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ANE Bulla Photos

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  • G.M. Grena
    I have photos of an ANE bulla with strange icons. It s the usual ball of clay originally squeezed around a cord, but it has 10 impressions from 5 seals (2
    Message 1 of 15 , Mar 30, 2006
      I have photos of an ANE bulla with strange icons. It's the usual ball
      of clay originally squeezed around a cord, but it has 10 impressions
      from 5 seals (2 stamps of each). I was hoping to upload the 10 photos,
      but when I click on "Photos" in the menu, all it shows me is the
      NPLemche album. Yahoo Help says there should be links to "Create a New
      Album" & "Add Photo", but I sure don't see any. Maybe ANE-2 was set up
      not to accept any. If that's so, just let me know & I'll upload them
      to an external site & provide my own links. I thought it would be a
      good idea to have them stored here with the group for future
      reference. The 5 seals are iconic--no inscriptions. They look like a
      man/warrior, scorpion, rabbit, some other tetrapod (or possibly a
      pair/couple), & some other thing. I was hoping to see if anyone else
      knows of a similar specimen stamped like this (either by 5 different
      people or 1 person with 5 seals), & get opinions on what the "other
      thing" is.
      G.M. Grena
    • patrier julie
      Hi, I am Julie Patrier. I am a PhD student in France (Strasbourg) and I would to known where the bulla of G. M. Grena comre from. Could you inform me? ... I
      Message 2 of 15 , Mar 30, 2006
        Hi,

        I' am Julie Patrier. I am a PhD student in France
        (Strasbourg) and I would to known where the bulla of
        G. M. Grena comre from. Could you inform me?

        --- "G.M. Grena" <yahoo-ane-2@...> a écrit :


        ---------------------------------
        I have photos of an ANE bulla with strange icons.
        It's the usual ball
        of clay originally squeezed around a cord, but it has
        10 impressions
        from 5 seals (2 stamps of each). I was hoping to
        upload the 10 photos,
        but when I click on "Photos" in the menu, all it shows
        me is the
        NPLemche album. Yahoo Help says there should be links
        to "Create a New
        Album" & "Add Photo", but I sure don't see any. Maybe
        ANE-2 was set up
        not to accept any. If that's so, just let me know &
        I'll upload them
        to an external site & provide my own links. I thought
        it would be a
        good idea to have them stored here with the group for
        future
        reference. The 5 seals are iconic--no inscriptions.
        They look like a
        man/warrior, scorpion, rabbit, some other tetrapod (or
        possibly a
        pair/couple), & some other thing. I was hoping to see
        if anyone else
        knows of a similar specimen stamped like this (either
        by 5 different
        people or 1 person with 5 seals), & get opinions on
        what the "other
        thing" is.
        G.M. Grena









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      • G.M. Grena
        ... It has no archeological provenance; I purchased it from a mail- auction antiquities dealer here in the U.S.A. back in the 1997-8 timeframe. I just
        Message 3 of 15 , Mar 31, 2006
          > I' am Julie Patrier. I am a PhD student in France
          > (Strasbourg) and I would to known where the bulla of
          > G. M. Grena comre from. Could you inform me?

          It has no archeological provenance; I purchased it from a mail-
          auction antiquities dealer here in the U.S.A. back in the 1997-8
          timeframe. I just E-mailed 12 photos to Bob Whiting for online
          posting. Two will show the overall object from different angles; one
          shows the cord-hole with a fingerprint & 3 impressions; another shows
          a group of 4 impressions on the opposite side.

          The quarter-inch diameter hole goes all the way through the center, &
          the overall diameter of the bulla is about 1 inch.

          Ten other photos will show each impression, which I've tentatively
          identified as:

          * A man/warrior, possibly holding a weapon in his right hand & a
          shield in his left

          * A scorpion; I rotated one of the photos 180 degrees to give a
          different perspective--maybe it's a bird; what I'm interpreting as
          scorpion claws may actually be 2 legs, & maybe the 6 scorpion legs
          are flapping wings

          * A rabbit, though it could also be a donkey/mule/burro

          * A tetrapod, for lack of detail; it could be a calf or pair of
          calves standing side-by-side

          * A "thing"; I'm clueless; here's where the vast ANE-2 list expertise
          will surely rise & shine, & appear beautiful on the horizon of Yahoo-
          land; fair, great, dazzling, & high above all other lists; dispel the
          darkness & shed thy rays of opinions...

          I'd also like to know if list members would interpret these stamps as
          having been made by 1 person who owned 5 seals, or 5 people
          vouchsafing for the sealed item. My opinion is that they all seem
          similar enough to have belonged to a single owner, but then again,
          maybe this similarity indicates a common designer who marketed seals
          to a small community.

          I'm not really concerned with its authenticity since that's nigh unto
          impossible to prove or disprove without doing some exorbitantly
          expensive lab test (I only paid about $100 for the object).

          Back when I acquired this bulla, the dealer suggested that these
          icons might have represented signs of the Zodiac at some early stage
          of development. I bought it just because it looked really cool, &
          fit in with the rest of my collection pertaining to writing systems.
          G.M. Grena
        • Robert Whiting
          G. M. Grena s photographs of his bulla with impressions of 5 stamp seals are now available at the group s web site in the Photos area
          Message 4 of 15 , Mar 31, 2006
            G. M. Grena's photographs of his bulla with impressions of 5 stamp seals
            are now available at the group's web site in the "Photos" area
            (http://ph.groups.yahoo.com/group/ANE-2/photos) in a folder called
            "Bulla".


            Bob Whiting
            whiting@...
          • Ronald Wallenfels, Ph.D.
            Dear G.M. Grena, I ve just had a look at the photos posted and with all due caution thought I d offer the following observations: Bullae of the sort picture
            Message 5 of 15 , Apr 1, 2006
              Dear G.M. Grena,

              I've just had a look at the photos posted and with all due caution
              thought I'd offer the following observations:

              Bullae of the sort picture here that wrapped around a rolled or folded
              parchment or papyrus document are usually refereed to as "napkin-ring"
              bullae and are unique to Babylonia during the Seleucid period (e.3rd -
              m.2nd c BCE): examples are known from Seleucia-on-the-Tigris, Uruk,
              Babylon, Borsippa and Larsa.

              The 5 pairs of impressions on your bulla appear to show (1) a male with
              torso fully frontal, bearded face profile left; (2) a goat-fish facing
              right ("rabbit"); (3) a scorpion; (4) a nondescript quadruped; (5) and a
              person profile right, one hand raised, seated on a throne with a high
              back. In each case, a raised line surrounds the central motif.

              Unfortunately, the precise form of the bulla, the fact that all of the
              impressions are paired, and the specific styles of the motifs are all
              without identifiable parallels among the several thousand Seleucid
              bullae and seal impressions known to me. A bulla of this size would be
              expected to have a distinctly oblate form and there is usually a seam
              running from one end to the other; the outer edges of the central tube
              should be quite sharp, not rounded, and the hole itself should be
              distinctly elongated, not circular. Whereas 1-3 pairs of duplicate
              impressions are not unexpected, they would, however, be expected to be
              accompanied by several more impressions that are not duplicated. Seal
              impressions with linear surrounds are certainly known, the line being
              the product of the margin of a stone or metal intaglio set into a metal
              ring bezel--in such a case one would not expect any part of the intaglio
              to cross or interfere with the surround as are seen in every impression
              here.

              As you must by now have guessed, I have serious doubts as to the
              authenticity of this object, but must temper this with the fact that my
              observations are based only on the photos available, not a first hand
              examination. As the Seleucids' neighbors to the west used to say,
              "caveat emptor."

              Sincerely yours,

              Ronald Wallenfels
              Fair Haven, NJ







              G.M. Grena wrote:

              > > I' am Julie Patrier. I am a PhD student in France
              > > (Strasbourg) and I would to known where the bulla of
              > > G. M. Grena comre from. Could you inform me?
              >
              > It has no archeological provenance; I purchased it from a mail-
              > auction antiquities dealer here in the U.S.A. back in the 1997-8
              > timeframe. I just E-mailed 12 photos to Bob Whiting for online
              > posting. Two will show the overall object from different angles; one
              > shows the cord-hole with a fingerprint & 3 impressions; another shows
              > a group of 4 impressions on the opposite side.
              >
              > The quarter-inch diameter hole goes all the way through the center, &
              > the overall diameter of the bulla is about 1 inch.
              >
              > Ten other photos will show each impression, which I've tentatively
              > identified as:
              >
              > * A man/warrior, possibly holding a weapon in his right hand & a
              > shield in his left
              >
              > * A scorpion; I rotated one of the photos 180 degrees to give a
              > different perspective--maybe it's a bird; what I'm interpreting as
              > scorpion claws may actually be 2 legs, & maybe the 6 scorpion legs
              > are flapping wings
              >
              > * A rabbit, though it could also be a donkey/mule/burro
              >
              > * A tetrapod, for lack of detail; it could be a calf or pair of
              > calves standing side-by-side
              >
              > * A "thing"; I'm clueless; here's where the vast ANE-2 list expertise
              > will surely rise & shine, & appear beautiful on the horizon of Yahoo-
              > land; fair, great, dazzling, & high above all other lists; dispel the
              > darkness & shed thy rays of opinions...
              >
              > I'd also like to know if list members would interpret these stamps as
              > having been made by 1 person who owned 5 seals, or 5 people
              > vouchsafing for the sealed item. My opinion is that they all seem
              > similar enough to have belonged to a single owner, but then again,
              > maybe this similarity indicates a common designer who marketed seals
              > to a small community.
              >
              > I'm not really concerned with its authenticity since that's nigh unto
              > impossible to prove or disprove without doing some exorbitantly
              > expensive lab test (I only paid about $100 for the object).
              >
              > Back when I acquired this bulla, the dealer suggested that these
              > icons might have represented signs of the Zodiac at some early stage
              > of development. I bought it just because it looked really cool, &
              > fit in with the rest of my collection pertaining to writing systems.
              > G.M. Grena
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              > SPONSORED LINKS
              > Near
              > <http://groups.yahoo.com/gads?t=ms&k=Near&w1=Near&w2=Ancient&w3=Columbia+university&w4=University+of+helsinki&c=4&s=76&.sig=RxN0gOuFKlRYjPfGvZX8gg>
              > Ancient
              > <http://groups.yahoo.com/gads?t=ms&k=Ancient&w1=Near&w2=Ancient&w3=Columbia+university&w4=University+of+helsinki&c=4&s=76&.sig=FPZkCFON629Q3hOPjOdPag>
              > Columbia university
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              > University of helsinki
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              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            • G.M. Grena
              ... First, thanks for all of your excellent insight, Ronald! I ve never heard of napkin-ring bullae, so that s very interesting. I don t know if you caught
              Message 6 of 15 , Apr 1, 2006
                > wrapped around a rolled or folded parchment or papyrus
                > document are usually refereed to as "napkin-ring"

                First, thanks for all of your excellent insight, Ronald! I've never
                heard of napkin-ring bullae, so that's very interesting. I don't
                know if you caught the dimensions mentioned, but the hole/seam/tube
                that pierces this bulla penetrates its entire length & is only about
                a quarter-inch (6mm) diameter, which seems way too small for it to
                have been wrapped around a folded document. I'm thinking of the
                Elephantine papyri--I've never seen any folded specimens smaller than
                that.

                > (2) a goat-fish facing right ("rabbit");

                D'oh! You're right! I was perplexed by the cross-hatching within
                the animal's body, but I recognize this hybrid creature now.

                > (5) and a person profile right, one hand
                > raised, seated on a throne with a high back.

                You're right again--I see it now!

                > the outer edges of the central tube
                > should be quite sharp, not rounded,

                Ah, yes, but what if it were worn on a necklace at a later time as a
                charm? [Reference the Wikipedia entry for "Bulla (amulet)" that
                mentions Romans doing this.] That would account for the ancient-
                looking wear; but I agree, it could indicate an attempt by a forger
                to mimic wear.

                > one would not expect any part of the intaglio
                > to cross or interfere with the surround
                > Ronald Wallenfels

                I agree. I noticed that too. It looks very suspicious; much more so
                than the wear around the hole. My opinion, though, is that it would
                be a bit of work for a forgery artist to first carve 5 seals based on
                recognizable ancient glyptic art, then make the bulla, then wear it
                down to make it look authentic, yet he/she made such a glaring error
                with the surrounding borders in the 5 designs. All that trouble for
                probably less than $50 (half the dealer markup). And I would expect
                to see many similar specimens on the market, including the 5 seals,
                yet I never have. Seems strange, but you're right, it's suspicious.

                Anyway, I'm glad to have a better understanding of the icons now.
                G.M. Grena
              • G.M. Grena
                ... Once again, I agree with your point, but yesterday, I was bothered by how silly it would be for a forger to have engraved the borders on my bulla the way
                Message 7 of 15 , Apr 2, 2006
                  > the line being the product of the margin
                  > of a stone or metal intaglio set into a metal
                  > ring bezel--in such a case one would not
                  > expect any part of the intaglio to cross or
                  > interfere with the surround
                  > Ronald Wallenfels

                  Once again, I agree with your point, but yesterday, I was bothered by
                  how silly it would be for a forger to have engraved the borders on my
                  bulla the way they are ***if*** the intention were to emulate a ring
                  bezel to make it look authentic.

                  I have a modest library--only 4 seal reference books. I decided to
                  peruse them, & although I found none that resembled the impressions
                  on my bulla, I did manage to find several in each book where the main
                  design extended beyond an engraved border--a border distinct from the
                  typical bezel-type border.

                  ***

                  "7000 Years of Seals" by Dominique Collon; British Museum Press, 1997

                  4/11c; Middle Minoan (~1650 BC); bar grasped by cat extends beyond
                  solid oval border in bottom-left corner

                  5/5; Late Archaic Greek (~450 BC); satyr's tail extends beyond dotted
                  oval border in bottom-left corner

                  ***

                  "Ancient Near Eastern Cylinder Seals from the Marcopoli Collection"
                  by Beatrice Teissier; University of California Press, 1984

                  151; Neo-Assyrian (~750 BC); head of "hero" extends beyond solid
                  border across top

                  181; Neo-Assyrian (~800 BC); crests above bird heads extend beyond
                  solid border across top

                  275; Neo-Assyrian (~650 BC); wing of bird extends beyond solid border
                  across top

                  453; Syrian (~1700 BC); "high oval headdress" extends beyond solid
                  border across top

                  456; Syrian (~1800 BC); round cap of left figure extends beyond solid
                  border across top

                  482; Syrian (~1700 BC); sphinx wings extend beyond solid border
                  across top

                  ***

                  "Biblical Period Personal Seals in the Shlomo Moussaieff Collection"
                  by Robert Deutsch & Andre Lemaire; Archaeological Center
                  Publications, 2000

                  4, 7, 17, 18, 26, 27, 82; Hebrew (~700 BC); inscriptions extend
                  beyond oval border

                  9; Hebrew (~750 BC); griffin horns extend beyond solid oval border at
                  top

                  122; Aramaic (~700 BC); tops of creatures on left & right extend
                  beyond solid border across top

                  160; Ammonite (~700 BC); inscription extends beyond oval border

                  199; Moabite (~700 BC); inscription extends beyond oval border

                  ***

                  "Corpus of West Semitic Stamp Seals" by Nahman Avigad & Benjamin
                  Sass; Israel Exploration Society, 1997

                  6, 40, 41, 56, 62, 70, 77, 93, 124, 158, 237, 278, 701, 1073; Hebrew
                  (~650 BC); inscriptions extend beyond oval border

                  163; Hebrew (~700 BC); bird tails & inscription extend beyond oval
                  border

                  736; Phoenician (~500 BC); deity's head/crown extends beyond oval
                  border

                  1107; Aramaic/Ammonite; falcon tails extend beyond oval border

                  ***

                  Granted, most (if not all) of these are unprovenanced, & could all be
                  fake, but it's interesting that a random sample of published material
                  appearing here in my home library by several authors with respected
                  expertise don't dismiss a particular seal's authenticity just because
                  the main design extends beyond an engraved border. And this was just
                  a cursory search. Surely ANE scholars who are more familiar with
                  provenanced specimens from scientific excavations know of similar
                  examples.

                  To reiterate, none of these come close to resembling the seals of my
                  10-stamped bulla; my point is simply that borders were sometimes
                  violated or engraved to accommodate the main design. The borders on
                  the seals of my bulla obviously do not represent a bezel border, but
                  maybe they were part of the ancient design. I'm not ready to throw
                  it in the trash just yet.
                  G.M. Grena
                • Ronald Wallenfels, Ph.D.
                  Dear G.M. Grena: Please note that the linear and dotted borders seen near the upper/lower edges of stone cylinder seals or surrounding the intaglios on
                  Message 8 of 15 , Apr 4, 2006
                    Dear G.M. Grena:

                    Please note that the linear and dotted borders seen near the upper/lower
                    edges of stone cylinder seals or surrounding the intaglios on engraved
                    stone stamp seals are purely decorative and certainly may be breached by
                    a design element. The linear surround on Seleucid seals does not appear
                    in any case known to me to be decorative but rather is functional, the
                    result of the fixing of a metal or stone intaglio into a metal finger
                    ring bezel. Further, both cylinder and stone stamp seals, with the
                    exception of a handful of heirlooms, are completely extinct in the
                    Seleucid period, replaced largely by metal finger rings of purely
                    western origin. Lastly, when seeking comparanda for an artifact without
                    provenence it is imperative that you restrict yourself to the most
                    relevent material available with secure or at least certain
                    archaeological contexts, not unprovenenced material of (ostensibly)
                    entirely different chronological and cultural miilieux. Nonetheless,
                    given your obvious continued interest in the possible origins of your
                    artifact, I am providing you with following relevant bibliography for
                    your consideration.

                    For the seal impressions on bullae excavated from
                    Seleucia-on-the-Tigris, see A. Invernizzi, ed. Seleucia al Tigri: Le
                    impronte di sigillo dagli Archivi I-III (Alessandria: Edizioni
                    del'Orso, 2004).

                    For the seal impressions on bullae and tablets excavated from Seleucid
                    Uruk, see G. Lindstrom, Uruk: Siegelabdrücke auf hellenistischen
                    Tonbullen und Tontafeln. AUWE 20 (Mainz am Rhein: Verlag Philipp von
                    Zabern, 2003). Lindström's drawing (p. 8, Abb. 1) does not accurately
                    portray how a Seleucid "napkin-ring" bulla was formed; rather see my,
                    "Sealing Practices on Legal Documents from Hellenistic Babylonia," in
                    Administrative Documents in the Aegean and their Near Eastern
                    Counterparts: Proceedings of the International Colloquium, Naples,
                    February 29-March 2, M. Perna, ed.(Turin, 2000), p. 336).

                    For the seal impressions on bullae excavated from Seleucid Babylon, see
                    F. Wetzel, E. Schmidt, A. Mallwitz, Das Babylon der Spätzeit. Ausgraben
                    der Deutschen Orient Desellschaft in Babylon 8. WVDOG 62 (Berlin, 1957).

                    For the seal impressions on bullae excavated from Nippur, see L.
                    Legrain, The Culture of the Babylonians from their Seals in the
                    Collection of the Museum. PBS 14. (Philadelphia., 1925); and McG.
                    Gibson, "Parthian Seal Style: A Contribution from Nippur," Mesopotamia
                    29 (1994): 89-105.

                    For the seal impressions on bullae excavated from Larsa, see O. Lecomte,
                    "Un probleme d'interprétation: l'E.babbar de Larsa aux époques
                    hellénistique et séleuco-parthe, approches archéologique, économique et
                    cultuelle," in J.-L. Huot, ed., Larsa (10e campagne, 1983) et Oueili (4e
                    campagne, 1983). Rapport préliminaire. Editions Recherche sur les
                    Civilisations, «Mémoire» 73 (Paris, 1987), pp. 225-44 .

                    For a comprehensive study of the iconography of Seleucid Uruk seal
                    impressions, see my Uruk: Hellenistic Seal Impressions in the Yale
                    Babylonian Collection I. Cuneiform Tablets. AUWE 19 (Mainz am Rhein:
                    Verlag Philipp von Zabern, 1994). (These tablets, although the products
                    of uncontrolled excavations, are certainly from Uruk.) For a
                    comprehensive study of Hellenistic seal types in general see J.
                    Boardman, Greek Gems and Finger Rings. Early Bronze Age to Late
                    Classical (London, 1970)..

                    Note that although several napkin-ring bullae were found in early
                    Parthian levels at a few Babylonian sites, they are undoubtedly of
                    Seleucid origin, most likely retained by their owners, etc., through the
                    transition to Parthian rule--Parthian seals and bullae (never in the
                    form of napkin-rings) are distinctly different (see the Parthia-L
                    website for additional bibliography).

                    Please feel free, after having reviewed the suggested material above, to
                    pose any further questions or comments.

                    Sincerely yours,

                    Ronald Wallenfels
                    Fair Haven

                    P.S. Please note the following list protocol:

                    Public postings to ANE-2 must include the full name of the contributor
                    and some indication of social location and/or academic affiliation at
                    the end of each post. Pseudonyms and "handles" are not an acceptable
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                    not sufficient identification.


                    G.M. Grena wrote:

                    > > the line being the product of the margin
                    > > of a stone or metal intaglio set into a metal
                    > > ring bezel--in such a case one would not
                    > > expect any part of the intaglio to cross or
                    > > interfere with the surround
                    > > Ronald Wallenfels
                    >
                    > Once again, I agree with your point, but yesterday, I was bothered by
                    > how silly it would be for a forger to have engraved the borders on my
                    > bulla the way they are ***if*** the intention were to emulate a ring
                    > bezel to make it look authentic.
                    >
                    > I have a modest library--only 4 seal reference books. I decided to
                    > peruse them, & although I found none that resembled the impressions
                    > on my bulla, I did manage to find several in each book where the main
                    > design extended beyond an engraved border--a border distinct from the
                    > typical bezel-type border.
                    >
                    > ***
                    >
                    > "7000 Years of Seals" by Dominique Collon; British Museum Press, 1997
                    >
                    > 4/11c; Middle Minoan (~1650 BC); bar grasped by cat extends beyond
                    > solid oval border in bottom-left corner
                    >
                    > 5/5; Late Archaic Greek (~450 BC); satyr's tail extends beyond dotted
                    > oval border in bottom-left corner
                    >
                    > ***
                    >
                    > "Ancient Near Eastern Cylinder Seals from the Marcopoli Collection"
                    > by Beatrice Teissier; University of California Press, 1984
                    >
                    > 151; Neo-Assyrian (~750 BC); head of "hero" extends beyond solid
                    > border across top
                    >
                    > 181; Neo-Assyrian (~800 BC); crests above bird heads extend beyond
                    > solid border across top
                    >
                    > 275; Neo-Assyrian (~650 BC); wing of bird extends beyond solid border
                    > across top
                    >
                    > 453; Syrian (~1700 BC); "high oval headdress" extends beyond solid
                    > border across top
                    >
                    > 456; Syrian (~1800 BC); round cap of left figure extends beyond solid
                    > border across top
                    >
                    > 482; Syrian (~1700 BC); sphinx wings extend beyond solid border
                    > across top
                    >
                    > ***
                    >
                    > "Biblical Period Personal Seals in the Shlomo Moussaieff Collection"
                    > by Robert Deutsch & Andre Lemaire; Archaeological Center
                    > Publications, 2000
                    >
                    > 4, 7, 17, 18, 26, 27, 82; Hebrew (~700 BC); inscriptions extend
                    > beyond oval border
                    >
                    > 9; Hebrew (~750 BC); griffin horns extend beyond solid oval border at
                    > top
                    >
                    > 122; Aramaic (~700 BC); tops of creatures on left & right extend
                    > beyond solid border across top
                    >
                    > 160; Ammonite (~700 BC); inscription extends beyond oval border
                    >
                    > 199; Moabite (~700 BC); inscription extends beyond oval border
                    >
                    > ***
                    >
                    > "Corpus of West Semitic Stamp Seals" by Nahman Avigad & Benjamin
                    > Sass; Israel Exploration Society, 1997
                    >
                    > 6, 40, 41, 56, 62, 70, 77, 93, 124, 158, 237, 278, 701, 1073; Hebrew
                    > (~650 BC); inscriptions extend beyond oval border
                    >
                    > 163; Hebrew (~700 BC); bird tails & inscription extend beyond oval
                    > border
                    >
                    > 736; Phoenician (~500 BC); deity's head/crown extends beyond oval
                    > border
                    >
                    > 1107; Aramaic/Ammonite; falcon tails extend beyond oval border
                    >
                    > ***
                    >
                    > Granted, most (if not all) of these are unprovenanced, & could all be
                    > fake, but it's interesting that a random sample of published material
                    > appearing here in my home library by several authors with respected
                    > expertise don't dismiss a particular seal's authenticity just because
                    > the main design extends beyond an engraved border. And this was just
                    > a cursory search. Surely ANE scholars who are more familiar with
                    > provenanced specimens from scientific excavations know of similar
                    > examples.
                    >
                    > To reiterate, none of these come close to resembling the seals of my
                    > 10-stamped bulla; my point is simply that borders were sometimes
                    > violated or engraved to accommodate the main design. The borders on
                    > the seals of my bulla obviously do not represent a bezel border, but
                    > maybe they were part of the ancient design. I'm not ready to throw
                    > it in the trash just yet.
                    > G.M. Grena
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    >
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                  • G.M. Grena
                    ... Thank you for the bibliography! I will eventually check them all out; however, the point I made by citing examples from diverse ANE cultures & periods was
                    Message 9 of 15 , Apr 4, 2006
                      > The linear surround on Seleucid seals does not appear
                      > in any case known to me to be decorative but rather is
                      > functional, the result of the fixing of a metal or
                      > stone intaglio into a metal finger ring bezel.
                      > Ronald Wallenfels

                      Thank you for the bibliography! I will eventually check them all
                      out; however, the point I made by citing examples from diverse ANE
                      cultures & periods was from the frame of reference that my bulla is
                      not necessarily Seleucid (especially since you stated in your initial
                      response that my bulla's motifs are "without identifiable parallels
                      among the several thousand Seleucid bullae and seal impressions
                      known" to you).

                      I would be surprised if there really were no other Mesopotamian
                      bullae of this form aside from this rather late culture/period. Is
                      this form/motif combination really a Seleucid innovation?

                      George Michael Grena, II
                      Redondo Beach, CA

                      P.S. I was not aware of the name/location protocol & apologize for
                      my earlier posts lacking my full info.
                    • Ronald Wallenfels, Ph.D.
                      ... YES! ... [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                      Message 10 of 15 , Apr 4, 2006
                        G.M. Grena wrote:

                        > > The linear surround on Seleucid seals does not appear
                        > > in any case known to me to be decorative but rather is
                        > > functional, the result of the fixing of a metal or
                        > > stone intaglio into a metal finger ring bezel.
                        > > Ronald Wallenfels
                        >
                        > Thank you for the bibliography! I will eventually check them all
                        > out; however, the point I made by citing examples from diverse ANE
                        > cultures & periods was from the frame of reference that my bulla is
                        > not necessarily Seleucid (especially since you stated in your initial
                        > response that my bulla's motifs are "without identifiable parallels
                        > among the several thousand Seleucid bullae and seal impressions
                        > known" to you).
                        >
                        > I would be surprised if there really were no other Mesopotamian
                        > bullae of this form aside from this rather late culture/period. Is
                        > this form/motif combination really a Seleucid innovation?


                        YES!

                        >
                        > George Michael Grena, II
                        > Redondo Beach, CA
                        >
                        > P.S. I was not aware of the name/location protocol & apologize for
                        > my earlier posts lacking my full info.
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        >
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                        > Columbia university
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                      • G.M. Grena
                        ... There s a bulla in Colon s 7000 Years book on p. 43 in a chapter by T.G.H. James: 2/3__A fragment of a clay sealing impressed with the seal of Pharaoh
                        Message 11 of 15 , Apr 4, 2006
                          > > Is this form/motif combination really a Seleucid innovation?
                          > > George Michael Grena, II
                          >
                          > YES!
                          > Ronald Wallenfels

                          There's a bulla in Colon's "7000 Years" book on p. 43 in a chapter by
                          T.G.H. James:

                          "2/3__A fragment of a clay sealing impressed with the seal of Pharaoh
                          Aha (1st Dynasty, c. 3070 BC) & 2 signs reading ht, from Tomb B.18 at
                          Abydos (7.0 x 8.5 cm)..."

                          Based on what I learned here from you & this one's size & shape &
                          impressions, I'd say it's an early Egyptian napkin-ring bulla (its
                          opening is about 3x the size on my bulla--plenty of room for a folded
                          document). Granted that the motif & provenance differ, are you quite
                          certain that no other ANE culture made napkin-ring bullae between
                          3000 BC & 300 BC?

                          George Michael Grena, II
                          Redondo Beach, CA
                        • Ronald Wallenfels, Ph.D.
                          Dear George, May I humbly suggest that in future you take the time to read and understand the accompanying text (pp. 37f.) and not just look at a single
                          Message 12 of 15 , Apr 5, 2006
                            Dear George,

                            May I humbly suggest that in future you take the time to read and
                            understand the accompanying text (pp. 37f.) and not just look at a
                            single (misleading) photo and its neccessarily brief caption. Are you
                            seriously suggesting that I am somehow confusing a fragmentary late 4th
                            millennium Egyptian jar sealing impressed by Egyptian cylinder seals
                            with a crude attempt to imitate a late 1st millennium Babylonian
                            parchment sealing impressed with stamp seals?! Do you yourself not see
                            that you are struggling vainly to compare apples with oranges? Yes, they
                            are both fruit, but so what! Your random perusal of a limited number of
                            volumes at hand without a deeper understanding of what you are looking
                            at precisely mirrors how most forgers operate and that is precisely why
                            those of us who have devoted literally decades of our lives to the
                            examination and mastery of such seemingly arcane material can aver with
                            conciderable confidence that a given artifact is not an ancient object.

                            I believe this horse has long been flogged to death--let it lie in peace.

                            Sincerely,

                            Ronald Wallenfels
                            Fair Haven, NJ

                            G.M. Grena wrote:

                            > > > Is this form/motif combination really a Seleucid innovation?
                            > > > George Michael Grena, II
                            > >
                            > > YES!
                            > > Ronald Wallenfels
                            >
                            > There's a bulla in Colon's "7000 Years" book on p. 43 in a chapter by
                            > T.G.H. James:
                            >
                            > "2/3__A fragment of a clay sealing impressed with the seal of Pharaoh
                            > Aha (1st Dynasty, c. 3070 BC) & 2 signs reading ht, from Tomb B.18 at
                            > Abydos (7.0 x 8.5 cm)..."
                            >
                            > Based on what I learned here from you & this one's size & shape &
                            > impressions, I'd say it's an early Egyptian napkin-ring bulla (its
                            > opening is about 3x the size on my bulla--plenty of room for a folded
                            > document). Granted that the motif & provenance differ, are you quite
                            > certain that no other ANE culture made napkin-ring bullae between
                            > 3000 BC & 300 BC?
                            >
                            > George Michael Grena, II
                            > Redondo Beach, CA
                            >
                            >
                            >
                            >
                            >
                            >
                            >
                            >
                            >
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                            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                          • G.M. Grena
                            ... No, sir. I stand corrected on their illusory similarities. I just find it hard to believe that people applied seals to clay (sealing jar lids) in the 4th
                            Message 13 of 15 , Apr 7, 2006
                              > Are you seriously suggesting that I am somehow confusing
                              > a fragmentary late 4th millennium Egyptian jar sealing
                              > impressed by Egyptian cylinder seals with a crude attempt
                              > to imitate a late 1st millennium Babylonian parchment
                              > sealing impressed with stamp seals?!
                              > Ronald Wallenfels

                              No, sir. I stand corrected on their illusory similarities. I just
                              find it hard to believe that people applied seals to clay (sealing
                              jar lids) in the 4th millennium B.C., & that it wasn't until the
                              first millennium B.C. that they decided to wrap it around documents
                              for a similar identification purpose. I'm hoping to learn more about
                              how this bulla process evolved over thousands of years into an
                              intelligently-designed Seleucid napkin-ring bulla; I find it hard to
                              believe that the Seleucids just all-of-a-sudden created the concept;
                              it seems unscientific, & I would expect more transitional forms.

                              I'm wondering what are the intermediate/acceptable criteria for an
                              authority to say, "Well, it's not like all the others, but it's
                              similar enough to be authentic." It's either a "well-known copy"
                              (like ushabtis, scarabs, & cuneiform tablets that are as common in
                              antiquities shops as pieces of the True Cross in European churches),
                              or an "artifact with no parallels"--both categories must obviously
                              indicate forgery, or so I'm told.

                              By the way, my bulla could certainly be fake, but not possibly
                              a "crude attempt to imitate" the forms you're familiar with, or it
                              would've been much larger without a worn hole & with a similar number
                              of impressions as you described. Bear in mind that in my original
                              post "I was hoping to see if anyone else [knew] of a similar specimen
                              stamped like [it]." I was not seeking authentication, but I'm
                              grateful for your references to the Seleucid era.

                              Quote of the day from Michael D. Coogan in the latest issue of BAR:

                              "Just because an argument comes from authority doesn't mean it's the
                              only view. Beware of an argument based on 'authority.'"

                              George Michael Grena, II
                              Redondo Beach, CA
                            • Rudolf H. Mayr
                              ... The Seleucid period napkin-ring bulla has plenty of tradition behind it, and there are plenty of transitional forms. The napkin-ring bulla was wrapped
                              Message 14 of 15 , Apr 8, 2006
                                George Grena wrote, in part:
                                > ... I just
                                > find it hard to believe that people applied seals to clay (sealing
                                > jar lids) in the 4th millennium B.C., & that it wasn't until the
                                > first millennium B.C. that they decided to wrap it around documents
                                > for a similar identification purpose. I'm hoping to learn more about
                                > how this bulla process evolved over thousands of years into an
                                > intelligently-designed Seleucid napkin-ring bulla; I find it hard to
                                > believe that the Seleucids just all-of-a-sudden created the concept;
                                > it seems unscientific, & I would expect more transitional forms.

                                The Seleucid period napkin-ring bulla has plenty of tradition behind
                                it, and there are plenty of transitional forms. The napkin-ring bulla
                                was wrapped around a parchment (or papyrus or whatever) and therefore
                                would not have developed until there was a need to seal documents
                                written in ink on such materials, and in Mesopotamia this did not arise
                                until pretty late in the first millennium. Before that time the only
                                kind of writing commonly used in Mesopotamia was cuneiform, which is
                                written on clay tablets. Being clay, the tablet itself can be sealed,
                                and indeed they were. Clay tablets, written with cuneiform, were
                                sealed sporadically throughout the 3rd millennium, and very frequently
                                beginning in the Ur III period. Furthermore, clay tablets (sometimes
                                sealed ones) were sometimes wrapped in an additional layer of clay
                                (called a case or envelope) which could be sealed. Sealed cuneiform
                                tablets were still common in the Seleucid Period; you might look at Dr.
                                Wallenfels' publications. The late development was to replace the
                                cuneiform tablet with a parchment (or papyrus, or whatever) document;
                                the innovation of the napkin ring bulla was dictated by the need to
                                combine the time-tested tradition of sealing with a new writing
                                technology.

                                Rudolf H. Mayr, D. Litt.
                                Lawrenceville, N.J.
                              • Robert Whiting
                                On Sat, 8 Apr 2006 04:25:25, G.M. Grena wrote: ... But then on Sat, Apr 8 2006 17:15:59, G.M. Grena wrote: ...
                                Message 15 of 15 , Apr 9, 2006
                                  On Sat, 8 Apr 2006 04:25:25, G.M. Grena wrote:

                                  <snip>
                                  > Quote of the day from Michael D. Coogan in the latest issue of BAR:
                                  >
                                  > "Just because an argument comes from authority doesn't mean it's the
                                  > only view. Beware of an argument based on 'authority.'"

                                  But then on Sat, Apr 8 2006 17:15:59, G.M. Grena wrote:

                                  <snip of argument based on 'authority'>

                                  > I did not see any of these references in the October 1999 ANE archive
                                  > when this same subject was discussed, & felt it would be a relevant
                                  > insertion today (with all due respect to other list members who have
                                  > superior authority in Hebrew & Greek; I believe historical records
                                  > should count for something, considering that we don't have any of
                                  > Paul's original manuscripts).

                                  The point being, I suppose, that arguments based on 'authority' should
                                  only be trusted to the extent that they tell you what you want to hear.


                                  Bob Whiting
                                  whiting@...
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