Concrete operation of weighing and the required material resources, balances and weights, emerged and developed in ancient times. Concrete acts of weighing over time came to be reflected in iconography and in texts. In the course of the first two millennia the treatments of weighing in such external representation became increasingly abstract. A spectrum is opened whose extremes are marked by proto-scientific abstraction on the one hand and metaphysical interpretation at the other extreme.

These have traditionally been treated as two completely separate realms. Our aim in this workshop is to narrow down the specific ways in which the balance brings together these two domains. While staying close to the archeological and textual source materials this will allow us to approach the larger issue of the relation of science, the history of science, religion and philosophy.

Due to the limited capacity of the venue, registration is asked for under


18:00 - 19:00
The symbolism of weighing scales
Lars Albinus
19:00 - 20:00
10:00 - 10:45
The weighing of the heart as a mathematical problem in papyrus Northumberland III
Joachim Quack
10:45 - 11:30
The balance in Egyptian metaphors
Frank Kammerzell
11:30 - 12:00
12:00 - 12:45
The balance as a measuring tool of values
Anna Michailidou
12:45 - 13:30
The enchanting scale: liminality, materiality, and sentiment in the ancient Near Eastern balance
Christopher Monroe
13:30 - 14:30
Joint Lunch
14:30 - 15:15
Balances in the Arthaśāstra
Mark McClish
15:15 - 15:30
15:30 - 16:15
Weighing Metaphors and Power in the “Light and Heavy” Chapters of the Guanzi
Griet Vankeerberghen
19:00 - 21:00
Joint Dinner
10:00 - 10:45
The iconography of early weighing
David Alan Warburton
10:45 - 11:30
Modern physics of ancient balances
Jochen Büttner
11:30 - 12:00
12:00 - 12:30
Closing discussion
12:45 - 14:00
Joint Lunch