WEIGHTS, Roman. Weight of 1 Tremissis (?) (Bronze, 9x9 mm, 1.34 g, 6 h), Decius. Italy or Africa Proconsularis, late 5th or early 6th century. T inscribed on square within linear square, all inlaid in silver. Rev. DECI inscribed on rectangle; all inlaid in silver. Bendall -. MAH -. Pera -. Unpublished and of great interest. Small part of the obverse inlays missing, otherwise, very fine.
These very rare late Roman square objects usually carry titles and names of officials, with the most famous example, now in Paris, naming Zeno and Odoacer on the obverse and the historian Symmachus as praefectus urbi on the reverse. As some of them bear the formula renovavit ('I have restored'), Dressel thought of them as 'tesserae monumentorum' or dedicatory plaquettes, produced to mark dedications, constructions or repairs of buildings. However, as they usually weigh around 3.3-4.3 g, they are also often described as weights of solidi. Our example is much smaller, but it's weight roughly corresponds to a tremissis, with the T on the obverse perhaps serving as a denominational mark. On the other hand, the larger pieces regularly carry the letters VL, VC and PV on the obverse, which have been plausibly identified as abbreviations of Vir Illustris, Vir Clarissimus, Vir Perfectissimus, and one is thus left to wonder whether the T on our example may in fact stand for an office or title as well - perhaps Decius served as a tribune, which was the most common rank among senior officers in the late Roman Empire.