Byzantine seals fascinate with depictions of animals, portraits and monograms. The latter, however, often seem cryptic to non-experts. Dumbarton Oaks, Harvard University’s research institution, has a huge collection of Byzantine seals and the corresponding expertise on how to read this genre correctly.
To introduce non-experts to this field, Harvard’s Byzantinists have come up with something special: simply bake your own seal in the Byzantine style!
Along the way, you will understand how the complicated-looking monograms are created and how to design your own name. A recipe and explanations can be found in this PDF on the Dumbarton Oaks site. Have fun!
In an article Dumbarton Oaks’ Julia Ostmann explained what intimate stories we can reconstruct through the analysis of Byzantine seals.
Here you can browse through Dumbarton Oaks’ online database of Byzantine Seals.
If you are hooked, why not listen to the Dumbarton Oaks Byzantine Podcast?
Why you should study Byzantine seals even if you collect only Byzantine coins, explains this review by Ursula Kampmann of the Dumbarton Oaks catalogue of Byzantine Seals.