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Theodore bishop of Akmoneia (eleventh century)

Accession number BZS.1951.31.5.351
Diameter 25 mm
Condition Flattened on the sides.
Previous Editions

DO Seals 3, no. 4.2.



Bust of a youthful St. Christopher with long hair falling over the shoulders, holding the martyr's cross. Vertical inscription visible at right: σ|τ,|φ, : [Ὁ ἅ(γιος) Χρι]στ(ο)φ(όρος). Circular inscription along the circumference. Border of dots.


[Κ(ύρι)ε βοήθει τ[ῷ] σῷ δούλῳ


Inscription of five lines, decoration above; we assume that the last letter was placed between two bars (–σ–), which are not visible. Indeterminate border.


Θεοδ(ώ)ρο ἐπισκόπῳ [Ἀκμο]νε[ία]ς


Κύριε βοήθει τῷ σῷ δούλῳ Θεοδώρο ἐπισκόπῳ Ἀκμονείας.

Lord, help your servant Theodore, bishop of Akmoneia.


A seal of Theodore, bishop of Akmoneia, with a nearly identical bust of St. Christopher, was published by Laurent, Corpus V/3, no. 1737 (from the Thierry Collection). But that seal comes from a different boulloterion than ours, and so cannot be used as a secure guide for restoring the inscription. The reading Ἀκμονείας should nevertheless be retained for our seal, because: (a) the letters νε are clearly visible; (b) they are preceded by four unknown letters (two at the end of line and two at the beginning of line 4) the third of which, at the very beginning of line 4 is made of two spaced, vertical strokes and could conceivably be a μ, a ν, or an η, but not a π, because it has no horizontal bar at the top; (c) the letters νε are followed by two more letters on line 4; (d) and by the final σ, most probably placed between two bars and occupying the last line (–σ–). A look in the index of Darrouzès, Notitiae, shows that only Ἀκμόνεια can be restored here, the other similar names being excluded either because of length (Καμπανία, Μαντίνεια, Πιονία), or because their third letter does not concur with the beginning of line 4 of our specimen (Ἀδράνεια, Ἀετωνία, Αὐλωνία, Εὐχάνεια, Χαιρώνεια, Κολώνεια, Κορώνεια, Μαιονία, Μαρώνεια). With the restitution Ἀκμονείας thus considered secure, attention turns to the saint of the obverse, the martyr Christopher, who appears on other seals of bishops of Akmoneia (Laurent, Corpus V/1, no. 532 and V/3, no. 1737). He was young at the time of his martyrdom, but he is usually described in his Lives and synaxaria as an imposing man, which hardly fits the depiction on our seal. But this should not be of concern since in the painter's manual it is clearly stated that St. Christophoros must be represented as "a young man, beardless" (The Painter's Manual of Dionysius of Fourna, trans. by P. Hetherington [Torrance, Calif., 1989], 58).

The see, a suffragan bishopric of Laodikeia of Phyrgia, was located at modern Ahat köy. Bishops are attested in documentary sources from the fourth to the eleventh centuries. Curiously, the bishopric does not appear in the notitiae before the eighth century. See Laurent, Corpus V/1, 393; Phyrgien und Pisidien, 175-76.