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The metropolis of Methymna (eleventh century or sixth/seventh century)

Accession Number:
BZS.1955.1.4930

Previous Editions

DO Seals 2, no. 52.4.
Laurent, Corpus V/3, no. 1797.

Details

Diameter:
20 mm
Field:
16 mm

Obverse

The metropolis of Methymna (eleventh century or sixth/seventh century)

Within a circle of pellets, a chi-ro monogram: : Χριστός. Within the border of dots, a circular inscription beginning at the top.

μητροπολες

Μητροπόλεως

Reverse

The metropolis of Methymna (eleventh century or sixth/seventh century)

In the center, the same chi-ro monogram as on the obverse. Within the border of dots, a circular inscription beginning with a cross at the top.

μηθυμνησ

Μηθύμνης

Translation

Μητροπόλεως Μηθύμνης.

(Seal of) the metropolis of Methymna.

Audio

Commentary

The central medallions seem to be six-rayed stars, but the central spokes show a loop at the top right. Laurent dated the seal to the end of the eleventh century, obviously because Methymna became a metropolis only after 1072. Yet the seal is in our view archaic: the Christogram, the wreath border, the forms of the letters, particularly, the Ρ without serif, the Υ, the short Ω, and the with the long central bar, point to a six or seventh-century date. Now at this date there was no metropolis of Methynmna as far as we know. Should we therefore understand that the word μητρόπολις on the present seal should be understood as the urban metropolis of late antiquity? The question is open.

Methymna (Molybos), the second most important city of the island of Lesbos, is listed in the notitiae as an archbishopric; some time between 1072 (REB 18 [1960] 57) and 1084/1085 (ibid., 68), it was raised to the rank of metropolis, probably close to 1080. See Laurent, Corpus V/1, 622, 646; Fedalto, 213-15; Malamut, Iles, 232, 275, 356, 370.

 

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