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Anonymous (eleventh/twelfth century)

 
 

Obverse

The Virgin holding Christ on her right arm (Dexiokratousa); Christ’s leg and arm cross the front of the Virgin. Sigla (flanking the Virgin): ̅Θ̅. : Μή(τη)ρ Θ(εο)[ῦ]; (at left of Christ): ΙΣ̣|ΧΣ: Ἰ(ησοῦ)ς Χ(ριστὸ)ς. Invocative inscription at right of the Virgin. Border of dots.

|ΘΚ̅Ε|̣Ο|.Θ̣|Η̣

+Θ(εοτό)κε βο[ή]θη

Reverse

Bust of Saint Symeon Stylites the Younger of the Wondrous Mountain, orans, on a column. Inscription in two columns: .|.Υ |Θ̣Α|Ν|ΤΟΥ|Τ̣|ΡΓ: [ὁ ἅγιος Σ]υμεὼν τοῦ Θαυματ(ου)ργ(οῦ). Border of dots.

Obverse

The Virgin holding Christ on her right arm (Dexiokratousa); Christ’s leg and arm cross the front of the Virgin. Sigla (flanking the Virgin): ̅Θ̅. : Μή(τη)ρ Θ(εο)[ῦ]; (at left of Christ): ΙΣ̣|ΧΣ: Ἰ(ησοῦ)ς Χ(ριστὸ)ς. Invocative inscription at right of the Virgin. Border of dots.

|ΘΚ̅Ε|̣Ο|.Θ̣|Η̣

+Θ(εοτό)κε βο[ή]θη

Reverse

Bust of Saint Symeon Stylites the Younger of the Wondrous Mountain, orans, on a column. Inscription in two columns: .|.Υ |Θ̣Α|Ν|ΤΟΥ|Τ̣|ΡΓ: [ὁ ἅγιος Σ]υμεὼν τοῦ Θαυματ(ου)ργ(οῦ). Border of dots.

Accession number BZS.1951.31.5.3507
Diameter 18.0 mm
Previous Editions

DO Seals 7, no. 8.13.

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

Translation

Θεοτόκε βοήθη.

Mother of God, give Thy aid.

Commentary

It is unusual to place the invocative inscription to just one side of the image. The standard format is with the accompanying invocation appearing in a circular arrangement above the image within the field following the curvilinear frame or within the border as a circular invocative inscription.

The epithet indicates that this is the sixth-century Saint Symeon the Stylite the Younger (feast-day 24 May) of the Wondrous Mountain, southwest of Antioch (now Saman Daǧı iin Turkey) and distinguishes him from his fith-century homonymous predecessor, Symeon Stylites the Elder, whose shrine is located at Qal‘at Sem‘an, northeast of Antioch. Without the accomanying epithet, or versions thereof –Thaumastos or Thaumastorites, it would be impossble to distinguish between the two stylite saints since both are depicted as monastic figures atop a column. For discussion of the confusion between them or the conflation of the two saints, see ODB 3, 1985-1987 and Jolivet-Lévy, «Syméon Stylites,» 35-47. From the major published collections there are 19 seals bearing an image of a Symeon the Stylite, nine of which bear an epithet for Symeon Stylites the Younger or are associated with his monastic foundation. Similar images of both saints are found on pilgrim tokens from their respective shrines (see Vikan, Pilgrimage Art, figs. 11, 12, 17-19 and 57).