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John metropolitan of Sardeis (tenth/eleventh century)

Accession Number:

Previous Editions

DO Seals 3, no. 32.5.

Laurent, Corpus V/2, no. 1608 (erroneously read and attributed to Smyrna). Two similar specimens, from different boulloteria, are published in Zacos, Seals II, nos. 173a, 173b.


25 mm
20 mm
Cracked along channel. Flattened on the side.


John metropolitan of Sardeis (tenth/eleventh century)

Elaborate cross, with linear outline, standing on a straight bar; at its four ends, one large and two small pellets. On either side, tendrils arise from the base to the top of the cross. Along the border of dots, the remains of a circular inscription:


[Κύριε βοήθ]ει τῷ σῷ δούλῳ


John metropolitan of Sardeis (tenth/eleventh century)

Inscription of five lines, a decoration above (and below?). Border of dots.


Ἰωάννῃ τῷ θ[εο]φιλε(στάτῳ] μητ[ρο]πολί[τῃ] Σάρδ[εω(ν)]


Κύριε βοήθει τῷ σῷ δούλῳ Ἰωάννῃ τῷ θεοφιλεστάτῳ μητροπολίτῃ Σάρδεων.

Lord, help your servant John, the most devout metropolitan of Sardeis.



The two Zacos specimens obviously belonged to the same prelate as the seal edited here. Laurent (Corpus V/1, 263) mentions a metropolitan John, attested in the works of Demetrios of Kyzikos (Cod. Ambros. gr. 682, fol. 370), who was active before 950. But it seems to us that the present specimen, with its decorations above the first line (and, possibly, at the end, by analogy with the Zacos seals), must be assigned a later date.

Sardeis (modern Sart), was capital of Lydia and seat of a metropolitan, attested since 325. The non-hellenic name appears on seals as well as in the notitiae in two main forms, the classical Σάρδεις, -εων, and the popular Σάρδη, ἦς, or non-declined Σάρδης (whenever in doubt, we have restored the classical form). From the seals we learn that it was also a fiscal center. See Laurent, Corpus V/1, 260-61 (add Zacos, Seals II, nos. 670, 869); Zgusta, 541-42; C. Foss, Byzantine and Turkish Sardis (Cambridge, Mass., 1976); Brandes, Städte, 86-88; ODB III, 1843.


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