24. Seal of Solomon Son of Joshua/Salamon of the Rampart
[outside concentric ring]
Seal of Salamon of the Rampart
[inside concentric ring]
Solomon Son of Joshua, May His Rock and His Redeemer Guard Him
Dimensions: 24 mm. Matrix.
Location: Paul Dupuy Museum, Toulouse, No. 20.902.†
Bibliography: Longpérier, 1873; Blumenkranz, 1965–66, No. 2, 22 (2); Bedos, 1980b, No. 2, 22 (2).
The bronze matrix or this seal has a small loop or ring at the top of the reverse side, 7 mm. in depth. Probably it was worn hanging from a neck chain. Misplaced for many years, it was rediscovered recently through the persistence of Jeanne C. Guillevic, the curator of the Paul Dupuy Museum.
Matrix of Solomon son of Joshua, showing rear hoop.
The outer concentric ring shows the vernacular legend, the inner the legend in Hebrew. The pious reference indicates that Solomon’s father was still alive at the time the seal was cut. Within the two rings containing the legends is a double tower united by a vaulted arch, an entrance with a large dot in the center, like a keyhole. According to Longpérier, barri in Provençal means “rampart” or “city wall” or strong place, undoubtedly related to the modern French word barrière, in English “barrier.” Here again we have armes parlantes, the convention used on most seals from southern France in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, from which this seal derives on the basis of style. The image is similar to that on the obverse side of the seal of David son of Samuel (No. 21), whose name in the Christian community was Mielet of the Portal.
David Yomtov del Barri, probably born in Perpignan in the very early fourteenth century, emigrated as a young man to Aragon. A scholar and scientist, he settled in Gerona and built astronomical instruments for Pedro IV. He may well have been of the same family as Solomon, since the Provençal dal most likely became del in Spain.