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Theodore bishop of Kos (?) (seventh century)

Accession number BZS.1955.1.4677
Diameter 25 mm
Condition Corroded and effaced.
Previous Editions

DO Seals 2, no. 49.3.
Laurent, Corpus V/3, no. 1814 (misread as Κίου).
Zacos-Veglery, no. 1626.


A partially preserved cruciform invocative monogram (type V). No border visible.

Θεοτόκε βοήθει


Inscription of five lines. Wreath border.


Θεοδώρο ἐπισκόπῳ Κώου


Θεοτόκε βοήθει Θεοδώρο ἐπισκόπῳ Κώου.

Theotokos, help Theodore bishop of Kos.


Zacos-Veglery correctly published the specimen as a seal of Kos, suggesting that it might, however, refer to the bishopric of Kokkos, a suffragan of Neokaisareia. But as this bishopric only appears in 10th century notitiae (Darrouzès, Notitiae, no. 10, line 243), it can be safely excluded. On the contrary, one cannot exclude the bishoprics of Κόμανα (of Pontos or of Armenia) or of Κόμβα (of Pissinou in Galatia). Without definitely excluding the other possibilities, we attribute this seal to Kos because the lost line 5 could not contain more than two letters and because the lost line 5 could not contain more than two letters and because of the Ω, which is very clearly legible at the end of line 4.

The island of Kos, a bishopric as early as the 4th century, was a suffragan of Rhodes, and seems to have had a normal succession of bishops (one of them, Constantine, attended the Council of 879: Mansi XVII, 374-78) until the 14th century when it achieved the rank of archbishopric under Michael VIII or Andronikos II. See Laurent, Corpus V/3, 121; Fedalto, 510-11; Malamut, Iles, 322, 503-4; ODB II, 150.