BYZANTINE BREAD STAMP
S O L D
Measurements: 5.5 cm − width, 4.5 cm − height, 7.5 cm − height (with stand)
Description: A Byzantine bronze rectangular bread stamp with integrated ring, containing the stamp ЄIC staurogram θЄOC, meaning “One God”. This may form the beginning of the longer apotropaic spoken and written formula “There is one God who conquers evil”, or simply “There is one God”. Uttering or inscribing certain powerful words, formulaic phrases, names of God, or liturgical expressions were considered by Christians as effective means of warding off or repelling the Evil Eye. When pressed into a loaf of uncooked bread, the stamp would have left the mark of its letters. Bread identified with such stamps was used for the consecrated bread in the Divine Liturgy (Eucharist), as well as to ward off the Evil Eye.
Reference: Bonhams sale 20669, lot 149
Further reading: Elliott, J. H., 2017, Beware the Evil Eye: The Evil Eye in the Bible and the Ancient World, Volume 4, p. 107.
Period: 5th – 7th century AD
Condition: Fine, darkly patinated with chipping and encrustations over the whole.