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The proedros (= metropolitan] of Ephesos (eleventh/twelfth century)

Accession number BZS.1958.106.41
Diameter 29 mm
Field diameter 25 mm
Condition Corroded.
Previous Editions

DO Seals 3, no. 14.9. See also Wassiliou-Seibt, Siegel mit metrischen Legenden I, no. 5.

Laurent, Corpus V/1, no. 261: three parallel specimens, in Paris, Berlin (Sig., 258) and Athens (Konstantopoulos, no. 136); another in the Zacos Collection: Zacos, Seals II, no. 682).


St. John the Evangelist standing, turned three quarters, blessing with his right hand and holding a book in his left hand. On either side the inscription: .ω̅-θε|ο|λο|γ, : [ὁ ἅ(γιος) Ἰ]ω(άννης) [ὁ] Θεολόγ(ος). Border of pellets.


Inscription of five lines beginning with a cross. Traces of a decoration below. Border of pellets:


Ἁγν[ὲ] σκέποις [με] τὸν πρόεδρον Ἐφέσου


Ἁγνὲ σκέποις με τὸν πρόεδρον Ἐφέσου.

Holy one, may you watch over me, the metropolitan of Ephesos.


It is possible that this type of anonymous (and here metrical) seal was used by the clergy of the metropolis when the see was vacant or the metropolitan was away. See SBS 4 (1995) 71-79.

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.