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Nikephoros (bishop) of Pyrgion (eleventh/twelfth century)

Accession number BZS.1951.31.5.2867
Diameter 23 mm
Field diameter 16 mm
Previous Editions

DO Seals 3, no. 31.3.

Laurent, Corpus V/1, no. 295.


Bust of the Virgin orans. On either side the sigla: ̅-θ̅υ : Μή(τη)ρ Θ(εο)ῦ. Border of dots.


Inscription of four lines. Border of dots.


Θ(εοτό)κε β(οή)θ(ει) Νικηφώρῳ Πυργί{ο}ου


Θεοτόκε βοήθει Νικηφώρῳ Πυργίου.

Mother of God, help Nikephoros (bishop) of Pyrgion.


This inscription consists of two seven-syllable hemistichs (cf. E. McGeer, "Discordant Verses on Byzantine Metrical Seals," SBS 4 [1995] 63-69); this Kunstprosa approach may be the reason for which this bishop of Pyrgion does not use the epithet ἐλάχιστος on his seal, as did the two previous ones. Contrary to Laurent, we feel that the present specimen is considerably later than the previous one, probably belonging to a different bishop Nikephoros.

Pyrgion is the modern Birgi at the foot of the Tmolos. The see was first named Dios Hieron, later (seventh century) Christoupolis, finally Pyrgion, with this name appearing first on seals and only in the late twelfth century in literary sources. Its first known bishop is attested in 451. It was a suffragan of Ephesos, until the late twelfth century, when it was raised to the status of metropolis. Conquered by the Turks in 1307, it became the capital of the emirate of Aydin. See Laurent, Corpus V/1, 207-8; Culerrier, Suffragants d'Ephèse, 155 (episcopal list).