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John metropolitan of Side and protosynkellos (eleventh century)

Accession number BZS.1955.1.4845
Diameter 21 mm
Field diameter 18 mm
Previous Editions

DO Seals 2, no. 78.5.
Laurent, Corpus V/3, no. 1720.


St. Michael, half-length, holding the scepter and the globus. On either side, the inscription: ΜΧ: Μιχαήλ. Border of dots.


Inscription of five lines, a decoration above. Border of dots.


Κύριε βοήθει Ἰωάννῃ μητροπολίτ Σίδης καὶ πρωτοσυγκέλλῳ


Κύριε βοήθει Ἰωάννῃ μητροπολίτῃ Σίδης καὶ πρωτοσυγκέλλῳ.

Lord, help John metropolitan of Side and protosynkellos.


The prelate attested here may well be the famous John of Side, all-powerful minister of Nikephoros III Botaneiates; he was protoproedros of the protosynkelloi in 1071 (cf. REB 18 [1960] 69, note 8) and then received, before December 1079, the title of hypertimos (Byzantion 29-30) [1959-60] 30). He fell in disgrace when Alexios Komnenos took power in 1081. Since the title protosynkellos is inferior to the other two, the present seal will have been struck before 1071; however, things are not necessarily so simple because in March 1082, a metropolitan of Side named John, protosynkellos, attended the patriarchal synod. Was this the same person, demoted (as Gouillard thinks), or a successor with the same name (Grumel, in REB 3 [1945] 111)?

By comparing the weights, we realize that the blanks used for the seals of hypertimos (ca. 1079-81: see DO Seals 2, no. 78.4) come from the same mold as the present one whereas the protoproedros seals (DO Seals 2, no. 78.3) come from different molds. Thus we tend to attribute the present specimen to John of Side of 1082, who, we think, could be the same person as the hypertimos, after being demoted.