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Maria tourmarchissa (eleventh century)

 
 

Obverse

Bust of the Virgin holding medallion of Christ before her. Sigla: ΘΥ̅ : [Μ(ήτη)ρ] Θ(εο)ῦ. Traces of a circular inscription within a border of dots.

τσ.δ,

[Θ(εοτό)κε βοήθει] τῷ σ[ῷ] δ(ούλῳ)

Reverse

Inscription in five lines. Border of dots.

̣ΘΚ̅Ε
.ΟΙΘΜ
Ρ̣ΙΤΡΟ
ΜΡΧ.
Σ

Θ(εοτό)κε [β]οίθ[ει] Μαρίᾳ τρομαρχ[ί]σᾳ

Obverse

Bust of the Virgin holding medallion of Christ before her. Sigla: ΘΥ̅ : [Μ(ήτη)ρ] Θ(εο)ῦ. Traces of a circular inscription within a border of dots.

τσ.δ,

[Θ(εοτό)κε βοήθει] τῷ σ[ῷ] δ(ούλῳ)

Reverse

Inscription in five lines. Border of dots.

̣ΘΚ̅Ε
.ΟΙΘΜ
Ρ̣ΙΤΡΟ
ΜΡΧ.
Σ

Θ(εοτό)κε [β]οίθ[ει] Μαρίᾳ τρομαρχ[ί]σᾳ

Accession number BZS.1955.1.4539
Diameter 24.0 mm
Previous Editions

Translation

Θεοτόκε βοήθει τῷ σῷ δούλῳ. Θεοτόκε βοίθει Μαρίᾳ τρομαρχίσᾳ.

Theotokos, help your servant. Theotokos, help the tourmarchissa Maria.

Commentary

The obverse of this seal presents an interesting problem: the invocation in the circular inscription is redundant with the invocation in the reverse inscription, and even more importantly, it is an invocation for a masculine seal owner, when this is the seal of a female tourmarchissa. This seal likely shows how seals like this were put together in the eleventh century; the obverse containing Virgin with an invocation on the circumference was done in a standard manner, ignoring the obverse inscription with the expectation of a dative masculine name and titles/offices on the reverse.