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John bishop of Limne (eleventh century)

Accession number BZS.1955.1.4899
Diameter 21 mm
Field diameter 18 mm
Previous Editions

DO Seals 3, no. 23.1.


Indistinct bust of a saint (Nicholas?). No inscription visible. Border of dots.


Inscription of five lines. Border of dots.


Κ(ύρι)ε β(οή)θ(ει) τῷ σῷ δ(ούλῳ) [Ἰ]ω(άννῃ) προέδρο Λήμνης


Κύριε βοήθει τῷ σῷ δούλῳ Ἰωάννῃ προέδρο Λήμνης.

Lord, help your servant John, proedros (i.e. bishop) of Limne.


What is the meaning of "proedros" here? Is it the honorific title frequently attested in the eleventh century? If so, it could mean that Λήμνης is a family name; however, this is unlikely because family names are introduced by the article, and Limnes is not known to us as a family name. Otherwise, Limnes must be the place over which the proedros held authority, and, in this case, the word proedros should be understood as a poetic usage indicating the (arch)bishop (used oddly in a non-metrical seal, which is not unique).

No bishopric of Limne appears in the notitiae, but a bishop Λίμνης named Michael was inquiring about canonical matters at the synod of Constantinople on 4 February 1197 (Rhallès-Potlès V, 101). Probably the same person confirmed by his signature a group of deeds of sale of the years 1207, 1213, and 1214, all concerning the region of Miletos (MM VI, 153). He could also be the (unnamed) bishop of Limne who in the early thirteenth century confirmed by his signature an act of the sebastokrator Nikephoros Konstostephanos (MM I, 291) concerning the region of Miletos. The bishopric should be sought in this region.

Another seal of a bishop of Limne, named John and dating from the late tenth/early eleventh century, decorated on the obverse with a bust of the Virgin with both hands open before her, was for sule in Munich in February 1994 (G. Hirsch Nachfolger, Müntzen und Medaillen Antiken, Auktion 181 [am 22-25 Februar 1994] [Munich, 1994], no. 1034j: with excellent photograph.

Limne was a bishopric attested in the eleventh-thirteenth centuries, probably a suffragan of Miletos.