This is a lead seal. On one face is an inscription of text stating Athanasius's title. The other is a picture of Virgin Mary with Christ. This seal would have been placed on letters being sent from Athanasius I and would have signified the importance of the letters.
A steelyard weight with a high ranking official wearing a chlamys. Many other steelyard weights depicting people are emperors or empresses, suggesting the imperial authority and approval of the specific weight. Would have been used to measure traded items.
Brick Stamp representing Emperor Theoderic from the Aurelian Wall.
This is a square byzantine weight made of bronze. In trade, standardized weights such as this were used to measure out a certain quantity of a good.
This is a Viking key made of steel. It would have been used with a padlock. The design is originally Roman, and the key was made before the wealth and conquest of the Viking Age.
A guide dedicated to Chaucer's son on how to use an astrolabe, a precursor to the compass, written in English.
This 14th century horse bit is ornately decorated and is marked with the crest of two Catalan families.
This is a tool used for sealing. A small disk would be sandwiched in and then hammered to imprint an image (this particular boulloterion has St. Nicholas). Seals were used to legitimize official documents.
A bell that would have been attached to a horse's harness.
Our Tools of Travel room offers us a snapshot of travel in a variety of different contexts. Describing a non-instrument or utensil as something that is a tool is always challenging, but upon closer examination of our objects, we've come together with a selection that embodies the practicality of a tool in the greater context of an item that represents travel. The horse related items provide an apparent sense of travel through the type of animal that they are made for, but the seals, stamps and key for instance correlate to travel in an indirect, but just as clear manner, in that they all embody the idea of "use" in their purpose, and they all affect things that are in constant motion. Possible the most important object in the gallery for travel, the astrolabe was the precursor to the compass and opened the seas to better navigation of open water away from the shore.
Along with their value as tools for travel, many of these objects double as symbols of power of the owners. The officials' tools signified their importance in medieval society and created a sense of legality to their actions. The ornate designs on the bell and the horse bit indicate that the owners were wealthy and did not use these objects simply for their utility but also for their asthetic appeal.