Corpus of Bohemian Seals until the Accession of John the Blind and Current Issues of European Sigillography

by Karel Maráz

The first part of the paper focuses on the specific monograph entitled Corpus of Bohemian Seals until the Accession of John the Blind, which will also include the edition of sigillographic material from this particular period. The model and content of the publication was already presented in 2000 (Sborník archivních prací 50, 2000, pp. 460-473) and the work on it is still continuing. From the particularities of Corpus of Bohemian Seals until the Accession of John the Blind, it is necessary to point out that alongside the corpus of seals of the diplomatic material, covered in the CDB edition, it will also include seal matrices in state institutions and private ownership, as well as incomplete matrices until 1310. It will contain not only deperditum seals, whose form is known by means of for instance earlier photographs or casts, but also those which are currently referred to merely in corroboration of instruments. In this case, however, one needs to be particularly cautious, as it has been sufficiently demonstrated that the information in the corroboration may not always correspond to reality. With great caution, however, the Corpus also needs to cover the seals mentioned in formularies. The monograph will also include seals released from the written document and stored separately in institutions, as well as seals mentioned in other than diplomatic (mainly narrative) sources, provided that meet the temporal and territorial delimitation of the Corpus. It will also include medieval and modern counterfeits, while also mentioning newer seals attached to acts.

The second part of the paper is based on the current research findings of mainly West European sigillography and related trends. Under their influence, it was necessary to redefine the term of the seal, considering other options of its use and research. In fact, sigillography based on a multidisciplinary approach has recently seen unusual development to which it has to respond. Particularly owing to technical disciplines with information technology in front, it opens up previously unimagined possibilities, while our previous research limitations have significantly moved forward. And it is these matters on which the paper focuses as well.

On the other hand, there has been an ever increasing gap of inconsistent terminology, not only within European but also Czech sigillography. The opinions of some domestic researchers, presented also in the meeting Olomouc and trivialising many terminological and conceptual trends of West European sigillography, also usable in our sigillography, pointing out the different seal material abroad and in our country or referring to their solitariness, will not stand. For instance, there have been relatively lively debates abroad concerning the typology of the seal design even after publishing Vocabulaire international de la sigillographie and even though some suggestions arising from the debates cannot be generally accepted, others may help and benefit our current domestic terminology.

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