A BYZANTINE BRONZE COMMERCIAL WEIGHT WITH SILVER INLAY

A BYZANTINE BRONZE COMMERCIAL WEIGHT WITH SILVER INLAY


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Directory: Antiques: Regional Art: Ancient World: Byzantine: Pre AD 1000: Item # 1285935
Biblical Artifacts
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c. 4th-6th Century CE

This square weight was produced in the Eastern Mediterranean as a tool of the large amount of trade occurring in the region. Square in form with a square border surrounding a cross and the denominational mark for 6 ounces (Γ-S) . Unlike most weights, this example is inlaid with silver.

In very fine condition with silver inlay still present and natural patina on bronze.

4.2 x 3.8x 1 cm (1.65 x 1.50 x .39 inches)

Similar examples in The British Museum, London.

Worldwide Shipping and Certificate of Authenticity Included in Price.

Export Approval from the Israel Antiquities Authority

Bibliography:

Laiou, Angeliki, ed., “The Economic History of Byzantinum: From the Seventh through the Fifteenth Centuries.”, (Washington D.C., 2002)

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As a successor to the Roman Empire the Byzantines built their monetary and administrative system largely on the precedent they inherited. Weights such as these were based on the Byzantine litra, itself a derivation of the Roman pound. The litra was then divided into 12 ounce which were then used to make weights of various denominations. Therefore making this six ounce weight worth half a litra.

Generally, weights were made of either bronze, glass or lead with precious metals rarely being used. Three forms were prominent and consisted of a double truncated flattened sphere, a square or a disc. The square weight, such as this one, was most prominent form from the 4th to the late 6th Centuries CE when the disc weight superseded it.