Keywords: Byzantine sigillography, molivdovul, Kyiv Metropolis, 11th—12th centuries.


The unique Byzantine molivdovul found during archaeological excavations in 2019 at the yard of the St. Sophia Cathedral in Kyiv is analyzed in the paper.

The modivdovul is 2.6—2.8 cm in diameter and 2.5—3 mm thick (fig. 1, 2). A poetic legend in Greek is preserved on the both sides: «(Σφραγὶς) βεβεω̃ (τοὺς) (λ)ό(γου)ς Βασιλείου // (ο)ι̉κιστικου̃ τέλ(ε)ι νυ̃ν βεστιαρίου» («The seal confirms the words of Vasily the oikistikos (in the past), who now serves as a vestiarios»). Two positions belonging to the different bureaucratic offices of the Byzantine Empire, mentioned in one legend, determine the uniqueness of this molivdovul.

The archaeological dating of the find is the second half of the 11th — first half of the 12th centuries which is consistent with the paleography of the legends text. The spelling features of the inscription are characterized by substitutions «ε» instead of «αι» in the verb «βεβαιω̃» and «ι» instead of «ει» in the verb «τέλει», which is associated with a chronologically similar linguistic processes — the monophthongization of the diphthongs and the manifestation of the itacism in Greek.

Basing on the historical sources the authors conclude that the molivdovul could belong to the Byzantine official who сhanged his position at the imperial court during late 11th — early 12th centuries as a result of the administrative reform carried out by the Byzantine emperor Alexei I Comnenus between 1081 and 1118. The finding of this seal in the yard of St. Sophia Cathedral in Kyiv apparently testifies to the close ties existed during this period between the Kyiv’s Metropolis and the Constantinople’s Imperial


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Bobrovskyy, T. A., & Evdokimova, A. A. (2021). THE LEAD SEAL OF A BYZANTINE OFFICIAL OF THE LATE 11th — EARLY 12th CENTURIES FROM THE EXCAVATIONS 2019 IN THE YARD OF THE St. SOPHIA CATHEDRAL IN KYIV. Archaeology and Early History of Ukraine, 38(1), 99-104. Retrieved from