An exceptional rendering of Hodegetria
Los 1717
Michael Mousele, patrikios and megas kourator ton oxeon, last quarter 11th century. Seal (Lead, 25 mm, 11.15 g, 12 h). MHP - Θ[V] The Mother of God “Hodegetria”, nimbate, wearing chiton and maphorion, pointing with her right hand towards Infant Christ seated on her left arm. Rev. [TⲰ CⲰ] / ΘKЄ ROH|[Θ]ЄI MIXA ΠPI / [K]AI MЄΓAΛⲰ / [K]૪PATⲰPI T, / [O]ΞЄⲰN TⲰ / MⲰCHΛЄ / Δ૪ΛⲰ. Dumbarton Oaks 1958.106.2031, otherwise apparently unpublished. A beautiful seal with an exceptional Hodegetria on the obverse. Minor off centre strike, otherwise, extremely fine.


Quite peculiarly, the phrase 'TⲰ CⲰ Δ૪ΛⲰ' - "help your servant", which is part of the invocation, appears at the start and end of the legend. The first part is off flan, but it is clearly visible on a parallel example in Dumbarton Oaks that lacks the last part of the legend. With the aid of our seal we can now attribute this seal to a person named Michael Mousele, who was a high ranking official of the oxys, the public post. There is another unpublished seal in Dumbarton Oaks likely belonging to the same individual (BZS.1955.1.3192), it mentions the same names and titles, but has a legend on both sides.
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