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161. Seal of Nachman Son of Aaron

Dimensions: approximately 14 × 8 mm. Impression.

Location: Styrian National Archives, Graz, No. 8925.

This signet is impressed on the back of the linen paper of a document in green wax, now almost black. It is an oval, of which a considerable part of the lower half has broken off. The device is a heraldic lily within a circle of beads. The body of the lily is intact, and Nachman must have hired a seal engraver of superior skill for, though small and on a damaged background, this little seal is a jewel. There is no lettering.

The document is dated April 30, 1492. The Jew Nachman, son of “Tall” Aram of Marburg,* acknowledges receiving a letter from Lord Wolfgang von Stubenberg and turning it over in pawn to the Jew Hyrschl, son of Eysackh (Isaac) of Graz, for a loan of thirty-three Hungarian gulden and one pound pfennig, the last being lent to pay the taxes, with the proviso that Nachman will pay back the loan by the next November 10 or surrender the pawn. We know that the Hebrew name of Nachman’s father was Aaron and not Aram, as written, because Nachman signed after the German text in Hebrew: “Nachman son of the Master Aaron.”


*An Aram of Marburg in the mid-fifteenth century was treasurer to a nobleman. Nachman was probably his son. This is another example of how the few Jews left in German-speaking areas after the horrors of the fourteenth century managed to survive by retreating to the smaller towns or working as financial advisers for the local gentry. The prosperous Jewish communities of Styria, however, would soon be uprooted by an expulsion order, instigated through the Styrian Diet, of Emperor Maximilian I (1492–1519). The actual expulsion date was 1496, but these archives indicate that certain Jews, like the Hyrschl mentioned in this 1492 document, because of their excellent connections not only with the local nobility but with the emperor himself, lingered on for many years.

*An Aram of Marburg in the mid-fifteenth century was treasurer to a nobleman. Nachman was probably his son. This is another example of how the few Jews left in German-speaking areas after the horrors of the fourteenth century managed to survive by retreating to the smaller towns or working as financial advisers for the local gentry. The prosperous Jewish communities of Styria, however, would soon be uprooted by an expulsion order, instigated through the Styrian Diet, of Emperor Maximilian I (1492–1519). The actual expulsion date was 1496, but these archives indicate that certain Jews, like the Hyrschl mentioned in this 1492 document, because of their excellent connections not only with the local nobility but with the emperor himself, lingered on for many years.

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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