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Gregory illoustrios and judge of the Kibyrraiotai (eleventh century)

Accession number BZS.1947.2.2096
Diameter 36 mm
Condition Half missing. Corroded.
Previous Editions

DO Seals 2, no. 59.10. See also Wassiliou-Seibt, Siegel mit metrischen Legenden I, no. 969a.


Bust of the Virgin holding the Child before her. Remains of sigla: ΘΥ̅: Μήτηρ Θεοῦ. Along the circumference, on either side of the Virgin's head, circular inscription: .ΖΟΙΚΕ: an invocation, likely to be restored as +Σύ με σώζοις Θεοτόκε (May you preserve me, Theotokos). Border of dots.


Inscription preceded by decoration. Border of dots.


Ἰλλουστρίου σφράγισμα καὶ δικασπόλου Κιβειρραιωτῶν Γρηγορίου τυγχάνω


Ἰλλουστρίου σφράγισμα καὶ δικασπόλου Κιβειρραιωτῶν Γρηγορίου τυγχάνω.

I happen to be the seal of Gregory, illoustrios and judge of the Kibyrraiotai.


The lettering is blurred, but all letters not identified as uncertain are securely read. The restitution would have been impossible were it not for another seal that has the same verse, without an image (see Konstantopoulos, no. 163α, and Laurent, Bulles Métriques, no. 176). The first verse seems secure; the second seems probable because the spaces available between the legible letters accommodate the proposed restitution, but uncertainties remain in face of the amount of the text that cannot be read on the lead.

The archaic title of illoustrios appears rarely in the ninth-eleventh centuries. In legal texts it is understood as the equivalent of protospatharios (Eisagoge/Epanagoge 16,24; Peira 19/62). It shows up in some hagiographical texts (e.g. ActaSS July VI, 627 and Nov. III, 888; A. Papadopoulos-Kerameus, "Μαυρογορδάτειος βιβλιοθήκη," Ἑλλ. Φιλολ. Σύλλ. 17 [1886], annex, 43; I. Cozza-Luzi, Historia et laudes SS. Sabae et Macarii iuniorum e Sicilia [Rome, 1893], 89; H. Delehaye, Les saints stylites [Bruxelles, 1923], 228) and, in at least one case, dated to the ninth century, it seems to have this same meaning (since the individual is promoted from illoustrios to patrikios: E. Kurtz, Theophano, 2). In poetical texts, in metrical seals, and in the novella by which Constantine IX created the position of nomophylax, it appears as a honorific title (e.g., Kurtz, Mitylenaios, 7; Laurent, Vatican, no. 51; Zacos, Seals II, no. 399; Laurent, Corpus II, no. 875; Zepos, Jus I 622).