You are here: Home / Publications & Online Resources / Byzantine Seals / Search the Catalogue / Nikephoros (protegé?) of the (bishop?) of Antioch, archbishop of Anchialos (eleventh/twelfth century)

Nikephoros (protegé?) of the (bishop?) of Antioch, archbishop of Anchialos (eleventh/twelfth century)

Accession Number:
BZS.1958.106.1389

Previous Editions

DO Seals 1, no. 73.3.
Laurent, Corpus V/3, no. 1823.

Details

Diameter:
27 mm
Field:
21 mm
Condition:
Cracked along the channel (rev.).

Obverse

Nikephoros (protegé?) of the (bishop?) of Antioch, archbishop of Anchialos (eleventh/twelfth century)

St. Michael standing frontally on a dais holding the labarum and globus cruciger. Inscription in two columns: Μ|ΙΧ|Α: Μιχαήλ. Border of dots.

Reverse

Nikephoros (protegé?) of the (bishop?) of Antioch, archbishop of Anchialos (eleventh/twelfth century)

Inscription of seven lines. Border of dots.

ΚΕ̅,Θ,
ΤΣΔΛΟ
ΝΙΚΗΦΟΡΟΣ
ΤΑΡΧΙΕΠΙ
.ΚΟΠΟΣΑΓΧΙΑ
...ΤΤΑΝ
ΤΙΟΧΕΙΑˋ

Κύριε βοήθει τῷ σῷ δούλο Νικηφόρος τῷ ἀρχιεπίσκοπος Ἀγχιάλου τῷ τοῦ Ἀντιοχείας

Translation

Κύριε βοήθει τῷ σῷ δούλο Νικηφόρος τῷ ἀρχιεπίσκοπος Ἀγχιάλου τῷ τοῦ Ἀντιοχείας.

Lord, help your servant Nikehporos the archbishop of Anchialos, protegé (of the bishop) of Antioch.

Audio

Commentary

Laurent proposed the reading Νικηφόρ ἐλέῳ Θεοῦ ἀρχιεπισκόπ Ἀγχιάλου, which makes perfectly good sense but is not supported by the remnants of the letters on the seal: at the end of line 3 one can read ΟΣ or ΕΙ, but the last letter cannot by any means be a Λ. We have maintained ΟΣ because ΕΙ would create an even stranger form (a dative *Νικηφόρει). In any case, we have here a very uncertain construction that betrays poor knowledge of Greek. Cf. also DO Seals 1, no. 73.2, where the same peculiarities appear.

The owner of the seal was the protegé of a prelate of Antioch. Contrary to the opinion expressed by Laurent, we think that this cannot be a patriarch of Antioch since in this case one might reasonably express the presence of hte adjective μεγάλης. Nevertheless, it is not clear which see is meant here, Antioch of Caria of Pisidia, or of Isauria.

We have three seals of archbishops of Anchialos named Nikephoros; two are decorated with the image of St. Michael (this specimen and the previous one), and the third one has an inscription addressed to him (aniconic metrical seal in good Greek of the 11/12th century, found at Pernik: Laurent, Corpus V/3, no. 1824). It is hard to believe that all three seals belonged to the same person. But this special devotion to St. Michael could well be a characteristic of the archbishopric of Anchialos.

Located northeast of Bourgas on the western shore of the Black Sea in Bulgarian Thrace (modern Pomorie), Anchialos was already a bishopric in the second century. By the seventh century, in Laurent's view, it had risen to the status of an archbishopric (Laurent, Corpus V/1, 663); and in fact an archbishop Nicholas of Anchialos participated in the council of 879. But the name of the see disappears from the episcopal lists and only reappears as an archbishopric at the end of the eleventh century: this was a "new creation," indicating the strategic importance of the town, which in the eleventh century seems to have become the seat of a strategos: Asdracha, Thrace orientale, 244-45, 291-92.

 

Document Actions