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The seal of the protos of Mount Athos (eleventh century)

Accession Number:
BZS.1955.1.4947

Previous Editions

DO Seals 1, no. 28.1.
Laurent, Corpus V/3, no. 1927.

Details

Diameter:
16 mm
Field:
10 mm

Obverse

The seal of the protos of Mount Athos (eleventh century)

Bust of the Virgin holding medallion of Christ before her. On either side: ΜΡ̅ΘΥ̅ : Μήτηρ Θεοῦ. Border of dots.

Reverse

The seal of the protos of Mount Athos (eleventh century)

Inscription of four lines preceded by a crosslet and followed by an ornament. Border of dots.


ΗΥΠΕ
ΡΑΓΙΑ
Θ̅Κ̅Ο̅Σ̅Τ
ΑΘΝΟ


Ἡ ὑπεραγία Θεοτόκος τοῦ Ἄθωνος

Translation

Ἡ ὑπεραγία Θεοτόκος τοῦ Ἄθωνος.

The most holy Theotokos of Athos.

Audio

Commentary

This is the seal of the entire community of monasteries, that is, the seal used by the protos. The same motif of the Virgin still appears today on the seal of the Athonite epistasia.

The peninsula of Mount Athos was a territory reserved for monks from the ninth century on. The origins and early history of the monastic community, which from the beginning was dedicated to the Virgin, are discussed by Denise Papachryssanthou in Prôtaton. The central administration, located in the town of Karyes, was supervised by an elected protos, who together with his council, also administrated communal properties, while the monasteries maintained their independence.

 

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