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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ Antiquities ▸ Antiquities by Type ▸ Weights and ScalesView 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.


Mediterranean Region, Lead Shell Weight, 1/8 Libra, c. 4th Century B.C. - 2nd Century A.D.

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Hendin lists several such shell-shaped weights. They are found throughout the Mediterranean Region.
AS84588. Lead weight, Hendin Weights 276, Manns-Kloetzli p. 22, 37; Alvarez-Burgos P29; 1/10 Libra lead weight molded from bipod shell, weight 33.620 g, maximum diameter 26.4 mm, 4th century B.C. - 2nd century A.D.; $90.00 (€80.10)
 


Roman-Byzantine, Bronze Disk Nomisma Weight, c. 350 - 650 A.D.

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BZ90518. cf. Weber Byzantinische 127; perhaps made from a coin, VF, green patina, scratches, weight 4.169 g, maximum diameter 18.4 mm, obverse concentric circles (appear to be lathe cut); reverse blank, scratches from use; $70.00 (€62.30)
 


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

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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.
BZ90816. Bronze weight, cf. Hendin Weights 352 ff., weight 4.226 g, maximum diameter 18.9 mm, obverse engraved N and ornamental pellets in groups of three; reverse unmarked; $50.00 (€44.50)
 


Roman-Byzantine, Bronze Disk Nomisma Weight, c. 350 - 650 A.D.

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BZ90524. cf. Weber Byzantinische 127; perhaps made from a coin, VF, green patina, weight 4.043 g, maximum diameter 17.3 mm, obverse concentric circles (appear to be lathe cut); reverse weight adjustment cuts; $50.00 (€44.50)
 


Late Roman - Byzantine, 8 Siliqua Bronze Square Weight

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BZ90525. Bronze weight, cf. Hendin 347; bronze square with H (8) engraved on a raised panel, weight 1.453 g, maximum diameter 14.1 mm, $45.00 (€40.05)
 


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

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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.
BZ90812. Bronze weight, cf. Hendin Weights 353, weight 3.978 g, maximum diameter 17.4 mm, obverse N engraved in dots, circle of dots within above; reverse unmarked; $40.00 (€35.60)
 


Roman-Byzantine or Early Islamic, Bronze Disk Weight, c. 350 - 650 A.D.

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This is light for a nomisma weight and we would suspect it is a game piece but Weber insists all these types of bronze with concentric rings are weights. He suggests some may be early Islamic.
BZ90517. cf. Weber Byzantinische 127, VF, green patina, weight 3.570 g, maximum diameter 15.1 mm, obverse concentric circles (appear to cast); reverse plain; $36.00 (€32.04)
 


Late Roman - Byzantine, One Nomisma Square Bronze Weight

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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.
BZ90521. Bronze weight, cf. Hendin 348; unmarked bronze square, 4.308g, 16.4mm, $36.00 (€32.04)
 


Late Roman-Byzantine Square Bronze 2 Scripula Weight, c. 350 - 700 A.D.

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We think we see an engraved B, but it could be just hopeful imagination.
BZ90534. Bronze weight, cf. Hendin Weights 367, 13.5 x 14.4 mm, 2.120g, obverse engraved B(?); reverse blank; $32.00 (€28.48)
 







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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.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 Museée d'Art et d'Histoire - Genéve. (2015).
de Rochesnard, J. Album des poids antiques. (Colombes, no date).
Dieudonné, A. Manuel des poids monétaires. (Paris, 1925).
Dürr, N. Catalogue des poids byzantins. Muséed'Art et d?Histoire de Genève. (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 Münzgewichte: Materialkorpus Für 1-Nomisma-Gewichte: Studien Zur Vielfalt Der Ausführungsform, 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 Saturday, September 23, 2017.
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Weights & Scales