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Theodore bishop of Helos and synkellos (eleventh century)

Accession number BZS.1947.2.2058
Diameter 25 mm
Condition Dented and corroded; doublestruck.
Previous Editions

DO Seals 2, no. 26.1.
Laurent, Corpus V/1, no. 658.


Bust of St. John the Baptist; details indistinct. On the right, the inscription: |Ι|ΟΠΡ|ΔΡ,|Μ,: ὁ Πρόδρομος. Border of dots.


Inscription of six lines. Border of dots.


Κύριε βοήθει τῷ σῷ δούλ Θεωδώρ ἐπισκόπ Ἕλους καὶ συγκέλλῳ


Κύριε βοήθει τῷ σῷ δούλῳ Θεωδώρῳ ἐπισκόπῳ Ἕλους καὶ συγκέλλῳ.

Lord, help your servant Theodore, bishop of Helos and synkellos.


The see of Helos, a suffragan of Patras, appears in the 10th century (Darrouzès, Notitiae, no. 9, line 414;its mention in notitia, no. 7, line 555, is an interpolation). Was it a specific town or, more generally, a region, namely the plain of Helos to the southeast of Sparta? We think that Helos must certainly have been a town (exact location unknown; perhaps Skala on the Eurotas river or a nearby location), as were practically all other bishoprics: it is mentioned as such in De Adm. Imp. (chap. 50, line 16), together with another town, Lakedaimonia; in the Life of St. Nikon (168, 174, 293), it appears as a town of mixed population, Byzantine and, presumably, Slavic; the Latin sources also allude to it as if it were a town (Bon, Morée francque, 99, note 4, 498), and in the 18th century there is mention of the fortezza di Eleos. From Antiquity, its name came from the swampy region in which it was situated. Of course nothing rules out that the creation of the bishopric was related to the Christianization of the Ezeritai (who also took their name from the "lake"). See D. Georgakas, "The Mediaeval Names Melingi and Ezeritae of Slavic Groups in the Peloponnesus," BZ 43 (1950) 327-30; Bon, Péloponnèse, 108-110; Laurent, Corpus V/1, 493 ff; Commentary, 186; J. M. Wagstaff, The Development of Rural Settlements: A Study of the Helos Plain in Southern Greece (Avebury, 1982), 58; Fedalto, 502-3.