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108. Seal of Solomon Son of Samuel

Shelomah bar Shemuel Shin-Yod

Solomon Son of Samuel, That He May Live

Dimensions: 21 mm. Impression.

Location: Main Provincial Archives of Koblenz, 54 S 764.

Bibliography: Brincken, 1963–64; Schilling, 1964, 1:B154.

These two seals will be discussed together because they are appended to the same parchment document dated March 29, 1329, 18 × 9 cm., written in Latin. Both seals are damaged. The seal of Abraham son of Isaac shows a lily and two small six-pointed stars, one above each side of the lily. The Hebrew legend runs round between the lines. (The missing letters are enclosed in brackets here; they are known because the same seal, in better condition, is attached to Document 54 S 771 in the Koblenz archives.) No. 108 shows a birdbath at which two long-tailed birds, similar to peacocks, are bending to drink.* The Hebrew legend is between lines.

The substance of this document is that Abraham of Kesten (near Bernkastel) and Salemann of Wittlich, both Jews from Trier, are arranging with their debtor the knight Tilmann von Schwarzenberg that he and his son William shall continue to owe them 550 pounds Tournosen (deniers struck at Tours) and 50 pounds heller, but that all other notes are cancelled.

A similar parchment document is dated February 14, 1331, 17 × 7 cm., written in Latin. This is a loan extension, 54 S 765 in the Koblenz archives, in which the Jew Isaac of Trier, son of Abraham of Kesten, grants to his debtor, the same knight Tilmann, a moratorium on the repayment of a debt of 50 pounds Tournosen until October 1 without interest. The seal of Abraham of Kesten was originally appended but has disappeared. Solomon son of Samuel also sealed this document. A bit of the seal of Isaac himself is also claimed to be attached.

The same parties are involved in a financial adjustment indicated on a parchment document dated October 8, 1332, 20 × 11 cm., written in Latin, 54 S 771 in the Koblenz archives. Again Isaac of Trier arranges his debt with the knight Tilmann so that the old notes are cancelled and a new agreement drawn up. It is clearly stated that as the issuer does not have a seal, his father Abraham and Salomo of Wittlich, son of Schollin, are sealing for him. The two seals are in good condition. Because the wording is ambiguous, a seal for Isaac is not included in the listing here.

It should be noted that the name is recorded as Salemann in one document and Salomo in another, and that Solomon is the “son of Samuel” in the Hebrew but “Salomo son of Schollin” in the Latin. Unlike the problem of the name of Jacob’s father, Daniel or Nathanael, these differences are due to careless orthography or lack of attention on the part of the scribe.


*The appearance of what look like peacocks drinking from a birdbath or fountain is interesting on a Jewish seal from this period because in medieval Christian symbolism the fountain stands for salvation and the peacock for immortality. The portrayal of the peacock in the Roman Jewish catacombs, dating from the second through the fourth century, would indicate that both Christians and Jews used it as a symbol of immortality. The Villa Torlonia catacombs have a fresco which shows seven-branched menorahs with a peacock. The ceiling of the Vigna Randanini catacombs has a peacock with spread feathers painted on it. A pair of peacocks also appear on the mosaic floor of the ancient synagogue at Ein Gedi, a building dating from this period; and the same symbolism appears at the Hammam Lif Synagogue in Tunisia, dating from the fifth century, which frescoes are now located at the Brooklyn Museum in New York City.

“Quia ego ysaach ieudeus prefatus sigillo careo.” Perhaps this means only that Isaac lacked a seal at the time of the transaction.

*The appearance of what look like peacocks drinking from a birdbath or fountain is interesting on a Jewish seal from this period because in medieval Christian symbolism the fountain stands for salvation and the peacock for immortality. The portrayal of the peacock in the Roman Jewish catacombs, dating from the second through the fourth century, would indicate that both Christians and Jews used it as a symbol of immortality. The Villa Torlonia catacombs have a fresco which shows seven-branched menorahs with a peacock. The ceiling of the Vigna Randanini catacombs has a peacock with spread feathers painted on it. A pair of peacocks also appear on the mosaic floor of the ancient synagogue at Ein Gedi, a building dating from this period; and the same symbolism appears at the Hammam Lif Synagogue in Tunisia, dating from the fifth century, which frescoes are now located at the Brooklyn Museum in New York City.

“Quia ego ysaach ieudeus prefatus sigillo careo.” Perhaps this means only that Isaac lacked a seal at the time of the transaction.

These two seals will be discussed together because they are appended to the same parchment document dated March 29, 1329, 18 × 9 cm., written in Latin. Both seals are damaged. The seal of Abraham son of Isaac shows a lily and two small six-pointed stars, one above each side of the lily. The Hebrew legend runs round between the lines. (The missing letters are enclosed in brackets here; they are known because the same seal, in better condition, is attached to Document 54 S 771 in the Koblenz archives.) No. 108 shows a birdbath at which two long-tailed birds, similar to peacocks, are bending to drink.* The Hebrew legend is between lines.

The same parties are involved in a financial adjustment indicated on a parchment document dated October 8, 1332, 20 × 11 cm., written in Latin, 54 S 771 in the Koblenz archives. Again Isaac of Trier arranges his debt with the knight Tilmann so that the old notes are cancelled and a new agreement drawn up. It is clearly stated that as the issuer does not have a seal, his father Abraham and Salomo of Wittlich, son of Schollin, are sealing for him. The two seals are in good condition. Because the wording is ambiguous, a seal for Isaac is not included in the listing here.

Additional Information

ISBN
9780814344859
MARC Record
OCLC
1055142843
Pages
218-219
Launched on MUSE
2018-10-02
Language
English
Open Access
Yes
Creative Commons
CC-BY-NC-SA
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