Silver signet ring (00865)
Exhibition room: II.1 Authority and administration
Date: 13th - 14th c.
Dimensions (cm): 2,6 x 1,7
The silver ring consists of a heavy, compact hoop ending in two stylized busts in relief. In the centre of the bezel, in an incised circle, is engraved a cruciform monogram which can probably be read as the name Vlasios (ΒΛΑΣΙΟΣ). The inverted inscription around the circumference of the circle reading +Ο ΜΕΛΑΧΡΗΝΟΣ (Melachrinos) is similarly engraved. The name of the Melachrinos family is known from the 13th-14th centuries. The ring probably belonged to a member of this family.
A monogram in the shape of a cross on signet rings is an invention of the 6th century. When rings have inverted inscriptions (i.e. in "mirror-writing") it means that they were used as seals, as the inscription could be read normally on the seal. Thus the user of such a ring must have been some sort of official, who sealed documents and so on with his name.