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Sergios merarches of Hellas (ninth/tenth century)

Accession Number:
BZS.1958.106.2012

Previous Editions

DO Seals 2, no. 8.31.

Details

Diameter:
25 mm
Condition:
Bent. The relationship of the reverse die to the obverse is 180°.

Obverse

Sergios merarches of Hellas (ninth/tenth century)

Crude bust of St. Nicholas; gestures unclear. Inscription in two columns. Ο|Ν|Κ: Ὁ ἅγιος Νικόλαος. Border of dots.

Reverse

Sergios merarches of Hellas (ninth/tenth century)

Crudely engraved inscription of four lines. Border of dots.

ΣΕΡΓΙ
ΟΣΜΕΡ
ΡΧΗΣΕ
ΛΔΟΣ

Σέργιος μεράρχης Ἑλάδος

Translation

Σέργιος μεράρχης Ἑλάδος.

Sergios, merarches of Hellas.

Audio

Commentary

The present seal is the work of a poorly trained (if at all) craftsman and does not fit in with any trends in sigillographic epigraphy. We propose a ninth or tenth century date without much conviction because the very peculiar form of the letter α () must have been borrowed from common script; the closest parallels that we found are in miniscule manuscripts of 895, 914, 964 (Gardthausen, Palaeographie, pl. 5 and 6), in the ninth century capital script of cod. Vatic. gr. 2059 (La Paléographie grecque et byzantine [Paris, 1977], 117, pl. 9), and from 10th century Parthenon graffiti, especially from the year 912 (Orlandos-Branouses, no. 8).

The merarches, an official similar to (and eventually assimilated into) the tourmarches, is known from texts and seals dating from the 10th-12th centuries (Listes, 109, note 65). There was normally only one merarches per theme; consequently there is no need to seek a special explanation for the expression merarches of Hellas, which appears on our seal.

 

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