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G... monk and (man) of the (patriarchal?) koubouklesios and xenodochos of Nicaea (tenth century)

Accession number BZS.1947.2.115
Diameter 17 mm
Condition Lead too small for matrix. This is a token, not a seal, as it has no channel and is in fact too thin to have a channel
Previous Editions

DO Seals 3, no. 59.7.


Cruciform invocative monogram (type VIII or XII). In the quarters: ΤΣ|ΔΛ. Along the circumferences, between two borders of dots, circular inscription (mostly outside the field) starting at 12 o'clock: 


Κύριε βοήθει τῷ σῷ δούλῳ Γ...[μον]αχ(ῷ) (καὶ)


Inscription of at least six lines. No border visible.


[ἀν(θρώπ)ῳ] τοῦ [πατριαρχικοῦ] κουβου[κ]λεισ(ίου) καὶ [ξ]ενοδόχ(ου) [Ν]ικαί[ας]


Κύριε βοήθει τῷ σῷ δούλῳ Γ... μοναχῷ καὶ ἀνθρώπῳ τοῦ πατριαρχικοῦ κουβουκλεισίου καὶ ξενοδόχου Νικαίας.

Lord, help your servant G..., monk and man of the patriarchal kouboukleisios and the xenodochos of Nicaea.


The restoration of the inscription is highly tentative in several respects. All kouboukleisioi were subordinates of the patriarch (Listes, 151, 251, 253; Darrouzès, Offikia, 39-44); hence we restore πατριαρχικοῦ on lines 2-3, a word that must have been drastically abridged in order to fit the space. The owner had to be a subordinate of the koubouklesios and xenodochos of Nikaia: the word ἀνθρώπῳ that we propose is normally abridged as ΑΝΩ and could well fit in the first line of the reverse inscription.

Further xenodochoi of Nicaea are attested by seals published in Sig., 250, no. 1 (=Schlumberger, Mélanges, 300-301), and Zacos, Seals II, No. 263.

Nicaea (modern Iznik), located to the east of Lake Askania in BIthynia, was an important fortified city and a center for trade with a xenodocheion (cf. BZS.1947.2.115). It seems to have been the capital of the theme of Opsikion (De Them., 129), and for a time it was administrated by an eparchos, like Constantinople or Thessalonica (Zacos-Veglery, no. 3156). This official will be later replaced (?) by an archon (e.g. BZS.1951.31.5.2634). The local administration must have been quite intricate because we learn rom our seals about the existence of pious associations and of an asylum for elderly people (Zacos, Seals II, no. 263), but also of military governors (paraphylax) and of a protokentarchos (BZS.1958.106.1575). Nicaea is listed as a metropolis in 8th position in all notitiae from the seventh to the fifteenth century. It became famous for having hosted two oecumenical councils (325, 787) and for becoming, after 1204, the first capital of the so-called empire of Nicaea. See Laurent, Corpus V/1, 282; Janin, Grands centres, 105ff; Brandes, Städte, 124-26; ODB II, 1463-64. Concerning the creation of new suffragans in the ninth century, see J. Darrouzès, "Remarques sur la création d'évêchés," REB 47 (1989) 221-26.