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Michael poimenarches (= bishop) of Ibora (eleventh century)

Accession number BZS.1955.1.4969
Diameter 19 mm
Condition Blank too small for die.
Previous Editions

DO Seals 4, no. 27.1.

Laurent, Corpus V/3, nos. 1722 (correct reading), 1870 (completely misread).


Bust of the Virgin holding Christ on her right arm. Siglα:..-θ̅υ : [Μ(ήτη)ρ] Θ(εο)ῦ. Traces of a circular inscription at right. Border of dots.


[Θεοτόκε βοήθ]ει


Inscription of six lines, top line missing. No visible border.

.Α Ρ

Τῷ [τ]ῶ[ν] [Ἰ]βώρων Μιχαὴλ ποιμε[ν]άρχ(ῃ)


Θεοτόκε βοήθει τῷ τῶν Ἰβώρων Μιχαὴλ ποιμενάρχῃ.

Mother of God, help Michael, bishop of Ibora.


In Corpus V/3, Laurent published our specimen twice; the first time, he read line 2 (rev.) correctly and attributed the seal to the bishopric of Ibora; on the second occasion he failed to read line 2 and published the specimen under the general heading of “Le métropolite.” The correction proposed by W. Seibt in ByzSl 35 (1974) 75 should not be retained.

Laurent was struck by the use of poimenarches for a simple bishop and not for a metropolitan, as is usual (Laurent, Corpus V/1, p. XXXI). We think that the reverse is a correct twelve-syllable verse and for this reason the poetic word has been used instead of the usual ἐπισκόπῳ.

On line one of the reverse one cannot see clearly the letter between the two Ωs. The restitution that we propose makes better sense for an independent verse. Laurent had proposed τῷ σῷ Ἰβώρων ... which is not impossible.