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The Laura of Athanasios (eleventh century)

Accession Number:
BZS.1955.1.5003

Previous Editions

DO Seals 1, no. 28.5.
Laurent, Corpus V/3, no. 1900.

Details

Diameter:
16 mm

Obverse

The Laura of Athanasios (eleventh century)

Bust of the Virgin orans. To her right: : Μήτηρ Θεοῦ. Linear border.

Reverse

The Laura of Athanasios (eleventh century)

Inscription of five lines. Linear border.

ΣΚΕΠ
ΠΑΝΑΓΝ
ΛΑΥ·ΡΑΝ
ΑΘΑΝΑ
ΣΙ

Σκέποις, Πάναγνε, Λαύραν Ἀθανασίου

Translation

Σκέποις, Πάναγνε, Λαύραν Ἀθανασίου.

All-holy One, may you protect the Laura of Athanasios.

Audio

Commentary

The reverse inscription is a correct twelve-syllable verse. Note the central dot in the middle of Λαύραν.

Laurent would attribute this seal to an otherwise unknown Constantinopolitan institution rather than to the Lavra of Mount Athos because it does not style Athanasios as "saint" or "hosios." However, this argument is by no means convincing, since there are mentions of the Lavra tou kyr Athanasiou well into the eleventh century (Lavra I, 147 note 176; Iviron I, no. 27, line 3, of 1042). Moreover, the formulation of this legend was also influenced by the metrics.

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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