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Types of Seal

The Materials Used to Make Seals

  • Chrysobull, a golden seal reserved for the emperor of varying weights depending on the importance of the recipient.
  • Argyrobull, a silver seal used by the despots of Epiros and the Peloponnese.
  • Wax Seals, the seals themselves do not survive in great numbers but the implements which created them, such as sealing rings, cone seals and bi-valves have survived in greater numbers.
  • Lead Seals, the majority of the surviving seals from Byzantium are made from lead.


Types of Seal


  • Iconographic, a seal with images on both sides
  • Monogramatic, a seal with a monogram on each side. These are usually either a name, office, title or a mixture of some or all of these.
  • Imperial, the seals of the emperors and their immediate families are a category unto themselves. In many ways they are often more similar to coins than other seals in terms of iconography and inscription.
  • Patriarchal, similar in many respects to the imperial seals these seals followed a set pattern with respect to their design, iconography and titulature which remained remarkably consistent over the life of the empire.

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