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Michael (?) metropolitan of Mytilene (eleventh century)

Accession number BZS.1955.1.4822
Diameter 22 mm
Condition Cracked along channel (rev.).
Previous Editions

DO Seals 2, no. 51.9.
Laurent, Corpus V/3, no. 1780.


Bust of St. Theodora orans. On either side, the inscription: Η|Α|ΓΙ|ΑΘ|ΕΟ|Δ.|ΡΑ: ἡ ἁγία Θεοδώρα. Border of dots.


Inscription of five lines. Border of dots.


Θεοτόκε βοήθηι Μιχαὴλ (?) μιτροπολίτ το Μιτηλίνης


Θεοτόκε βοήθηι Μιχαὴλ (?) μιτροπολίτῃ το Μιτηλίνης.

Theotokos, help Michael (?) metropolitan of Mytilene.


Faute de mieux, Laurent proposed Elias as the name of the owner, but this does not tally with the lettering. Our reading is not absolutely secure because of the crack on the letters ΗΛ. As there is a superscript bar, it is tempting ΙΗΛ, but the name Ἰσραήλ for a bishop sounds unusual. In DO Seals 2, the name was read as Νεῖλος (with a spelling mistake), as this name would take into account the elements that can be read on the seal and may explain the rather unorthodox usage of the article τῷ before the name of the see. This is also an attempt at a metrical seal, which left out the initial invocation, as with the name Neilos and the article τῷ this would be a correct dodecasyllable (cf. DO Seals 2, no. 44.2 and 54.2). However, this reading is problematic; the first letter of the name is clearly an Η, not a Ν, and then after enough space for a Ι the letter that DO Seals 2 interprets as a Η is in actuality a Μ. As, contrary to what is printed in DO Seals, there is no evidence of an abbreviation mark after the Θ, the ΗΙ represents the ending of the invocation, while the Μ represents the first letter of an abbreviated name (as shown by the superscript bar), most likely an unusual abbreviation for Μιχαήλ. This reading leads one to believe that this was not a metrical seal.