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Arsenios archbishop of Lemnos (ninth century)

Accession Number:

Previous Editions

DO Seals 2, no. 50.1b.
Laurent, Corpus V/3, no. 1819.


30 mm


Arsenios archbishop of Lemnos (ninth century)

Bust of the Virgin holding the medallion of Christ before her. Above the head of the Virgin: . Within concentric borders of dots, a circular inscription.


Θεοτόκε βόηθη το σο δούλο


Arsenios archbishop of Lemnos (ninth century)

Inscription of four lines, a decoration above and a row of pellets below. Border of dots.


Ἀρσενίῳ ἀρχηεπισκόπῳ Λήμνων. Ἀμήν.


Θεοτόκε βόηθη το σο δούλο Ἀρσενίῳ ἀρχηεπισκόπῳ Λήμνων. Ἀμήν.

Theotokos, help your servant Arsenios archbishop of Lemnos. Amen.



There are three odd features relevant to minor decoration: the first is the unusual placement of a cross of dots () above the head of the Virgin, inside the nimbus; the second is the cross between tendrils, which is an 8th century decoration; the third is the form ΛΗΜΝΝ: Λήμνων or Λημνίων [but there is no mark of abbreviation] or Λημνῶν? We maintained the form Λήμνων because we fell that pronouncing Λημνῶν for Λήμνου would be unrealistic.

The date of this seal is clearly revealed by its close similarity in design to the seat of Patriarch Photios (Dated Seals, no. 53), and indeed, as Laurent has already observed, there is a good possibility that the Arsenios recorded here is the Arsenios of Lemnos who attended the synod of 879/880 (Mansi XVII, 373).

The island of Lemnos (Λῆμνος, but some variants may have existed, cf. DO Seals 2, 49.1) in the northern Aegean, halfway between Mt. Athos and the coast of Asia Minor, was the site of a bishopric already in the 4th century and joined the Patriarchate of Constantinople in the 8th century, with the rest of the Illyricum; a komes appears then among its administrators (F. Halkin, Euphémie de Chalcédoine [Bruxelles, 1965], 100). Under Leo VI it is recorded as an archbishopric (Darrouzès, Notitiae, no. 7, line 80). It held this rank until the 14th century, when it was temporarily raised to a metropolis. As far as lay administration is concerned, it seems to have been part of the theme of the Aigaion Pelagos (Life [A] of St. Athanasios the Athonite, ed. Noret, 10). See Laurent, Corpus V/1, 657; Malamut, Iles, passim, 344, 369-70; ODB II, 1205; Seyrig, no. 256.


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