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125. Seal of Joseal [Joselin] Son of Isaac

*Hose[al] bar Yitzhak(?)

*Joseal Son of Isaac(?)

Dimensions: 25 mm. Impression.

Location: Hesse State Archives, Marburg, No. A VI.

Bibliography: Küch, 1918.

Quittance from Marburg, September 2, 1366, sealed by Samuel son of Abraham and Joseal (Joselin) son of Isaac. Hesse State Archives, Marburg, No. A VI.

Nos. 124 and 125 are attached to the same document, illustrated here, dated September 2, 1366, and will be analyzed together. The seal of Samuel son of Abraham shows a Jew’s hat at the top; beneath there is a crescent moon at the left, a six-pointed star at the right, and what seems a dot between. The Hebrew inscription runs round, between solid lines. It is listed at Marburg as the seal of Samuel from Homberg.

The seal of Joseal son of Isaac shows the classical intertwined six-pointed star called the Shield of David* with what appears to be a large dot in the center. Between solid lines the smudged Hebrew inscription runs around; the last letters are too rubbed to be read as a word or contraction. This seal is listed at Marburg as belonging to David from Frankenberg, who is mentioned in the document as the second sealer.

Marburg, in the province of Hesse, is a city north of Frankfort on the Main, not in the Rhineland but closely related to the area geographically. The document is short and can be readily translated:

I Joselin, a Jew who lives in Frankfort, and David from Hersfeld make it known to our heirs by this document that Ruprecht Wiesgerwer [Wissgerber], the deputy mayor of Marburg, has paid us everything owed to us or for which he stood as guarantor on behalf of our honored lord Count Boppo von Eberstein, and we hereby make it known that he and his heirs are quit of all obligation and the debt is dissolved. And for greater security we have asked Samuel of Homberg and David of Frankenberg to stamp this document which we, the above-named David and Samuel, confirm that we did it because they asked us. Given in Frankfort.

Seal of Count Aymar de Poitiers, 1355. Archives of Isère, B 3794. Illustration from J. Roman, 1913, No. 692.

Seal of Philippe de Lantilla, French King’s Officer at Montpellier, 1366. Municipal Archives of Montpellier.

The date is noted to be September 3, though the official archive states September 2.

There are certain difficulties in relating these seals to the wording of the document. It is clear from the phrasing that David of Frankenberg and Samuel of Homberg did append their seals; the wording seems to indicate that Joselin from Frankfort and David from Hersfeld did not, and only two seals are appended. The seal of Samuel son of Abraham is clearly that of Samuel of Homberg. However, the second seal, which ought to be that of David of Frankenberg, in no way can be read “David”; it reads “Hosea,” and, though blurred, the next two Hebrew letters of the legend might be read as alef and lamed; it therefore seems to be the seal of someone with the name of Joseal—which of course could be the Joselin of the German text. However, he seems not to have used his seal, and the presumption is that he did not have one. If the seal inscription has been read correctly, there are only two possibilities. The first is that Joselin did have a seal but did not expect to use it here and was compelled to do so by some new circumstance, such as the death or withdrawal of David of Frankenberg between the drawing and sealing of the document. The second possibility is that David of Frankenberg did not use his own seal but the seal of another party, Joseal son of Isaac, whose name only accidentally sounded similar to that of Joselin from Frankfort.


*Two Christian seals from this same period, one of a nobleman from Poitiers and the other of a king’s officer at Montpellier, are shown here to indicate that the hexagram was not limited to Jewish usage.

*Two Christian seals from this same period, one of a nobleman from Poitiers and the other of a king’s officer at Montpellier, are shown here to indicate that the hexagram was not limited to Jewish usage.

The seal of Joseal son of Isaac shows the classical intertwined six-pointed star called the Shield of David* with what appears to be a large dot in the center. Between solid lines the smudged Hebrew inscription runs around; the last letters are too rubbed to be read as a word or contraction. This seal is listed at Marburg as belonging to David from Frankenberg, who is mentioned in the document as the second sealer.

Additional Information

ISBN
9780814344859
MARC Record
OCLC
1055142843
Pages
239-240
Launched on MUSE
2018-10-02
Language
English
Open Access
Yes
Creative Commons
CC-BY-NC-SA
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