corner graphic

Bible Encyclopedias

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature

Balance

Resource Toolbox
Additional Links

[image]

as a Christian symbol. In this relation it appears sometimes upon Christian tombs. A sepulchral stone from the Cemetery of St. Cyriac displays this instrument in conjunction with a crown; it may also be seen upon a marble slab taken from a cemetery of the Via Latina, accompanied by a house, a fish, by a doubtful object which has been taken wrongly for a candelabrum, and by a mummy set up in a niche. A monument of the same nature represents a balance with a weight. Another example is found in the Church of St. Cecilia at Rome.

Some antiquaries have supposed that the balance is symbolical of judgment or justice. It is true that it is found, doubtless with this signification, on coins of Gordian, Diocletian, and other emperors of pagan Rome. The mediaeval artists, again, have frequently made use of this idea; for instance, in the tympanum of the great doorway of Notre Dame in Paris, and in that of the cathedral of Autun, where it may be considered as a translation in sculpture of the words of the Apocalypse Revelation 22:12. But in the first two instances which we have mentioned almost the only examples transmnitted to us by Christian antiquity properly so called it is important to observe that mention is made of the contract entered into between. the purchasers of the tombs and the fossores ("grave-diggers") Montanus and Calevius. It is therefore more natural to suppose that the balance symbolizes purchase and sale.

Sometimes upon tombs the balance is simply indicative of a trade; as, for example, on the slab of a Roman money-changer found in the Cemetery of St. Priscilla. Bronze balances were found in a Frankish sepulchre of the Merovingian period, where in all probability they indicated the tomb of a monetary officer, or fiscal agent or accountant of some kind. This is rendered almost certain by the fact that a balance in the Faussett collection was found in the same tomb with a "touch-stone" for the trial of metals. Another was found in an ancient tomb in Kent.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.

Bibliography Information
McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Balance'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/tce/b/balance.html. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.

Search for…
Enter query in the box:
 or 
Choose a letter to browse:
A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M 
N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  Y  Z 

 
To report dead links, typos, or html errors or suggestions about making these resources more useful use our convenient contact form
Powered by Lightspeed Technology