A BYZANTINE GILT-BRONZE COMMERCIAL WEIGHT
Catalog:Bronze:Christian and Jewish: stock #1292209
c. 5th -6th Century CE
Made of a copper alloy this weight depicts a Latin cross between the denominational mark for 2 ounces (Γ-B) surrounded by a wreath. The addition of gold to this weight is rare and suggests that it belonged by someone of high economic and social status.
In very fine condition with lovely, natural green and red patina.
3 x 3 x .7 cm (1.18 x 1.18 x .27 inches)
Similar examples in The British Museum, London.
Worldwide Shipping and Certificate of Authenticity Included in Price.
Export Approval from the Israel Antiquities Authority
Entwistle, Christopher. â€śByzantine Weightsâ€ť in The Economic History of Byzantium: From the Seventh through the Fifteenth Centuries., Ed. Angeliki E. Laiou. (Washington D.C., 2002), 611-4.
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.
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 was the most prominent form from the 4th to the late 6th Centuries CE with the design found on this example dating from the 5th-6th Centuries CE.