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George apo hypaton and general kommerkiarios of the apotheke of Karia and Lykia (an unspecified year between 691/92 and 695/96)

Accession number BZS.1951.31.5.1790
Diameter 35 mm
Condition Corroded and chipped.
Previous Editions

DO Seals 2, no. 69.1.
Zacos-Veglery, no. 192.

Obverse

The Emperor Justinian II standing, holding the globus cruciger. On either side the indiction year: . Along an indeterminate border, close to the top, the beginning and the end of a circular inscription.

ΓΕΝ

νδικτιὼν           Γεωργίου ἀπὸ ὑπάτων

Reverse

Inscription of six lines. No border visible.

ΓΕ
ΝΙΚΟΥΚΟ
ΜΜΕΡΚΙΡ
ΥΠΟ..Κ.
ΚΡΗΣ
..ΥΚ..

καὶ γενικοῦ κομμερκιαρίου ἀποθήκης Καρήας καὶ Λυκίας

Translation

Ἰνδικτιὼν.         Γεωργίου ἀπὸ ὑπάτων καὶ γενικοῦ κομμερκιαρίου ἀποθήκης Καρήας καὶ Λυκίας.

Indiction. (Seal of) George apo hypaton and general kommerkiarios of the apotheke of Karia and Lykia.

Commentary

We disagree with Zacos-Veglery who recognized Leontios on the obverse; we are inclined to attribute the specimen to Justinian II because the emperor portrayed does not have the heavy, round features prevalent among seals and coins of Leontios and because of the biography of the owner. The matter would be easier to resolve if we could be certain of the indiction, but no such luck; at right one can see remains of a round letter (either Ε or Θ = 691/692 [Justinian II] or 695/96 [Justinian II, replaced by Leontios]), but even this reading is uncertain. So we feel that the indiction should be left aside.

The solitary standing emperor leaves no doubt as to the approximate date of the seal: late 7th-early 8th century. The remains of the circular inscription show that the seal must have belonged to George apo hypaton, a well-known kommerkiarios very active in the times of Justinian II but who completely disappears after this emperor's downfall in 695 (Oikonomides, Kommerkiarioi, 41). As he first became apo hypaton during the year 691/92, we consider this the terminus post quem for the present seal. The terminus ante quem is provided by the downfall of Justinian II late in 695, but we do not rule out the year 695/96 because we assume that George could have obtained his mandate and issued seals by September 695.

The reverse inscription presents minor problems. On line 5, the fourth letter is muddled: judging from its width and from what can be seen on the lead, it could be Η or ΡΙ, Καρήας or Καρρίας. Nevertheless, both entail a spelling mistake. On line 6, we see clearly a Κ, preceded by a letter ending at its top with top oblique lines, obviously an Υ. Hence we consider that the reading Λυκίας, already proposed by Zacos-Veglery, should be retained.

This is the province of Lykia as it appears on seals of kommerkiarioi. See ODB II, 1257-58.

Accession number BZS.1951.31.5.1790
Diameter 35 mm
Condition Corroded and chipped.
Previous Editions

DO Seals 2, no. 69.1.
Zacos-Veglery, no. 192.

Notes

Accession number BZS.1951.31.5.1790
Diameter 35 mm
Condition Corroded and chipped.
Previous Editions

DO Seals 2, no. 69.1.
Zacos-Veglery, no. 192.

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