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John Kantakouzenos, caesar and brother-in-law of the emperor (1185-1186)

 
 

Obverse

St. Theodore standing, holding a spear in his right hand and balancing his shield against the ground with his left. Vertical inscriptions on either side: ο||γι|ο|σθ|ε|ο|Δ|ρο : ὁ ἅγιος Θεόδωρος. Border of dots.

Reverse

Inscription of eight lines. Border of dots.

γαμον
κρατντοσ
εσποτηνι
ακαν
τακζηνον
καισαραμαρ
τυσσκε
ποισ

γαμβρὸν κρατοῦντος δεσπότην Ἰωάννην Καντακουζηνὸν καίσαρα, μάρτυς, σκέποις

Obverse

St. Theodore standing, holding a spear in his right hand and balancing his shield against the ground with his left. Vertical inscriptions on either side: ο||γι|ο|σθ|ε|ο|Δ|ρο : ὁ ἅγιος Θεόδωρος. Border of dots.

Reverse

Inscription of eight lines. Border of dots.

γαμον
κρατντοσ
εσποτηνι
ακαν
τακζηνον
καισαραμαρ
τυσσκε
ποισ

γαμβρὸν κρατοῦντος δεσπότην Ἰωάννην Καντακουζηνὸν καίσαρα, μάρτυς, σκέποις

Accession number BZS.1955.1.4364
Diameter 35.0 mm; field: 33.0 mm
Previous Editions

Oikonomides, Dated Seals, no. 123; Zacos-Veglery, no. 2739; cf. Wassiliou-Seibt, Siegel mit metrischen Legenden I, no. 223.

Translation

Γαμβρὸν κρατοῦντος δεσπότην Ἰωάννην Καντακουζηνὸν καίσαρα, μάρτυς, σκέποις.

Martyr, may you watch over the lord John Kantakouzenos, caesar and brother-in-law of the emperor.

Commentary

The owner married the sister of the emperor Isaac II Angelos in 1185 or 1186 and was raised to the rank of caesar, but a severe defeat at the hands of the Bulgarians in 1186 led to his demotion. It was within this short period that this seal will have been struck.