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Beser patrikios and strategos (eighth century, first half)

 
 

Obverse

In the center, a cruciform monogram presenting the owner's name: Βησρ : Βησήρ. Within concentric circles of dots, a circular inscription beginning at twelve o'clock with a cross:

Εελμεκεενθρππονηρ

ἐξελοῦ με, Κ(ύρι)ε, ἐξ ἀνθρώπου πονηροῦ

Reverse

In the center, a cruciform monogram: τρκπι : πατρικίου. In the quarters: στρ|τηγ : στρατηγοῦ. Within concentric borders of dots, a circular inscription beginning at twelve o'clock with a cross:

πονΔροσΔικδολιρυσεμε

ἀπὸ ἀνδρὸς ἀδίκου (καὶ) δολίου ῥῦσε με

Obverse

In the center, a cruciform monogram presenting the owner's name: Βησρ : Βησήρ. Within concentric circles of dots, a circular inscription beginning at twelve o'clock with a cross:

Εελμεκεενθρππονηρ

ἐξελοῦ με, Κ(ύρι)ε, ἐξ ἀνθρώπου πονηροῦ

Reverse

In the center, a cruciform monogram: τρκπι : πατρικίου. In the quarters: στρ|τηγ : στρατηγοῦ. Within concentric borders of dots, a circular inscription beginning at twelve o'clock with a cross:

πονΔροσΔικδολιρυσεμε

ἀπὸ ἀνδρὸς ἀδίκου (καὶ) δολίου ῥῦσε με

Accession number BZS.1958.106.2308
Diameter 24.0 mm
Previous Editions

Cf. Wassiliou-Seibt, Siegel mit metrischen Legenden I, no. 750.

Translation

Βησὴρ πατρικίου στρατηγοῦ. ἐξελοῦ με, Κύριε, ἐξ ἀνθρώπου πονηροῦ : ἀπὸ ἀνδρὸς ἀδίκου καὶ δολίου ῥῦσαι με.

(Seal of) Beser patrikios (and) strategos. Deliver me, O Lord, from the evil man : preserve me from the unjust and deceitful man.

Commentary

The owner of this seal, Beser (Bashir), is known to have been a staunch supporter of the iconoclast emperors Leo III and Constantine V; he fell in battle at the latter's side during the revolt of Artavasdos in 741. See now J. Glynias, “Prayerful Iconoclasts: Psalm Seals and Elite Formation in the First Iconoclast Era (726–750),” DOP 71 (2017), 65-94.

The circular inscriptions quote Psalm 139: 2 (LXX) = Psalm 140: 2 (KJV) with an insertion from Psalm 42/43:1.