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John Doukitzes, hypatos and strategos of Kastoria (eleventh century)

Accession number BZS.1951.31.5.845
Diameter 29 mm
Condition Corroded.
Previous Editions

DO Seals 1, no. 23.1.


Bust of the Virgin holding medallion of Christ before her. Sigla: ..ΘΥ̅: Μήτηρ Θεοῦ. Border of dots.


Inscription of seven lines. Border of dots.


Θεοτόκε βοήθει τῷ σῷ δούλ Ἰωάννῃ ὑπάτῳ καὶ στρατηγ τῆς  Καστορίας τῷ Δουκίτζ


Θεοτόκε βοήθει τῷ σῷ δούλῳ Ἰωάννῃ ὑπάτῳ καὶ στρατηγῷ τῆς  Καστορίας τῷ Δουκίτζῃ.

Theotokos, help your servant John Doukitzes hypatos and strategos of Kastoria.


The owner of this seal could, at a later time, have been promoted from hypatos to patrikios and even later have become the katepano of Edessa mentioned in the will of Boilas (1059): see Polemis, Doukai, 35 (we have doubts concerning the hypothesis that this might be the future caesar John Doukas) and 207; and Lemerle, Cinq études, 40.

Modern Kastoria, near the homonymous lake, in Greek Macedonia, a city famous for its numerous churches dating from the ninth century on. The town was held by the Bulgarians from 998 to 1018. As early as the reign of Michael VII, Kastoria, situated to the west of Berroia, was governed by a strategos (ὁ ἐν Καστορίᾳ στρατηγῶν: Skylitzes Cont., 164; Zakythinos, Mélétai 17 [1941] 225-26). In the mid-twelfth century Andronikos Komnenos exercised authority in the region as doux of Niš, Braničevo, and Kastoria (ibid.). Our seal, DO Seals 1, no. 23.2 would indicate that someone during the eleventh century there was also an otherwise unknown episkepsis in or around Kastoria.

Although the town is first mentioned as a see (in a datable context) in Basil II's decree of 1020 organizing the church of Achrida and its dependencies, it seems clear from Basil's intention to maintain the status quo as it existed before his conquests that Kastoria was already the site of a bishopric during the time of the first Bulgarian Empire (Laurent, Corpus V/2, 327).