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To celebrate Vikings Live, we have replaced our Roman alphabet with the runic alphabet used by the Vikings, the Scandinavian ‘Younger Futhark’. The ‘Younger Futhark’ has only 16 letters, so we have used some of the runic letters more than once or combined two runes for one Roman letter.

For an excellent introduction to runes, we recommend Martin Findell’s book published by British Museum Press.

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  • Description

    Stamp (vessel): qisṭ. Measure of olive-oil. Two line inscription. Trail mark. Made of green glass.

  • Culture/period

  • Materials

  • Dimensions

    • Width: 2.2 centimetres
  • Inscriptions

      • Inscription Type

      • Inscription Translation

        (1) Qisṭ
        (2) of olive oil - -.
      • Inscription Type

      • Inscription Comment

  • Curator's comments

    See also OA+ 4119.

    From the same die: Balog, P. 1976. ‘Ummayad, ʿAbbasid and Ṭūlūnid glass weights and vessel-stamps’. New York, 870, 873. Cf. 871-2.
    The two items described next are from a very similar die though only the first letter of the mysterious last word of the legend survives. Certain pieces that have not be illustrated may belong to the same group: Casanova 1893, 47-9, where the last word is read 'fīhi', 'in it', and Miles 1948, 262-3, where it is read wā[f], 'full-measure'. Balog (loc. cit. and 1963, 5-6) has suggested reading 'zayt qinnib', 'oil of Indian hemp'. Wāf would be an easy reading from the point of view of sense, but the first letter on the present type is certainly connected to the 'teeth' that follow. The fact that there are at least two and probably three 'teeth' after the first letter makes it very difficult to accept 'fīhi' or, to a lesser extent, 'qinnib'. With regard to the latter, although Balog provides evidence for medical appreciation of the properties of hemp oil, that is far from establishing that it was widely consumed. Since the stamps of the group are evidently quite common it is likely that they were meant for a common commodity, most probably olive oil which appears on far more stamps than any other substance. There are of course no stamps for hemp oil among those with the names of officials. But if it is reasonable to accept that these stamps were for olive oil the last word of the legend still remains an unsolved puzzle.

    Balog, P. 1976. ‘Ummayad, ʿAbbasid and Ṭūlūnid glass weights and vessel-stamps’. New York;
    Balog, P. 1963. Poids en plomb du khalife fatimite al-Ḥākim biamr-illah frappés à Miṣr en l'an 389 H. ‘Journal of the economic and social history of the Orient’ VI. Leiden, 216-227;
    Casanova, P. 1893. Catalogue des pièces de verre des époques byzantine et arabe de la collection Fouquet. ‘Mémoires publicées par les membres de la Mission Archéologique Francaise au Caire’ VI. Paris;
    Miles, G.C. 1948. ‘Early Arabic Weights and Stamps’. New York.


  • Bibliography

    • Morton 1985 489 bibliographic details
  • Subjects

  • Department

    Middle East

  • Registration number


  • Additional IDs

    • F39a

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Object reference number: RRM1535

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