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George archbishop of Serres (ninth century)

 
 

Obverse

Cruciform invocative monogram (type V); in the quarters: ΤΣ|ΔΛ. Border of dots.

Θεοτόκε βοήθει τῷ σῷ δούλῳ

Reverse

Inscription of four lines, tendrils above. Border of dots.

.
γεορ
γηορχη
επησκοπ
σερσ

Γεοργήο Ἀρχηεπισκόπου Σέρας

Obverse

Cruciform invocative monogram (type V); in the quarters: ΤΣ|ΔΛ. Border of dots.

Θεοτόκε βοήθει τῷ σῷ δούλῳ

Reverse

Inscription of four lines, tendrils above. Border of dots.

.
γεορ
γηορχη
επησκοπ
σερσ

Γεοργήο Ἀρχηεπισκόπου Σέρας

Accession number BZS.1958.106.5685
Diameter 30.0 mm
Previous Editions

DO Seals 1, no. 42.1.
Laurent, Corpus V/3, no. 1818.
Zacos-Veglery, no. 1914 (dated 750-850).

Translation

Θεοτόκε βοήθει τῷ σῷ δούλῳ Γεοργήο ἀρχηεπισκόπου Σέρας.

Theotokos, help your servant George, archbishop of Serres.

Commentary

It would seem that the engraver mistakenly put the word episkopos in the genitive rather than the dative case. If we follow this reading, the inscription might be translated instead as "Mother of God, help George. (Seal of) the archbishop of Serres." The beta with two loops at the base of the monogram (obv.) indicates that this seal was issued before the mid-ninth century. The spelling of the place name as Σέρας is known from other sources (cf. the notes of Laurent).

Modern Serres, located in the Strymon valley. The see was originally a suffragan bishopric of Thessalonica (Darrouzès, Notitiae, 236, line 271). It then became an archbishopric (ibid., 273, line 77), and the present seal shows quite clearly that this occurred by at least the mid-ninth century. By the late tenth century it had been elevated to the rank of a metropolis. Cf. Laurent, Corpus V/1,, 595. In addition to its function as a see, the city was also an important administrative center, serving as capital of the theme of the Strymon (Pertusi, De Them., 167).