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Wonderfully Preserved Seal of the Ekdikoi of the Hagia Sophia

Triton XXI, Lot: 896. Estimate $5000.
Sold for $10500. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

Ekdikoi of the Hagia Sophia. temp. Palaiologan Dynasty, 1261-1453. PB Seal (43mm, 70.25 g, 12h). Justinian I and the Virgin Mary supporting between them a model of the domed Church of Hagia Sophia, containing patriarchal cross within; [I(OV)]/(CT)/[IN]/IA/N/O/N Δ/ЄC/Π to left, HA/ΓIA/ CO/ΦIA in center, (MHP)/ΘV/HB/OH/ΘH/A to right / +TOIC ΘЄ/OCЄBЄ(CT)ATOIC/ (ΠΡ)ЄCBVTЄPOIC/ KAI ЄKKΛHC/ ЄKΔIKOIC in five lines. BLS II 75 var. (obv. legend); Laurent 114 var. (same). EF, brown patina. Exceptional.

The ekdikoi were a college of priests responsible for the administration of holy sites, and had a further judicial function, in that accused criminals who sought asylum in churches would be judged by them. The office was established by Justinian I, but did not acquire a real presence in the administration of church affairs until the 11th century.