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John metropolitan of Sardeis (eleventh century)

Accession number BZS.1958.106.274
Diameter 27 mm
Condition Cracked and corroded.
Previous Editions

DO Seals 3, no. 32.6.

Laurent (Corpus V/1, no. 367) published a similar seal from the Athens Museum (Konstantopoulos, no. 132) but illustrated the present specimen.


Bust of the Virgin holding the medallion of Christ before her. On one side the inscription visible: : Μ(ήτη)ρ [Θ(εο)ῦ]. Border of dots.


Inscription of four lines, a decoration above. Border of dots.

– +

[Θ(εοτό)]κε β(οή)θ(ει) [τ]ῷ σῷ δού(λῳ) Ἰ[ω(άνν) μ(ητ)ρ]οπο(λί)τ(ῃ) [Σ]άρδε(ων)


Θεοτόκε βοήθει τῷ σῷ δούλῳ Ἰωάννῃ μητροπολίτῃ Σάρδεων.

Mother of God, help your servant John, metropolitan of Sardeis.


A John of Sardeis is attested in 1071 and 1082 (Grumel, Regestes, nos. 900, 926, 927).

Sardeis (modern Sart), was capital of Lydia and seat of a metropolitan, attested since 325. The non-hellenic name appears on seals as well as in the notitiae in two main forms, the classical Σάρδεις, -εων, and the popular Σάρδη, ἦς, or non-declined Σάρδης (whenever in doubt, we have restored the classical form). From the seals we learn that it was also a fiscal center. See Laurent, Corpus V/1, 260-61 (add Zacos, Seals II, nos. 670, 869); Zgusta, 541-42; C. Foss, Byzantine and Turkish Sardis (Cambridge, Mass., 1976); Brandes, Städte, 86-88; ODB III, 1843.