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Byzantine Lead Bulla Seal, John Melek, 12th - 13th Century A.D.
A number of Byzantine dignitaries in 13th and 14th centuries shared the patronym Melek but they probably were not all from the same family. The name is foreign and perhaps derived from the Seljuk name malik, meaning prince. Presumably John Melek was a Seljuk prince who converted, was baptized adopting the name John, and served the Empire.
The office and title of the owner is not included in the inscription, which during the period, was a common practice of the representatives of noble ruling families.
The owner of the seal might be a certain John Melek associated with the stay of the army headed by Emperor Manuel I Komnenos in Beroe in 1155/1156.
A 13th century possiblity, is that the owner was one of the sons of the sultan Izedin, who after their father escaped captivity, were baptized and served in army of the Empire with the patronym Melek.
SH58238. Lead bulla (tag seal), Jordanov 456 (Historical Museum, Stara Zagora, Bulgaria, no. 10 C3-11, found in the town); DOCBS -, Choice, near complete imprint, weight 17.593g, maximum diameter 26.9mm, obverse MP − ΘY, half-length figure of Virgin Orans standing facing, nimbate, hands raised, medallion of the infant Christ on breast; reverse Inscription: IWANHN / CKEΠOIC ME / MEΛHK / KOPH; large, high-relief seal
Catalog current as of Sunday, August 18, 2019.
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