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Nikephoros or Niketas bishop of Tiberias (tenth century)

Accession number BZS 1951.31.5.1735
Diameter 17 mm
Field diameter 14 mm
Previous Editions

DO Seals 5 no. 17.1; Laurent, Corpus 5.2: no. 1572.


Patriarchal cross (X at crossbars) mounted on three steps, with fleurons rising up to the first arm. Pellet in the upper right quarter. Within a double border of dots, a circular inscription beginning at 7 o’clock:


Κ(ύρι)ε β[οήθει τ]ῷ σῷ δούλῳ


Inscription of four lines. Border of dots.


Νικη... ἐπησ[κ]όπ(ῳ) Τιβερι[άδ(ος)]


Κύριε βοήθει τῷ σῷ δούλῳ Νικηφόρῳ or Νικήτᾳ ἐπησκόπῳ Τιβεριάδος.

Lord help your servant, Nikephoros or Niketas, bishop of Tiberias.


Located on the western bank of Lake Tiberias in Palestine, Tiberias is first attested as a bishopric in the fifth century: Laurent, Corpus 5.2:403; list of bishops in Fedalto, HEO 2:1038.

Laurent believed that the reading of Nikephoros was preferable to Niketas. The letters required would have filled the vacant space at the beginning of line two on the reverse, and since the prelate was a bishop, there was no need to allow a space for the abbreviated reading (ἀρχι)επισκόπῳ.

DO Seals 5 dated this to the eleventh century, but we would note as well that the obverse design, with cross on steps and tendrils rising from the base, generally dates to the mid- or late-tenth century. W. Seibt, in his review of DO Seals 5, prefers a tenth-century dating, and suggests that this might be the bishop of Tiberioupolis rather than Tiberias.