Over 40,000 lead seals from the early Byzantine Empire remain today. Apart from the rare cases where the seal authent...

Timur on February 1, 2015


What makes (A) correct?


Melody on February 3, 2015

Conclusion: "the number of early Byzantine documents sealed in such a fashion must have been many times the number of remaining lead seals."

Why? We know that other than in the rare cases where a seal is used to authenticate a document of special importance, the majority of seals served their purpose on a document when that document was opened. Since these seals were not free, once they had served their purpose, i.e. once most of these documents were open, they would have been recast.

So, to conclude that during the early Byzantine Empire, documents sealed in such a fashion must have been many times the number of remaining lead seals, we must know that most of these documents that had been sealed were then opened. Since, if many of these documents sealed in the early Byzantine Empire had not been opened, then the seals would not have served their purpose and so they would not have been recast--"most lead seals would have been recast once they had served their purpose."

Answer choice (A) reiterates this exact point: "Most of the lead seals produced during the early Byzantine Empire were affixed to documents that were then opened during that period."

Hope that clears things up! Please let us know if you have any other questions.

jing jing on May 17, 2020

I am unsure what the question is asking. Can someone explain the stimulus? Thanks

Shunhe on May 19, 2020

Hi @jingjingxiao11111@gmail.com,

 this stimulus tells us the following:

P1: Over 40k lead seals from early Byzantine Empire remain today
P2: Most seals served purpose when document opened
P3: Most seals recast after served purpose (basically, they'd be reused after they served their purpose, which was when a document was opened)
Conclusion: There were many times more documents that were sealed than there were seals themselves

Now we're asked for something that if true strengthens the argument. So we assume the answer choices are true, and then see if any of them help support the argument here. The correct answer here is going to be (A). Why? It tells us that most of the lead seals produced were affixed to documents that were opened. If this is true, then a document would be opened, and then the seal would be recast (reused), so there would be many times more documents than seals. Without this assumption, it's possible that the sealed documents were never opened, and so the seals were never reused, for example. The argument assumes that at least some of the sealed documents are opened, so the seals can be reused. 

Hope this helps! Let us know if you have any further questions.

jing jing on October 8, 2020

Thank you Shunhe! I must admit I had to read your response like 20 times before finally understanding this question as I had problems with what the question was asking.