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Michael Italikos, metropolitan of Philippoupolis (twelfth century)

Accession number BZS.1955.1.4980
Diameter 28 mm
Previous Editions

DO Seals 1, no. 68.2.
Laurent, Corpus V/3, no. 1765 (incomplete and erroneous); cf. Wassiliou-Seibt, Siegel mit metrischen Legenden II, no. 1807.


Inscription of five lines. Indeterminate border.


Πόλις Φιλίππου, θρέμματος ἀποστόλων


Inscription of four lines, decoration below. Border of dots.


ἔχεις τροφόν με Μιχαὴλ Ἰταλόθεν


Πόλις Φιλίππου, θρέμματος ἀποστόλων, ἔχεις τροφόν με Μιχαὴλ Ἰταλόθεν.

City of Philip, nursling of the apostles, you have me, Michael, son of Italy, to nourish you.


The inscription consists of two twelve-syllable verses. Laurent incorrectly read the reverse inscription ἔχεις προτον με Μιχαὴλ Ἰταλόθεν.

Philip the "creature" or "nursling" of the Apostles is undoubtedly Philip the deacon, known from the Acts of the Apostles; his memory is celebrated by the Church on 11 October (Syn. Eccl. CP 129, 9). It seems that (the metropolitan church of) Philippoupolis was dedicated to this saint. Note also the play on the words of θρέμμα-τροφός (reflected in the translation as "nurseling-nurse"), the latter probably indicating that Michael, being the bishop was in charge of providing nourishment, presumably spiritual, to his flock. Michael Italikos, Constantinopolitan rhetor, was appointed to the see of Philippoupolis before 1143, when the Second Crusade went by, and was replaced before May 1157: Michel Italikos, Lettres et discours, ed. P. Gautier (Paris, 1972) 26-28.

Modern Plovdiv, Bulgaria. Philippoupolis, so named already in the second century B.C. after Philip II of Macedonia, also had Philip the Deacon as its patron saint (cf. DO Seals 1, no. 68.2). From the fourth century on, it was an important administrative center and ecclesiastical metropolis. See Zakythinos, Mélétai 18 (1948) 60-61; Laurent, Corpus V/1, 518-19; Asdracha, Rhodopespassim, esp. 154-62.