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George, from Ephesos (twelfth century)

Accession number BZS.1958.106.1797
Diameter 19 mm
Field diameter 13 mm
Condition Pressed on one side.
Previous Editions

DO Seals 3, no. 14.11. See also Wassiliou-Seibt, Siegel mit metrischen Legenden II, no. 1826.


Inscription of four lines preceded by a cross of dots between two pellets. Border of dots.


Πράξεις σφραγίζω σὺν γραφ[αῖς] Γεωργί[ου]


Inscription of four lines preceded by a row of pellets. Border of dots.


οὗ πατρίς ἐστιν Ἔφε[σο]ς τῆς Ἀσίας


Πράξεις σφραγίζω σὺν γραφαῖς Γεωργίου, οὗ πατρίς ἐστιν Ἔφεσος τῆς Ἀσίας.

I seal the acts along with the writings of George, who hails from Ephesos in Asia.


The inscription consists of two dodecasyllabic verses. One may wonder whether this indication of origin does not in fact cover a family name, Ἐφέσιος, which seems to be attested around the year 1000: Vie de Syméon le Nouveau Thólogien, ed. I. Hausherr (Rome, 1928), 44.

The ancient city of Ephesos was abandoned in the seventh century in favor of the security of the inland fortress of Theologos, where the famous basilica (and major pilgrimage center) of St. John the Evangelist stood (near modern Selçuk). The name (Ἅγιος) Θεολόγος, Theologo, Ayasoluk was currently used when speaking of the medieval town and its administrators, such as the commander of the fortress, the paraphylax, or the archon (eighth/ninth century: Zacos-Veglery, no. 2282A) and the (undoubtedly naval) droungarios (ninth century: ibid., 2561A; Konstantopoulos, no. 135). But the old name, Ephesos, also survived in civil administration: Constantine VII Porphyrogennetos informs us that the theme of Samos, which is first attested at the very end of the ninth century, had control over the tourma of Ephesos (Ἐφέσιον: De Them., chap. XVI, line 14), while we have mentions of tax collectors (dioiketes) of Ephesos (ActaSS November III, 540; Zacos-Veglery, no. 2487). We have the impression that Theologos was the local usage, while Ephesos came from the learned circles of Constantinople and was the name that prevailed alone in the ecclesiastic administration.

Ephesos was a major metropolis, with no less than 39 suffragans attached to it at the Council of Chalcedon in 451, claiming to preserve the remains of the Apostle John (whose representation appears on the obverse on some seals of metropolitans). It is mentioned in all notitiae.

See Laurent, Corpus V/1, 178; Culerrier, Suffragants d'Ephèse; ODB I, 706; W. Seibt, "Drei byzantinische Bleisiegel aus Ephesos," Litterae numismaticae vindobonenses Roberto Goebl dedicatae (Vienna, 1979), 145-54; W. Brandes, "Ephesos in byzantinischer Zeit," Klio 64 (1982) 611-22; Brandes, Städte, 83-85.