Featured Bronze Barrel Shaped Weight with I B from Cyprus!

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by rrdenarius, Feb 20, 2019.

  1. rrdenarius

    rrdenarius non omnibus dormio Supporter

    A scale weight arrived today from an interesting selling country: Cyprus. The price was modest, so I was not too worried about it being lost in the mail. I was interested to see what paper work would accompany an ancient item. Pics of the weight and package are below. You can see not much was said on the paper work.
    half uncia IB 2.jpg half uncia IB 3.jpg
    DSCN2585.JPG DSCN2588.JPG DSCN2589.JPG DSCN2590.JPG DSCN2591.JPG

    Bronze Barrel Shaped Weight with I B
    Late Imperial or Byzantine Commercial Weight, 500 -700 AD
    Weight : 13.16 grams
    Size : 15mm diameter x 10mm tall
    VF, the weight has a brown patina with desert patina in the letters, both top & bottom have centering holes
    References:
    Ancient Scale Weights by David Hendin - # 335; IB = 12 scripula
    Scales and Weights by Bruno Kisch
    Table 5, Late Imperial Rome; IB = ½ ounce = 12 scruples
    Table 6, Byzantine; IB = ½ ounce
    Byzantine Weights by Simon Bendall; Page 8, no picture
    Commercial Weight, Semuncia, ½ ounce, Byzantine period IB = 12 scripula = 13.6 grams
     
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  3. Hookman

    Hookman Well-Known Member

    Have ounces changed over the years?
    A Troy ounce is 31.103... grams, whereas an Avoirdupois ounce, the one we use everyday in the U.S., is 28.349... grams, yet the 1/2 ounce described above weighs only 13.6 grams.
    So it seems that things have changed over time.....which is normal ! lol
     
    ominus1 likes this.
  4. rrdenarius

    rrdenarius non omnibus dormio Supporter

    Rome based their monetary system on the As, or Roman pound. The As was divided into twelfths called VNCIA. Note Latin did not have the letter U. Today we call this an ounce. There are many items today that were traded in Roman times as one As. Early cast bronze coins were based on an As and parts expressed in 1/12's. Rome and central Italy did not adhere to the weight standard well. Weights varied by mint and dropped with time. By the time my As was produced, 225 - 217 BC, it weighed only 258 grams.

    2.17.16 003.JPG

    The Romans also had scale weights based on the As. The right weight is six VUNIA (ounces) or half an As (the S after A stands for Semis = half an As). It weighs 154.5 grams or 309 grams per pound.
    DSCN1184.JPG

    In the 1800s Theodor Mommsen estimated the weight of the Roman As. He based his estimate on records that say Rome produced gold soludi at 72 to the pound. He weighed all of the coins he could find and arrived at 327.45 grams per As. We still use that number today.

    Have ounces changed? Yes, an ounce can mean different things.
    Ounces today can be weight, mass or volume. Bullion is normally sold in Troy ounces. A US grocery store scale is in pounds and avoirdupois ounces. They are over 10% different. I am not an expert on weights, but a reasonable explanation is in Wikipedia -
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Troy_weight
    or here:
    https://blog.providentmetals.com/facts-and-history/the-origin-of-the-troy-ounce.htm#.XG1vSuhKgdU
     
  5. Hookman

    Hookman Well-Known Member

    Yes, I've got all the modern stuff. I was only asking about the changes since ancient times. I use cointrackers.com which has a good explanation of the difference between Troy and Avoirdupois.
    Thanks for the info.
     
  6. EWC3

    EWC3 Active Member

    Afraid the "over time" bit is basically wrong. As, I think, is nearly everything in Wiki and that blog cited above about Troy weight.

    Variations in weight standards are generally political. For instance was Troyes very probably set at 63/64 of Troy as part of complicated tarrif arrangments between England and France. They are certainly not the same, and indeed the word Troy probaly has nothing at all to do with Troyes.

    The word Troy arose at the time Florentine Bankers more or less control of the English finances on
     
  7. EWC3

    EWC3 Active Member

    Afraid nearly everyone with a sophisticated knowledge of this matter thinks the "over time" bit is basically wrong. As, I think, is much in Wiki and that blog cited in the thread - about Troy weight.

    Variations in weight standards are generally political. For instance was Troyes very probably set at 63/64 of Troy as part of complicated tariff arrangements between England and France. They are certainly not the same, and indeed the word Troy probably has nothing at all to do with Troyes.

    The word Troy arose at the time Florentine Bankers more or less got control of the English finances after Ed III went bankrupt. They seem to have imposed avoirdupois = US customary (16 oz pound = c. 454g) which is nearly 10% lower than Troy – (16 oz pound = c. 497g) Popular opinion at the time was most likely that the Troy system was the true old system – (brought to England from Troy by Brut). So the name represented popular opposition to the newly imposed light weight standard imposed by international bankers.

    What concerns me a bit is that I already explained all this recently on CT, but to no effect apparently. Anyhow – there are plenty more details here:

    https://www.academia.edu/10433448/E...Revision_of_the_Anglo-Saxon_Metrology_Section

    Which amends this

    https://www.academia.edu/6882687/Coin_Weight_and_Historical_Metrology

    Note that my positions are broadly in line with all independent scientific thought viz:

    Skinner’s HMSO guide of 1967 (Skinner studied weight for 30 years at the London Science Museum)

    Connor’s HMSO guide of 1987 (Conner was a Canadian Physics Prof)

    Jon Bosak in the USA (you can easily google his CV….)

    Dr Daniel McLean McDonald https://www.mcdonald.cam.ac.uk/aboutus/history

    Like the others McDonald held similar views to my own on Troy weight, in his case that it was basically unchanged since 700 BC, and probably for a lot longer than that. Note further he left 11 million pounds to Cambridge university to assist scholarship. Lord Renfrew used the cash to set up an archaeological institute - which studied weight standards - where the positions held by McDonald were just ignored.......

    Cambridge scholars have probably done more than any to undermine our correct understanding of this matter.

    After pondering these sort of matters matters for about 40 years, I am driven to the conclusion that popular history is largely shaped to incorrectly suggest there were no political disagreements in the past. To suggest, absurdly, that people in the past were just stupid. lol

    Rob T
     
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2019
  8. EWC3

    EWC3 Active Member

    apologies for the double post
     
  9. EWC3

    EWC3 Active Member

    Obsequium amicos, veritas odium parit?
     
  10. Hookman

    Hookman Well-Known Member

    Temper your truth with a little flattery and you'll be a lot closer to the former and a lot farther from the latter.

    If it matters.
     
    TIF likes this.
  11. EWC3

    EWC3 Active Member

    flawed software
     
  12. EWC3

    EWC3 Active Member

    flawed software
     
  13. EWC3

    EWC3 Active Member

    Well, I am rather sure the truth matters.

    It is no affair of mine to despise a man who thinks otherwise.

    Suffice to leave to him responsibility for the consequences.
     
  14. Hookman

    Hookman Well-Known Member

    And I agree wholeheartedly, forsooth.
     
    EWC3 likes this.
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