Materials: Bronze
Dimensions: a) 33 x 16 cm; b) 28 x 58 cm
Setting: Naples, MAN; inv. 5749 and 74165
Provenance: Pompeii
Date: First century AD

Lever scales, Pompeii

The first model is a lever scale only furnished with the hooks for suspending the merchandise to be weighted; the hooks are linked to the arm by means of little chains. On two sides of the arm are incised the symbols of value in weight from I to VII and from VI to XXX. From the arm hangs a great oval weight with a button at one end. The lever scale was hung from a hook placed at the end of the arm corresponding to those for hanging weights. In the second example, a casseruola functions as the plate: along the handle, on which appear the values of weight, is the hook with the chain for hanging, while from the end a short chain with large links (the link that attaches it is not ancient) holds a head of Mercury with a helmet: either the modern restoration of the chain or the absence of a weight in the eighteenth century reproduction inspired the arbitrary addition of this weight.