Seals and Identity in Byzantium
Free Public Lecture
Forum Theatre - 153
T: (03) 8344 1521
Byzantine Seals, Photo by Prof. Claudia Sode
Given the inadequacy of other means of securing documents, individuals at almost all levels of Byzantine society used personal seals that they would change frequently to mark changes in their career or status. Some 80,000 of these survive for which the inscriptions indicate the owner’s name and title and the office held. But they also show an image which, far more than mere decoration, acts as a medium to convey identity by reference to specific iconographic subjects. By discussing how homonymity, gender, family devotions, offices, or urban affiliation have stimulated an individual’s choice of iconography, it is the aim of this paper to demonstrate what an essential body of material seals are for any investigation devoted to the question of identity in Byzantium.
This event is co-sponsored by the Classical Association of Victoria