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Anonymous (eleventh century, second half)

 
 

Obverse

Τhe Virgin orans with a medallion of Christ before her. Sigla: ̣̅ΘΥ̣ : Μ(ήτη)ρ Θ(εο)ῦ. Border of dots.

Reverse

St Ignatios Theophoros, holding a small cross before him. Inscription in two columns: |Η̣Γ̣|.̣|.Ο|ΘΕ|Ο|ΟΡ, : ὁ ἅ(γιος) Ἠγ[ν]ά[τ](ιος) ὁ Θεοφόρ(ος). Border of dots.

Obverse

Τhe Virgin orans with a medallion of Christ before her. Sigla: ̣̅ΘΥ̣ : Μ(ήτη)ρ Θ(εο)ῦ. Border of dots.

Reverse

St Ignatios Theophoros, holding a small cross before him. Inscription in two columns: |Η̣Γ̣|.̣|.Ο|ΘΕ|Ο|ΟΡ, : ὁ ἅ(γιος) Ἠγ[ν]ά[τ](ιος) ὁ Θεοφόρ(ος). Border of dots.

Accession number BZS.1951.31.5.3463
Diameter 21.0 mm; field: 14.0 mm
Previous Editions

DO Seals 7, no. 10.32.

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

Commentary

There appears to be traces of an episcopal omophorion over Ignatios’ left shoulder and the remains of a small martyr’s cross held in his right hand.  The epithet Theophoros, “God-bearer,” is applied to Saint Ignatios, the bishop of Antioch who was brought to Rome and martyred in 107. His commemoration is on 20 December (Synax CP, 329-330). If this identification of the figure is correct then this is the only known example of Saint Ignatios depicted on a seal. For more recent discussion of Saint Ignatios and his image, see Cutler- Ševčenko, “St. Ignatios,” 113-127. I wish to thank Nancy Ševčenko for providing me with a copy of this article.