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Joseph imperial spatharios epi tou Chrysotriklinou and strategos of Beroe (tenth/eleventh century)

Accession number BZS.1951.31.5.347
Diameter 24 mm
Field diameter 21 mm
Condition Obverse corrosion.
Previous Editions

DO Seals 1, no. 64.1.


Monogram: from the central Θ radiate eight spokes, ending with the following letters (beginning at 12 o'clock): ΣΙΕΛΩΔΚΤ: Θεοτόκε βοήθει τῷ σῷ δούλῳ. Pellets between the spokes. Border of dots.

Θεοτόκε βοήθει τῷ σῷ δούλῳ


Inscription of five lines. Border of dots.


Ἰωσὶφ βασιλικῷ πρωτοσπαθαρίῳ καὶ ἐπ τοῦ Χρυσοτρικλίνου καὶ στρατηγῷ Βερόϊς


Θεοτόκε βοήθει τῷ σῷ δούλῳ Ἰωσὶφ βασιλικῷ πρωτοσπαθαρίῳ καὶ ἐπὶ τοῦ Χρυσοτρικλίνου καὶ στρατηγῷ Βερόϊς.

Theotokos, help your servant Joseph imperial protospatharios and epi tou Chrysotriklinou and strategos of Beroe.


This type of monogram is typical of the late tenth century, cf. DOP 27 (1973) 323-27 and Laurent, Corpus V/1, no. 52. Note that the engraver mistakenly added a pellet before the letter Ι of line 1, transforming it into another . For another strategos of Beroe, see Jordanov, Corpus I, no. 18.1.

Beroe, modern Stara Zagora in central Bulgaria, was lost to the Bulgars in the late ninth century, then recaptured by the Byzantines in 970-71. It became the seat of a strategos mentioned in the Escorial Taktikon. Lost to Samuel of Bulgaria (in 986?), it was later recaptured (after the year 1000) and annexed to the theme of Philippoupolis/Plovdiv (cf. Listes, 361), perhaps as the seat of a tourmarches: this hypothesis (REB 44 [1986] 265) is also discussed in DO Seals 1, no. 19.1.

Beroe, a bishopric of the fourth century, soon became an archbishopric and is mentioned as such in all Constantinopolitan notitiae until the ninth century, that is, until its capture by the Bulgars (Darrouzès, Notitiae, nos. 1-5); it then disappears completely, presumably because the city was attached to the Bulgarian patriarchate (and later the archbishopric of Ohrid). This is also a hypothesis neither supported nor contradicted by any text known to us; but it explains the presence of BZS.1955.1.3799. Laurent, however, believed that the archbishopric had been reinstituted and was omitted in the notitiae; but how could an autocephalous archbishopric exist inside the territory of Ohrid.