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John metropolitan of Melitene and synkellos (eleventh century)

Accession number BZS.1958.106.7
Diameter 33 mm
Field diameter 27 mm
Condition Double-struck.
Previous Editions

DO Seals 4, no. 68.9.

Laurent, Corpus V/1, no. 436 (with incomplete reading of circular inscription on the obverse).


Bust of St. John Chrysostom holding a patriarchal cross and a book. Inscription in two columns: |ιω|ο-|ο|στ,|μ, : Ὁ ἅ(γιος) Ἰω(άννης) ὁ Χρ(υσ)όστ(ο)μ(ος). Circular inscription within a double border of dots, beginning at twelve o'clock:


Λόγοις ὁ Χρυσοῦς καὶ γραφαῖς ἔχει φύλαξ


Inscription of five lines. Border of dots.



Ἰω(άννῃ) μ(ητ)ροπολίτῃ Μελιτηνῖς (καὶ) συγγ(καί)λ(λῳ)


Λόγοις ὁ Χρυσοῦς καὶ γραφαῖς ἔχει φύλαξ. Ἰωάννῃ μητροπολίτῃ Μελιτηνῖς καὶ συγγκαίλλῳ.

Over my words and letters the golden-tongued saint stands guard. John, metropolitan of Melitene and synkellos.


The legend on the obverse forms a twelve syllable verse, with a problem of syntax. The engraver seems to have erred in writing ἔχει instead of ἔστι, and our translation assumes the latter word. On the obverse, following the usual Greek phonetics, the same engraver spelt σύγκελλος with a double γγ instead of the correct γκ; this was a spelling mistake which nevertheless had exactly the same phonetic value. He rounded off his errors by using the abbreviation for (καὶ) instead of a simple ε in the last line, giving us the unusual rendering of συγγκαίλλῳ.