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Mounsour (lord?) of Great Loulon (tenth/eleventh century)

Accession number BZS.1951.31.5.227
Diameter 26 mm
Previous Editions

DO Seals 4, no. 44.1.


Inscription of three lines, decorations above and below. Border of dots.


Κ(ύρι)ε βοήθει τῷ σῷ δούλῳ


Inscription of three lines, decorations above and below. Border of dots.

–  –

Μουνσοὺρ [τ]ῷ τοῦ Μεγ(άλου) Λούλου


Κύριε βοήθει τῷ σῷ δούλῳ Μουνσοὺρ τῷ τοῦ Μεγάλου Λούλου.

Lord, help your servant Mounsour of Great Loulon.


The first letter of line 2 of the reverse is completely effaced. The reading Μουνσουρ[ί]ῳ is also possible, as well as [Κ]Ω for κ(υρί)ῳ in spite of the absence of a horizontal abbreviation mark above the letters. The seal does not indicate whether Mounsour, an Arab, may be Christian (but there is no cross on the seal) held an office; note, however, that Zacos published two seals of a Mensour protospatharios and strategos (Seals II, no. 573).

Seibt identifies this person as Abu Nasr al-Mansur b. Lu’lu’, head of Halab, who was magistros and lived from 1016 in “honorary” exile in Antioch, where he died after 1030 (W. Felix, Byzanz und die islamische Welt im früheren 11. Jahrhuhdert (Wien, 1981), 54ff., 67.

To our knowledge this seal is the sole record of the name Μέγα Λοῦλον = the Great Loulon.

Loulon (Arab. Lu'lu'a, today Çanakçi Kale or Gedelli Kale) was a fortress perched high atop a rocky crag located 30 km north of the Cilician Gates and 30 km southeast of Tyana (Hild-Restle, Kappadokien, 223). A key vantage point overlooking the route through the Cilician Gates (Hild, Strassensystem, 53-54, and illustrations 22-23), Loulon was the first post in the network of beacons which relayed reports of Arab incursions to Constantinople. Lost to the Arabs in the mid-ninth century, Loulon was retaken by Basil I in 878 (Theoph. Cont., 277-278) and remained in Byzantine hands throughout the tenth and eleventh centuries. See Brandes, 113-114; Hild-Restle, Kappadokien, 223-224.