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Manuel "shepherd" (= bishop) of Sebastoupolis (twelfth century)

Accession number BZS.1951.31.5.3368
Diameter 22 mm
Previous Editions

DO Seals 4, no. 51.1.


The Virgin Hagiosoritissa standing to the right, her arms extended upward toward the manus Dei. Sigla: ̅-θ̅υ : Μή(τη)ρ Θ(εο)ῦ. Border of dots.


Inscription of six lines. Border of dots.


Σφραγ(ὶς) Μαν[ο]υὴ[λ] π[ιμ]έν[ος] Σ[εβ]ασ[τουπ]όλ[εως]


Σφραγὶς Μανουὴλ πιμένος Σεβαστουπόλεως.

Seal of Manuel, shepherd of Sebastoupolis.


The designation ποιμήν used by Manuel could refer to a bishop or an archbishop, and so his real title is not clear. The attribution of this seal to the bishopric of Sebastopolis of Armenia is very likely since the Thracian Sebastopolis disappeared from the Notitiae episcopatuum in the ninth century (Laurent, Corpus V/1, 301). And this attribution is particularly interesting because it places a real bishop in territory that was occupied for most of the twelfth century by the Danishmendids. This can be explained by the relations, hostile or very friendly, that the Byzantines maintained with these Turkoman chieftains. See Cl. Cahen, Pre-Ottoman Turkey (London, 1968) 82-106 and N. Oikonomides, Les Danishmendides entre Byzance, Bagdad et le sultanat d’Iconium, RN 25 (1983) 189-207. It must be said though that there is a faint possibility that Manuel was archbishop of the Abasgian Sebastopolis, which is attested in the Notitiae throughout the Byzantine period.

Today Sulusaray (northwest of Sivas), Sebastoupolis is listed as a suffragan bishopric of Sebasteia from the seventh to the twelfth century (Darrouzès, Notitiae, 1, l. 203 to 13, l. 173). See Laurent, Corpus V/1, 300 and the list of bishops in Fedalto, HEO I, 53, to which Manuel should be added.