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Seal of Byzantine Empress Irene found in Bulgaria's Lyutitsa Fortress


A lead seal which has never been discovered in Bulgaria, has been found during archaeological excavations of the medieval fortress of Lyutitsa, near Ivaylovgrad, in Southeastern Bulgaria, the press office of the National Historical Museum (NIM) said.

Seal of Byzantine Empress Irene found in Bulgaria's Lyutitsa Fortress
The seal depicts the Holy Mother of God (Virgin Mary) with baby Jesus Christ on one side (left) and an image
of Byzantine Empress Irene on the other [Credit: National Museum of History/BGNES]
The excavations began in July. The valuable seal depicts Empress Irene (Yolande) Palaeologina of Montferrat, the second wife of Andronikos II Palaiologos. According to experts, this is the first such seal found in Bulgaria, and the other famous ones are currently two and are kept in the British National Museum. The find is extremely valuable and shows that Lyutitsa was an important Bulgarian city, the governors of which had correspondence with the rulers of the greatest medieval states.

Empress Irene ruled between 1284 and 1317. She was born under the name of Yolande in 1274 in the Principality of Montferrat, present-day Italy. She was the daughter of Wilhelm VII (1240-1292), the Marquis de Montferrat, and his second wife Beatrice of Castile (1254-1286). In 1284, Yolande was married to the widowed Byzantine Emperor Andronikos II and accepted Orthodox name Irene, meaning peace.

Source: Focus Information Agency [July 26, 2018]

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