Бронзов позлатен пръстен-печат на Мануил Критопул (ХІІІ – ХІV в.)

Bronze gilt signet – ring of Manouhl Kritopoulos (13th – 14th c.)

  • Ivan Yordanov National Institute of Archaeology with Museum, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences


The work presents a gold plated signet – ring of Manouhl Kritopoulos dating from the 13th – 14th c., found in the region of Assenovgrad (fig. 1 a-b). Who is Manouhl Kritopoulos and how his ring has come to Assenovgrad are question to be answered.

The name of Manouhl Kritopoulos from the 13th c. is testified in two other sources of information:

Four molybdobullae of Manouhl Kritopoulos are known, struck by the same bulleuterion.

Their obverses bear Jesus Christ in full-length front over supendium, with a nimbus, a beard and long hair, wearing a chiton and a himation. He is blessing with his right hand and holding the Gospel in his left hand. On both his sides sigla IC – XC.

The reverses display an eight-line legend. The text is metric, composed of two verses and is reading in translation: My Christ stamp the writings of Manouhl Kritopoulos your servant to the end.

The name of Manouhl Kritopoulos Duke of Chios is mentioned in a document dating from 1293. The question that arises is whether the owner of the ring, the seals and the one mentioned in 1293 are the same person?

With whom the owner of the ring from Assenovgrad area can be identified? It seems more acceptable to be the Duke of Chios. However, it is also possible to be another representative of the Kritopoulos family from the 13th – 14th c. Not only because Chios is far away from Assenovgrad but I would hardly associate this not rather valuable ring (made of bronze) with the personality of a duke.

The main question of discovering this signet – ring in Assenovgrad area is how to explain its connection with these lands? Whether his owner has stayed longer or shorter where his ring was found?


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