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John, metropolitan of Pompeioupolis (eighth/ninth century)

Accession number BZS 1951.31.5.566
Diameter 28 mm
Condition Chipped.
Previous Editions

DO Seals 5 no. 4.1a; Laurent, Corpus 5.2: no. 1555 (eighth/ninth century); Zacos-Veglery, no. 2029 (eighth century, second half).

Obverse

Cruciform invocative monogram (type V); in the four quarters: Τ|ΛΣ : τῷ δοὐλῳ σου. Wreath ­border.

Θεοτόκε βοήθει τῷ δούλῳ σοῦ

Reverse

Inscription of six lines beginning with a cross. Wreath border.

Ι..
ΗΜΡΤ
ΛΜΗΤΡΟΠ
ΟΛΙΤΗΠΟΜΠ
ΗΙΟΥΠΟΛ
..

Ἰωά[νν]ῃ ἁμαρτωλῷ μητροπολίτῃ Πομπηϊουπόλ[ε]ω[ς].

Translation

Θεοτόκε βοήθει τῷ δούλῳ σου Ἰωάννῃ ἁμαρτωλῷ μητροπολίτῃ Πομπηϊουπόλεως.

Mother of God, help your servant John, a sinner, metropolitan of Pompeioupolis.

Commentary

Pompeioupolis of Cilicia (also known as Soloi) is today Viranşehir, a few kilometers southwest of Mersin. The town is identified as a suffragan bishopric of Tarsos in 381 and again in 691, but it was afterwards raised to the rank of metropolis (without suffragans), no later than the middle of the ninth century on the evidence of this seal published. We suggest that this elevation in rank was in response to the fate of Tarsos, which was ruined during the seventh century and rebuilt as an Arab military base after the year 830. Permanent Arab occupation of Tarsos may in turn have compelled the Byzantines to transfer the duties of the metropolitanate to Pompeioupolis and to promote the bishop to metropolitan. See Hild-Hellenkemper, Kilikien und Isaurien, 381–82; Dagron-Feissel, Inscriptions de Cilicie, 57–63; Laurent, Corpus 5.2:385; list of prelates in Fedalto, HEO 2:759.

As Laurent noted, the seal below cannot belong to Pompeioupolis of Paphlagonia since this see did not reach the rank of metropolis until the last years of the tenth century.

The editors of DO Seals 5 have suggested a slightly different and closer dating than those given by Laurent and Zacos-Veglery. The wreath border and double loop B point to a date no later than the first half of the ninth century. The aniconic character of the seal suggests that it was struck between 815 and 843, during the second wave of iconoclasm. However, a wider dating here is retained. Among other things, the order of the inscription on the reverse, τῷ δοὐλῳ σου, is more typical of the eighth than of the ninth century; see Oikonomides, Dated Lead Seals, 153.

The metropolitan John is otherwise unattested, as the revised date of the seal confirms Laurent’s opinion that this John cannot be identified with the archbishop John of Pompeioupolis, who attended the Eighth Oecumenical Council in 869–70.

Accession number BZS 1951.31.5.566
Diameter 28 mm
Condition Chipped.
Previous Editions

DO Seals 5 no. 4.1a; Laurent, Corpus 5.2: no. 1555 (eighth/ninth century); Zacos-Veglery, no. 2029 (eighth century, second half).

Notes

Accession number BZS 1951.31.5.566
Diameter 28 mm
Condition Chipped.
Previous Editions

DO Seals 5 no. 4.1a; Laurent, Corpus 5.2: no. 1555 (eighth/ninth century); Zacos-Veglery, no. 2029 (eighth century, second half).