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The imperial kommerkia of Thrace (730-741)

Accession number BZS.1955.1.4401
Diameter 31 mm
Condition Chipped and bent.
Previous Editions

DO Seals 1, no. 71.15.
Zacos-Veglery, no. 258.


Half-length representations of Leo III, bearded, and Constantine V (on right, only partially visible, but seemingly a smaller figure), holding a cross between them; each wears chlamys and crown with a cross (discernible only on figure at left). No visible border.


Inscription. Indeterminate border.


Τῶν βασιλικῶν κομμερκίων τῆς Θρᾴκης


Τῶν βασιλικῶν κομμερκίων τῆς Θρᾴκης.

(Seal of) the imperial kommerkia of Thrace.


The theme of Thrace appears around 680 as the Byzantine response to the crossing of the Danube by the Bulgars. It encompassed the eastern part of the Balkan peninsula and seems to have had a considerable silk production. Important exchanges with the new neighbors took place there, as shown by the numerous seals of imperial kommerkia (list in Zacos-Veglery, I, 188-89); these exchanges were largely centered in the city of Mesembria. Around the year 800, its western part was rescinded and became the theme of Macedonia, while in the eastern part, geopraphically reduced because of the Bulgarian expansion, the strategos of Thrace resided in Arkadioupolis; he had uner his command at least three tourmarchai, one called "of Thrace" (i.e., of Arkadioupolis?), one at Bizye, and one at Sozopolis (DO Seals 1, nos. 71.39, 74.1, 79.1). In the tenth century, four tagmata of scholarioi were stationed in Thrace (Cer., 652, 655, 660, 666, 668); and in the eleventh we find several judges with authority over the united themes of Thrace and Macedonia. See De Them., 156-60; Zakythinos, Mélétai 18 (1948) 80; R.-J. Lilie, "Thrakien und Thrakesion. Zur byzantinischen Provinzorganisation am Ende des 7. Jh.," JÖB 26 (1977) 27-47; idem, "Die zweihundertjährige Reform," ByzSl 45 (1984) 36-39. See also Th. Papazotos, 'Ανίχνευση τοπογραφικὴ τῆς Ἀνατολικῆς Θρᾴκης, Byzantinische Forschungen 14/1 (1985) 543-56; Winkelmann, Ämterstruktur, 90-92; and, for the ecclesiastical organization, Asdracha, Thrace orientale.