Jekele, Ilona. Representation of the Livonian clergy in 13th–16th century sigillographic sources

Published Date:

For citation: Jekele, Ilona. Representation of the Livonian clergy in 13th–16th century sigillographic sources, in Studia Slavica et Balcanica Petropolitana. 2021. № 1. Pp. 77-88. DOI

Title of the article Representation of the Livonian clergy in 13th–16th century sigillographic sources

Jekele, Ilona — scientific assistant, University of Latvia, Faculty of History and Philosophy, Riga, Latvia, Orc ID 0000-0003-4242-6459; e-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

In the section  Fontes / Historical Sources
Year 2021 Issue Pages 77-88
Type of article RAR Index UDK; BBK UDK 94;
BBK 63.3 (0)
Index DOI

The paper focuses on the investigation of the sigillographic sources — pendant wax seals, that belonged to the representatives of Livonian Bishops and Archbishops of Riga. For the investigation, more than 700 pendant wax seals from the Latvian State Historical Archive’s Fund No. 8 — “Archives of Internal Magistrate of Riga” were analyzed. The paper focuses on the wax seals that belonged to the representatives of the Archbishopric of Riga, and representatives of the Livonian Bishoprics. Analysis of the seals of Livonian clergy reveal that several stages can be distinguished in their development. The earliest wax seals that belonged to the representatives of the Livonian clergy display a well-known image – a bishop seated on a throne holding his regalia. For earliest seals it was common to use uncolored wax, these seals mostly were round in shape but the transition to the pointed oval shape took place during the 13th-century. By the middle and end of the 13th-century seals transitioned into use of red wax. During this time also first double-sided seals (where the reverse can be considered as the counterseal) appeared. In this period bishops and archbishops are depicted standing in the church surroundings, indicating the seal owner’s status and rank. In the 14th-century the use of the family coat of arms also appears. Counterseals in 15th-16th-cenuries are used separately as the great seal and counterseal and the depiction used in them represent the importance of the cult of Virgin Mary in Livonia. Nevertheless, Livonian clergymen also used their family coat of arms for self-representation. Medieval religious communities were specialists in symbolization. During the middle ages they adopted and readjusted their own equivalent of self-representation devices used not only in sigillographic sources but also in artistic and architectural works.

Keywords sigillography, sphragistics, wax seals, Livonia, bishops, clergy
Full text version of the article. Article language  English

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Tags: Livonia, sources, medieval studies, FONTES / HISTORICAL SOURCES, pendant seal, cultural studies, JEKELE I.

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