You are here:Home/Resources/ Byzantine Seals/ Search the Catalogue/ Sergios merarches of Hellas (ninth/tenth century)

Sergios merarches of Hellas (ninth/tenth century)

Accession number BZS.1958.106.2012
Diameter 25 mm
Condition Bent. The relationship of the reverse die to the obverse is 180°.
Previous Editions

DO Seals 2, no. 8.31.


Crude bust of St. Nicholas; gestures unclear. Inscription in two columns. Ο|Ν|Κ: Ὁ ἅγιος Νικόλαος. Border of dots.


Crudely engraved inscription of four lines. Border of dots.


Σέργιος μεράρχης Ἑλάδος


Σέργιος μεράρχης Ἑλάδος.

Sergios, merarches of Hellas.


The present seal is the work of a poorly trained (if at all) craftsman and does not fit in with any trends in sigillographic epigraphy. We propose a ninth or tenth century date without much conviction because the very peculiar form of the letter α () must have been borrowed from common script; the closest parallels that we found are in miniscule manuscripts of 895, 914, 964 (Gardthausen, Palaeographie, pl. 5 and 6), in the ninth century capital script of cod. Vatic. gr. 2059 (La Paléographie grecque et byzantine [Paris, 1977], 117, pl. 9), and from 10th century Parthenon graffiti, especially from the year 912 (Orlandos-Branouses, no. 8).

The merarches, an official similar to (and eventually assimilated into) the tourmarches, is known from texts and seals dating from the 10th-12th centuries (Listes, 109, note 65). There was normally only one merarches per theme; consequently there is no need to seek a special explanation for the expression merarches of Hellas, which appears on our seal.