THRACE. Perinthus. Early 3rd century AD. Weight of 1 Litra (Lead, 64x1100 mm, 387.49 g). ΠЄP/I-N/Θ-I/Ⲱ-N around purse (or the bell of an agoranomos); above, in ‘architrave’, A-Π-Y around large Θ within O. Rev. Λ/E-I/TPA around amphora; in ‘architrave’, five pellets. Pondera 13583 corr. (legend). Extremely rare. A wonderful Roman era weight with a very elaborate design. Holed for suspension as made and with minor graffiti, otherwise, good very fine.
Roman era weights are often far more elaborate than their Hellenistic predecessors. Here, we have a beautiful weight of 1 libra = 1 litra with a particularly interesting iconography. Peter Weiss suggested the symbol on the obverse could be interpreted as the purse of Hermes, the god of trade, yet Charles Doyen pointed out that we might actually be looking at the bell of the agoranomos of the city, which appears on other weights from Perinthos (see Pondera 13915 and 13768). The meaning of the letters A-Π-Y and Θ in O in the 'architrave' on the obverse, on the other hand, are unclear: perhaps they constitute a date ('Year 481'), but it is more likely that they refer to the Actian and Pythian games held in the city. This becomes even more plausible when we turn to the reverse, where the amphora and the five pellets mirror coins struck in Perinthus under Septimius Severus showing an agonistic table with five pellets (balls?) and an amphora below (Schönert-Geiss, Perinthos, 495).