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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ |Antiquities| ▸ |Antiquities by Type| ▸ |Weights & Scales||View Options:  |  |  | 

Weights and Scales

Weights are among the more common objects of the ancient and medieval world. Weights and a balance were essential for measuring quantities of many commodities and for evaluating coins. Probably the most common class of weights are those for evaluating coins. Balance weights were made of metal (most often bronze or lead), glass, or stone. If the mass of any small solid object conforms to an appropriate weight unit, it is likely to be a balance weight. Many excavated weights have been wrongly identified as game pieces or tokens.

Roman - Byzantine, Italy, Bronze Acorn Steelyard Pendant Weight, c. 1st to 7th century A.D.

|Weights| |&| |Scales|, |Roman| |-| |Byzantine,| |Italy,| |Bronze| |Acorn| |Steelyard| |Pendant| |Weight,| |c.| |1st| |to| |7th| |century| |A.D.|, |weight|
Steelyards with acorn shaped counterweights were in use from the 1st century A.D. to the late Roman and Byzantine times. This weight is close to a very light Byzantine pound (285g) (cf. Ballance et al. 1989, 134). See Waclawik, M. "A bronze steelyard with an acorn-shaped counterweight from the Paphos Agora" in Studies in Art and Civilization 20 (Krakow, 2016) (PDF Available) for a similar but larger (405.5g) acorn weight and steelyard. The article notes that another similar scale and acorn weight was found at Pompeii.
LT96147. Bronze weight, Romano-Byzantine acorn steelyard pendant weight, 280.7g, 62mm tall, 33mm maximum diameter, part of loop missing otherwise complete and intact, light corrosion, light encrustation, $300.00 SALE |PRICE| $270.00


Caesarea Maritima, Judaea / Syria Palaestina, 1st - 3rd Century A.D., Lead Half Italian Litra Weight

|Weights| |&| |Scales|, |Caesarea| |Maritima,| |Judaea| |/| |Syria| |Palaestina,| |1st| |-| |3rd| |Century| |A.D.,| |Lead| |Half| |Italian| |Litra| |Weight|,
A nearly identical specimen, from the same mold, was found near Caesarea Maritima in 1949 and is listed in the Corpus Inscriptionum Iudaeae/Palaestinae, Vol. II, Ameling, Cotton, Eck, et.al. on page 621. According to the authors, in Judaea, the term "litra" derived from the Roman word "libra" came to indicate local weight standards between the 1st and 2nd centuries CE. Therefore the word Iταλικη (Italica) was added whenever the Roman standard was intended. This weight is inscribed to indicate it is half an Italian litra. It is about 8 grams short of the standard but it probably originally had an handle attached that would have made it close to the appropriate weight. Around the end of the 3rd century CE, local standards were replaced entirely by the Roman system and the descriptive word Iταλικη was no longer necessary.
AS96251. Corpus Inscriptionum Iudaeae/Palaestinae, Vol. II, p. 621 (nearly identical specimen from the same mold), VF, roughly oval shape, probably missing handle at the top, weight 153.5 g, maximum diameter 87x43 mm, obverse ITA/ΛIK/H H/MI Λ/ITPA (half an Italian litra) in six lines; reverse blank; surface find, Caesarea Maritima, 1974; from The Jimi Berlin Caesarea Collection; very rare; $600.00 SALE |PRICE| $540.00


Ptolemaic Egypt, Lead Weight of 8 Ptolemaic Silver Drachms, 162 - 30 B.C.

|Weights| |&| |Scales|, |Ptolemaic| |Egypt,| |Lead| |Weight| |of| |8| |Ptolemaic| |Silver| |Drachms,| |162| |-| |30| |B.C.|, |weight|
This weight shares the same value side die with a 35.71 g weight from Kunker auction 182, lot 403. The Kunker example has a Ptolemy VI, Kiton mint, year 20 (162/1 B.C.), tetradrachm reverse type instead of the Athens tetradrachm obverse type on our example. Click to see the Kunker weight. The shared die suggest that the two weight types were manufactured in pairs and, despite the difference in weight, were used to weigh an equal value of silver. Our weight with Athena's head would have been used to weigh eight pre-170 B.C. drachms with a higher silver standard (the greater purity symbolized by the Athens tetradrachm). The Kunker weight would have been used to weigh ten post-170 B.C. debased Ptolemaic silver drachms, which had a value equal to eight of the older purer drachms.
AS84035. Lead weight, VF, pierced horizontally on the edge for stringing and suspension, weight 28.599 g, maximum diameter 27.4 mm, die axis 270o, Ptolemaic mint, 162 - 30 B.C.; obverse head of Athena right, wearing a crested helmet ornamented with a floral scroll and olive leaves (imitative of Athens "old style" tetradrachms); reverse monogram, over H (8) AΣ (abbreviating AΣ[ημι]=silver(?), Σ reversed), over P; ex Roma e-sale 21, lot 1134; SOLD










REFERENCES|

Balog, P. "Islamic Bronze Weights| from Egypt" in JESHO 13 (1970), pp. 235 - 255.
Balog, P. "Poids forts fatimites en plomb" in Revue Belge de Numismatique 105 (1959), pp. 171-88.
Bates, M.L. "Weights" for Encyclopedia of Islamic Archeology (unpublished).
Bendall, S. Byzantine| Weights|, An Introduction. (London, 1996).
Campagnolo, M. & K. Weber. Poids Romano-Byzantins et Byzantins en Alliage Cuivreux Collections du Musee d'Art et d'Histoire - Genve. (2015).
de Rochesnard, J. Album des poids antiques. (Colombes, no date).
Dieudonn, A. Manuel des poids montaires. (Paris, 1925).
Drr, N. Catalogue des poids byzantins. Mused'Art et d?Histoire de Genve. (Geneva, 1964).
Hendin, D. Ancient Scale Weights| and Pre-Coinage Currency of the Near East. (New York, 2007).
Holland, L. "Islamic Bronze Weights| from Caesarea Maritima" in ANSMN 31 (1986).
Krapivina, V. "Bronze Weights| from Olbia" in Black Sea Studies 1 (Aarhus University Press, 2003), pp. 117 - 130.
Manns, F. Some Weights| of the Hellenistic, Roman and |Byzantine periods: English translation by Godfrey Kloetzli. (Jerusalem, 1984).
Mutz, A. Romische Waagen und Gewichte aus Augst und Kaisaraugst. Augster Museumshefte 6. (Augst, Switzerland, 1983).
Tekin, O. "Ancient and Ottoman Weights in the Collection of Bursa Museum" in Tarhan Armagani. (Istanbul, 2013). pp. 329 - 338.
Tekin, O. Balance weights in the Aegean world, Classical and Hellenistic periods. (Istanbul, 2016).
Weber|, K. Byzantinische Mnzgewichte: Materialkorpus Fr 1-Nomisma-Gewichte: Studien Zur Vielfalt Der Ausfhrungsform, Metrologie Und Herstellung. (Solingen, 2009).
Weber|, K. Late Antiquity Weights|. Supplement 16. (Solingen, 2013).
Whitehouse, D. Roman Glass in the Corning Museum of Glass, Volume Three. (Rochester, 1997).

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