Bronze Medallion with Polychronia
Circa 9-11th Century AD
Important thin bronze medallion with incised ring border and decorated with an embossed half-length incised portrait of a figure,
the Polychronia. The figure grasps an incised robe with the right hand and holds the open palm of the left hand in prayer. A nimbus surrounds the figure’s head, incised tresses of hair fall past the shoulder. Polychronia is known as the mother of St. George and her name is synonymous with the acclamation”God Grant Many Years.”
Polychronia is the mother of St. George. She became a Christian without her husband’s knowledge, then upon his death returned to her native Palestine to raise her son. George became revered when, as a young adult, he defied the Roman ruler Diocletian at the start of the Great Persecution (circa 304 AD).
Diameter: 1.7 in (4.2 cm)
Inscribed: Η/ΠΟ/ΛΥ/Χ/ΡΟ/ΝΗ/Α < ἡ Πολυχρονήα = ἡ Πολυχρονία > Polychronia (female name: meaning “many years”)
Condition: Intact as shown, with small chip from the right edge. Some wear on the high points.
Provenance: Formerly in the collection of Carroll F. Wales (1918-2007), a distinguished Harvard educated scholar and conservator who collected between 1952-1970. His important collection spanned an 800-year timeframe and included a superb array of early Christian/Byzantine artifacts.