publisher colophon

27. Seal of Kalonymos Son of Solomon/Crescas of Masela

[left side]

*Kalonymos bar Shelomah Yod-Tsadi-Vav

*Kalonymos Son of Solomon, May His Rock and Redeemer Guard Him

[right side]

*CRESCAS DE MASELA

*Crescas of Masela

Dimensions: unknown.

Location: Narbonne Museum(?).

Bibliography: Longpérier, 1873; Blumenkranz, 1965–66, No. 2,22 (1); Bedos, 1080b, No. 2, 22 (1).

This seal was last reported at the Narbonne Museum.* In the field the matrix has a shield rounded at the bottom, a style peculiar to seals from Provence and Languedoc from the first half of the thirteenth century and from Piedmont from the second half of that century.

The inscriptions, which are on one face rather than engraved on the respective faces, follow the contour of the shield, the Hebrew on the left and the Provençal on the right, each legend preceded by a star. In the center of the shield is a large five-pointed star; high in the field are a star and crescent. As noted previously, some writers on the subject interpret the pentalpha, known as the Sign or Seal of Solomon among Jews and Moslems, as an example in this case also of armes parlantes, referring to the name of Kalonymos’ father.

We know nothing of this Kalonymos son of Solomon, who used the name Crescas when dealing with the Christian community, similar to the preceding Toby. He apparently came from the town of Masela, a place so small it is not indicated on atlases. Since the seal is or was located at the museum in Narbonne, Kalonymos probably came from that region, and indeed the names of Kalonymos and Crescas (also spelled Cresques) are common to southern France and nearby Catalonia. There was a Crescas Solomon who signed the communal regulations adopted by the Jews of Aragon in 1354, a date rather late for the style of the seal.

Adrien de Longpérier (1873) conjectures that the name Masela might refer to Marseilles, whose Latin name was Massilia. There was indeed a significant number of Jews living in Marseilles at this time, but the usual spelling of the place name was not Masela: for example, Samuel ben Judah ha-Marsili was born in Marseilles in 1294. Richard W. Emery also includes a document (1959, No. 19) dated August 9, 1273, which refers to a Cresques de Marsilla. Again, the problem with these French seals is that we have the matrices but no supporting documentation and thus cannot tie the names to specific historical persons.


*The writer has been unsuccessful in tracing it.

*The writer has been unsuccessful in tracing it.

This seal was last reported at the Narbonne Museum.* In the field the matrix has a shield rounded at the bottom, a style peculiar to seals from Provence and Languedoc from the first half of the thirteenth century and from Piedmont from the second half of that century.

Additional Information

ISBN
9780814344859
MARC Record
OCLC
1055142843
Launched on MUSE
2018-10-02
Open Access
Yes
Creative Commons
CC-BY-NC-SA
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