Steelyard Weight with the Bust of Athena

Date: 350–500

Culture: Byzantine

Medium: Copper alloy, filled with lead

Dimensions: 8 × 3 15/16 × 3 1/8 in., 9.6 lb. (20.3 × 10 × 7.9 cm, 4345g)

Classification: Metalwork-Copper alloy

Credit Line: Rogers Fund, 1959

Accession Number: 59.184


A number of weights like this one survive from the late antique period. Weights were calibrated to specific standardized measurements. They were hung from hooks on one end of a balance to counter whatever goods were weighed on the other side. Bronze weights in the forms of courtly and mythological women are fairly common. The survival of classical subjects, such as Athena here, shows the pervasive taste for antiquity well into the early Byzantine period.