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Turaida
Museum Reserve

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Campaign „Learn about history and events of the Turaida castle in the course of 800 years through the stories told by castle objects!” 2nd story – A Seal’s Stamp with a cleaved off side


Zīmoga spiednis ar nošķeltu malu| A Seal’s Stamp with a cleaved off side

A Seal’s Stamp with a cleaved off side

A fragmentary bronze object, skillfully made with an engraved figure of a bear on it and the inscription *Clavs* was found during archaeological excavations in the Turaida stone castle.

Certainly, this object is a fragment of the personal seal’s stamp of a man. It represents a heraldic symbol of a family and fragment of his name. In the Middle Ages the seal’s stamp wa used as an official seal to authenticate official documents of legal import and as personal seal. When a grown-up nobleman received the title of knighthood, he became not only a full-fledged warrior, but also could hold a position, obtained the right to participate in economic deals, courts, meetings of the vassals, diets as well as – to authenticate transaction documents by his seal.

The Turaida seal’s stamp is decorated by figure of a bear, which as a part of the family coat of arms was typical for a number of families of Livonia in the 14th-17th centuries, however, bear’s figure in this shape – only to one. Supposedly, the seal belonged to some Clavs Tolck. The Tolcks, named Engelkes, were vassals in the Archbishopric of Riga from the 14th-16th centuries.

It is considered that after death the personal seals were destroyed. Probably, also the bronze stamp, found in Turaida, was damaged on purpose and the cleaved off side is a trace of the sword’s blow.

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