Byzantine Pale Blue Glass Weight with Impression of the Eparch Leontios

$465.52

A Byzantine pale blue glass weight in the shape of a disk with thick, rounded edges. The piece displays an impressed obverse, featuring the frontal bust of the eparch Leontios, holding the ‘mappa’ with his uplifted right hand. This is a typical attribute of the consular costume, consisting of a piece of cloth waved by the consul to start the games in the Hippodrome. The Greek inscription +ΛEON[TI]OY (Leontiou) frames the bust. Written in the genitive case Leonti-ou, the inscription translates as ‘[the coinage/weight] of Leontios’. The presence of an eparch’s name suggests that this piece had been officially issued. The reverse remains flat and unworked.

Date: Circa 6th -7th Century AD
Condition: Good condition with bright iridescence on the surface.

In stock

SKU: MG-142 Category: Tags: , ,

Small glass weights were used in the Byzantine Empire, and later by the Arabs, to check the value of gold and silver coins, ensuring consistency and to prevent corruption. The obverse of glass weights may bear three main types of stamps: a block monogram, a cruciform monogram, or, as seen on this example, a consular bust with a surrounding legend.

The term eparch, from the Ancient Greek ἔπαρχος (eparchos), designates a Byzantine government official responsible for the administration of the Empire’s provinces. Among them, the Eparch of Constantinople was the most important, with his authority being second only to the Emperor. His jurisdiction was regulated by the Book of Eparch or Prefect (Τὸ ἐπαρχικὸν βιβλίον, to eparchikon biblion). Traditionally dated to the reign of Leo VI the Wise (AD 886-912), the book provides a list of regulations concerning the collegia or guild organisation system, representing an essential testimony of the economy of the Byzantine Empire.

Weight 3.9 g
Dimensions W 2.6 cm
Culture

Glass

Region

Reference: For a similar item, please see The British Museum, item 1879,0522.49

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