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The pastor (= bishop) of Didymoteichon (eleventh century)

Accession number BZS.1958.106.148
Diameter 21 mm
Field diameter 17 mm
Previous Editions

DO Seals 1, no. 50.2.
Laurent, Corpus V/1, no. 694.


Bust of St. John Prodromos holding a long cross. Vertical inscription visible at left: |.̅|..Δ|Ρ|...: Ὁ ἅγιος ωάννης ὁ Πρόδρομος. Border of dots.


Inscription of five lines, decoration above. Border of dots.


τοῦ ποιμένος σφράγισμα Διδυμοτοίχου


Τοῦ ποιμένος σφράγισμα Διδυμοτοίχου.

(Seal of) the bishop of Didymoteichon.


The inscription is a twelve-syllable verse. Because of the obverse, Laurent wondered whether the owner's name could have been John.

Didymoteichon, situated on the Erythropotamos, a tributary of the Evros River, was an important stronghold of the Rhodopes, controlling the road between Adrianoupolis and Traïanoupolis. It was conquered by Kroum in 813. The fortress of Didymoteichon may well have existed by at least the beginning of the ninth century; see the remarks of Ch. Bakirtzis, "Western Thrace in the Early Christian and Byzantine Periods: Results of Archaeological Research and the Prospects," Byzantinische Forschungen 14/1 (1989) 50. This seems to be merited by our first seal of an imperial kommerkiarios of Didymoteichon (9th century, first half).

Didymoteichon was initially a suffragan bishopric of Traïanoupolis. The first mention of a bishop dates from 879. The see was raised to the status of a metropolis sometime during the thirteenth century. See Laurent, Corpus V/1, 525; Asdracha, Rhodopes, 130-37; REB 31 (1973) 292-93; REB 34 (1976) 193-94; BNJ 23 (1979) 27-30.

On the history of the city, see the dissertation of P. A. Giannopoulos, Didymoteichon: Geschichte einer byzantinischen Festung (Cologne, 1975).