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Gregory protokentarchos of Nicaea (eighth/ninth century)

Accession number BZS.1958.106.1575
Diameter 28 mm
Condition Struck off-center.
Previous Editions

DO Seals 3, no. 59.6.
Zacos-Veglery, no. 1968.
A similar specimen is publishe in Laurent, Orghidan, no. 220.


Cruciform invocative monogram (type V).  In the quarters: ΤΔ|ΛΣ. Wreath border.

Θεοτόκε βοήθει τῷ σῷ δούλῳ


Inscription of four lines. Wreath border.


Γριγορί προτωκεντάρχ Νικέας


Θεοτόκε βοήθει τῷ σῷ δούλῳ Γριγορίῳ προτωκεντάρχῳ Νικέας.

Mother of God, help your servant Gregory, protokentarchos of Nicaea.


Laurent lists other seals of protokentarchoi. This officer is not mentioned in Philotheos, but he appears in narrative sources in the tenth century and is commonly mentioned in eleventh-century documents. Our seal constitutes the earliest mention of the title. Because of its formulation, we assume that this was the protokentarchos of the theme of the Opsikion, who was attached to the city of Nicaea. Note other seals of protokentarchoi whose authority was defined by the name of an entire theme, such as Hellas and Chaldia (Sig., 166; Ebersolt, Sceaux, no. 483; BZS.1951.31.5.2301). In the tenth century the theme of Thrakesion had six protokentarchoi (Cer., 663). See N. Oikonomides, Fiscalité et exemption fiscale à Byzance (IXE-XIe s.) (Athens, 1996), 279-280.