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Anonymous (eleventh century, second half)

 
 

Obverse

St Nicholas blessing with his right hand and holding a gospel book in his left. Inscription in two columns (only left survives): |Ι̣|ΚΟ : ὁ ἅ(γιος) Νικό[λαος]. Border of dots.

Reverse

Bust of St Constantine, his right hand is indistinct and holds a gospel book in his left. Inscription in two columns (only right survives):  Τ|Α||ΤΙ.|Ο|Σ : [ὁ ἅ(γιος) Κωνσ]ταντί[ν]ος. Border of dots.

Obverse

St Nicholas blessing with his right hand and holding a gospel book in his left. Inscription in two columns (only left survives): |Ι̣|ΚΟ : ὁ ἅ(γιος) Νικό[λαος]. Border of dots.

Reverse

Bust of St Constantine, his right hand is indistinct and holds a gospel book in his left. Inscription in two columns (only right survives):  Τ|Α||ΤΙ.|Ο|Σ : [ὁ ἅ(γιος) Κωνσ]ταντί[ν]ος. Border of dots.

Accession number BZS.1947.2.1849
Diameter 21.0 mm
Condition Broken; one third missing.
Previous Editions

DO Seals 7, 15.23. 

Commentary

The traces of an omophorion and those of the gospel book identify the figure on the reverse as a hierarch. It is difficult to determine which sainted bishop Constantine is depicted. In the tenth-century Synaxarion of Constantinople two bishops named Constantine are commemorated and both are listed as hierarchs of Constantinople, but no biographical information is provided: Constantine I (675-677; commemorated 9 August) and a Constantine the Younger (commemorated 30 July) (SynaxCP, 881 and 856, respectively). Most certainly, Constantine the Younger is not the patriarch Constantine II (754-766) since he was made patriarch by the Iconoclast emperor Constantine V. Even though the patriarch Constantine II was subsequently deposed by the same emperor and ultimately executed based upon suspicions of his participation in an Iconophile plot against the emperor, the patriarch was still condemned later at the Second Synod of Nicaea in 787 as one of the false Iconoclastic patriarchs. Possibly Constantine the Younger was an assistant bishop of the city. The image on our seal may be that of one of the two episcopal Constantines in the Synaxarion or another figure all together. Whoever the image is meant to depict, the figure of a sainted bishop Constantine is very rare. Among the published collections, there is just one other seal with an image of a sainted bishop Constantine: an eleventh-century seal in Berlin 1, no. 63.