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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ |Antiquities| ▸ |Antiquities by Type| ▸ |Seals||View Options:  |  |  | 

Ancient Seals

Antiquities authenticated and attributed by Alex G. Malloy. Both the objects used to make impressions and the impressions themselves are referred to as seals. Seal impressions served as a signature of the owner of the seal. Seals used to make impressions include cylinder seals and stamp seals. Often these seals are holed for stringing and many were probably never used to make impressions, but were rather worn as amulets. The most common form of seal impression is the bulla. 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, thereby ensuring the contents remain tamper-proof until they reach their destination.


Roman, Lead Conical Bulla Seal, Early 4th Century A.D.

|Seals|, |Roman,| |Lead| |Conical| |Bulla| |Seal,| |Early| |4th| |Century| |A.D.|, seal
The ancients did not all agree on the attributes of Serapis. A passage in Tacitus affirms that many recognized in this god, Aesculapius, imputing healing to his intervention; some thought him identical with Osiris, the oldest deity of the Egyptians; others regarded him as Jupiter, possessing universal power; but by most he was believed to be the same as Pluto, the "gloomy" Dis Pater of the infernal regions. The general impression of the ancients seems to have been that by Serapis, was to be understood the beginning and foundation of things. Julian II consulted the oracle of Apollo for the purpose of learning whether Pluto and Serapis were different gods; and he received for an answer that Jupiter-Serapis and Pluto were one and the same divinity.
AS83610. Lead seal, aEF, weight 8.022 g, maximum diameter 17.4 mm, early 4th Century A.D.; obverse diademed, draped, bearded, bust of Serapis right, kalathos(?) on head; reverse conical back, pierced for cord; $160.00 SALE |PRICE| $144.00


Roman, Lead Conical Bulla Seal, Aristanetos, Early 4th Century A.D.

|Seals|, |Roman,| |Lead| |Conical| |Bulla| |Seal,| |Aristanetos,| |Early| |4th| |Century| |A.D.|, seal
The portrait indicates an early 4th century date. It is the personal seal of Aristanetos, as the Greek genitive legend indicates. Many personal seals from the late Roman and Byzantine eras feature the owner's portrait.
AS85926. Lead seal, cf. MŁnzzentrum auction 157 (2011), lot 552, aVF, weight 9.060 g, maximum diameter 18.9 mm, early 4th Century A.D.; obverse APICT-ANETOV, draped bust of a slightly balding middle-aged man with sideburns; reverse conical back, pierced for cord; $100.00 SALE |PRICE| $90.00


Proto-Elamite (South-Western Iran), Cylinder Seal, 3000 - 2500 B.C.

|Seals|, |Proto-Elamite| |(South-Western| |Iran),| |Cylinder| |Seal,| |3000| |-| |2500| |B.C.|,
The Elamites called their country Haltamti, but it is Elam in the Hebrew Bible, where they are called the offspring of Elam, eldest son of Shem (Genesis 10:22, Ezra 4:9). To the east of Mesopotamia, Elam was part of the early urbanization during the Chalcolithic period (Copper Age). Written records from around 3000 B.C. parallel Mesopotamian history. In the Old Elamite period (Middle Bronze Age), Elam consisted of kingdoms on the Iranian plateau, centered in Anshan, and from the mid-2nd millennium BC, it was centered in Susa in the Khuzestan lowlands. Its culture played a crucial role in the short lived Gutian Empire of the 22nd century B.C. During the Persian Achaemenid dynasty that succeeded Elam, the Elamite language remained among those in official use.
AS48860. Cylinder seal; cf. Amiet 1028 - 1029, Choice, carved black steatite, drill and linear design with two animals and tree, 23 mm long, ex Alex G. Malloy Sale, 5/99, #1329; SOLD







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Catalog current as of Monday, February 24, 2020.
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Ancient Seals