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Clement imperial spatharios and kommerkiarios of Thessalonica (tenth century)

Accession number BZS.1951.31.5.1775
Diameter 24 mm
Previous Editions

DO Seals 1, no. 18.37.


A male saint (St. Nestor) with head bowed and turned forward, a sword (seemingly stuck in the ground) before him; he gestures toward a saint (presumably St. Demetrios), dressed in a robe, his right hand upraised (possibly touching the bowing figure's head) and holding a spear transversely. Traces of three vertical inscriptions: Ο|Α|Γ; in center, ΚΕ|ΟΗ|.; at right, |.|.. Border of dots.

Κύριε βοήθει


Inscription of six lines. Border of dots.


Κλήμεντι βασιλικῷ σπαθαρίο καὶ κουμερκιαρίῳ Θεσσαλονίκης


Κύριε βοήθει Κλήμεντι βασιλικῷ σπαθαρίο καὶ κουμερκιαρίῳ Θεσσαλονίκης.

Lord, help Clement imperial spatharios and kommerkiarios of Thessalonica.


The iconography of the obverse is duplicated on a seal of a certain Staurakios, imperial spatharokandidatos, protonotarios, and kommerkiarios of Thessalonica, published by Schlumberger, Mélanges, no. 30 (illus. on p. 216; cf. Konstantopoulos, no. 7). A vertical inscription names the saint at right as St. Demetrios; Schlumberger, followed by Konstantopoulos assumes that the figure at right is the Virgin, but the vertical inscriptions and the spear held by the figure at right show that we have here two male saints. We assume that this is a representation of St. Demetrios blessing St. Nestor before his fight with Lyaios. The scene here is somehow different from what is usually found, especially in representing St. Demetrios armed (Nestor is often armed in other representations). For this iconographic theme, see A. Xyngopoulos, Ὁ εἰκονογραφικὸς κύκλος τῆς ζωῆς τοῦ ἁγίου Δημητρίου (Thessalonica, 1970) 21-22, 37-38 (with references to other monuments with this scene). Because the scene on our seal is repeated on another seal of approximately the same period and also belonging to a kommerkiarios of Thessalonica, we assume that it might represent an icon that enjoyed a certain popularity in tenth-century Thessalonica, perhaps in the milieu of the kommerkiarioi.