STEPANENKO V.P. To the Iconography of the Saint Warrior Horseman in the Byzantine Sphragistics of the 12th – 13th Centuries. Saint Demetrios of Thessalonika

DOI: https://doi.org/10.15688/jvolsu4.2019.6.9 

Valeriy P. Stepanenko

Doctor of Sciences (History), Professor,

Department of Ancient and Medieval History, Ural Federal University,

Prosp. Lenina, 51, 620000 Yekaterinburg, Russian Federation

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  

https://orcid.org/0000-0001-8399-5530 


Abstract. Introduction. The images of holy warriors were extremely popular in the art of Byzantium and the countries of the Byzantine cultural circle of the 11th – 14th centuries. They are known for numerous images in iconography, monumental painting, applied art. They are numerous in sphragistics. The image of a warrior horseman best known for the early 13th century monuments is the rarest and most recent formation. Introducing new sigilographic monuments into the scientific circulation and determining the time of appearance of this iconographic type on their basis are among the main goals of the proposed research.

Methods. The methodological basis of the study is an interdisciplinary integrated approach that involves using methods of the comparative analysis of sfragistics, numismatic and other categories of monuments.

Analysis. Two seals are kept in the State Hermitage Museum collection. Both sides of the first seal (M-12374) have the depiction of Saint Demetrios of Thessaloniki as a horseman triumphant. On the left, under the cloak, there is the inscription ΟΔΗ. that, apparently, can be revealed as  (γιος) Δη(μήτριος). On the other side of the seal there is a full-length image of Saint Stephanos with a censer and pyxis in his hands. On the front side of the second seal (M-3751) there is the same image of Saint Demetrios of Thessaloniki with a similar inscription. On the reverse side of the seal there is the inscription “Defender, look at me, your slave Christopher”.

Results. The images of Saint Demetrios of Thessaloniki on both seals are almost identical, which implies the existence of a common prototype, most likely an honored icon. We can assume that it was in Thessaloniki in the Basilica of Saint Demetrios. Probably, the image of the warrior triumphant is the latest version of the iconography of saint warrior and it is known for the few monuments of the late 11th – 12th centuries. As a result, both seals can be dated to the same time.

Key words: Byzantium, sphragistics, iconography, triumph, saint warriors, St. Demetrios of Thessaloniki.

Citation. Stepanenko V.P. To the Iconography of the Saint Warrior Horseman in the Byzantine Sphragistics of the 12th – 13th Centuries. Saint Demetrios of Thessalonika. Vestnik Volgogradskogo gosudarstvennogo universiteta. Seriya 4. Istoriya. Regionovedenie. Mezhdunarodnye otnosheniya [Science Journal of Volgograd State University. History. Area Studies. International Relations], 2019, vol. 24, no. 6, pp. 111-120. (in Russian). DOI: https://doi.org/10.15688/jvolsu4.2019.6.9.

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To the Iconography of the Saint Warrior Horseman in the Byzantine Sphragistics of the 12th – 13th Centuries. Saint Demetrios of Thessalonika by Stepanenko V.P. is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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