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Basil poimenarches (= metropolitan) of Corfou (twelfth/thirteenth century)

Accession number BZS.1958.106.439
Diameter 36 mm
Field diameter 28 mm
Previous Editions

DO Seals 2, no. 5.3; Laurent, Corpus V/3, no. 1795. See also Wassiliou-Seibt, Siegel mit metrischen Legenden II, no. 2251.


Saints Peter and Paul standing; St. Peter holds a scepter over his shoulder and two keys. St. Paul blesses and holds a book. Between their haloes, the letter Ο; on one side the inscription: Π|Ε|Τ|Ρ|Ο|Σ. On the right: Π|Α|Υ|Λ|Ο|Σ: ὁ ἅγιος Πέτρος - ὁ ἅγιος Παῦλος. Border of dots.


Inscription of seven lines, beginning with a cross (obliterated). Decoration below. Border of dots.


Σοφῶν ξυνωρὶς πρωταποστόλων σκέποις Βασίλειον σὸν ποιμενάρχην Κερκύρας


Σοφῶν ξυνωρὶς πρωταποστόλων σκέποις Βασίλειον σὸν ποιμενάρχην Κερκύρας.

May you, pairing of the wise and first among the apostles, watch over your servant Basil, metropolitan of Corfou.


Two dodecasyllabic verses. Laurent may well be correct that the owner was the rhetor Basil Pediadites who mounted the throne of Corfou before 1202 and died about 1219. But it must be admitted that the high quality of the engraving points to a 12th- rather than a 13th-century date.

The present specimen is not a seal (it has no channel) but rather a beautifully executed tessera or medallion, the purpose of which we can only surmise.