Update
Show Summary Details

Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD REFERENCE (www.oxfordreference.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2023. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single entry from a reference work in OR for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 15 April 2024

Keys. 

Source:
The Oxford Dictionary of Byzantium
Author(s):
Gary VikanGary Vikan

Two kinds of key-lock systems, sliding and turning, were used in Byz. The sliding key-lock system was the earlier and mechanically more complex. Its distinguishing feature is a bit composed of raised teeth attached at right-angles to a rectangular shaft. The bit is passed in a rotating motion through the lower extremity of an L-shaped hole in the lock plate. It is then raised until its projecting teeth displace from the bolt a series of pins or tumblers held in place by a spring. Once engaged in the perforations, the key is used to draw the bolt along horizontally, out of its seating. A high level of security was afforded by the fact that only a bit with teeth precisely matching the perforations in the bolt could be raised into those holes and thereby force out the restraining pins. Such locks were esp. preferred and popularized by the Romans, with whom they are customarily associated. That they remained in use in Constantinople at least until the 6th C. is clear from the marble doors in the South Gallery of Hagia ... ...

Access to the complete content on Oxford Reference requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can''t find the answer there, please contact us.