BMCR 2005.02.20

Numbering and Measuring in the Classical World

, Numbering & measuring in the classical world : an introductory handbook. Classical handbook. Bristol: Bristol Phoenix Press, 2004. 82 pages ; 21 cm.. ISBN 1904675182 $16.95 (pb).

In his introduction Richardson notes that books on Greco-Roman weights and measures will either be long or short and that his book will be in the latter category. In fact, it more than covers a very complex and obscure series of topics. After a general discussion of Greco-Roman numbering systems and inclusive reckoning, Richardson provides the reader with an introduction to such issues as linear measures, measurement of area, volume, weight, and capacity. His discussions are clear and lucid. His treatment of Roman plumbing and pipe sizes is perhaps the most arcane section of the book and I found it hard to follow, whereas his discussion of the measurement of time in Greece and Rome will provide the user with no real surprises. By its very nature, this monograph is meant to be a reference handbook.and reads as such. The book will be of use to any student or scholar of classical antiquity; it is a short, excellent introduction to a highly technical subject. This is the second, revised edition of the work.