dbn

In ancient Egypt, the main unit of mass. Often romanized as deben; Akkadian sources indicate it was pronounced “tiban”. The value changed with time:

Old Kingdom, 2700-2200 BCE.
Weigall refers to it as the “egyptian Gold Standard”;
Petrie as a “beqa”.
13.6 grams
Middle Kingdom, 2100-1788 BCE 91 grams
New Kingdom, 1580-1090 BCE 91 grams, = 10 qdt

Hieroglyph notations for the deben

Gardiner number (a list of hieroglyphs): F49:N35-O39. Other renderings include I10-D58-N35:F46, D46-D58-N35:F46-O39

Unicode numbers U+13137; U+13216; U+1328C; 𓄷 𓈖 𓊌 At present, web browsers do not recognize the Unicode Egyptian Hieroglyph Format Controls, which position the glyphs. In this case, 13137 should be above 13216.

sources

1

Throughout the Old Empire only one standard seems to have been employed, which ranged from 13 to 14 gr. .. This unit was undoubtedly called a

hieroglyph of deben

or

hieroglyph of deben

deben (originally transcribed uten). There is a weight dating probably from the Old Empire which is inscribed

hieroglyph of ten debens

“10 debens”, and weighs 141 gr. 7 : this shows that one deben weighs 14 gr. 17 (Berlin Mus. Brugsch, Thes., VI, p. 1452). Now the word deben is well known in the sense of “circular” or “encircling”, and here it evidently means a ring or circle; hence it will be seen that the sign O which is so often inscribed upon weights of this standard is simply an abbreviated writing of the word hieroglyph This is further shown by the fact that on a weight of about Dyn. IV-XII (a nearer dating is impossible) drawn in the Proceed. Soc. Bibl. Arch, of December 1901. pl. III, n° 7033, the circle is written hieroglyph; and again on the specimen in the same article, n° 7041, it is written hieroglyph. The determinative in the word hieroglyph is an ideogram of the weight itself, which is almost always oblong-rectangular in form.

Arthur E. P. Weigall.
Weights and Balances.
Service des Antiquités de L'Égypte.
Catalogue Général des Antiquités Égyptiennes du Musée du Caire.
Nos 31271-31670.
Cairo: Imprimerie de L'Instituit Français D'Archéologie Orientale, 1908.

2

When the kedet system had come into general use, the hieroglyph or hieroglyph deben, came to be employed as a unit equal to 10 kedets, and presumably the deben-stater of the Gold standards was distinguished by some additional word such as hieroglyph, nub.

Arthur E. P. Weigall.
Weights and Balances.
Service des Antiquités de L'Égypte.
Catalogue Général des Antiquités Égyptiennes du Musée du Caire.
Nos 31271-31670.
Cairo: Imprimerie de L'Instituit Français D'Archéologie Orientale, 1908.
Page xii.

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