Med-Seals-lnks – 4/3/04
A set of web links to information on medieval seals and signet rings by Dame Aoife Finn of Ynos Mon.
This file is a collection of various messages having a common theme that I have collected from my reading of the various computer networks. Some messages date back to 1989, some may be as recent as yesterday.
This file is part of a collection of files called Stefan's Florilegium. These files are available on the Internet at: http://www.florilegium.org
I have done a limited amount of editing. Messages having to do with separate topics were sometimes split into different files and sometimes extraneous information was removed. For instance, the message IDs were removed to save space and remove clutter.
The comments made in these messages are not necessarily my viewpoints. I make no claims as to the accuracy of the information given by the individual authors.
Please respect the time and efforts of those who have written these messages. The copyright status of these messages is unclear at this time. If information is published from these messages, please give credit to the originator(s).
Mark S. Harris AKA: THLord Stefan li Rous
Stefan at florilegium.org
From: Lis <liontamr at ptd.net>
Date: March 18, 2004 10:27:15 PM CST
To: Stefan li Rous <StefanliRous at austin.rr.com>
Subject: Links: Medieval Seals
Greetings everyone: This week's Links List is about Seals and Signet Rings,
something we KNOW existed in the Middle Ages, but which we seldom see
re-created in the Modern Middle Ages :). So, to make information more widely
available on the subject, here you go: go forth and pontificate on paper, and
sign your work with your own seal!
As always, please share this links list wherever it will find an interested
audience. Happy Spring!
Dame Aoife Finn
Medieval Seals A Collection of Facsimiles at the Medieval Institute
(Site Excerpt) In the Middle Ages, one of the most common ways to proclaim
the authenticity of a document was to attach a seal to it. Seals were images
carved into a matrix which, when pressed into a substance like warm wax,
left behind an inverse of the picture on the seal. The image, and often a
legend written around it, identified the author of the document and was
meant to prevent people from forging or tampering with official
correspondence. More importantly, in an age when even illiterate people
needed to transact business, seals allowed individuals to declare their
consent to an agreement even if they couldn't sign their names.
An Image Collection of European
Written Historical Documents
British Medieval Seals
from A Guide to British Medieval Seals, P.D.A. Harvey & Andrew McGuinness,
University of Toronto Press, ISBN 0-8020-0867-4, pp. 1-4:
(Site Excerpt) "In medieval Britain sealing was for some three hundred years
the way almost all documents were authenticated. Before the late eleventh
century, however, the most solemn grants of land and rights in England bore
no seal but proclaimed their authority through their stately script and
format and the names of the numerous eminent witnesses, each accompanied by
the sign of the cross - some ecclesiastical documents still took this form
throughout twelfth century. The crosses, were held to have sacred
significance, invoking divine authority and protection for the transaction,
whereas a seal might be seen as having only secular, legal, standing; some
early-twelfth-century charters bore both and later in the century a
chronicler at Ramsey Abbey contrasted the duplicity of his own age, which he
used seals, with the open honesty of the tenth century did not. 1"
Medieval Seals (from an antiques trader: Images of Originals)
(Site Excerpt) Medieval Seal, late 13th Century. Bronze, 3.76 grams; 27.13
mm. Vessica shaped, with loop at rear intact. Unusual bird-like animal, with
personal name. Sharpe detail with a good even patina. Ex. Mitchell
Medieval Writing: Royal Seals
(Site Excerpt) On legal documents and letters, the seal was a ratification
of authenticity. On closed up letters, the seal served to ensure that the
letter arrived unopened and untampered with. On official documents delivered
open, the seal, displayed either on the face of he document or hanging from
it on parchment strips or cords, served to verify the agreement of
interested parties to the document. The seal served in place of an autograph
signature. This practical and legal function did not prevent the seal from
becoming an art form in its own right. Seals became exquisitely crafted and
in many cases, very elaborate.
Collection Medieval Seals (Antiques trader: Images of Originals)
(Site Excerpt) Quadruple bronze seal matrix
Showing a heart and anchor, acorn, stag and a three-master. Attractive dark
green toning. Very special and rare type of matrix ! Diameter: ca. 3,6 cm (1.42")
Period: 16th century
http://flambard.dur.ac.uk:6336/dynaweb/handlist/ddc/dcdmseal/ at Generic__BookTextView/91346
(Site Excerpt) Berwick-upon-Tweed
Description: Obverse: Round, a bear, with collar and chain, walking to the
dexter, in front of a tree upon which are two birds. The field of the seal
is diapered with a delicate floral pattern and the device is surrounded with
the Scottish tressure. Reverse: God the Father, seated on a throne holding
in front of him, the figure of Our Lord upon the cross (emblem of the
Trinity). The field is diapered in a foliage design and the inner edge of
the border cusped.
Stefan's Florlegium: Seals
(Site Excerpt of the One Message, which includes a bibliography) Cylinder
seals of stone and baked clay were used in ancient times. I have at least
one book on that. Those are very very old. European Merchant tags were used on bags of shipped materials in period o=o folded over and stamped.
I believe that in the Orient there were stone stamps as well.
Called Chops. In cast metal also. One of the things the Japanese
brought up from the bottom of the (Hakone?) bay where the Mongols
attempted an unsuccessful invasion (mostly due to weather) is
a large bronze probably general's seal.
The Schoyen Collection 16 Seals
(Site Excerpt) 24 items are listed of a collection of over 560 seal matrices
and ca. 400 seal impressions. The collection starts with 150 stamp seal
matrices from the 5th and 4th millennium BC, and ends with wax seals on
medieval documents and papal lead bullas. The core of the collection is
about 400 mainly English, private medieval stamp seal matrices, surpassing
the size of British Museum's comparable holdings.
Medieval Seals Online Project (Acrobat Reader necessary to view article)
This site is a plea to assist in preserving MEdieval Seals on documents by
publishing images of them online.
MAKING WAX SEALS
(Site Excerpt) Please do not send sealed letters through the mail. The U.S.
Post Office uses elaborate automatic sorting machines that will eat your
seal. If you wish to mail a sealed letter, place it inside a padded mailing
envelope. This will insure the survival of your seal and the U.S. Post
Bronze Signet Ring February - March 2003 (Includes Bibliogroahy)
(Site Excerpt) The four gemstones shown to the right are from Ribe, dated to
the Roman Age (Jensen 19). These gemstones are carved with seals or signets
of various types, and likely made their way to Ribe as trade items. The
patterns carved into them are clearly in reverse.....
(Site Excerpt) signet a seal used to attest documents (Dan. 6:8-10, 12). In
6:17, this word properly denotes a ring. The impression of a signet ring on fine clay has recently been discovered among the ruins at Nineveh. It bears the name and title of an Egyptian king. Two actual signet rings of ancient Egyptian monarchs (Cheops and Horus) have also been discovered.