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in Rambam Hilchos Shekalim Perek 1 Halachos 2-4, the basic coinage system is like this:

  • 1 Isar = 8 Perutahs. = 4 barley kernels
  • 1 Pundyon = 2 Isarin.
  • 1 Me'ah/Gayrah = 2 Pundyonin. = 16 barley kernels
  • 1 Dinar = 6 Me'ain.
  • [Shekel in times of Moshe = 320 barley kernels in weight, not sure what it corresponds to here]
  • 1 Sela = 1 Shekel in 2nd Temple Times = 4 Dinarin = 384 barley kernels (weight).
  • 1 Darkon = 1 Shekel at a certain time = 2 Selain.

and from this chart on dafyomi.co.il, I get these added to the others (so far no problem):

  • 1 Dinar Zahav = 25 dinarim
  • 1 Maneh = 4 Dinar Zahavim
  • 1 Maneh Shel Kodesh = 2 Manehim
  • 1 Kikar = 60 Maneh Shel Kodesh
  • 1 Kikar shel Kodesh = 2 Kikarin

The problem:
First, on the chart, although the 25 dinarim are correct for 1 dinar zahav, but it also says that 3 + 1/8 selas are 1 dinar zahav, but according to Rambam that would actually be 3 + 1/8 Darkonos! (Because 1 Darkon according to Rambam is 8 Dinarin and 25 Dinarin are in a Dinar Zahav so that means 25/8 Darkonos are in a Dinar Zahav, which is the same as 3 + 1/8 (which it says on the chart for the number of selaim!)), and that would mean that since 1 Darkon is 2 Selaim, so that means that 3 + 1/8 Darkonos = 2 * (3 + 1/8) Selaim = 6 + 1/4 Selaim, so according to the Rambam 6 + 1/4 Selaim = 1 dinar zahav, while according to this chart 3 + 1/8 selaim = dinar zahav (and the chart doesn't even mention darkonos, not sure if it's relevant though)

Does anyone know how to answer this contradiction?

Also, I'm aware that everything up to the Dinar Zahav was either silver or copper, and the Dinar Zahav was gold, but the Maneh and Kikar etc. are higher than the Dinar Zahav, were they also gold, or silver?

  • Seems like there's some sort of mistake in the chart with regards to the value of a sela. I think you're right that it should be 6.25 sela in a dinar zahav. Consider a maneh. According to the chart there are 4 dinrei zahav in a maneh. But, also according to the chart, there are 25 dinar in a dinar zahav. This would imply that there are 4*25=100 dinar in a maneh. But the chart itself says there are only 50 dinar in a maneh. So it seems like there's a factor of two error going on somewhere (possibly related to the differences between regular and 'kodesh' currencies). – Joel K Apr 11 '18 at 9:04
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    There are also "asperim", mentioned in Maaser Sheni 2:9 (mishnayos, not Rambam). The meforshim there disagree on how big it is. – Heshy Apr 11 '18 at 12:19
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    There are numerous discrepancies regarding currency standards in the rabbinical corpus. Usually these can be explained by textual corruption (ה becomes ח, etc.) or due to different systems of reckoning used at different times and in different places. – Argon Apr 12 '18 at 2:24
  • This is a very commonplace confusion - I went through it myself - to assume that there should be one Talmudic/Halachic system. Jews did not have their own currency, and therefore every single place at every point in time had different coins, weights, values, changing rates etc. The arguments in the Talmud clearly show that. – Al Berko Apr 12 '18 at 12:15

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