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Basil imperial strator and archon of Thessalonica (ninth/tenth century)

 
 

Obverse

Cross on one step with fleurons rising from base (almost to transverse bar). Beginning at 12 o'clock, a circular inscription between two borders of dots.

ΚΕΟΗΘΗΤΣΔΟΥΛ

Κύριε βοήθη τῷ σῷ δούλῳ

Reverse

Inscription of four lines, the first line flanked by pellets. Border of dots.

ΑΣΙ
ΛΗ/ΣΤΡΑ
ΤΟΡ/ΑΡΧ/Τ
ΘΕΣΑΛ/Ν

Βασιλήῳ βασιλικῷ στράτορι καὶ ἄρχοντι Θεσαλονίκης

Obverse

Cross on one step with fleurons rising from base (almost to transverse bar). Beginning at 12 o'clock, a circular inscription between two borders of dots.

ΚΕΟΗΘΗΤΣΔΟΥΛ

Κύριε βοήθη τῷ σῷ δούλῳ

Reverse

Inscription of four lines, the first line flanked by pellets. Border of dots.

ΑΣΙ
ΛΗ/ΣΤΡΑ
ΤΟΡ/ΑΡΧ/Τ
ΘΕΣΑΛ/Ν

Βασιλήῳ βασιλικῷ στράτορι καὶ ἄρχοντι Θεσαλονίκης

Accession number BZS.1951.31.5.245
Diameter 24.0 mm; field: 23.0 mm
Previous Editions

DO Seals 1, no. 18.12.

Translation

Κύριε βοήθη τῷ σῷ δούλῳ Βασιλήῳ βασιλικῷ στράτορι καὶ ἄρχοντι Θεσαλονίκης.

Lord, help your servant Basil imperial strator and archon of Thessalonica.

Commentary

The theme of Thessalonica was surrounded by and contained Slavic settlements (Σκλαβηνίαι), attested already in 824 (Mansi XIV, 418: "circumjacentibus Sclaviniis") and again in the Book of Ceremonies, where, with reference to the reign of Emperor Michael III (842-867), there is a question of the ἀρχοντία of Thessalonica which was inhabited by Slavs (Cer., 635). A Thessalonian archontia of Stephaniana appears in the typikon of Gregory Pakourianos (ed. Petit, 11; ed. Kauchtschischvili, 28). The archontes mentioned on seals could be the chieftains of this ethnic minority. But the term ἄρχων may have several other meanings as well, none of which should be excluded here; see Listes, 342-43.