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Nicholas archbishop of Ephesos (ninth century)

Accession Number:

Previous Editions

DO Seals 3, no. 14.5b.

Laurent, Corpus V/3, no. 1685 (misread as the seal of an archbishop Καισαρείας).


30 mm
Corroded along one side.


Nicholas archbishop of Ephesos (ninth century)

Cruciform invocative monogram (type V). In the quarters: ΤΣ|δ-λ. Wreath border.

Θεοτόκε βοήθει τῷ σῷ δούλῳ


Nicholas archbishop of Ephesos (ninth century)

Inscription of four lines, beginning with a cross. Partially effaced. Wreath border:


Νικολάῳ ἀρχ[ι]επισκόπ[ῳ] Ἐφέσ[ου].


Θεοτόκε βοήθει τῷ σῷ δούλῳ Νικολάῳ ἀρχιεπισκόπῳ Ἐφέσου.

Mother of God, help your servant Nicholas, archbishop of Ephesos.



This seal and BZS.1955.1.4711 are from different boulloteria, but they date from the same period. With the exception of the monogram type, they seem to be copies of each other, including the exact layout of the reverse inscription. They seem to come from the same owner.

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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