is the rendering in the Auth. Vers. (Lu 12:59; Lu 21:2; Mr 12:42) of the Greek term λεπτόν (thin, like a scale), a minute coin (Alciphr. 1:9; Pollux, On. 9:92), of bronze or copper (see Smith's Dict. of Class. Antiq. s.v. AEs), two of which made a quadrans (Mr 12:42), and which was, therefore, the eighth part of the Roman as, i.e., equal originally to a little over one mill, but in the time of Christ about half a mill. At Athens it was reckoned as one seventh of the χαλκοῦς (Suidas, s.v.). From Mark's explanation, "two mites, which make a farthing" (λεπτὰ δύο, ὅ ἐστι κοδράντης, ver. 42), it may perhaps be inferred that the κοδράντης or " farthing" was the commoner coin, for it can scarcely be supposed to be there spoken of as a money of account, though this might be the case in another passage (Mt 5:26). SEE FARTHING.
Cavedoni (Bibl. Num. 1:76) has supposed that Mark meant to say "one lepton was of the value of one quadrans," for had he intended to express that two of the small pieces of money were equal to a quadrans, then he must have writtenἄ ἐστι instead of ὅ ἐστι κοδράντης; and the Vulg. has also translated quod est, but not quce sunt. This argument, however, is too minute to be of much force. Another argument adduced is that the words of our Lord in the parallel passages of Matthew (5:26) and Luke (Lu 12:59) prove that the quadrans is the same as the lepton. In the former passage the words are ἔσχατον κοδράντην, and in the latterἔσχατον λεπτόν. This argument, again, hardly merits an observation, for we might as well assume that because we say such a thing is not worth a penny, or not worth a farthing, therefore the penny and the farthing are the same coin. A third argument, deemed by Cavedoni to be conclusive, assumes that the quadrans only weighed 30 grains, and that if the quadrans equalled two lepta, there would be coins existing at the time of our Savior of the weight of 15.44 grains. This argument is sufficiently answered by the fact that there are coins of the ethnarch Archelaus and of the emperor Augustus struck by the procurators weighing so low as 18 to 15 grains, and by comparing them with others of the same period a result can be obtained proving the existence in Judaea of three denominations of coinage — the semis, the quadrans, and the lepton. There is no doubt that the lepton was rarely struck at the time of the evangelists. yet it must have been a common coin from the time of Alexander II to the accession of Antigontis (B.C. 69-B.C. 40), and its circulation must have continued long in use. The extreme vicissitudes of the period may only have allowed these small copper coins to be struck. They were formerly attributed to Alexander Jannseus, but are now given to Alexander II. They average in weight from 20 to 15 grains. SEE MONEY.
It may be as well to notice that Schleusner (Lex. N.T. s.v. κοδράντης), after Fischer, considers the quadrans of the N.T., of which the lepton was the half, not to have equalled the Roman quadrans, but to have been the fourth of the Jewish as. The Jewish as is made to correspond with the half of the half-ounce Roman as, and as, according to Jewish writers, the פרקטה or פרוטה was the eighth part of the assar, or Jewish as (Buxtorf, Lex. Talm. s.v. אסיר), and as the evangelists have understood this word
פרוטה to be the lepton, it follows that the quadrans equalledδύο λεπτά. This theory, however, is quite out of the question, and a comparison of the coins of Judaea with those struck at Rome clearly proves that the quadrans in Judesa was the same as the quadrans in Rome. Moreover, as the Romans ordered that only Roman coins, weights, and measures should be used in all the provinces of the Roman empire (Dion. Cass. 52:20), it is certain that there can have been no Jewish as or Jewish quadrans, and that all the coins issued by the Jewish princes, and under the procurators, were struck upon a Roman standard (F.W. Madden, Hist. of Jewish Coinage and of Money in O.T. and N.T. pages 296-302),