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John sebastos and megas domestikos of all the East and West (twelfth century)

Accession Number:
BZS.1958.106.3227

Previous Editions

DO Seals 3, no. 99.8.
Laurent, Corpus II, no. 941 (where a third specimen in the Istanbul Museum is mentioned). Two similar specimens from a different boulloterion are published in Zacos, Seals II, nos. 526a, 526b.

Details

Diameter:
36 mm
Field:
29 mm

Obverse

John sebastos and megas domestikos of all the East and West (twelfth century)

Bust of St. Demetrios, holding a spear over his right shoulder and a shield in his left hand. Inscription: |ΔΗ|ΜΗΤ|ΡΙ|ΟΣ: Ὁ ἅγιος Δημήτριος. Border of dots.

Reverse

John sebastos and megas domestikos of all the East and West (twelfth century)

Inscription of seven lines. Border of dots.

Ι̅ΣΕ
ΑΟΣΚΑΙ
ΜΕΓΑΣΔΟ
ΜΕΙΚΟΣ
ΠΑΣΗΣΑΝΑ
ΤΟΛΗΣΚΑΙ
ΔΥΣΕΣ

Ἰωάννης σεβαστὸς καὶ μέγας δομέστικος πάσης Ἀνατολῆς καὶ Δύσεως

Translation

Ἰωάννης σεβαστὸς καὶ μέγας δομέστικος πάσης Ἀνατολῆς καὶ Δύσεως

John sebastos and megas domestikos of all the East and the West.

Audio

Commentary

As Laurent has rightly pointed out, this is undoubtedly John Axouchos, the grand domestikos and friend of John II Komnenos; Axouchos, called by the sources domestikos of East and West, was appointed to this position in 1118 and died around 1151 or 1154. See Guilland, Recherches I, 407-8; P. Gautier, Michel Italikos, Lettres et Discours (Paris, 1972), 41-44

From an administrative point of view, the term Anatole was used until the 10th century to indicate (a) the territories that had previously belonged to the praefectura praetorio per Orientem that is, essentially, all the themes of Asia Minor together with those of Thrace and Macedonia; or, more realistically, (b) the territories situated to the east of Constantinople, that is, Asia Minor. In the 10th century the army command of the East was separated from that of the West (that is, Europe), Listes, 329, 341-42; cf. Oikonomides, Évolution, 141-42 and AP 35 [1978] 300, 328-29. The seals published here (and some others, such as the one of the stratopedarches of the East: Zacos-Veglery, no. 2780; Lihačev, Molivdovuly, 104, pl. LXIII,9; Seyrig, no. 159; or the hikanatoi of the East: Seyrig, no. 154) show that in the 10th and eleventh centuries the entity called the East comprised only military commands.

It should be noted, however, that in some cases the term Anatole seems to have been used to indicate a strategos of the Anatolikoi (cf. Winkelmann, Ämterstruktur, 78-79); and several civilian officials defined as ton Anatolikon could well hold authority over territories covering the East, well beyond the boundaries of the theme (see DO Seals 3, § 86, nos. 86.9, 86.17, 86.34).

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