You are here: Home / Publications & Online Resources / Byzantine Seals / Search the Catalogue / The proedros (metropolitan) of Nikomedeia (eighth century)

The proedros (metropolitan) of Nikomedeia (eighth century)

Accession Number:
BZS.1958.106.23

Previous Editions

DO Seals 3, no. 83.10b.
Laurent, Corpus V/1, no. 375
Cf. Zacos-Veglery, no. 2993a and no. 2993b.

Details

Diameter:
34 mm

Obverse

The proedros (metropolitan) of Nikomedeia (eighth century)

A cross within a cruciform frame adorned by pellets at each end. Within a double wreath border, a circular inscription.

...ΑΓΙΣΠΡΟΕΔΡΝΙΚΟΔΕΙΑΣΠΕΛΩ

Σφραγὶς προέδρου Νικομηδείας πέλω

Reverse

The proedros (metropolitan) of Nikomedeia (eighth century)

A four-lobed, vined tendril adorned with pellets in each quarter. The inscription is in the shape of a cross (intersecting at the Π), reading vertically: Τ|Υ|Π||Σ||ΣΥΜ. Reading horizontally: Β ΖΩΗΦΟΡ. All within a wreath border.

διττῶς ζωηφόρον τυποῦσα συμεῖον

Translation

Σφραγὶς προέδρου Νικομηδείας πέλω διττῶς ζωηφόρον τυποῦσα συμεῖον.

I am the seal of the proedros of Nikomedeia, rendering the life-giving sign in two ways.

Audio

Commentary

Dodecasyllabic, but the second verse is made of two six-syllables.

We read the first word of the second verse as διττῶς because we recognize that the letter Β is normally used also for the numeral and can be rad as δύο or δίς, etc.; it is followed by a small above the line, which normally is the abbreviation for -ος. Thus we assume that there is a spelling mistake, and we read the adverb διττῶς = in two fashions (we feel that this reading is closer to the epigraphy than διπλοῦν which was proposed by Laurent but ignored by Zacos-Veglery). We propose the following interpretation of the inscription: "I am the seal of the metropolitan of Nikomedeia, printing in two fashions the vivifying sign," that is, the cross. This alludes to the cross of the obverse and the cruciform disposition of the inscription on the reverse (as suggested by Laurent).

Laurent would place the present specimen in the late 10th or early 11th; Zacos-Veglery have opted for the 8th century. They point quite rightly to the absence of serifs in Ρ and Β, to the double loop Β, and to the use of the enveloping rosace that reappears on three more specimens which unquestionably date before the ninth century (Zacos-Veglery, nos. 1460, 1637, and 3011). Also, the cross and the two dodecasyllabic verses point to a date sometime during the first Iconoclasm (726-787).

Nikomedeia (modern Izmit) was the traditional capital of Bithynia and of the "theme" of Optimatoi, a center of fiscal administration, of agricultural produce concentration, and of trade. The city, situated on the shores of the gulf of Astakenos, in the immediate neighborhood of Constantinople, received many foreigners and many merchanges (including the ones importing sheep for provisioning Constantinople; Book of the Prefect XV, 3); hence it had several private hospices and an imperial one (no. 83.4).

Nikomedeia was an ecclesiastical metropolis and always occupied the seventh hierarchical position, in spite of the fact that, over the centuries, the number of its suffragans changed.

See Laurent, Corpus V/1, 268-69; Brandes, Städte, 123-33; ODB III, 1483-84.

 

Document Actions