61. Seal of Jacob
Dimensions: ca. 8 × 11 mm. (seal impression).
Bibliography: Gaspar Remiro, 1919; Cantera y Burgos and Millás Vallicrosa, 1956, No. 258.†
A signet ring was found with other objects while the grounds of a Roman amphitheater were being excavated at Merida, a small city close to Badajoz, toward the south on the Portuguese border. The excavation occurred in the first decade of this century, and though the ring was apparently deposited in the archaeological museum of Merida, it is at present unlocatable.
Mariano Gaspar Remiro published a short description of the seal ring in 1919, with a photograph of the ring and the impression taken from it; this photograph is reproduced here as No. 61. Gaspar Remiro described the signet as made of poor quality bronze, quite corroded, with a considerable part of the hoop broken off. The sealing surface, however, though also corroded, still showed a Hebrew inscription. Gaspar Remiro reported that the general appearance of the ring and the form of the letters suggested that it was made around the second half of the fourteenth or the first half of the fifteenth century.
Cantera y Burgos and Millás Vallicrosa rightly comment that the wording Yaakob Yehud is very odd, and that it probably read Yaakob Yehudi or Yaakob ben Yehuda, as the isolated word Yehud is not used in this way. The authors also feel the signet may be older than estimated. None of these questions can be settled without the evidence of the ring itself.