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Anonymous (twelfth century, second half)

 
 

Obverse

Half length image of Christ Philanthropos blessing with his right hand. His left hand is indistinct but probably holds the Gospels. Sigla: Ι̅ – : Ἰ(ησοῦ)ς [Χ(ριστό)ς]. Remains of an inscription along upper circumference: ΟΙΛΑΝΘ̣: ὁ Φιλάνθ[ρωπος]. Border of dots.

Reverse

Half length of the Virgin orans with a medallion of Christ before her; remains of an illegible epithet inscribed in circumference above her head. Sigla partially preserved: Θ̅: [Μ(ήτη)ρ] Θ(εο)[ῦ]. The epithet accompanying the image is illegible. Border of dots.

Obverse

Half length image of Christ Philanthropos blessing with his right hand. His left hand is indistinct but probably holds the Gospels. Sigla: Ι̅ – : Ἰ(ησοῦ)ς [Χ(ριστό)ς]. Remains of an inscription along upper circumference: ΟΙΛΑΝΘ̣: ὁ Φιλάνθ[ρωπος]. Border of dots.

Reverse

Half length of the Virgin orans with a medallion of Christ before her; remains of an illegible epithet inscribed in circumference above her head. Sigla partially preserved: Θ̅: [Μ(ήτη)ρ] Θ(εο)[ῦ]. The epithet accompanying the image is illegible. Border of dots.

Accession number BZS.1958.106.1105
Diameter 37.0 mm; field: 22.0 mm
Previous Editions

DO Seals 7, no. 1.20.

Commentary

For discussion of the epithet Philanthropos with the image of Christ, see the entry no. 1.16, above.

 The epithet accompanying the image of the Virgin on the reverse is illegible and cannot clearly be read as one of the twenty-five epithets found with Marian images on seals. This epithet may be one of those among the large list of Marian epithets alphabetically arranged by Themelis, “Αἱ Ἐπωνυμίαι τῆς Παναγίας,” passim.

 It is interesting to note that there are two seals associated with the Christ Philanthropos monastery that bear on their obverse an image of the Virgin orans with a medallion of Christ: DOSeals 5, nos. 56.3 a & b. In her review of this volume, however, Alexandra Wassiliou-Seibt, “Review of Catalogue of Byzantine Seals at Dumbarton Oaks and in the Fogg Museum of Art, Vol. 5” JÖB 57 (2007), 399, is not certain of this reading of the seal for the Philanthropos monastery. Laurent, Corpus, 5:2, no. 1183, also published a seal with an image of the bust of Christ Philantropos on the obverse and an unclear image of the Virgin and Child on the reverse, stating that there are remains of the medallion of Christ before her-shown only by an indefinite line-drawing, originally published by Schlumberger, Sigillographie, 139-140. Possibly this seal is parallel or similar to our specimen.