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Nicholas bishop of Monembasia (eleventh century)

Accession number BZS.1955.1.4641
Diameter 22 mm
Field diameter 18 mm
Previous Editions

DO Seals 2, no. 31.2.

Obverse

Bust of St. Anastasios (perhaps the Persian), holding the martyr's cross; his left hand is open before him. On either side, the inscription, with letters struck inversely. ΝΑ|ΣΤ|Α|Σ : ὁ ἅγιος ἈναστάσιοςBorder of dots.

Reverse

Inscription of three lines, a decoration below.

Κ̅ΕΒ.
Κ  ΟΕ̅ΜΟΝΕ
ΜΒΑΣΑΣ


Κύριε βοήθει Νικολάῳπισκόπῳ Μονεμβασᾶς

Translation

Κύριε βοήθει Νικολάῳ ἐπισκόπῳ Μονεμβασᾶς.

Lord, help Nicholas bishop of Monembasia.

Commentary

This is the work of a very inexperienced carver, who engraved many letters inversely, used unique abbreviations (obviously because he was not able to divide the space properly) and anachonistic letters, such as the double loop beta, in a form typical of the early 9th century. But on the other hand, he used a developed border of dots and final decoration, which seems to belong to the 11th century. As the synodikon does not mention any bishop of the name of Nicholas before the mid-11th century (see DO Seals 2, 31.3), we assume, without much conviction (because of the lacunae of the synodikon), that the present specimen was made for the 11th--century Nicholas at a moment when no experienced engraver was available and that it was replaced afterward. The dating of an inscription of such poor quality is very uncertain.

We also note the popular (still surviving) genitive Μονεμβασᾶς or Μονεμβάσας, which seems to indicate a local inhabitant.

Monembasia in the southeast of the Pelonnesos. This was a de novo foundation of the 6th or the 7th century (the date and the causes are dispute). The earliest mention of a bishop of Monembasia, Peter. is of 787. From around the same time comes DO Seals 2, 31.1. The bishopric is mentioned in the controversial iconoclastic notitia; from the early 10th century onward it is regularly listed as a suffragan of Corinth (Darrouzès, Notitiae, no. 3, line 772; no. 7, line 491) until its elevation to metropolis in the 13th century. See Laurent, Corpus V/1, 430-31; Fedalto, 511-12; ODB II, 1394-95; Harris Kalligas, Byzantine Monemvasia. The Sources (Monemvasia, 1990). We have an incomplete list of the bishops and metropolitans of Monembasia (Gouillard, Synodikon, 117, cf. 281-82) which had been studied in detail of V. Laurent, EO 32 (1933) 129-61.

Note the popular forms of the placename preserved on the seals: Μονοβάσια or Μονοβασιά, Μονεμβάσα or Μονεμβασά. On these forms, see Ἀρχεῖον Πόντου 19 (1954) 325-37; cf. Kalligas, Byzantine Monemvasia, 35, note 2.

Accession number BZS.1955.1.4641
Diameter 22 mm
Field diameter 18 mm
Previous Editions

DO Seals 2, no. 31.2.

Notes

Accession number BZS.1955.1.4641
Diameter 22 mm
Field diameter 18 mm
Previous Editions

DO Seals 2, no. 31.2.