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26. Seal of Tobi[ah] Son of Isaac/Cresques


*Tobi bar Yitzhak Zayin-Lamed

*Tobi[ah] Son of Isaac, His Memory Be for a Blessing


*Seal of Cresques (of Provence?)

Dimensions: unknown.

Location: unknown.

Bibliography: Longpérier, 1872a, 1872b; Blumenkranz, 1965–66, No. 2, 21 (4); Bedos, 1980b, No. 2, 21 (4).

This is also a double-faced seal, each side inscribed in a different language. The figure in the field is a battering ram, and though there may be a relation between this battering ram and the name following Cresques, in the usual style of armes parlantes, the worn inscription does not form itself into any specific word. Perhaps the word is Provence, that is, “Cresques [of] Provence”; and in records from 1222 at Toulouse we know of a Jew named Salomon fils de Provençal. Admittedly, this interpretation is based on what may be an inaccurate reading of the letters. Longpérier does not indicate the location of this seal, but we may presume, because of the style, that it comes from Provence or Languedoc and derives from around the thirteenth century. (The seal matrix was originally in the collection of J. de Witte, but, like others of these seals, disappeared in the last century.)

A question can be raised as to why in the vernacular Tobi[ah] should use the name Cresques instead of his own given name. Perhaps this name was more commonly accepted at that time among Christians of the Midi, although one might suppose it to be equally true for his given name of Tobiah, contracted to Toby, which became more common among Christians than Jews. The only historic allusion to this name is by H. Gross, in Gallia Judaica (1897), who mentions several notables of Aix-in-Provence, including the “Prince” Isaac and his two sons, one of whom was named Toby. Though the facts seem to fit this party, they are inadequate to make an identification.

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