Antiquities > Weights and Scales

Lead weights with Greek Letters (and Syrian Tetradrachm)

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Here are the others.

Didrachm weight with B, 6.85 g.
Tetradrachm weight with  :Greek_Delta:, 13.15 g.
"8-drachm" weight with H (for weighing 2 tetradrachms, for instance), 26.95 g.

Allowing for wear and damage, all these aren't far from the conventional weight of Phoenician drachms (around 3.5 g) and their multiples.

These types are basically the bottom end of the "Phoenician" weight scale based on a mina of c.460 gm, with binary divisions, giving a Greek ounce of 460/16 = 28.7 gm, slightly heavier than the Roman ounce.
This was the main market weight scale of the Athenian agora, as reported by Mabel Lang, and is about 5% heavier than the Euboic scale used for Athenian coins and (I would think) precious metals in general in Athens.
It is basically the same as Petrie's "Sela" weight scale from Egypt mentioned earlier, and also the 14.3 gm "Phoenician/Alexandrian" coin scale used for tetradrachms in Macedon, Phoenicia and Egypt. However it's not clear whether these various Greek and Egyptian market and coin scales were directly connected or not. (Note that Petrie's listing of "Sela" standard weights includes both Greek market weights from Phoenicia and native Egyptian weights. The Greek weights are of lead or bronze, while the Egyptian weights are mostly stone. The line drawings from Petrie shown earlier are of course mainly of the Greek Phoenician lead types).

Ross G.

Hi, all.  I wanted to reopen this topic because I have another weight from Caesarea Maritima, which interestingly, matches one posted by Britannicus, above.  I thought the letter in the center might be a B, and now I am sure.  I wonder if the interior frame with the perpendicular hatch-marks is just a design, or might represent a specific object or structure.  Thanks to all who have posted here, and any other ideas or examples would be most appreciated.  Jimi

Link to my other weights from Caesarea:

Lead Weight
2nd Cent. BCE-2nd Cent. CE?
Graeco-Roman Eastern
Rectangular weight with raised edge and
letter "B" enclosed in a square frame with
perpendicular hatch-marks, four and five to
a side.  Remains of suspension loop at top. 
Reverse blank.  This weight may ..."belong
to a class called by F. Petrie 'sela' and described
by him as Phoenician or Alexandrian.  It appears
to be based on a unit (drachm) of about 3.5 or
3.6 g." (Lionel Holland, W.W.O.C.M. Chapter 5).
Pb22 x 20 x 2.5mm. Wt: 6.91 grams
Surface find Caesarea Maritima, 1976
(click for larger pic)

Amazing what I used to know!

But anyway, Lionel Holland's "Weights and Weight-like Objects from Caesarea Maritima" is available online on the Academia site.

Ross G.

 +++ Thanks, Ross!


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