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Anonymous (eleventh/twelfth century)

 
 

Obverse

St John Chrysostom standing holding a small cross in his right hand and a gospel book in his left. Inscription in two columns: .|Ι|Ο|Ο, : [ὁ ἅ(γιος)] Ἰω(άννης) ὁ Χρ(υσ)ό(στομος). Border of dots.

Reverse

St Stephen orans, standing. Inscription in two columns: |Ε̣|̣Α|Ν,Ο|ΑΤ|ΑΡ|ΤΥ, : ὁ ἅ(γιος) Στέφαν(ος) ὁ Πρωτ(ο)μάρτυ(ς). Border of dots.  

           

Obverse

St John Chrysostom standing holding a small cross in his right hand and a gospel book in his left. Inscription in two columns: .|Ι|Ο|Ο, : [ὁ ἅ(γιος)] Ἰω(άννης) ὁ Χρ(υσ)ό(στομος). Border of dots.

Reverse

St Stephen orans, standing. Inscription in two columns: |Ε̣|̣Α|Ν,Ο|ΑΤ|ΑΡ|ΤΥ, : ὁ ἅ(γιος) Στέφαν(ος) ὁ Πρωτ(ο)μάρτυ(ς). Border of dots.  

           

Accession number BZS.1951.31.5.3511
Diameter 27.0 mm; field: 18.0 mm
Previous Editions

DO Seals 7, 15.43.

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

Commentary

It is rare to depict Stephen as an orans figure. Usually he is shown with a martyr’s cross or holding a censor and a pyx or incense box, reflecting his liturgical function as a deacon. Of 70 seals from the major published collections having an image of Stephen, four represent the saint as an orans. In addition, he is not often identified as proto-martyrs on the seals: only on 7 of 70 examples. Here with the paired image of Chrysostom holding the martyr’s cross, the owner of our seal appears to emphasize the confessor/martyr aspect of these two saints and not their liturgical roles.