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Michael the Nabataean, episkeptites of the Optimatoi and of Dorylaion (eleventh century)

Accession number BZS.1951.31.5.2515
Diameter 26 mm
Previous Editions

DO Seals 3, no. 71.22.

Obverse

Bust of Virgin w/hands open in front of her. Sigla: ..ΘΥ: [Μ(ήτη)ρ] Θ(εο)ῦ. Traces of a circular inscription. Border of dots.

ΣΔΟΥ..

Θεοτόκε βοήθει τῷ σῷ δούλῳ

Reverse

Inscription of six lines preceded and followed by a decoration. Border of dots.


ΜΙΧΑΗ.
ΤΝΑ.
ΤΗΝ,ΕΠ.
.ΚΕΠΤΤ̅.
.Τ,ΜΑΤ.
ΔΟΡΥ

Μιχαὴλ τῷ Ναβατηνῷ καὶ ἐπισκεπτίτῃ τῶν Ὀπτιμάτων (καὶ) Δορυλαίου

Translation

Θεοτόκε βοήθει τῷ σῷ δούλῳ Μιχαὴλ τῷ Ναβατηνῷ καὶ ἐπισκεπτίτῃ τῶν Ὀπτιμάτων καὶ Δορυλαίου.

Mother of God, help your servant Michael the Nabataean and episkeptites of the Optimatoi and Dorylaion.

Commentary

Another seal of an episkeptites of the Optimatoi was published by Zacos, Seals II, no. 333. The owner of our specimen had authority not only over the episkepsis of the Optimatoi but also over another at Dorylaion, a major city of Phrygia in the theme of Opsikion which maintained a transit camp for the imperial army (aplekton), and was famous for the herds of imperial pack animals raised there. Cf. ODB I, 655; Phrygien und Pisidien, 238-242; and, for Dorylaion, Brandes, Städte, 135. The episkepsis of Dorylaion was perhaps related (if not identical) to the metaton of Phrygia (DO Seals 3, no. 95.1-2), mentioned in Philotheos and in Cer. as a major center for imperial pack animals for the (military) service of the logothete of the agelai; one should note though that this official supervised episekptitai, among whom could well be the one of Dorylaion [and of the Optimatoi] (Listes, 338).

Because family names are normally mentioned last on all seals, we understand Nabatenos (i.e., the Nabataean, in a form known, among others, from Josephus) on the present specimen is a name of origin, and we translate it accordingly: a Christian Arab?

Accession number BZS.1951.31.5.2515
Diameter 26 mm
Previous Editions

DO Seals 3, no. 71.22.

Notes

Accession number BZS.1951.31.5.2515
Diameter 26 mm
Previous Editions

DO Seals 3, no. 71.22.

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