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Basil patrikios, hypatos, judge of the Hippodrome, of the Velum and of the Opsikion (eleventh century)

Accession number BZS.1947.2.2137
Diameter 24 mm
Condition Broken in half along the channel; corroded.
Previous Editions

DO Seals 3, no. 39.7.

Obverse

Inscription of five lines followed by an ornament. Border of dots.

εR..θ
τσδλ,
.ασιλει
πατρικι
υπατ
·

[Κ(ύρι)]ε β[οή]θ(ει) τῷ σῷ δούλ(ῳ) [Β]ασιλείῳ πατρικίῳ, ὑπάτῳ

Reverse

Inscription of five lines followed by an ornament. Border of dots.

κριτη
επιτι
δρομτ.
λ
οψικι-

κριτῇ ἐπὶ τοῦ Ἱππ(ο)δρόμου, τ[οῦ] βήλου (καὶ) τοῦ Ὀψικίου

Translation

Κύριε βοήθει τῷ σῷ δούλῳ Βασιλείῳ πατρικίῳ, ὑπάτῳ, κριτῇ ἐπὶ τοῦ Ἱπποδρόμου, τοῦ βήλου καὶ τοῦ Ὀψικίου.

Lord, help your servant Basil, patrikios, hypatos, judge of the Hippodrome, of the Velum, and of the Opsikion.

Commentary

Opsikion was one of the earliest themes of Byzantium; its name comes from the term obsequium (retinue), often called "imperial obsequium guarded by God." Its territory included many provinces and initially encompassed all northwestern Asia Minor; by the mid-eighth century it was subdivided, and the new themes of the Boukellarioi and of the Optimatoi appeared. All three names show that the origins of this theme are to be sought in the regiments of the imperial guard, and according to some scholars, to the milites praesentales of the fifth century.

The commander of Opsikion traditionally bore the titles of komes, probably because initially he was identical to the comes domesticorum. He is first attested in 626 (perhaps already in 615), and, because of his proximity to Constantinople (his residence was in Nicaea), he played an important role in imperial politics. As this happened regularly with all units of the imperial guard, the tagmata (Listes, 329), the second in command of the Opsikion was called for quite some time a topoteretes (cf. Zacos-Veglery, no. 1762). The province was organized as all other themes (with tourmarchai, anagrapheis, judges, protonotarioi, chartoularioi, strateutai [Laurent, Orghidan, no. 218], etc.), and, already in the ninth century, the commander was also called a strategos (see Listes, 264, footnote 23; Zacos, Seals II, no. 850; Seyrig, no. 191).

The littoral of the Opsikion was also part of the theme of Aigaion Pelagos.

See Pertusi, in De Them., 127-30; Winkelmann, Ämsterstruktur, 72-76, 119-20; ODB III, 1528-29; Haldon, Praetorians, passim, esp. 164 ff; T. Lounghis, "A Deo conservandum imperiale Obsequium," ByzSl 52 (1991) 54-60.

Accession number BZS.1947.2.2137
Diameter 24 mm
Condition Broken in half along the channel; corroded.
Previous Editions

DO Seals 3, no. 39.7.

Notes

Accession number BZS.1947.2.2137
Diameter 24 mm
Condition Broken in half along the channel; corroded.
Previous Editions

DO Seals 3, no. 39.7.

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