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John Philaretos ostiarios and ek prosopou of the Myrelaion (eleventh century)

Accession number BZS.1955.1.4964
Diameter 23 mm
Field diameter 21 mm
Previous Editions

DO Seals 5 no. 46.1.


Bust of St. John Kalybites, holding a cross in his right hand and a book in his left. Inscription in two columns: |Ι̅|Οκα|λι|ι|τ,: Ὁ ἅ(γιος) Ἰω(άννης) ὁ Καλιβίτ(ης). Border of dots.


Inscription of six lines. Border of dots.


Κ(ύριε) β(οή)θ(ει) Ἰω(άννῃ) ὀστιαρ(ίῳ) (καὶ) ἐκ πρωσώπ(ου) τοῦ Μυρελέου τῷ Φ(ι)λ(α)ρέτ(ῳ)


Κύριε βοήθει Ἰωάννῃ ὀστιαρίῳ καὶ ἐκ πρωσώπου τοῦ Μυρελέου τῷ Φιλαρέτῳ.

Lord, help John Philaretos, ostiarios and ek prosopou of Myrelaion.


St. John Kalybites possessed a "golden book," which he passed on to his mother at his death. As noted in Seibt–Zarnitz (154), John Philaretos was a eunuch and was involved with the administration of Myrelaion's properties. Other members of the family include an Epiphanios Philaretos, magsitros and protasekretis, and a Romanos Philaretos, protonobelissimos.

The Myrelaion, located west of the Forum Tauri, was a mansion to which Romanos I Lekapenos added a church between 920 and 922; he then organized the whole into a nunnery (see ODB 2:1428–29 and Janin, Églises, 351–54). Its property included domains of Miletus and the whole island of Leros, which it received from Anna Dalassene, the mother of Emperor Alexios Komnenos. It possessed a sekreton, of which two members, who were responsible for the administration of imperial domains, are known from seals published in Zacos, Seals II: Constantine protospatharios epi tou Chrysotriklinou and grand kourator of Myrelaion (no. 973, eleventh century); and Michael protospatharios, praipositos epi tou koitonos, and grand kourator of Myrelaion (no. 1017, eleventh century).