publisher colophon

154. Seal of Isaac the Jew


Dimensions: unknown.

Location: seal off.

Bibliography: Boor and Haacke, 1957, No. 2892.

A document in German from January 8, 1298, is sealed by Isaac, also called Ysaach in the records. The original of this document is located in the House, Court and State Archives of Vienna, but, as in the case of Lublin, the seal is missing. The document is quoted here because it gives a good insight into the types of settlement of debts then used and methods of safeguarding such settlements:

Isaak, the Jew of Vienna, hereby makes known that whatever disagreements he had with the children of Lord Ottaker concerning the revenue of the estate which their uncle Friedrich the Treasurer was supposed to pay have been settled by a transfer of interest to Eberhart von Wallsee and Marquard von Schellenberg. These people agree that they shall pay him sixty pounds pfennigs for the twelve measures of wheat and nine measures of oats that he has in Vienna. Neither he nor his wife nor their children shall have any further claim against Lord Ottaker’s children or against the property of their uncle Friedrich. Any claims that might be made by him or his children on this property will be worthless or any documents that he might draw up will be worthless.

[Seal of Isaac]

To this document I sign with my seal. Witness: Lord Ulrich von Chapelle, Lord Eberhart von Walse [sic], Lord Marichart [sic] von Schellenberg, Lord Marichart von Mistelbach. These are all.

We know of another document involving Isaac, which comes from Vaduz, Liechtenstein. This document is dated September 1, 1305, and was in the House Archives of the Reigning Sovereign of Liechtenstein, located at the capital city of Vaduz. The document was destroyed during the confusion attending the last offensive of the Russian troops toward the end of World War II. No photograph was taken of the document or the seal attached, but a copy exists of the material it contained and about the seal. The wording is Gothic German. In summary, the Jew Isaac of Vienna, on behalf of himself, his wife Vladissza, and his son Simon, sold to Count Berthold von Maidburg a few properties in Falkenstein which he had received from Friedrich II of Liechtenstein. A note on the copy of this document informs us that the seal inscription showed S. ISAC IVDEI and three Hebrew letters. Probably there were four letters in Hebrew, document also indicated that Isaac came from Rome. Because of the closeness of the documents in time and the proximity of Austria and Liechtenstein, one can assume that this is the same Isaac who was a party to the transaction dated January 8, 1298.

The document is also interesting because it indicates the international movement of Jewish persons and capital in this period. Isaac, born in Rome and living in Vienna, had financial arrangements with the reigning prince of Liechtenstein, a principality between Switzerland and Lower Austria, and was involved as a result in a sale of properties located in Falkenstein, which is the old eastern German province of Thuringia, near the Czech border. He also was involved in monetary transactions with the children of Ottaker, former ruler of Austria and Bohemia, activities reminiscent of those of Schlom, who little more than a century before was in charge of the finances of Duke Leopold V of Austria. Schlom seems to have come from Spain. Teka, the other important thirteenth-century Jewish financier operating in Vienna, was from Hungary.

Additional Information

MARC Record
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Creative Commons
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.