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Leo vestarches and judge of Thrace and Macedonia (eleventh century)

Accession Number:
BZS.1958.106.1369

Previous Editions

DO Seals 1, no. 43.10.

Details

Diameter:
25 mm
Field:
21 mm

Obverse

Leo vestarches and judge of Thrace and Macedonia (eleventh century)

Inscription of five lines preceded by an ornament. Border of dots.

·
ΛΕΟΝ
ΤΟΣΕΙΜΙ
ΣΦΡΑΓΙΣ
ΗΤΟΥΕ
ΣΤΑΡΧ

Λέοντός εἰμι σφραγὶς ἡ τοῦ βεστάρχου

Reverse

Leo vestarches and judge of Thrace and Macedonia (eleventh century)

Inscription of five lines preceded by an ornament. Border of dots.

·
ΟΣΤΙΣ
ΔΙΚΑΕΙ
ΘΡΑΙ
ΜΑΚΕΔΟ
ΣΗΝ

ὅστις δικάζει Θρᾳξὶ καὶ Μακεδόσην

Translation

Λέοντός εἰμι σφραγὶς ἡ τοῦ βεστάρχου, ὅστις δικάζει Θρᾳξὶ καὶ Μακεδόσην.

I am the seal of Leo vestarches, who dispenses justice to the Thracians and Macedonians.

Audio

Commentary

Two twelve-syllable verses.

According to Lemerle (Philippes, 122-23), this theme was established between 789 and 802 (first mention of a strategos in 813). It was situated in present-day Greek Thrace and the western part of Turkish Thrace, with the city of Adrianoupolis as its capital (Listes, 349). Among known seals, no specimen appears to contradict the chronology that Lemerle espoused (cf. Winkelmann, Ämterstruktur, 101-2, 124-25). Although Laurent asserted that a seal published by Mordtmann (Ἐλλ. Φιλολ. Σύλλ. 13, Suppl. [1880] 85) and struck in the name of a Gregory, imperial spatharios and strategos of Macedonia, belonged to the eighth century (V. Laurent, "La Macédoine orientale à l'époque byzantine," REB6 [1948] 77; cf. K. Konstantopoulos, ΑΘΛΓΘ 4 [1937] 189-91), there is good reason to believe that it belongs to the ninth century, as its obverse has a cruciform monogram similar to that on the bulla of the ninth century, as its obverse has a cruciform monogram similar to that on the bulla of Antonios I Kassimatas, patriarch of Constantinople 821-837. Another (or several other) very early seal(s), attributed to the eighth-ninth century, belonged to a certain Sergios strategos of Macedonia (Sig., 111; EO 9 [1906] 215; Byzantion 6 [1931] 802). Another seal, of a komes tes kortes of Macedonia (Zacos-Veglery, no. 1530a), has been dated to the second half of the eighth century, but its reading and dating seem questionable.

The theme of Macedonia is mentioned in all taktika except the Escorial Taktikon (971-975), where a doux of Adrianoupolis appears instead (see DO Seals 1, § 44). We know that the theme of Macedonia existed in 962 (Theophanes Cont., 480) and was still functioning in 1006/7, as we learn from an inscription of that year (see Listes, 355). On occasion, the administrative functions of Macedonia and Thrace were combined, as, for example, in the case of a mid-tenth-century protonotarios of Macedonia and Thrace named Stephanos (Zacos, Seals II, no. 894) or of the anagrapheus of Thrace and Macedonia George (DO Seals 1, no. 43.1).

 

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