under the reign of Naram-Sin, and later in c.1700 BCE in the Code of Hammurabi. The word came in to the English language via the Bible, where it is first used in the Book of Genesis.
The early shekels
The earliest shekels were a unit of weight, used as other units such as grams and troy ounces for trading before the advent of coins. Coins were invented by the early Anatolian traders who stamped their marks to avoid weighing each time used. Early coins were money stamped with an official seal to certify their weight. Silver ingots, some with markings were issued. Later authorities decided who designed coins. (Detroit Institute of Arts, 1964) Herodotus states that the first coinage was issued by Croesus, King of Lydia, spreading to the golden Daric (worth 20 sigloi or shekel), issued by the Persian Empire and the Silver Athenian obol and drachma.
As with many ancient units, the shekel had a variety of values depending on era, government and region; weights between 9 and 17 grams, and values of 11, 14, and 17 grams are common. A shekel is a gold or silver coin equal in weight to one of these units. It is especially the chief silver coin of the Hebrews.
The shekel was common among western Semitic peoples. Moabites, Edomites and Phoenicians used the shekel, the latter as coins and weights. Punic coinage was based on the shekel, a heritage from Canaanite ancestors.
The Aramaic tekel similar to the hebrew shakal used in the writing on the wall during the feast of Belshazzar, according to the Book of Daniel defined as weighed shares a common root with the word shekel and may even additionally attest to its original usage as a weight.
The shekel of Tyre
The Jerusalem shekel
The Bar Kochba shekel
In modern times
- Ancient Mesopotamian units of measurement
- Gerah (ma'ah)
- Hanukkah gelt
- History of currency
- Israeli lira
- List of historical currencies
- Zuz (Jewish coin)
- ^ Oswald Ashton Wentworth Dilke (1987). Mathematics and measurement. University of California Press. p. 46. http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=AKJZvXOS7n4C&pg=PA46&lpg=PA46&dq=siqlu+shekel#v=onepage&q=siqlu%20shekel&f=false. Retrieved 6 Feb 2011.
- ^ Siglos, by Encyclopedia Britannica
- ^ Tenney, Merril ed., The Zondervan Pictorial Encyclopedia of the Bible, vol. 5, "Weights and Measures," Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1976.
- ^ D. J. Wiseman, Illustrations from Biblical Archaeology (London: Tyndale Press, 1958), 87-89.
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Shékel — Shekel ¤ • Les symboles monétaires Monnaies en circulation ฿ • B/. • ₵ • ¢ • ₡ • Kč • … Wikipédia en Français
shekel — [ ʃekɛl ] n. m. • 1980; mot hébr. « pesée, poids » puis « monnaie » (→ sicle) ♦ Unité monétaire israélienne. On écrirait mieux shékel. ● shekel nom masculin Unité monétaire principale d Israël. shekel n. m. Unité monétaire de l état d Israël.… … Encyclopédie Universelle
Shekel — Shek el, n. [Heb. shegel, fr. sh[=a]gal to weigh.] 1. An ancient weight and coin used by the Jews and by other nations of the same stock. [1913 Webster] Note: A common estimate makes the shekel equal in weight to about 130 grains for gold, 224… … The Collaborative International Dictionary of English
shekel — CHEL/ s. m. unitatea monetară a statului Israel. (< fr. shekel) Trimis de raduborza, 15.09.2007. Sursa: MDN … Dicționar Român
shekel — (n.) early 13c., sicle, via Old French and Latin, from Heb. sheqel, from shaqal he weighed. Chief silver coin of ancient Hebrews, also a unit of weight. Modern form in English dates from mid 16c. As slang for money, it dates from 1871 … Etymology dictionary
shekel — ► NOUN 1) the basic monetary unit of modern Israel, equal to 100 agora. 2) (shekels) informal money; wealth. ORIGIN Hebrew … English terms dictionary
shekel — [shek′əl] n. [Heb < shakal, to weigh] 1. an ancient unit of weight used by Hebrews, Babylonians, etc., equal to about half an ounce 2. a half ounce gold or silver coin of the ancient Hebrews 3. the basic monetary unit of Israel: see the table… … English World dictionary
Shekel — le symbole du Nouveau Shekel est constitué des lettres Shin et Het entremêlées. Le shekel hadash (en hébreu : שקל חדש, c’est à dire le nouveau shekel, abrégé ש ח dans le langage courant), ou shekalim au pluriel (prononcé shkalim … Wikipédia en Français
Shekel — Weight, the common standard both of weight and value among the Hebrews. It is estimated at 220 English grains, or a little more than half an ounce avoirdupois. The shekel of the sanctuary (Ex. 30:13; Num. 3:47) was equal to twenty gerahs (Ezek … Easton's Bible Dictionary