Antiquities > Weights and Scales

Byzantine 1 Nomisma Bronze Coin Weight Age?


I acquired an interesting Byzantine 1 Nomisma Bronze Coin Weight.  It measures approximately 10.45 mm x 12.57 mm x 3.13 mm and weighs approximately 2.92 g.  It has rounded sides.  Could this be 5th -6th Centuries?


Curtis JJ:
I'm not too experienced with weights, but to me the appearance looks right for the period Hendin called "Late-Roman Byzantine" weights, "which extends to the 5th century CE." So possibly earlier? (For Roman-Byzantine Nomisma weights inscribed "N," see his pp. 212-213, nos. 349-356 in Ancient Scale Weights.)

But... BUT ...

The weight doesn't fit a Nomisma standard (and an "N" inscription). Instead of being about 4 - 4.5g (~4.07-4.54, exs. cited), this fits a "3 Scripula" weight (or 12 Siliquae?). Besides the Gamma (3rd letter for 3 Scripula, vs. "N" for Nomisma), Hendin 358 (p. 214) looks & weighs similar (3.13g). (He gives another Gamma / 3 Scrip. at 2.94g, and a 12-Siliq. at 2.86g.)

This isn't one of my areas of real interest, though. (I bought Hendin's book and have read a little bit because I have a few Byzantine/Islamic scale weights I've come across mostly in group lots).

Did the Nomisma standard drop as low as 3g at some point?
Could someone have cut a Nomisma down to a 3 Scripula weight?
Could it be a deceptive weight used for marketplace trickery or some kind?
I'm curious now!

I haven't checked for yours, but you can find online some of Lionel Holland's well-illustrated work on scale weights from Caesarea around this period. For example: Holland's (1986) article “Islamic Bronze Weights from Caesarea Maritima” (ANS Museum Notes Vol. 31), from ANS or JSTOR [LINK]; or his (2009) Weights and Weight-Like Objects from Caesarea Maritima [LINK]. (See also his academia page: )

Its a underweight one nomisma weight I think, Klaus weber in his reference has a few lighter

I have a couple down in the low 3g range here.


Joe Sermarini:
I have three square bronze weights I am trying to identify, describe and find refs for right now...

1. 11492, 0.895g, 9.5x10.2x1.5mm
2. 11493, 1.159g, 10.0x10.7x1.9mm
3. 11494, 1.085g, 9.0x11.1x2.1mm

Either N can mean something other than nomisma or a nomisma varied greatly in weight. I am not sure.


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