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Mepi, sinner (seventh/eighth century)

Accession Number:
BZS.1958.106.410

Previous Editions

DO Seals 5 no. 77.1; Zacos–Veglery, no. 433. Both misread the first line of the reverse.

Details

Diameter:
22 mm

Obverse

Mepi, sinner (seventh/eighth century)

A cross surmounted by the letter Φ. In the quarters: σρ|γησ. Wreath border.

Σφραγής

Reverse

Mepi, sinner (seventh/eighth century)

Inscription of four lines. Indeterminate border.

μεπ
ηστου
μρτ
ολου

Mεπῆς τοῦ ἁμαρτολοῦ

Translation

Σφραγὴς Μεπῆς τοῦ ἁμαρτολοῦ.

Seal of Mepi, sinner.

Audio

Commentary

Both Zacos–Veglery and DO Seals 5 read the first line of the reverse as +MON. This reading is incorrect, as the second letter is very clearly an epsilon. The final letter on the first line could be a nu, but it is more likely a pi.

Reading "Hamartolos" as a family name would be highly unlikely as early as the late seventh or early eighth century. We prefer instead to read it as "sinner," an epithet for an individual bearing the name Mepi.

This is possibly a Georgian title or name. "Mep'e" (მეფე; gen.: მეფის, "mep'is") is the Georgian word for king, and μεπῆς could certainly be a rendering of the genitive form. Among Byzantine writers, however, μέπε is only used by the later historians Pachymeres (3.21) and Sphrantzes (30.1). Whether the title was ever used as a personal name is uncertain.

 

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