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Andronios/Jordanes (?) stratelates (?) (seventh century)

Accession Number:
BZS.1958.106.2045

Details

Diameter:
27 mm
Field:
23 mm

Obverse

Andronios/Jordanes (?) stratelates (?) (seventh century)

Cruciform monogram. Wreath border.

α - δ - ι - λ - ν - ο - ρ - υ - ω

Ἀνδρωνίου/Ἰωρδάνου (?)

Reverse

Andronios/Jordanes (?) stratelates (?) (seventh century)

Cruciform monogram. Wreath border.

α - η - λ - ο - ρ - σ - τ - υ

στρατηλάτου (?)

Translation

Ἀνδρωνίου/Ἰωρδάνου (?) στρατηλάτου (?).

(Seal of) Andronios/Jordanes (?) stratelates (?).

Audio

Commentary

Both monograms are very uncertain. The obverse seems to contain a name, but both names postulated here are extremely uncommon. The reverse monogram may be read as stratelates, but it is equally likely that it is something else entirely, as there seems to be a Κ jutting right from the center of the cruciform monogram and a Γ formed within the left bar of the Η.

It seems that from 688 to 965 Byzantines and Arabs had a condominium over Cyprus, which belonged to neither side but was taxed by both. It is probably that the island was then divided into two zones, the Arabs controlling the western part (region of Paphos). Byzantium was represented first by a dioiketes (tax collector, DO Seals 2, nos. 38.4, 38.5) then by an archon, who appeared before ca. 840, and who probably also collected taxes (DO Seals 2, no. 38.2): both were appointed by Constantinople and received orders thence. Under Basil I the Byzantines reconquered the island and transformed it into a theme, but had to abandon it "seven years" later. After its final reconquest by the Byzantiens in 965, Cyprus became a separate theme with its strategos (to be replaced by a doux or katepano at an unspecified moment, at any rate before the end of the 11th century, cf. DO Seals 2, no. 38.9) and the other officials of the thematic administration, judges, etc. An imperial domain was also created on the island, presumably with the lands abandoned by the Arabs (DO Seals 2, nos. 38.10, 38.11, cf. no. 38.3). There were two unsuccessful separatist rebellions in the 11th century: in 1043 and 1092.

The Church of Cyprus, founded by St. Barnabas (who is probably the unnamed saint represented on seals of the early archbishops), and first attested in 325, became autocephalous (488), the nomination of the archbishop devolving upon the empreror. The hierarchy survived in place throughout the centuries, with a small interruption in 688-89, when a number of Cypriots, with their archbishop John, were moved to the Kyzikos peninsula, only to return to their island "seven years" later.

See Listes, 353-54; R. Browning, "Byzantium and Islam in Cyprus in the Early Middle Ages," Ἐπετηρὶς τοῦ Κέντρου Ἐπιστημονικῶν Ἐρευνῶν 9 (Λευκωσία, 1977-79) 101-16; C. Kyrris, "The Nature of the Arab-Byzantine Relations in Cyprus from the Middle of the 7th to the Middle of the 10th Century A.D.," Graeco-Arabica 3 (1984) 149-75; A. I. Dikigoropoulos, "The Church of Cyprus during the Period of the Arab Wars 649-965," The Greek Orthodox Theological Review 11, 273-76; N. Oikonomakes, "Ἡ Κύπρος καὶ οἱ Ἄραβες," Μελέται καὶ Ὑπομνήματα (Ἵδρυμα Ἀρχιεπισκόπου Μακαρίου Γ′) (Nicosia, 1984), 217-374 (he contests the condominium theory); K. Chatzepsaltes, "Σημειώσεις ἀναφερόμεναι εἰς τὴν ἱστορίαν τῆς Βυζαντινῆς Κύπρου," Καθηγήτρια, Essays Presented to Joan Hussey (Camberley, 1988), 345-51; Malamut, Iles, passim, esp. 298-300, 310, 320-21, 329-30, 371, 506-13, 562-67; ODB I, 567-70; Kühn, Armee, 168.

 

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