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Sisinnios bishop of Chalkis (eighth/ninth century)

Accession number BZS.1958.106.69
Diameter 27 mm
Condition Chipped. Two holes.
Previous Editions

DO Seals 1, no. 48.2.
Laurent, Corpus V/1, no. 329.


Bust of the Virgin holding round medallion of Christ before her. Above the left shoulder of Christ, a small cross in the form of four dots. At right, a cruciform invocative monogram consisting of Β at bottom, Θ at left, Ο above, Η at right. No visible border.

Θεοτόκε βοήθει


Inscription of four lines. Border of dots.


Σισιννίῳ ἐπισκόπῳ Χαλκίδος


Θεοτόκε βοήθει Σισιννίῳ ἐπισκόπῳ Χαλκίδος.

Theotokos, help Sisinnios bishop of Chalkis.


Laurent assigned this specimen to the second half of the ninth century, but the double loop beta at the bottom of the monogram (obv.) indicates that it should be dated at least as early as the first half. The type of the image leads one toe the same conclusion: the Virgin appears between two cruciform monograms (typical of the period 787-815). On the other hand, the crosslet above the l. shoulder of Christ seems inconsistent with the eighth century, while the elongated, triangular face of the Virgin recalls the manner in which she is represented on the seal of Patriarch Photios (858-867, 877-886; see Oikonomides, Dated Seals, no. 53). On balance, an early date, ca. 800, seems more likely. One would like to attribute the specimen to the Sisinnios of Chalkis who attended the Second Council of Nicaea in 787 (Asdracha, Thrace orientale, 295.