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John (eleventh century, second half)

 
 

Obverse

Bust of the Mother of God orans, the medallion of Christ before her. Inscription on either side: ̅θυ̅ : Μή(τη)ρ Θ(εο)ῦ. Along the upper rim, a circular inscription beginning with a cross. Border of dots.

θκε,θ,....,ι̅

Θ(εοτό)κε β(οή)θ(ει) [τῷ σῷ] δ(ούλῳ) Ἰω(άννῃ)

Reverse

Inscription of six lines beginning with a cross. Border of dots.

εκτησ
γρησ
γ̣νριζε
κιτην
σργι
  

ἐκ τῆς γραφῆς γνώριζε καὶ τὴν σφραγίδα

Obverse

Bust of the Mother of God orans, the medallion of Christ before her. Inscription on either side: ̅θυ̅ : Μή(τη)ρ Θ(εο)ῦ. Along the upper rim, a circular inscription beginning with a cross. Border of dots.

θκε,θ,....,ι̅

Θ(εοτό)κε β(οή)θ(ει) [τῷ σῷ] δ(ούλῳ) Ἰω(άννῃ)

Reverse

Inscription of six lines beginning with a cross. Border of dots.

εκτησ
γρησ
γ̣νριζε
κιτην
σργι
  

ἐκ τῆς γραφῆς γνώριζε καὶ τὴν σφραγίδα

Accession number BZS.1947.2.1475
Diameter 22.0 mm; field: 19.0 mm
Previous Editions

Cf. Wassiliou-Seibt, Siegel mit metrischen Legenden I, no. 709.

Translation

Θεοτόκε βοήθει τῷ σῷ δούλῳ Ἰωάννῃ. ἐκ τῆς γραφῆς γνώριζε καὶ τὴν σφραγίδα.

Mother of God, help your servant John. Recognise the seal from the letter.

Commentary

The inscriptions on the obverse and reverse appear to be working against each other; the invocation on the obverse identifies the owner, while the twelve-syllable verse on the other side instructs the recipient to learn whose seal this is by looking at the letter itself.