Byzantine Lead Seals From Cyprus
Metcalf, D. M. Byzantine Lead Seals From Cyprus. Nicosia, 2004. Quarto, pp. xxiv, 598, b/w illustrations in text. Casebound, jacket. This book describes all the available Byzantine lead seals from Cyprus, from the VI/VIIth centuries through to 1192 and beyond. Some 1400 are placed on record, and over 100 are exposed as modern forgeries. The genuine seals constiture a veritable ‘Who’s Who’ of the top people in Byzantine Cyprus, including the senior administrative officials such as archons, consuls, judges and imperial tax collectors as well as military and naval commanders and the archbishops and bishops, together with notables from the leading families of the urban elite – and many others whose place in society remains obscure. The authors look at the seals from a historical perspective, asking what they can tell us about the character of Byzantine Cyprus, about the changes caused by the Arab raids and the transfer of population to Nea Ioustinianoupolis, about urban decline, and about the more colonialist style of government of the eleventh century. A numerical analysis of seals creates new facts about the so-called ‘condominium centuries’ (699-965), by demonstrating that Byzantine imperial officials continued to administer Cyprus, including all the southern coastlands, until at least the early ninth century.