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Leo (bishop) of Sebaste (eleventh century)

Accession number BZS.1958.106.2466
Diameter 18 mm
Field diameter 11 mm
Previous Editions

DO Seals 3, no. 33.1. Cf. Wassiliou-Seibt, Siegel mit metrischen Legenden I, no. 431.


Inscription of three lines. Border of dots:


Γραφ(ὰς) σφραγ(ί)ζω


Inscription of four lines. Border of dots.


Λέοντ(ος) τῆς Σεβάστις


Γραφὰς σφραγίζω Λέοντος τῆς Σεβάστις.

I enclose the letters of Leo (bishop) of Sebaste.


This would be a proper dodecasyllabic verse as long as the stress fell on the penultimate syllable of the last word (instead of the correct Σεβαστῆς). The phrase should actually read τοῦ Σεβαστῆς, since the normal appellation of the bishop is ὁ Σεβαστῆς. We entertained the possibility of interpreting the name σεβαστή as a title, but this presents serious difficulties: the phrase would normally be construed as Λέοντοσ τοῦ [ἀνθρώπου] τῆς σεβαστῆς; even so, it would be difficult to explain this phrase in an eleventh-century context, when the only mid-century sebastai were the mistresses of Constantine Monomachos. Such a sebaste would be endowed with flattering epithets, while the late-century sebastai were so numerous that the owner of the seal would have to specify to whom he referred (N. Oikonomides, DOP 34/35 [1980/81] 239-46; Oikonomides, Évolution, 126-27). This seal must therefore have belonged to a bishop.

Sebaste (today ruins between Selcükler and Sivasli [which preserves the name], in the upper Maeander valley) was a suffragan bishopric of Laodikeia of Phrygia, mentioned in all notitiae from the seventh to the thirteenth centuries. We list it here because of its ecclesiastical affiliation, in spite of the fact that Sebaste belonged to the theme of the Antaolikoi (H. Delehaye, Les saints stylites [Brussels, 1923], 202). Its first known bishop attended the Council of Chalcedon in 451. See Phrygien und Pisidien, 376-78.