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Theodore bishop of Ephesos (seventh century)

Accession Number:

Previous Editions

DO Seals 3, no. 14.6a.
Laurent, Corpus V/3, no. 1689; Zacos-Veglery, no. 1249 (this seal together with a third specimen, also coming from the same boulloterion).


28 mm
21 mm
Breaks at ends of channel which is off-center, running from 3 o'clock to 7 o'clock (obverse).


Theodore bishop of Ephesos (seventh century)

Inscription of five lines. Wreath border.


Θεοδώρου ἀναξίου ἐπισκόπου


Theodore bishop of Ephesos (seventh century)

Bust of a bearded saint, no doubt St. John the Evangelist, holding a book in his left hand. On either side, vertical inscription: ε|φ|εσ|ο|υ. Wreath border.



Θεοδώρου ἀναξίου ἐπισκόπου Ἐφέσου.

(Seal of) Theodore, unworthy bishop of Ephesos.



This specimen and BZS.1958.106.1836 come from the same boulloterion.

We agree with Zacos-Veglery who have suggested that the figure of the obverse is St. John the Evangelist, the protector of Ephesos, who is often represented on seals of its metropolitans, rather than St. Paul, as proposed by Laurent.

Laurent and Zacos-Veglery consider that the owner of the present seal is identical to the owner of BZS.1951.31.5.1234. They assign all these seals to Theodore of Ephesos who attended the Council of Trullo (692). These identifications are possible.

The ancient city of Ephesos was abandoned in the seventh century in favor of the security of the inland fortress of Theologos, where the famous basilica (and major pilgrimage center) of St. John the Evangelist stood (near modern Selçuk). The name (Ἅγιος) Θεολόγος, Theologo, Ayasoluk was currently used when speaking of the medieval town and its administrators, such as the commander of the fortress, the paraphylax, or the archon (eighth/ninth century: Zacos-Veglery, no. 2282A) and the (undoubtedly naval) droungarios (ninth century: ibid., 2561A; Konstantopoulos, no. 135). But the old name, Ephesos, also survived in civil administration: Constantine VII Porphyrogennetos informs us that the theme of Samos, which is first attested at the very end of the ninth century, had control over the tourma of Ephesos (Ἐφέσιον: De Them., chap. XVI, line 14), while we have mentions of tax collectors (dioiketes) of Ephesos (ActaSS November III, 540; Zacos-Veglery, no. 2487). We have the impression that Theologos was the local usage, while Ephesos came from the learned circles of Constantinople and was the name that prevailed alone in the ecclesiastic administration.

Ephesos was a major metropolis, with no less than 39 suffragans attached to it at the Council of Chalcedon in 451, claiming to preserve the remains of the Apostle John (whose representation appears on the obverse on some seals of metropolitans). It is mentioned in all notitiae.

See Laurent, Corpus V/1, 178; Culerrier, Suffragants d'Ephèse; ODB I, 706; W. Seibt, "Drei byzantinische Bleisiegel aus Ephesos," Litterae numismaticae vindobonenses Roberto Goebl dedicatae (Vienna, 1979), 145-54; W. Brandes, "Ephesos in byzantinischer Zeit," Klio 64 (1982) 611-22; Brandes, Städte, 83-85.


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