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Theophilos, metropolitan of Tarsos and synkellos (eleventh century)

Accession number BZS.1947.2.339
Diameter 25 mm
Field diameter 19 mm
Condition Corroded (obv.)
Previous Editions

DO Seals 5 no. 5.6; Laurent Corpus 5.2: no. 1541 (with a slightly different reading). See also Wassiliou-Seibt, Siegel mit metrischen Legenden II, no. 1946.

Obverse

Full figures of Sts. Peter (left) and Paul (right) greeting each other. Vertical inscription at left: Ε|Τ|.Ο.Ὁ ἅ(γιος) Πέτ[ρ]ο(ς). At right: |ΠΑ|Υ.Ὁ ἅ(γιος) Παῦ[λο(ς)]. Border of dots.

Reverse

Metrical inscription consisting of two twelve-syllable verses. Border of dots.

ΣΚΕΠΕ
ΜΕΣ̅ΕΡΣΗΝ
.ΙΔΜΟΙ
.ΑΡΙΝΤΑΡ
.ΠΡΟΕΔΡ,
ΣΥΓΚΕΛΛ
.ΕΟΦΙΛ,

Σκέπε με, Σ(ῶτ)ερ, σὴν [δ]ίδου μοι (καὶ) [χ]άριν Ταρ[σ]οῦ προέδρ(ῳ), συγκἐλλῳ [Θ]εοφίλ(ῳ).

Translation

Σκέπε με, Σῶτερ, σὴν δίδου μοι καὶ χάριν Ταρσοῦ προέδρῳ, συγκἐλλῳ Θεοφίλῳ.

Saviour, watch over me, and bestow your grace on me, Theophilos, metropolitan of Tarsos and synkellos.

Commentary

Tarsos was the most wealthy and powerful of the towns on the Cilician plain, and following its capture by the Arabs and use as a base for raids into  Byzantine territory, became the focus of Nikephoros Phokas’s eastern campaigns. The city was recaptured and was converted into an imperial kouratoreia, as well as the seat for a strategos, later under the authority of the doux of Antioch. By the end of the eleventh century, control passed into the hands of Armenian chieftains.

The reverse inscription consists of two dodecasyllabic verses. The owner of this seal is well known, and Laurent assigned his tenure as metropolitan of Tarsos to the years between 1060 and 1080. The depiction of SS Peter and Paul is a noteworthy variation on the iconography normally found on the seals of Tarsiot metropolitans, which show the apostle Paul only (cf. Laurent, Corpus 5.2: nos. 1537–40; SBS 6 [1999]: 117, 133, 142, 158, as well as BZS.1958.106.98).

Note also the mu letter-form on the third line, following the horseshoe ligature. This form is generally later: Oikonomides (Dated Lead Seals, p. 162 and epigraphic table, no. 50) put them in the last three centuries of the empire, with the form here, consisting of a straight horizontal bar, prevailing on seals from around 1250 to the end of the thirteenth century. This is likely one of the earliest instances of the letter form.

Accession number BZS.1947.2.339
Diameter 25 mm
Field diameter 19 mm
Condition Corroded (obv.)
Previous Editions

DO Seals 5 no. 5.6; Laurent Corpus 5.2: no. 1541 (with a slightly different reading). See also Wassiliou-Seibt, Siegel mit metrischen Legenden II, no. 1946.

Accession number BZS.1947.2.339
Diameter 25 mm
Field diameter 19 mm
Condition Corroded (obv.)
Previous Editions

DO Seals 5 no. 5.6; Laurent Corpus 5.2: no. 1541 (with a slightly different reading). See also Wassiliou-Seibt, Siegel mit metrischen Legenden II, no. 1946.

Notes

Accession number BZS.1947.2.339
Diameter 25 mm
Field diameter 19 mm
Condition Corroded (obv.)
Previous Editions

DO Seals 5 no. 5.6; Laurent Corpus 5.2: no. 1541 (with a slightly different reading). See also Wassiliou-Seibt, Siegel mit metrischen Legenden II, no. 1946.

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