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Michael Skleros, protoproedros, judge, and exisotes of the West (eleventh century)

Accession number BZS.1951.31.5.67
Diameter 23 mm
Previous Editions

DO Seals 1 no. 1.22b.

Obverse

Bust of the Virgin orans with medallion of Christ before her. Sigla: ̅ΘΥ̅ : Μήτηρ Θεοῦ. Traces of a circular inscription. Border of dots.

θκ.οηθ..

Θ(εοτό)κε βοήθ(ει)

Reverse

Inscription in six lines preceded by a decoration. Border of dots.


μιχαηλ
Απροεδρ
κριτηSεΞι
στητησ
δυσεστ
σκληρ

Μιχαὴλ (πρωτο)προέδρῳ κριτῇ (καὶ) ἐξισωτῇ τῆς Δύσεως τῷ Σκληρῷ

Translation

Θεοτόκε βοήθει Μιχαὴλ πρωτοπροέδρῳ κριτῇ καὶ ἐξισωτῇ τῆς Δύσεως τῷ Σκληρῷ

Theotokos, help Michael Skleros protoproedros, judge, and exisotes of the West.

Commentary

A parallel seal was published by Mordtmann (Ἐλλ. Φιλολ. Σύλλ. 13 [1880] Supplement, 89 = Sig., 516, no. 1); cf. Ebersolt, Sceaux, no. 392 (272); this specimen is reproduced by Seibt, Skleroi, pl. 7, no. 25.

Michael Skleros is undoubtedly the protoproedros, judge of Thrace and Macedonia, and exisotes in 1082, who is mentioned as such in the title of an imperial prostagma in cod. Paris. Gr. 2872 (read by Ch. Astruc; cf. Seibt, Skleroi, 100-101). As an exisotes, he was in charge of revising the cadaster and making sure that no taxpayer held more land than what he was entitled to by the taxes that he paid (Dölger, Finanzverwaltung, 79-81). One should not conclude from the combination of this text with our seal that "West" corresponded to the themes of Thrace and Macedonia only, because it is possible that Michael's mandate for the entire West was given to him in a year other than 1082. See also BZS.1955.1.3313, BZS.1958.106.2360, and BZS.1951.31.5.1503. The term ἐξισωτής is the equivalent of ἐπόπτης. And we know of at least one epoptes of all the West (πάσης Δύσεως), Niketas, who was also a "man" of the emperor: Zacos II, no. 648.

The meaning of the term Δύσις when used on seals such as this, is fluid. It could refer to a few provinces or the whole of the Byzantine west; the only certainty is that it always refers to some territory in the Balkans.

Accession number BZS.1951.31.5.67
Diameter 23 mm
Previous Editions

DO Seals 1 no. 1.22b.

Accession number BZS.1951.31.5.67
Diameter 23 mm
Previous Editions

DO Seals 1 no. 1.22b.

Notes

Accession number BZS.1951.31.5.67
Diameter 23 mm
Previous Editions

DO Seals 1 no. 1.22b.