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N. imperial spatharios and tourmarches of the Aibiditai (?) (eighth/ninth century)

Accession number BZS.1951.31.5.3140
Diameter 18 mm
Condition Blank very thick but too small for die; crack along channel.
Previous Editions

DO Seals 5, no. 95.2.

Obverse

Cruciform invocative monogram (probably type V). In the quarters: τσ.|δλ.: τῷ σ[ῷ] δούλ[ῳ]. Wreath border.

Reverse

Inscription of at least four lines. No visible border.

....
/σπθ/S
ρμρχη
νβιδ
..

. . . β(ασιλικῷ) σπαθ(αρίῳ) (καὶ) [τ]ουρμάρχῃ [τῶ]ν Αἠβιδ(ητῶν)

Translation

Θεοτόκε βοήθει τῷ σῷ δούλῳ . . . βασιλικῷ σπαθαρίῳ καὶ τουρμάρχῃ τῶν Αἠβιδητῶν.

Mother of God, help your servant N. imperial spatharios and tourmarches of the Aibiditai.

Commentary

Deciphering the placename is difficult because of the crack and the resulting loss of metal. On the fourth line, the alpha is secure. Following it, one can discern a vertical line followed by either an oblique or horizontal line. DO Seals 5 asserted the former, and suggested it could be either an M or N, or instead an iota followed by a letter beginning with an oblique line, such as V or X. However, it appears more horizontal and, given the large space between it and the loops of the double-looped beta, perhaps it could be an eta.

To continue: the following letter is clearly a beta, then a iota, then either a delta or lambda. While DO Seals questioned the former because of the absence of serifs (compare to the delta in the bottom left quadrant of the obverse), it nevertheless appears to be a closed-bottom letter, and therefore not a lambda.

The first letter on the second line of the reverse is likely a beta, as there is a loop next to the abbreviation mark. We can therefore identify the seal owner as an imperial spatharios.

For discussion and bibliography of the Aibiditai, see the commentary at BZS.1955.1.1296.

Accession number BZS.1951.31.5.3140
Diameter 18 mm
Condition Blank very thick but too small for die; crack along channel.
Previous Editions

DO Seals 5, no. 95.2.

Accession number BZS.1951.31.5.3140
Diameter 18 mm
Condition Blank very thick but too small for die; crack along channel.
Previous Editions

DO Seals 5, no. 95.2.

Notes

Accession number BZS.1951.31.5.3140
Diameter 18 mm
Condition Blank very thick but too small for die; crack along channel.
Previous Editions

DO Seals 5, no. 95.2.