Corpus of Byzantine seals with metrical inscriptions


The project encompasses the first systematic edition of all available metrical inscriptions on seals (ca. 5.000), either published or unpublished. It consists of three parts, two of which have already been published (1st part: 2011, Wiener Byzantinistische Studien 28/1; 2nd part: 2016, Wiener Byzantinistische Studien 28/2). The third part will consist of metrical legends ranging from Sphragisma to Omega as well as addenda to part 1 and 2 and indices for the entire corpus.

These short epigrams (in most cases a kind of short prayer) are almost exclusively Byzantine dodecasyllables; the oldest ones are to be dated to the eighth century, the youngest to the 14th century, while the climax is the 11th century. In some cases they are also aesthetically sophisticated and of philological interest, if they contain rare words, hapax legomena, or their style is unusual.

The inscriptions are edited as an important source for prosopography, social and administrative history, historical geography and art history. They are analyzed with the help of additional relevant sources. Particular attention is given to accurate dating, especially in order to identify contemporary homonymous persons.

Interactions exist with the project “Epigraphy” and “Epigrammatics”.