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Constantine dioiketes of the Lykian Myra (ninth century)

Accession number BZS.1958.106.4460
Diameter 27 mm
Field diameter 23 mm
Condition Weakly struck.
Previous Editions

DO Seals 2, no. 72.1.
Zacos-Veglery, no. 1804.


Cruciform invocative monogram (type VIII); in the quarters: ΤΣ|..Λ. Wreath border.

Κύριε βοήθει τῷ σῷ δούλῳ


Inscription of four lines. Wreath border.


Κωνσταντίν διυκητῇ Λυκίων Μύρον


Κύριε βοήθει τῷ σῷ δούλῳ Κωνσταντίνῳ διυκητῇ Λυκίων Μύρον.

Lord, help your servant Constantine dioiketes of the Lykian Myra.


Despite the odd word order that this creates, Zacos-Veglery transcribed Λυκίας Μύρων. This phrasing (Lykia placed before Myra) invites one to understand dioiketes of Lykia, Myra, or Lykia and Myra. The necessary καί is not there. Thus we prefer the adjective Λύκιος (of Lykia, cf. Λυκίων πόλιν in De Them., chap. XIV, line 18); we use it here to specify the region where Constantine was authorized to collect taxes and to avoid any confusion with taxes on μῦρα, that is, perfumes, in a region where this trade was certainly very active (cf. DO Seals 2, § 64), not to speak of the μῦρον exhumed by St. Nicholas' grave. Another dioiketes of Myra appears at a later date on a seal the reading of which is not secure (G. Schlumberger, "Sceaux byzantins inédits," RN 9 [1905] 324, no. 209).

Myra (ruins close to Demre) was famous for the relics of St. Nicholas; it was also a major metropolis mentioned in all notitiae and whose metropolitans attended the major councils and the patriarchal synod from the 4th century onward. See Laurent, Corpus V/1, 370; Zacos, Seals II, no. 380; Fedalto, 225-26; J. Darrouzès, in REB 44 (1986) 17-19; ODB II, 1428; Zgusta, 410-11; Brandes, Städte, 96-98. Our first seal shows that in the 9th century it was also a center of fiscal administration.