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The proedros (metropolitan) of Nikomedeia (eighth century)

 
 

Obverse

A cross within a cruciform frame adorned by pellets at each end. Within a double wreath border, a circular inscription.

...ΑΓΙΣΠΡΟΕΔΡΝΙΚΟΔΕΙΑΣΠΕΛ

Σφραγὶς προέδρου Νικομηδείας πέλω

Reverse

A four-lobed, vined tendril adorned with pellets in each quarter. The inscription is in the shape of a cross (intersecting at the Π), reading vertically: Τ|Υ|Π||Σ||ΣΥΜ. Reading horizontally: Β ΖΩΗΦΟΡ. All within a wreath border.

διττῶς ζωηφόρον τυποῦσα συμεῖον

Obverse

A cross within a cruciform frame adorned by pellets at each end. Within a double wreath border, a circular inscription.

...ΑΓΙΣΠΡΟΕΔΡΝΙΚΟΔΕΙΑΣΠΕΛ

Σφραγὶς προέδρου Νικομηδείας πέλω

Reverse

A four-lobed, vined tendril adorned with pellets in each quarter. The inscription is in the shape of a cross (intersecting at the Π), reading vertically: Τ|Υ|Π||Σ||ΣΥΜ. Reading horizontally: Β ΖΩΗΦΟΡ. All within a wreath border.

διττῶς ζωηφόρον τυποῦσα συμεῖον

Accession number BZS.1951.31.5.1038
Diameter 29.0 mm
Condition Broken along the circumference. The reading has been restored with reference to the better preserved parallels published in other collections.
Previous Editions

DO Seals 3, no. 83.10a.
Laurent, Corpus V/1, no. 375
Cf. Zacos-Veglery, nos. 2293a. and 2993b; Wassiliou-Seibt, Siegel mit metrischen Legenden II, no. 2770.

Credit Line Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Bequest of Thomas Whittemore.

Translation

Σφραγὶς προέδρου Νικομηδείας πέλω διττῶς ζωηφόρον τυποῦσα συμεῖον.

I am the seal of the proedros of Nikomedeia, representing the life-giving symbol in two ways.

Commentary

Dodecasyllabic, but the second verse is made of two six-syllables.

We read the first word of the second verse as διττῶς since the letter Β is normally used also for the numeral and can be read as "two" or "twice," etc.; it is followed by a small circle above the line, normally the abbreviation for -ος. Thus we assume that there is a spelling mistake, and we read the adverb διττῶς ("in two ways," a reading is closer to the epigraphy than διπλοῦν, proposed by Laurent but ignored by Zacos-Veglery).

Laurent placed the present specimen in the late tenth or early eleventh; Zacos-Veglery opted for the early eighth century on the basis of the epigraphy and the similarity in design to seals of that period (Zacos-Veglery, nos. 1460, 1637, and 3011). The combination of the cross and the metrical verses point to a date sometime during the first Iconoclasm (726-787).