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Metal Antiquities
Roman Syria-Palestina, Jewish, Lead Bulla Seal, 7 Branched Menorah, c. 5th - 6th Century A.D.

|Seals|, |Roman| |Syria-Palestina,| |Jewish,| |Lead| |Bulla| |Seal,| |7| |Branched| |Menorah,| |c.| |5th| |-| |6th| |Century| |A.D.||bulla| |(tag| |seal)|
A bulla (plural, bullae) is a lump of clay or lead molded around a cord and stamped with a seal that identifies the sender. With a bulla in place, a container cannot be violated without visible damage to either the bulla or the cord, revealing the tampering. Bullae depicting a menorah are known but very rare and not well documented. Dattari-Savio p. 327, 3 is a 1901 rubbing of a very similar menorah sealing. Michael Still lists two menorah sealings in his thesis on Roman seals, 1696 with a Latin inscription reverse, 1765 with a Hebrew inscription reverse. The recently published catalogue of the Vossen collection by Gert Boersema and Bill Dalzell, has two Menorah seals, numbers 181 and 182, both with blank reverses. There are also a few examples known from auctions. A FORVM member posted a bulla of this exact type from his collection on the Classical Numismatic Discussion on the Forum Ancient Coins website. We received three examples of this type on consignment, all with the same fire damage, suggesting they were found together.
JD98655. Lead bulla (tag seal), VF, chip on reverse, light earthen deposits, raised bumps from exposure to an ancient fire that heated and expanded air bubbles within the lead, weight 4.679 g, maximum diameter 15.9 mm, c. 5th - 6th century A.D.; obverse seven branched menorah with tripod base; reverse lulav, uncertain Syriac inscription; very rare; $670.00 (636.50)


Roman Syria-Palestina, Jewish, Lead Bulla Seal, 7 Branched Menorah, c. 5th - 6th Century A.D.

|Seals|, |Roman| |Syria-Palestina,| |Jewish,| |Lead| |Bulla| |Seal,| |7| |Branched| |Menorah,| |c.| |5th| |-| |6th| |Century| |A.D.||bulla| |(tag| |seal)|
A bulla (plural, bullae) is a lump of clay or lead molded around a cord and stamped with a seal that identifies the sender. With a bulla in place, a container cannot be violated without visible damage to either the bulla or the cord, revealing the tampering. Bullae depicting a menorah are known but very rare and not well documented. Dattari-Savio p. 327, 3 is a 1901 rubbing of a very similar menorah sealing. Michael Still lists two menorah sealings in his thesis on Roman seals, 1696 with a Latin inscription reverse, 1765 with a Hebrew inscription reverse. The recently published catalogue of the Vossen collection by Gert Boersema and Bill Dalzell, has two Menorah seals, numbers 181 and 182, both with blank reverses. There are also a few examples known from auctions. A FORVM member posted a bulla of this exact type from his collection on the Classical Numismatic Discussion on the Forum Ancient Coins website. We received three examples of this type on consignment, all with the same fire damage, suggesting they were found together.
JD98656. Lead bulla (tag seal), VF/Fair, light earthen deposits, raised bumps from exposure to an ancient fire that heated and expanded air bubbles within the lead, c. 5th - 6th century A.D.; obverse seven branched menorah with tripod base; reverse lulav, uncertain Syriac inscription (obscure); very rare; $340.00 (323.00)


Roman, Bronze Repousse Plaque with Centaur Holding a Bow, Lorica Sqaumata Armor Plate(?), c. 1st - 3rd Century B.C.

|Roman| |Antiquities|, |Roman,| |Bronze| |Repousse| |Plaque| |with| |Centaur| |Holding| |a| |Bow,| |Lorica| |Sqaumata| |Armor| |Plate(?),| |c.| |1st| |-| |3rd| |Century| |B.C.|
Likely used in some legionary application; perhaps as a lorica squamata legionary armor plate segment.
AA59779. Roman, bronze repousse, 1.75 x 1.75 inches, c. 1st - 3rd century A.D.; sheet bronze hammered from behind in repousse technique to raise the figure of a centaur holding a bow, remains of two rivet holes where it was attached, tear on body, rare and interesting; from a New Jersey collection; $285.00 (270.75)


Roman-Byzantine, Toiletry Grooming Set, 1st - 10th Century A.D.

|Toiletries| |&| |Grooming|, |Roman-Byzantine,| |Toiletry| |Grooming| |Set,| |1st| |-| |10th| |Century| |A.D.|NEW
Copper and bronze toiletry kits from the ancient world have been found from the Indus Valley to Britain, dating as early as the 3rd millennium B.C. Very often, as is the case for this specimen, instruments are grouped together, secured by a wire ring. At the site of Kish, located upriver from Ur, and containing burials dating to the Early Dynastic Period (c. 2750 - 2600 B.C.), excavators have found kits in burials, most with three instruments: an ear scoop, a stiletto (pointed nail cleaner), and tweezers. Some included a small blade and some were in a case. In the past, these kits were often misdescribed as cosmetic kits and at one time archeologists used these kits to identify female burials, while knives and daggers were used to identify males. This has proven incorrect. At Kish in 33 burials with the sex confirmed by the skull or pelvis, 3 of 11 woman were buried with a knife or dagger, no toilet kits were found with females, and six toilet kits were found with the 22 males. (Torres-Rouff, C., W. Pestle, and B. Daverman. "Commemorating bodies and lives at Kish's 'A Cemetery': (Re)presenting social memory" in Journal of Social Archaeology 12(2), 21 May 2012, pp. 193-219.)
AS99710. Roman-Byzantine toiletry grooming set - an ear scoop, a stiletto (pointed nail cleaner), and tweezers, all on a bronze ring with hanger, Choice, green patina, weight 8.721 g, maximum diameter 91.5 mm, die axis 0o, 1st - 10th Century A.D.; $250.00 (237.50)


Byzantine Empire, Lead Amulet or Votive Mirror, c. 5th - 11th Century A.D.

|Byzantine| |Antiquities|, |Byzantine| |Empire,| |Lead| |Amulet| |or| |Votive| |Mirror,| |c.| |5th| |-| |11th| |Century| |A.D.|NEW
In Greek and Hebrew the biblical term Charis (xapiς) refers to good will, loving-kindness, favor, in particular to God's merciful grace. It is used over 140 times in the New Testament and is a central concept in the theology developed by St. Augustine of Hippo. Epigraphically, the inscription resembles so-called 'magical' or 'gnostic' engraved gems and amulets, also bearing retrograde inscriptions and square lunate sigmas. Although this may have been a "mirror" it would never have been useful or used as one. Its purpose was likely to seek favor from God, ideally to seek the God's grace to strengthen the owner's faith and their exercise of Christian virtues. They may have been purchased to be left behind in a church, similar to how prayer candles are offered in Catholic churches today.
BZ99058. Lead amulet or votive mirror, weight 10.250 g, maximum diameter 31.0 mm, die axis 0o, c. 5th - 11th Century A.D.; obverse H XA/PIC EI/MI (Greek: I am grace) in three retrograde lines; reverse blank (if a mirror, it would have originally been polished to provide a reflection); $150.00 (142.50)


Roman, Conical Lead Bulla Seal, c. Late 3rd Century A.D., ANAK...

|Seals|, |Roman,| |Conical| |Lead| |Bulla| |Seal,| |c.| |Late| |3rd| |Century| |A.D.,| |ANAK...||bulla| |(tag| |seal)|
 
AR83616. Lead bulla (tag seal), cf. Boersema-Dalzell 157 (very similar size and style with inscription ΠA−NΦV), gVF, weight 3.13 g, maximum diameter 13.1 mm, die axis 0o, obverse bare-headed, draped male bust right, ANAK... upward behind; reverse conical with rounded top, pierced for cord; $135.00 (128.25)


Eastern Roman Empire, Leo I (and Leo II?), 18 Nov 473 - Nov 474 A.D.

|Leo| |I|, |Eastern| |Roman| |Empire,| |Leo| |I| |(and| |Leo| |II?),| |18| |Nov| |473| |-| |Nov| |474| |A.D.||bulla| |(tag| |seal)|
Leo II was Roman emperor for about one year, from 18 Nov 473 to Nov 474 A.D., when he was a child aged six or seven. He was the son of Zeno, the Isaurian general and future emperor, and Ariadne, a daughter of the emperor Leo I, who ruled the eastern Roman empire. Leo II was made co-emperor with his grandfather Leo I on 18 November 473, and became sole emperor on 18 January 474 after Leo I died of dysentery. His father Zeno was made co-emperor by the Byzantine Senate on 9 February and they co-ruled for a short time before Leo II died in November 474.
BZ85466. Lead bulla (tag seal), aVF, weight 2.229 g, maximum diameter 12.1 mm, die axis 45o, obverse two facing busts, cross above center; reverse monogram of Leo I (as seen on reverse of his bronze nummi, RIC X 681 - 693); $135.00 (128.25)


Roman, Lead Conical Bulla Seal, c. 3rd - 4th Century A.D., Attis in Phrygian Cap

|Seals|, |Roman,| |Lead| |Conical| |Bulla| |Seal,| |c.| |3rd| |-| |4th| |Century| |A.D.,| |Attis| |in| |Phrygian| |Cap||bulla| |(tag| |seal)|
During the late Roman and Byzantine periods, lead bullae (singular, Bulla) were widely used to seal and identify the sender of correspondence and containers in shipment. An iron, pliers-shaped instrument, a boulloterion, was used to impress the designs on a lead bulla seal. After the cord was wrapped around the package or document and the ends inserted in a channel in the blank seal, the seal was placed between the disk shaped engraved dies on the jaws of a boulloterion. The boulloterion had a projection above the jaws, which was struck with a hammer to impress the design on the seal and close the channel around the two ends of the cord. With a bulla in place a container cannot be violated without visible damage to either the bulla or the cord, ensuring the contents remain tamper-proof until they reach their destination.
AR83608. Lead bulla (tag seal), Boersema-Dalzell 189, Leukel (1995) N67, gVF, weight 4.45 g, maximum diameter 14.8 mm, die axis 0o, c. 3rd - 4th century A.D.; obverse draped bust of Attis(?) right, wearing Phrygian cap, pedum behind shoulder; reverse flattened conical back, pierced for cord; $100.00 (95.00)


Roman, Conical Lead Seal, Late 4th - Early 5th Century A.D.

|Seals|, |Roman,| |Conical| |Lead| |Seal,| |Late| |4th| |-| |Early| |5th| |Century| |A.D.||bulla| |(tag| |seal)|
Most likely an imperial seal with a senior Augustus between two junior Augusti, perhaps Theodosius I with Arcadius and Honorius (393 - 395). The similar but smaller Boersema-Dalzell 142 (4.6g) attributed to Arcadius, Honorius and Theodosius II (402 - 408) has DDD NNN above the busts, abbreviating Dominorum Nostrorum (meaning, in this instance, our three lords).
AR83656. Lead bulla (tag seal), cf. Boersema-Dalzell 142 (4.6g), Leukel (1995) 118 - 121, aVF, weight 9.238 g, maximum diameter 19.0 mm, late 4th - early 5th century A.D.; obverse laureate and draped bust of emperor facing between two smaller laureate and draped busts turned facing center and seen in profile (Theodosius I with Arcadius and Honorius?), possibly DDD NNN above; reverse domed cylindrical back with hole and channel for cord; $80.00 (76.00)


Roman, Large Iron Borer or File, 1st - 3rd Century A.D.

|Roman| |Antiquities|, |Roman,| |Large| |Iron| |Borer| |or| |File,| |1st| |-| |3rd| |Century| |A.D.|
Another piece from the same group as this borer was dated by the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory to 120 A.D. with a probable range of 80 A.D. - 160 A.D. Testing was done using an innovative technique which measures the carbon isotope ratio of the trace carbon in the iron. This carbon comes from the wood used in the production of the iron which must be of essentially the same age as the tool itself. Results were published in the journal, Radiocarbon, Summer 2001.
AE61804. Roman borer, cf. Petrie, 'Tools and Weapons', pl. LXV, 40; 7 inches, indent at one end for attaching handle, $70.00 (66.50)




  



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