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Sergios merarches of Hellas (ninth/tenth century)

Accession Number:

Previous Editions

DO Seals 2, no. 8.31.


25 mm
Bent. The relationship of the reverse die to the obverse is 180°.


Sergios merarches of Hellas (ninth/tenth century)

Crude bust of St. Nicholas; gestures unclear. Inscription in two columns. Ο|Ν|Κ: Ὁ ἅγιος Νικόλαος. Border of dots.


Sergios merarches of Hellas (ninth/tenth century)

Crudely engraved inscription of four lines. Border of dots.


Σέργιος μεράρχης Ἑλάδος


Σέργιος μεράρχης Ἑλάδος.

Sergios, merarches of Hellas.



The present seal is the work of a poorly trained (if at all) craftsman and does not fit in with any trends in sigillographic epigraphy. We propose a ninth or tenth century date without much conviction because the very peculiar form of the letter α () must have been borrowed from common script; the closest parallels that we found are in miniscule manuscripts of 895, 914, 964 (Gardthausen, Palaeographie, pl. 5 and 6), in the ninth century capital script of cod. Vatic. gr. 2059 (La Paléographie grecque et byzantine [Paris, 1977], 117, pl. 9), and from 10th century Parthenon graffiti, especially from the year 912 (Orlandos-Branouses, no. 8).

The merarches, an official similar to (and eventually assimilated into) the tourmarches, is known from texts and seals dating from the 10th-12th centuries (Listes, 109, note 65). There was normally only one merarches per theme; consequently there is no need to seek a special explanation for the expression merarches of Hellas, which appears on our seal.


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