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John imperial spatharios (ninth century)

 
 

Obverse

Cruciform invocative monogram (type IX); in the quarters: –|Δ–Λ. Indeterminate border.

Θεοτόκε βοήθει [τ]ῷ [σ]ῷ δούλῳ

Reverse

Inscription of five lines, with cross at beginning of first line and end of fifth line. Indeterminate border.

Ι̣
ΝΝ.Σ
Ι̣ΛΗΚ.ΣΠ
̣ΘΡ̣Η
̣

Ἰωάννῳ [β]ασιλικ[ῷ] σπαθαρήῳͅ

Obverse

Cruciform invocative monogram (type IX); in the quarters: –|Δ–Λ. Indeterminate border.

Θεοτόκε βοήθει [τ]ῷ [σ]ῷ δούλῳ

Reverse

Inscription of five lines, with cross at beginning of first line and end of fifth line. Indeterminate border.

Ι̣
ΝΝ.Σ
Ι̣ΛΗΚ.ΣΠ
̣ΘΡ̣Η
̣

Ἰωάννῳ [β]ασιλικ[ῷ] σπαθαρήῳͅ

Accession number BZS.1955.1.978
Diameter 32.0 mm
Condition Broken in two along the channel.

Translation

Θεοτόκε βοήθει τῷ σῷ δούλῳ Ἰωάννῳ βασιλικῷ σπαθαρήῳ.

Mother of God, help your servant John, imperial spatharios.

Commentary

The epigraphy of this seal is rather curious. The quality of the lettering is poor enough, and the engraver appears to have omitted letters in the upper quarters of the obverse. The monogram shows a X where K would be expected, and we note the form of the owner's name, Ἰωάννῳ, instead of the correct form Ἰωάννῃ.