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The hypologoi of Nicaea (eleventh/twelfth century)

Accession number BZS.1955.1.4931
Diameter 25 mm
Field diameter 20 mm
Condition Pinched on the side.
Previous Editions

DO Seals 3, no. 59.2a.


Bust of the Virgin orans. Sigla: ̅ΘΥ̅: Μή(τη)ρ Θ(εο)ῦ. Border of dots.


Inscription of five lines. Border of dots.


Κ(ύρι)ε β(οή)θ(ει) τοῖς ὑπολογίοις Νικαίας


Κύριε βοήθει τοῖς ὑπολογίοις Νικαίας

Lord, help the hypologioi of Nicaea.


The abbreviation sign after Γ (line 4) cannot be explained and is likely due to an engraver's error. The term ὑπολόγιος (ὑπόλογος) seems to indicate a person held accountable for something which is not specified. This seems to be the meaning of the word as used by Ps.-Symeon Magistros, Bonn, 623, with reference to the inhabitants of a monastery, who are accountable for its belongings. Zacos (Seals II, nos. 258 and 866) published two seals of hypologoi of Abydos (he posits control of trade), and mentions a third seal of the Fogg Collection (BZS.1951.31.5.633). We are more inclined to take them as members of a welfare institution (or of a group of institutions), perhaps a pious association. It is worth noting that there was in Nicaea a nunnery called τῆς Νικαίας (Janin, Grand centres, 118). No explanation is certain.