Wood and cast lead printing block. The print design has a double-headed eagle at the center. The eagle appears to be clutching something in each claw, but the images are too small to distinguish what the items are. Flanking the eagle on each side are curved olive branches. Above the eagle is a either a crown or mitre styled in the Byzantine fashion. Below the eagle are three stars lined up horizontally. Below each star, from right to left, are the Greek characters for Pi, Sigma, and Omicron.
Donated by John Damianos. The printing block was used in a linotype printing machine. Linotype presses allowed for the casting of entire lines to be printed at a time. Linotype printing was eventually succeeded by lithograph printing and computer typesetting during the 1960's and 1970's. This printing block was used by the Chicago-based, The Greek Art Printing Company. It is unclear what the Pi, Sigma, and Omicron characters refer to. It is possible it refers to a certain Greek organization. The double-headed eagle is a symbol traced back to the Byzantine Empire, denoting the emperor's authority over secular and religious matters. The double-headed eagle is still used on the flag of the Greek Orthodox Church and on the coat of arms of the General Staff of the Greek Army. Olive branches are signs of peace. The crown, or perhaps mitre, is styled in the fashion of the crowns worn by the Byzantine emperors. The mitres still worn by Greek Orthodox clergy are also fashioned like the crowns of the Byzantine emperors.
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Block, Printing, Greek Art Printing Company Artifact Collection, National Hellenic Museum, https://collections.nationalhellenicmuseum.org/Detail/objects/9788. Accessed 01/16/21.