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George apo hypaton and general kommerkiarios of the apotheke of Nicaea (695-697)

Accession number BZS.1951.31.5.1770
Diameter 34 mm
Condition Corroded.
Previous Editions

DO Seals 3, no. 59.3.
Zacos-Veglery, no. 194.

Obverse

The emperor (Justinian II or, less probably, Leontios), holding a globus cruciger. On either side the indiction years: |Ι|Θ. Indistinct trace of a circular inscription remain (the letters Γ and Ε can be discerned with difficulty. No border visible.

νδικτιὼν ιˊθˊ

Reverse

Inscription of six lines, top and bottom lines effaced. No border visible.

+ΓΕ
ΝΙΚΟΥΚΟ
ΜΜΕΡΚΙΑ
ΡΙΟΥΑΠΟΘΗ
ΚΗΣΝΗΚΗ
ΑΣ

Γεωργίου ἀπὸ ὑπτων καὶ γενικοῦ κομμερκιαρίου ἀποθήκης Νηκήας.

Translation

Ἰ(νδικτιὼν) ιˊθˊ. Γεωργίου ἀπὸ ὑπἀτων καὶ γενικοῦ κομμερκιαρίου ἀποθήκης Νηκήας.

Indiction 9, 8. (Seal of) George apo hypaton and general kommerkiarios of the apotheke of Nicaea.

Commentary

Zacos-Veglery correctly assigned this seal to the years 695-697 but identified the emperor as Leontios (695-698). We feel that this identification, although not impossible, is open to question when it is taken into account that the seals with double indiction were usually issued at the beginning of the time period they covered, when their owner had by auction obtained a mandate for a two-year period (cf. DOP 40 [1986] 40). In the present case, this would mean September 695, when the throne of Constantinople was still occupied by Justinian II (685-end of 695). The identification of the emperor with Justinian II becomes inevitable, if one accepts our proposal for restoring the inscription of the obverse.

The restoration of this circular inscription is tentative because the letters are poorly preseved; however, they do not negate our hypothesis. We know that George apo hypaton was very active in obtaining kommerkiarios mandates during the first reign of Justinian II and especially during his last years. Then he disappears and we are left with the impression that he fell into disgrace (DOP 40 [1986] 41). But precisely during these last years George had started to inscribe the two indictions on his seal in reverse order: this appears on our specimen and in Zacos-Veglery, no. 189, dated ind. 9,8, i.e., 694-696, at a time when Justinian II's power was far from being contested.

Accession number BZS.1951.31.5.1770
Diameter 34 mm
Condition Corroded.
Previous Editions

DO Seals 3, no. 59.3.
Zacos-Veglery, no. 194.

Notes

Accession number BZS.1951.31.5.1770
Diameter 34 mm
Condition Corroded.
Previous Editions

DO Seals 3, no. 59.3.
Zacos-Veglery, no. 194.

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