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John metropolitan of Smyrna (eleventh century)

Accession number BZS.1951.31.5.3706
Diameter 19 mm
Condition Corroded.
Previous Editions

DO Seals 3, no. 35.3.

Laurent, Corpus V/1, no. 742 (read only in part); cf. Wassiliou-Seibt, Siegel mit metrischen Legenden I, no. 722.


Inscription of five lines, top line missing. No border visible.


[Ἐκ τ]ῆς [γραφ]ῆς μέν, ἀλλὰ κα[ὶ] τῆς σφραγίδο[ς]


Inscription of four lines. No border visible.


[ποι]μέν[α Σ]μύρνη[ς] Ἰωάννην [δ]ηκνύω


Ἐκ τῆς γραφῆς μέν, ἀλλὰ καὶ τῆς σφραγίδος, ποιμένα Σμύρνης Ἰωάννην δηκνύω.

By the letter, and all the more so by the seal, I present John, metropolitan of Smyrna.


Two dodecasyllabic verses. The owner of this seal should probably be identified as the John of Smyrna who attended the patriarchal synods in 1071 and 1072 (and perhaps the same John who was present in the Council of 1054): Oikonomidès, REB 18 (1960) 60.

Smyrna (modern Izmir) was an important city, port, and economic center of the province of Asia, and served in the tenth century as residence of the strategos of Samos (De Them., chap. XVI, line 16). It had a hinterland with extensive agricultural production that is illustrated by our seals of horreiarioi.

At first, Smyrna was a simple bishopric of Ephesos, but then (mid-fifth century) it became an autocephalous archbishopric. Finally it is attested as a metropolis from 869 onward. This evolution is reflected in the notitiae.

See Laurent, Corpus V/1, 563; Arhweiler, Smyrne, passim; Brandes, Städte, 126-26; ODB III, 1919-20.