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Constantine ...polites, patrikios and katepano of Dristra (eleventh century)

Accession number BZS.1951.31.5.3400
Diameter 24 mm
Condition Chipped.
Previous Editions

DO Seals 1, no. 65.1.


Bust of St. Nicholas blessing and holding book. Inscription in two columns: Ν|ΙΚ|Ο|Λ: ἅγιος Νικόλαος. Traces of circular inscription. No visible border.


Κύριε βοήθει τῷ σῷ δούλ


Inscription of six lines. No visible border.


Κωνσταντίν πατρικίῳ καὶ κατεπάνω Δρίστρας τῷ ..πολίτ


Κύριε βοήθει τῷ σῷ δούλῳ Κωνσταντίνῳ πατρικίῳ καὶ κατεπάνω Δρίστρας τῷ ..πολίτῃ.

Lord, help your servant Constantine ...polites, patrikios and katepano of Dristra.


The reconstruction of the place name could also be Παριστρίου, but this would not make any substantial difference. The family name is obviously a composite, with πολίτης at the end: something like Ἀκροπολίτης, Καλλιπολίτης, Ἰωνοπολίτης, Οὐρανοπολίτης, Τριπολίτης, and the like. We measure space for three letters, thus the two latter names are more likely but remain uncertain.

Dristra or Dorostolon (modern Silistra on the Danube) was organized by the Byzantines as a strategeia following its conquest in 971 (cf. Listes, 362). It may have passed to the Bulgars between 986 and 1000 (contrary to Bulgarian scholars, Bǎnescu, Duchés, 48-54, maintained that the city remained continuously under Byzzantine control). After 1000, it became a major administrative center, probably the seat of the katepano of Paradounavon, and had important economic activities, in spite of the Petcheneg threat of the eleventh century. See also V. Tŭpkova-Zaimova, Dolni Dunav--granična zona na viznatijskija zapad (Sofia, 1976); I. Jordanov, "Pečati na Leon Sarakinopul ot Veliki Preslav," Arheologija 24/1 (1982) 12-23; and DO Seals 1, no. 67.1 (BZS.1958.106.4797).