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Anonymous (eleventh century, second half)

 
 

Obverse

Bust of the Virgin, facing left, with her arms raised in supplication towards the manus Dei. Sigla preserved at right: Θ̣̅ : [Μ(ήτηρ)] Θ(εοῦ). Border of dots.

Reverse

Portrait of St. Nicholas, facing right, with his hands raised towards the manus Dei. Inscription in two columns (only the right survives): Λ|ΑΟ|Σ :  [ὁ ἅ(γιος) Νικό]λαος. Border of dots.

Obverse

Bust of the Virgin, facing left, with her arms raised in supplication towards the manus Dei. Sigla preserved at right: Θ̣̅ : [Μ(ήτηρ)] Θ(εοῦ). Border of dots.

Reverse

Portrait of St. Nicholas, facing right, with his hands raised towards the manus Dei. Inscription in two columns (only the right survives): Λ|ΑΟ|Σ :  [ὁ ἅ(γιος) Νικό]λαος. Border of dots.

Accession number BZS.1958.106.1934
Diameter 18.0 mm; field: 12.0 mm
Previous Editions

DO Seals 7, no. 6.1

Commentary

It is rare to see a holy figure, other than the Virgin, with hands raised in prayer towards the manus Dei. Although there are examples of twelve other saints thus portrayed on seals, St. Nicholas is most commonly found, with eighteen examples. A piece similar to the one shown here was published by Konstantopoulos, Βυζαντιακὰ Μολυβδόβουλλα, no. 741, dated to the eleventh/twelfth century. On that specimen, contrary to ours, St. Nicholas faces towards the left, in the same direction as the Virgin, who appears on the opposite side.