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Nathanael doux of [Bo]lisos (tenth century)

Accession Number:
BZS.1958.106.925

Previous Editions

DO Seals 2, no. 46.1.

Details

Diameter:
26 mm
Field:
19 mm
Condition:
Break along channel on obv. Not printed on the sides.

Obverse

Nathanael doux of [Bo]lisos (tenth century)

Bust of a bearded saint, likely John the Baptist, holding a long cross over his shoulder. Border of dots.

Reverse

Nathanael doux of [Bo]lisos (tenth century)

Inscription of five lines followed by a pellet. Border of dots.

ΚΕ̀.
.ΣΔ.
...ΝΑΗ.
.ΟΥΚ.
.ΛΗΣ

Κύριε βοήθει τῷ σῷ δούλῳ Ναθαναὴλ δουκὶ Βολησοῦ

Translation

Κύριε βοήθει τῷ σῷ δούλῳ Ναθαναὴλ δουκὶ Βολησοῦ.

Lord, help your servant Nathanael doux of Bolisos.

Audio

Commentary

The reading is tentative and needs explanation. At line 3, ΝΑΗ is fairly certain. At line 4, ΟΥΚ is good, the final sign being any letter starting with a vertical line. In the last line there is an oblique line at the beginning (Λ or Δ), ΗΣ, and what could be the upper left extremity of an . Taking into consideration the field, 19 mm, and the regular distribution, of the characters, we admit that line 3 must have 7 characters (only 3 are legible), lines 2 and 4 must have 6 characters each (four are legible), and lines one and five must have five characters each (four are legible).

Bolissos is a town in the north of Chios with a fortress first attested in the late eleventh century but built at an unknown time (Malamut, Iles, 236, 278, 611).

It is certain that the owner was a doux, but a low-level one as he does not have any honorific title or dignity: a doux like the one of the Melingoi or of the Vlachs of Hellas attested until the late 10th century as subordinates to the strategos of the theme (Ahrweiler, Recherches, 54). The placename is a guess based on the elements on the lead but proposed with all due reservations as the prehellenic ending -ισσός is quite common in Greek lands.

 

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