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Michael metretes of the Phylax (eleventh century)

Accession Number:
BZS.1958.106.1661

Previous Editions

DO Seals 5 no. 27.1b; Laurent, Corpus 2: no. 675.

Details

Diameter:
20 mm
Condition:
Overstruck (obverse)

Obverse

Michael metretes of the Phylax (eleventh century)

Bust of St. Nicholas raising his right hand in blessing and holding a book in his left. At left: |Ν|ΙΟ|Λ : Ὁ ἅ(γιος) [Νι[κ]όλ(αος)]. Border of dots.

Reverse

Michael metretes of the Phylax (eleventh century)

Inscription of five lines, the final letter between two horizontal bars. Border of dots.

κε,Θ,
μιχαηλ
μετρητι
τφυλˊ
Κ,

Κ(ύρι)ε β(οή)θ(ει) [Μ]ιχαὴλ [μ]ετρητῖ [τ]οῦ Φύλ(α)κ(ος)

Translation

Κύριε βοήθει Μιχαὴλ μετρητῖ τοῦ Φύλακος.

Lord, help Michael metretes of the Phylax.

Audio

Commentary

The reading of this seal has been restored on the basis of its counterpart from the same boulloterion: BZS 1958.106.1240.

The Phylax was a depository within the confines of the great palace where various imperial treasures were safeguarded (Theophanes Cont., 253.7–8, 255.15–16). It abutted the Chrysotriklinos (see Laurent, Corpus 2:346). As a treasury it was independent of the fisc. Hendy (Monetary Economy, 311) is correct that the eidikon and the Phylax appear to be similar treasuries, but at least in the eleventh century, as our seals testify to, the Phylas had its own personnel, and by extension, a separate identity.

One can discern on the obverse the remains of a circular inscription (ΗΘ) and at right the letter Θ.

Michael seems to have been a professional weigher who performed services for the crown. In our opinion the designation "metretes" does not here signify an official title.

 

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