American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- n. See solidus.
- n. Architecture A flat disk used as an ornament.
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. A gold coin (the proper name of which was solidus) issued by the emperors at Constantinople in the middle ages. Bezants had a wide circulation in Europe till the fall of the Eastern Empire, more especially during the period from about A. D. 800 to the middle of the thirteenth century, when European countries, except Spain, had no gold currencies of their own. Also called byzant, byzantine.
- n. In heraldry, a small circle or; a gold roundel. It is a common bearing, and is supposed to have originated from the coins of Constantinople, assumed as bearings by crusaders.
- n. Also spelled besant.
- n. history A coin made of gold or silver, minted at Byzantium and used in currency throughout mediaeval Europe.
- n. heraldry The heraldic representation of a gold coin.
GNU Webster's 1913
- n. A gold coin of Byzantium or Constantinople, varying in weight and value, usually (those current in England) between a sovereign and a half sovereign. There were also white or silver bezants.
- n. (Her.) A circle in or, i. e., gold, representing the gold coin called
- n. A decoration of a flat surface, as of a band or belt, representing circular disks lapping one upon another.
- n. a gold coin of the Byzantine Empire; widely circulated in Europe in the Middle Ages
- From Old French bezant, nominative bezanz, from Latin byzantius ("of Byzantium"). (Wiktionary)
- Middle English besant, from Old French, from Medieval Latin Bȳzantius, from Latin, of Byzantium. (American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
“The excellence of Byzantine administration—hardly Byzantine at all by our usage—is nowhere clearer than in the power of the Byzantine standard gold coin, the solidus known as the bezant in medieval Europe.”
“A small loaf of bread cost a bezant of gold, and of the price of wine I shall not speak; there was not even a jug of it.”
“It gave us the Creeds, the bezant and the fork, it introduced us to both silk and caviar, which was once a poor people's food.”
“If I had even half a bezant for every newcomer who's dropped o 'the heat stroke, then I'd be a rich man.”
“Sabin presented her with a gold bezant as a symbol of his intention to provide for her, and a wedding ring of African gold.”
“Cadoc laughed, clapped Rufus on the back, and slipped a bezant into his single palm.”
“Cadoc slipped the doorman a golden bezant-a little extravagant, perhaps, but impressiveness might help his chances.”
“He pulled a bezant of Alexius I from his pouch, and let me inspect it for kosherness.”
“So I pressed a fine gold bezant of the early eleventh century into his palm.”
“I caught one: a thin, shabby bezant of Alexius I, nicked and filed at the edges.”
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