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Nikephoros S.... (?) protospatharios and strategos of Manzikert (eleventh century)

Accession number BZS.1955.1.3445
Diameter 25 mm
Previous Editions

DO Seals 4, no. 67.1.


Bust of St. Nicholas blessing with his right hand and holding a book in his left hand. Remains of a vertical inscription at right: κ|ο|λ, : [Ὁ ἅγιος Νι]κόλ(αος). Remains of a circular inscription within a border of dots along the upper circumference:


[Κύριε βοήθει τῷ] σῷ δούλῳ


Inscription of six lines, a decoration above. No border visible.


Νικηφ[όρῳ] (πρωτο)σπαθ(αρίῳ) κ[αὶ] στρατιγ[ῷ] τοῦ Ματζ[ι]κέρτ(ε) ὁ Σ...


Κύριε βοήθει τῷ σῷ δούλῳ Νικηφόρῳ πρωτοσπαθαρίῳ καὶ στρατιγῷ τοῦ Ματζικέρτε ὁ Σ...

Lord, help your servant Nikephoros S..., protospatharios and strategos of Manzikert.


Note the abbreviation sign after τ, (line 5 of the reverse) indicating that at least one vowel must be restored there. W. Seibt proposes the family name as Σάρα[ς] and makes reference to the Iranian name Sar. One may also think of the well attested (later) Pontic name Σαρασίτης, but the letters are not legible with any certainty. The letter after σ could as well be a δ, which would point to a Slavic name starting with Σδρα-.

Today Malazgirt, north of Lake Van, Manzikert was among the places transferred to Basil II upon the death of the Georgian king David in 1000. It became the seat of a strategos (Attaleiates, 153; Skylitzes, 462) maybe a subordinate to the doux of Vaasprakania (Yuzbashian, “Administration byzantine,” 149), while the presence of an imperial kourator is also mentioned. Under the leadership of the strategos Basil Apokapes, Manzikert withstood a Turkish siege in 1054, but was lost after the famous Byzantine defeat in 1071. See ODB 2, 1288.