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Author Topic: Lead weights with Greek Letters (and Syrian Tetradrachm)  (Read 2747 times)

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Offline v-drome

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Lead weights with Greek Letters (and Syrian Tetradrachm)
« on: November 05, 2013, 03:00:33 pm »
Hi, here is an interesting set of lead weights from Caesarea Maritima.  All of them are missing small parts of the hanging loops so they have lost some mass, but they match fairly closely in scale.  Dating is uncertain, since these were surface finds from the beach.  Also, Greek language was in use throughout the Roman and Early Byzantine periods at Caesarea.  Any ideas regarding the date and weight system in use would be welcome.  Thanks, V-drome.

BCC LW2, 3, 4, 5, and 6
5 Lead Weights
Late Roman - Early Byzantine?
LW2: 18 x 19mm. 3.28gm.  A
LW3: 18 X 19mm.  5.36gm.  B
LW4: 21 x 16mm.   5.88gm.  B
LW5:  29 x 27.5mm.  13.24gm.   :Greek_Delta:
LW6:  45 x 43mm.  25.91gm.   H
Greek numerals A=1, B=2, Δ=4, H=8

Offline SC

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Re: Lead weights with Greek Letters
« Reply #1 on: November 07, 2013, 07:08:01 am »
Ih ave been told that weights with a Greek letter/numeral in a square like this are Byzantine in date but I have not seen that in any source.

Interesting set.  Lead weights in this form would seem to be so liable to damage and perhaps intentional abuse that I would not expect them to be used to weigh anything very valuable.

The units look interesting though.

The A gives 3.28 g.
The two Bs give 2.68 and 2.94 g per unit.
The  :Greek_Delta: gives 3.31 g per unit.
The H gives 3.24 g per unit.

So while the Bs are quite low - to the point that one wonders if they are damaged or are not the same units - the rest are pretty close (3.24 - 3.31 g).  Interestingly 3.37-3.38 is 1/96 of a Libra.

Shawn
SC
(Shawn Caza, Ottawa)

Offline v-drome

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Re: Lead weights with Greek Letters
« Reply #2 on: November 07, 2013, 10:55:11 am »
I thank you, Shawn.  Here is one more delta weight that appears to be completely intact.  The weight is 13.78 which gives a unit of 3.445grams.  I also just realized that my tetradrachm of Caracalla from Laodicea ad Mare - Syria weighs exactly the same.  I found a chart of the Drachma system in Wikipedia under "Apothecaries' system" in the section on Roman Weights about half way down.  They list the Drachma of the Roman period at 3.41gm, with 8 to a ounce of 27.3gm.  So these could be close.  The protrusions at the corners may have been used to adjust the weight after casting.  Some of them have holes in the hang tab and some do not, so perhaps this was part of the finishing process.  I have one more Beta weight but it is also damaged and quite light, in the 5.8gm. range.  If I come across others I will try to post.  Best regards, Jimi

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apothecaries'_system#Roman_weight_system

BCC LW7
32 x 28mm.  weight:13.78 grams

Offline v-drome

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Re: Lead weights with Greek Letters and Syrian Tet
« Reply #3 on: November 08, 2013, 12:39:34 am »
Here is the Syrian Caracalla Tet.  The weight is 13.78 grams.  I do not know much at all about this coin type.  I understand that some were minted at Caesarea, or at Rome, for Caesarea, but they are so different from the regular colonial types (Greek instead of Latin) and to my knowledge are not so commonly found there.  I am supposing that they were minted expressly for the local or mercenary troops who wanted familiar coinage.  Any other ideas would be appreciated.  Thanks, J

BCC rgp28
Roman Provincial AR Tetradrachm
Laodicea ad Mare - Syria
Caracalla 198-217 CE
Obv:ΑΥΤ.Κ.Μ.Α.ΑΝΤΩΝΕΙΝΟ.CΕΒ
AVG Laureate head of Caracalla right
Rev:ΔΗΜΑΡΧ ΕΞ ΥΠΑΤΟC ΤΟ Δ
Eagle standing, facing, head and tail to left, wreath in beak.
Star between legs.
AR 15.5mm. 13.78gm. Axis:0
possible reference: Prieur 1179; Bellinger 72

Offline Russ

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Re: Lead weights with Greek Letters (and Syrian Tetradrachm)
« Reply #4 on: November 08, 2013, 09:22:05 am »
Hi All,

     Some remarkably similar weights are illustrated in
Petrie, W.M.F. Ancient Weights and Measures, British School or Archaeology in Egypt. London, 1927 (re-printed with Glass Stamps and Weights by Aris & Phillips/Malter, Warminster, Encino, 1974), Page 24, Plate XIII.
     The text, on page 24 reads: "62. SELA (Phoenician), xlvi. The most distinct series of this unit is that of the thin weights of cast lead, with a raised border and a letter-numeral, belonging to Berytus and Marathus, type 612. The similarity of the eight listed here (xiii, 5205-508, 5228, 5237, 5273, 5275) is the ground for placing so low a unit as 197 grains (no. 5205) to this system. There is however as low a variant in a series of disc weights from Carthage (197 to 234 grains) which must belong to this standard..."
     No. 5228, is very similar to yours but instead of having an H centered, it has an I.
     Just an additional note. Petrie describes the "Sela Standard" on pages 19 to 21. but this standard seems to be much earlier.
     If posting a portion of Plate XIII is illegal, feel free to delete it.
     I hope this helps.
Russ

Offline v-drome

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Re: Lead weights with Greek Letters (and Syrian Tetradrachm)
« Reply #5 on: November 08, 2013, 10:18:57 am »
Thanks, Russ.  I was just starting to look through the google book previews in search of this (I am a low budget researcher!).  Your efforts are much appreciated.  Regards, jimi

Offline Russ

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Re: Lead weights with Greek Letters (and Syrian Tetradrachm)
« Reply #6 on: November 09, 2013, 09:03:47 am »
Hi Jimi,

     Just an additional note. Petrie's chart on plate XLVI "Register of Metal and Late Weights 5205-5414, SELA, UNGIA", under Sela indicates that all of the "612 forms" (No. 5228) were found at Beyrout, except 5207 which was found at Marathus.
Russ

Offline SC

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Re: Lead weights with Greek Letters (and Syrian Tetradrachm)
« Reply #7 on: November 11, 2013, 07:20:54 am »
Rus,

I think the standard rule is postings of parts of copyrighted works to make a point are fine.  You are not duplicating any material for profit.  It was a very useful image and allowed direct identification.

Shawn
SC
(Shawn Caza, Ottawa)

Offline Russ

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Re: Lead weights with Greek Letters (and Syrian Tetradrachm)
« Reply #8 on: November 11, 2013, 08:39:32 am »
Hi Shawn,

     Thanks for the clarification. It's much appreciated.
Russ

Offline Britannicus

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Re: Lead weights with Greek Letters (and Syrian Tetradrachm)
« Reply #9 on: August 04, 2015, 05:20:54 pm »
Apologies for weighing in on this discussion so late (and excuse the pun, please)! I have a similar "set" of weights, although mine were acquired individually, and only one of them is known to have originated from Caesareia Maritima.

I've always understood these to be Hellenistic or Early Roman coin weights used for weighing drachms, didrachms and tetradrachms, from the Eastern Mediterranean, where various weight standards were in operation and where quite a lot of money-changing would have gone on (e.g. by the money-changers at the Temple whose tables Jesus overturned, and who provided the Phoenician silver coins that were required for paying the Temple Tax). They have a characteristic "stretched ox-hide" shape - there was an ancient tradition of casting metal ingots in the shape of an ox-hide.

(Parallel to these are other, heavier and bulkier weights likewise with Greek letter-numerals on them, but these are market weights, and the units are based on the uncia.)

The most interesting is the drachm weight with LA. This weighs 3.91 g, which is close to the weight of the common Attic-standard drachmae of Aradus (around 4.15 g). From Caesareia Maritima. The L in front of the A suggests an Egyptian connection (the symbol appears preceding regnal year numbers on Alexandreian coins), and we know from the "sands of Caesareia" imitation dichalkoi that Caesareia and Egypt were commercially linked.

- Francis

Offline Britannicus

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Re: Lead weights with Greek Letters (and Syrian Tetradrachm)
« Reply #10 on: August 04, 2015, 05:50:17 pm »
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.

Offline glebe

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Re: Lead weights with Greek Letters (and Syrian Tetradrachm)
« Reply #11 on: April 17, 2016, 09:27:52 am »
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.

Offline v-drome

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Re: Lead weights with Greek Letters (and Syrian Tetradrachm)
« Reply #12 on: December 29, 2022, 06:07:19 pm »
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:
https://www.forumancientcoins.com/gallery/thumbnails.php?album=5252

BCC LW17
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)

Offline glebe

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Re: Lead weights with Greek Letters (and Syrian Tetradrachm)
« Reply #13 on: December 30, 2022, 05:16:27 pm »
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.

Offline v-drome

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Re: Lead weights with Greek Letters (and Syrian Tetradrachm)
« Reply #14 on: December 30, 2022, 07:03:53 pm »
 +++ Thanks, Ross!

 

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