View Full Version : Ptolemaic weight standards

Feb 26, 2006, 07:37 PM
Hello all,

Is there a published weight standard of Ptolemaic coins? I have checked Sear, Svoronos, and Hazzard and none have diffinitive answers. I have seen similar weight coins attributed to both quarter obol and dichalkon. I also have a diobol of Cleo VII which is half the weight of a diobol of Ptolemy VI. And of course, the weight standard changed thruout the duration of the empire. Any help would be appreciated.


Jun 19, 2006, 02:33 PM
I've only looked in some detail at the denomination of the large Ptolemaic bronzes. The largest of Ptolemy II and VIII weigh around 96g (with some individual specimens weighing in around 100g), and the largest of Ptolemy III, IV, and VI weigh around 72g. The largest denominations of Ptolemy VI and VIII, however, are rare and pricey.

Recently, most scholars have sided with the idea that this largest Ptolemaic bronze denomination was the equivalent of a silver drachm. Included here are J. G. Milne, Margaret Thompson, Wolfram Weiser, R.A. Hazzard, and Catherine C. Lorber. But some have differed. Martin J. Price and Ian Carradice believed it was a hemidrachm/triobol, while Alain Davesne believed it was a tetrobol. Interestingly, Catherine Lorber suggested that Svoronos 446/SNG Cop. 142, one variety of 96g bronze that most others attribute to Ptolemy II, was actually a coin of Ptolemy III, and she has consequently called it an octobol. E.T. Newell talked about the debate over the denomination of the largest Ptolemaic bronze but wouldn't commit to a denomination himself. I don't believe Svoronos discussed this, though of his work I'm familiar only with the translation of Ta Nomismata tou Kratous ton Ptolemaion that Catherine Lorber made (and deserves much credit for):


Lorber I've heard is working on a book about these, though I don't know in what stage of completion it is. She has written some very good journal articles on these coins, and I'm very much looking forward to reading more of her thinking.

Jun 30, 2006, 03:29 PM
Matt Kreuzer wrote a very good book on this subject and recently posted it online. There is no link on his website but it is in the Moneta-L newsgroup as well.


Well worth your time.

Best regards,
Eric Dyer