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Constantine bishop of Tralle (eighth century)

Accession number BZS.1958.106.89
Diameter 32 mm
Field diameter 26 mm
Previous Editions

DO Seals 3, no. 38.1.


Cruciform invocative monogram (type V); in the quarters, the inscription: τ-σ|δ-λ. Wreath border.

Θεοτόκε βοήθει τῷ σῷ δούλῳ


Inscription of four lines, preceded and followed by cross between fleurons. Wreath border.


Κωνσταντίνῳ ἐπισκόπῳ Τράλης


Θεοτόκε βοήθει τῷ σῷ δούλῳ Κωνσταντίνῳ ἐπισκόπῳ Τράλης.

Theotokos, help your servant Constantine, bishop of Tralle.


The first four letters of the reverse are certain; the last letter could be an eta, but might well be iota, in which case we should read Τράλι[ς]. It could also be omega, resulting in Τράλω(ν).

There are two bishoprics of this name, both within the Thrakesion theme, and it is impossible to attribute our seals separately to either one. Laurent assigned all seals with this placename to Tralleis of Asia without explaining the reason for his choice.

1. Tralleis of Asia (today Aydin) was a suffragan bishopric of Ephesos and appears as such in all notitiae. Its bishops are attested from the fifth to the thirteenth centuries. See Laurent, Corpus V/1, 186; Culerrier, Suffragants d'Ephèse, 159-160 (episcopal list); Zgusta, 630 ff; ODB III, 2103-4.

2. Tralle of Lydia (unknown site, close to the frontier with Phrygia) is usually spelled Τράλλης or Τράλλων in the notitiae where it appears as a suffragan bishopric of Sardeis (Darrouzès, Notitiae, index, s.v.). It is probable that this name has a different etymology than Tralleis. See Zgusta, 632.

The only criterion by which to distinguish between one and the other would appear to be the spelling. But even this cannot be considered a secure criterion: the form Τράλλεων is also attested for the bishopric of Lydia (Darrouzès, Notitiae, no. 4, line 161; no. 10, line 103), and the parallel case of Sardeis/Sarde shows that there was no consistent use of the first or the third declension forms. In order to avoid confusion between the two sees, the bishops attending councils indicated in their signatures that they come from the Asian or the Lydian Tralleis. See Le Quien, Oriens Christianus I, 695-98.