The Medical Faculty Seal
The medical faculty was the last, of the four classical faculties, here in Heidelberg to come in possession of its own seal. The exact date in which a specific seal for the Medical Faculty of the University of Heidelberg was created is not well documented. In the year 1438 the faculty was not in possession of its own seal. The dean was forced to use his own personal seal for all official documents. The first known impression of the official seal of the Medical Faculty can be found in a document dated the 22nd of June 1509, founding a scholarship endowed by Johannis Northan, artium magister. In the first hundred years of its existence the seal was seldom used.
This first seal was very similar to the one on the left which was created in 1670. The winged ox on the seal represents Luke, the Gentile Physician, friend of the apostle Paul, and author of the third Gospel of the New Testament. In the original seal, between the front legs of the ox, is an opened book in which the letters sl (sanctus lucas) are recognizable. The seal is surrounded by a cornice of leaves. The seal to the left was used until this decade when it was replaced by a general seal which is similar for all faculties and universities in the state of Baden Württemberg.
Luke, the patron saint of physicians, can also be found on other medical school seals in Europe. It also appears in the seals of Erfurt, Helmstedt, Vienna, and Basel.
The University Seal
Since its founding in 1386, the University of Heidelberg has had its own seals: the small rector's seal and the large university seal. The large university seal to the right was commissioned in November of 1386 by Ruprecht I at the request of the first Rector of the university. The actual size of the seal is 70 mm. The figure in the middle of the seal is St. Peter, the patron saint of the university. He is sitting under a richly decorated late gothic baldiquin. In his right hand he is holding a key, to his left and right are two knights holding the arms of the prince electors house (Wittelsbachs rhombs and the Palatinate Lion).
The large university seal is only used for special occasions and for high-ranking recipients. The rector's seal is in daily use.