Medieval coins and seals cropped

Medieval Coins and Seals

When gauging their authenticity, coins and seals were meant to be studied close-up. As such they are very important visual aspects of medieval culture with important details inviting scrutiny

Medieval Coins and Seals: Constructing Identity, Signifying Power
Ed. by Susan Solway
Brepols Publishers, 2015
pISBN: 978-2-503-54344-4
eISBN: 978-2-503-54417-5


Medieval coins and seals - CoverMedieval Coins and Seals: Constructing Identity, Signifying Power showcases these objects as intrinsic and highly significant aspects of medieval visual culture, and contributes to an understanding of the many ways in which they functioned as conveyors of meaning in Western European, Islamic, and Byzantine cultures from the fifth to the fifteenth century. The essays presented here, by art historians, numismatists, sigillographers, and historians on a wide variety of coins and seals, afford fresh insight into these tantalizing relics of medieval art and the vibrant cultural roles they played at the time of their creation. Through their images and inscriptions, they conveyed complex cultural attitudes by means of sophisticated visual strategies carefully constructed to further the subjective agendas of rulers and − in the case of seals − of aristocrats, ordinary individuals, towns, corporations, and government officials. The messages conveyed by these tightly controlled objects were, above all, ones of authority, identity, and legitimacy, with goals or subtexts that included the politics of self- presentation; the construction of personal, civic, national and cultural identity; the advertisement of dynastic succession; and much more. As forceful modes of visual discourse designed to carry calculated, at times propagandistic, communications to broadly dispersed audiences, coins and seals actively served during these centuries as sociocultural agents that helped mold public opinion (as they had in antiquity), and thereby shaped the medieval world.


BY Susan Solway

Part One: Crossroads in Medieval Studies: Sigillography, Numismatics, and Art History

Medieval Identity: A Sign and a Concept
By Brigitte Miriam Bedos-Rezak

Coins, Images, Identity, and Interpretations: Two Research Cases – a Seventh-Century Merovingian Tremissis and a Fifteenth-Century Ducat of Milan
By Lucia Travaini

Part Two: Striking Identity, Minting Politics in Medieval Europe and the Middle East

Strategies of Representation: Minting the Vandal Regnum
by Guido M. Berndt

Coins as Agents of Cultural Definition in Islam
By David J. Wasserstein

A Byzantine Pedigree: The Design of Coins and Seals in the Latin East
By Lisa Mahoney

Classical Revival in Twelfth-Century Jazira: Religion – Humanism on Contemporary Coins
By Wayne G. Sayles

Reflections of Coinage: The Imago Clipeus on the West Façade of Le Mans
By Susan Leibacher Ward

Part Three: Medieval Women: Coining Identity, Sealing Power

Displaying Identity and Power? The Coins of Byzantine Empresses from 804 to 1204
By Liz James

Money, Power, and Women: An Inquiry into Early Anglo-Saxon Coinage
By Anna Gannon

Swords, Seals, and Coins: Female Rulers and the Instruments of Authority in Thirteenth-Century Flanders and Hainaut
By Erin L. Jordan

Bede’s Ladies: Images of Anglo-Saxon Holy Women on Thirteenth-Century Seals
By Kay Slocum

Seals, Gender, Identity, and Social Status in the Late Twelfth and Early Thirteenth Centuries in Wales
By Susan M. Johns

Part Four: Sealing Civic, Urban, Rural, and Corporate Identity in Western Medieval Europe

Seals of Cities and Towns: Concepts of Choice?, p. 283
By John Cherry

The Common Seal and Communal Identity in Medieval London
By Elizabeth A. New

The Formation of a Sealing Society: London in the Twelfth Century
By John McEwan

Art for New Corporations: Seal Imagery of French Urban Communities in the Thirteenth Century
By Markus Späth

Seals and the Peasant Economy in England and Marcher Wales, c. 1300
By Phillipp R. Schofield

Part Five: Miniature yet Mighty: Coins, Seals, Medieval Art, and Material Culture

Medieval Seals: Image and Truth
By James Robinson

The Mystic Lamb of Ghent: Aldermen’s Seal, Altarpiece, and Tableau Vivant
By Jesse D. Hurlbut

Vestiary Identity in Twelfth-Century Seals
By Janet E. Snyder

Ancient Coins and Their Afterlife: Numismatic Passages into Medieval Art and Material Culture
Susan Solway

Muslim Coins of the Crusader Period in a Renaissance Collection: Premature Medievalism or Mistaken Identity?
By John Cunnally


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