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Michael monk and bishop of Tralleis (eleventh century)

Accession number BZS.1958.106.279
Diameter 23 mm
Field diameter 16 mm
Previous Editions

DO Seals 3, no. 38.3.

Laurent, Corpus V/1, no. 267. Another specimen is published by Zacos, Seals II, no. 588.


Bust of the Virgin holding the medallion of Christ before her. On either side the sigla: ̅-θ̅υ : Μή(τη)ρ Θ(εο)ῦ. Border of dots.


Inscription of five lines, a decoration above. Border of dots.


Σφραγὶς Μιχαὴλ (μον)αχ(οῦ) (καὶ) ἐπισκόπ[ου] Τράλεων


Σφραγὶς Μιχαὴλ μοναχοῦ καὶ ἐπισκόπου Τράλεων.

Seal of Michael, monk and bishop of Tralleis.


There are two bishoprics of this name, both within the Thrakesion theme, and it is impossible to attribute our seals separately to either one. Laurent assigned all seals with this placename to Tralleis of Asia without explaining the reason for his choice.

1. Tralleis of Asia (today Aydin) was a suffragan bishopric of Ephesos and appears as such in all notitiae. Its bishops are attested from the fifth to the thirteenth centuries. See Laurent, Corpus V/1, 186; Culerrier, Suffragants d'Ephèse, 159-160 (episcopal list); Zgusta, 630 ff; ODB III, 2103-4.

2. Tralle of Lydia (unknown site, close to the frontier with Phrygia) is usually spelled Τράλλης or Τράλλων in the notitiae where it appears as a suffragan bishopric of Sardeis (Darrouzès, Notitiae, index, s.v.). It is probable that this name has a different etymology than Tralleis. See Zgusta, 632.

The only criterion by which to distinguish between one and the other would appear to be the spelling. But even this cannot be considered a secure criterion: the form Τράλλεων is also attested for the bishopric of Lydia (Darrouzès, Notitiae, no. 4, line 161; no. 10, line 103), and the parallel case of Sardeis/Sarde shows that there was no consistent use of the first or the third declension forms. In order to avoid confusion between the two sees, the bishops attending councils noted in their signatures that they came from the Asian or the Lydian Tralleis. See Le Quien, Oriens Christianus I, 695-98.