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Signa Apostolorum

Pilgrimages to the important sites of the Christianity became popular trips, especially to Santiago de Compostela, Jerusalem and Rome.

Pilgrims used to buy items and artifacts to remember their journey and these souvenirs were kept with great care and consideration as sacred and miraculous items. One of them is the Signa Apostolorum, a metal lead plaque with dimensions 30x35mm and one millimeter thick (43X50mm with the rings). The plaque was rectangular in shape with four rings at the corners which were used to attach the plaque to the robes, coats or the typical large hats worn by the pilgrims. The plaque has the inscription in capital letters “SIGNA APOSTOLORVM PETRI ET PAVLI” and it’s carved with the images of the two Saints according to the traditional iconography: Saint Paul is portrayed as a bald man with a sharp face, strong nose, unibrow, beard and carrying a sword as symbol of his martyr. Saint Peter is has curly hair, beards and holding the Keys of Heaven. This Signa Apostolorum is the only artifact of this type found in Sardinia. Since it was found inside an individual tomb, we can assume that the person wanted to carry with him in his life after death this precious memory of his pilgrimage.

In addition to the spiritual value, the Signa Apostolorum was also a tangible proof of a completed pilgrimage, useful when the pilgrimage was done on behalf of someone else, as a receipt for the trips that were usually expensive, or to obtain special benefits along the route of travel or after the journey.

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