عنوان مقاله [English]
نویسندگان [English]چکیده [English]
Documenting seal impressions has a great importance in archaeological researches. The analysis of Seleucid seal impressions provide a wealthy information which is really needed due to the lack of archaeological recognition of this era. This article presents the study of more than 44 seal impressions from different areas of Seleucid territory. There have been a number of scholars such as College, Osten, Collon, Bivar, Messina and Invernizzi interested in to study the Seleucid seals collected mainly from the western parts of the Seleucid territories, but in Iran an extensive analysis could not be comparatively possible because, here there are an small number of seals and seal impressions have been explored. There is a variety of motifs on these seals including: human motifs, Greek goddesses, different animals, mythical and geometric motifs, of which the human motifs are seen to be dominantly used on about half of the seal collections. Mythical motifs have also found in abundance. These mentioned designs are mostly identified from the archives of Uruk in Mesopotamia generally representing the mythical motifs. Seal impressions found from Susa in southwestern Iran are circular with animal/human designs in profile and unidentified figures which were studied by Unvala. These seals were all influenced by Achaemenid, Assyrian, Babylonian and Greek arts. During Seleucid period unlike the Achaemenid, the cylindrical seals vanished and they were replaced by signet sing stamp seals. They have been mostly in elliptical shape and rarely in circular forms. Most of these seal impressions were uncovered from scientific excavations such as in Seleucia, Uruk, and Kedesh. The seals of these 3 sites were all found with written documents which reveal a wealth of information on art and economy of Seleucid era. The transactions written on these bullae including marriage contracts and some information of selling and buying lands and releasing slaves. The other collection of Seleucid seals was uncovered from the excavation of Seleucia under the supervision of Invernizzi. These bullae belong to some private contracts concluded under the presence of a tax observer or a government employee. All Seleucid seals impressions except for the ones found from Qumis, were uncovered from western territory of Seleucids. More than 98 percents of them are from Susa, Uruk, Sippar, Kedesh and Seleucia which can lead us to this idea that the use of seals was more frequent in the western parts of Seleucid territory or maybe the administrative centers were all concentrated in western areas. The only eastern site containing seals and seal impressions is Qumis in interior Iran.
The present paper tends to study the function of seal impressions in political-administrative context of Seleucids and also to analyze some of motifs which can be helpful for comparative researches on the Seleucid seal impressions. Moreover, the comparative study on the similarities exist between form, inscription and the iconography together among the seals enabled us to locate some undetermined seal impressions in the same chronological horizon since some seal impressions from some sites have been found in their archaeological contexts and dated to the Seleucid period. From iconographical view as mentioned before Seleucids iconography repertoire have been in use in various artistic media of that period. In some cases, comparison with coins or other material culture made possible to put the impressions in their true chronological orders.