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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.


NOTE: See also the files: seals-msg, seals-bib, sealing-wax-msg, parchment-msg, paper-msg, writing-desks-msg, calligraphy-msg, inks-msg, quills-msg.





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).


Thank you,

    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


Municipal Seals

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.




(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

Offices machines.


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.....


Signet Rings


(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.


<the end>

Formatting copyright © Mark S. Harris (THLord Stefan li Rous).
All other copyrights are property of the original article and message authors.

Comments to the Editor: stefan at florilegium.org