Byzantine Empire, Lead Document Seal

Date: c. 500 - 1100 CE
Eastern Europe

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Item Description:

These Byzantine lead seals, or bullae, were used to authenticate documents, ensuring that they had come from their official sender and had not been tampered with. Each has a unique design used by a specific individual, similar to a modern day signature.

The most common seals were marked with inscriptions or monograms, usually in Greek. Less common were iconographic seals, which often depicted imagery of Christ, various Saints or the Virgin Mary. The use of seals in the Byzantine Empire was limited until about the 7th century CE, although they eventually saw widespread use by all social classes, including local government, the military, the church, nobility, and even the emperor himself.

Seals were made with a variety of different materials, including gold, silver, and wax, though most surviving seals were made from lead. The casting process involved the use of a tool called a boulloterion, which pressed small, blank lead disks onto strings attached to the document that was being sealed. This tool looked similar to a pair of pliers, and was also used to imprint the user's unique inscriptions or imagery onto the lead. Preserved examples of boulloteria are rare, as they were typically destroyed upon the death or retirement of their owner for security purposes.

Each includes a Certificate of Authenticity and is guaranteed genuine.

Your order will include:

  • The historical item(s) shown above
  • Glass top leatherette display box
  • Information card and Certificate of Authenticity

Our original glass and leatherette display boxes showcase your relic above a custom information card, with a design unique to History Hoard.

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