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The Collaborative International Dictionary

Bezant \Be*zant"\, n. [See Byzant.]

  1. 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. [Written also besant, byzant, etc.]

  2. (Her.) A circle in or, i. e., gold, representing the gold coin called bezant.

  3. A decoration of a flat surface, as of a band or belt, representing circular disks lapping one upon another.

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

gold coin, c.1200, from Old French besant (12c.), from Latin byzantius, short for Byzantius nummus "coin of Byzantium."


n. 1 (context history English) A coin made of gold or silver, minted at and used in currency throughout mediaeval Europe. 2 (context heraldiccharge English) The heraldic representation of a gold coin.


n. a gold coin of the Byzantine Empire; widely circulated in Europe in the Middle Ages [syn: bezzant, byzant, solidus]


Bezant is a medieval term for a gold coin. Medievally originally it meant the gold coins produced by the government of the Byzantine Empire. The word was derived from the Greek Byzantium. Later in the medieval era among the Latins the scope of the word was expanded to gold coins produced by Arabic governments.

Usage examples of "bezant".

He wanted to carry out his original plan to buy a fresh horse with one of his bezants, and ride back, reinforcements or no.

Michel handed over bezants and silver in the sum of seventy-two sous, a sum that a week ago had seemed impossibly large, and received a neatly written receipt.

Needing coin of the country, he sought out an exchange, and making the most of opportunity to get a supply for future needs, he poured out a fine, telltale stream of the golden bezants current in Syria.

There were doubloons, guineas, livres, pistareens, florins, ducats, Dutch dog dollars, Scotch marks, Portuguese half joes, Peruvian crossdollars, and even one old smooth-worn bezant.

Imperial cupbearer are always important, and I would have bought those of Helladius with a myriad of bezants.

He offered to bet fifty gold bezants or an equivalent in Pisan solidi.

And he felt very uncomfortable at the thought of betting fifty bezants.

Reyno had almost nothing of his own to bet, but borrowed two bezants from his master, Carolus was grumpy about lending it, and I suspect he only did it to keep Reyno from trying to borrow elsewhere and being questioned.

Reyno was practically dancing, and Carolus's usually sour face was actually smiling as he paid me my ten gold bezants.

The crest on the next placard was an unfamiliar three bezants - at least, Pirojil hoped that they were bezants - and the one after that was, thankfully, Morray's rampant fox in its golden circle.

Two bezants more and I had an introduction to the foreman of the Markezinis vineyard.

Speer, apparently running some errand for Metaxas’ chef, selected a few items and pulled forth a purse of bezants to pay for them.