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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.

Late Roman-Byzantine, Bronze Disk Nomisma Weight, c. 350 - 700 A.D.

|Weights| |&| |Scales|, |Late| |Roman-Byzantine,| |Bronze| |Disk| |Nomisma| |Weight,| |c.| |350| |-| |700| |A.D.||weight|
Late Roman-Byzantine Nomisma weights listed in David Hendin's Ancient Scale Weights and Pre-Coin Currency of the Near East, page 212 - 213, range from 3.91g to 4.54g. Most are marked with the letter N. The variation cannot be solely due to inaccurate scales, the weight of the nomisma must have varied over time and place.
BZ99086. Bronze weight, cf. Weber Byzantinische p. 54, fig. 22; Hendin Weights p. 212, 350 - 351, VF, green patina, scratches, porous, light earthen deposits, weight 4.195 g, maximum diameter 15.3 mm, die axis 0o, c. 350 - 700 A.D.; obverse N engraved in dots, circle of dots within above, raised rim, center punch; reverse unmarked; $50.00 SALE PRICE $45.00


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







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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. "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).
Hafford, W. "Hanging in the Balance: Precision Weighing in Antiquity" in Expedition 47 (2005).
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).
Ibrahim, T. "Ponderales andaluses" in Numisma 233 (July-December 1993), pp. 39-68.
Kisch, B. Scales and weights. (Massachusetts, 1965).
Krapivina, V. "Bronze Weights from Olbia" in Black Sea Studies 1 (Aarhus University Press, 2003), pp. 117 - 130.
Lane-Poole, S. Catalogue of Arabic Glass Weights in the British Museum . (London, 1891).
Manns, F. Some Weights of the Hellenistic, Roman and Byzantine periods: English translation by Godfrey Kloetzli. (Jerusalem, 1984).
Morton, A. A Catalog of Early Islamic Glass Stamps in the British Museum. (London, 1985).
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).
Tekin, O. "Weights of Cyzicus in Athens Numismatic Museum" in Anatolia Antiqua XXI (2013).
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).

Catalog current as of Wednesday, October 5, 2022.
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