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Gregory patrikios and komes of the imperial Opsikion guarded by God (eighth/ninth century)

Accession number BZS.1958.106.1051
Diameter 31 mm
Condition Half missing.
Previous Editions

DO Seals 3, no. 39.28.

Zacos-Veglery, no. 1961.

Obverse

Cruciform invocative monogram (type VIII). In three of the four quarters: τ-σ|λ. No visible border.

Κύριε βοήθει τῷ σῷ [δού]λῳ

Reverse

Inscription of five lines. No visible border.

+γρηγ
οριπ.
ρικ/Sκο
τουθε
φ/β

Γρηγορίῳ πα[τ]ρικ(ίῳ) (καὶ) κό[μ(ητι)] τοῦ θε[ο]φ(υλάκτου) β(ασιλικοῦ) [Ὀψικίου]

Translation

Κύριε βοήθει τῷ σῷ δούλῳ Γρηγορίῳ πατρικίῳ καὶ κόμητι τοῦ θεοφυλάκτου βασιλικοῦ Ὀψικίου.

Lord, help your servant Gregory, patrikios and komes of the imperial Opsikion guarded by God.

Commentary

Cf. BZS.1947.2.121. The epithet theophylaktos ("guarded by God"), used for no other theme, guarantees the restored reading of the "Opsikion."

Opsikion was one of the earliest themes of Byzantium; its name from the term obsequium (retinue), often called "imperial obsequium guarded by God." Its territory included many provinces and initially encompassed all northwestern Asia Minor; by the mid-eighth century it was subdivided, and the new themes of the Boukellarioi and of the Optimatoi appeared. All three names show that the origins of this theme are to be sought in the regiments of the imperial guard, and according to some scholars, to the milites praesentales of the fifth century.

The commander of Opsikion traditionally bore the titles of komes, probably because initially he was identical to the comes domesticorum. He is first attested in 626 (perhaps already in 615), and, because of his proximity to Constantinople (his residence was in Nicaea), he played an important role in imperial politics. As this happened regularly with all units of the imperial guard, the tagmata (Listes, 329), the second in command of the Opsikion was called for quite some time a topoteretes (cf. Zacos-Veglery, no. 1762). The province was organized as all other themes (with tourmarchai, anagrapheis, judges, protonotarioi, chartoularioi, strateutai [Laurent, Orghidan, no. 218], etc.), and, already in the ninth century, the commander was also called a strategos (see Listes, 264, footnote 23; Zacos, Seals II, no. 850; Seyrig, no. 191).

The littoral of the Opsikion was also part of the theme of Aigaion Pelagos.

See Pertusi, in De Them., 127-30; Winkelmann, Ämsterstruktur, 72-76, 119-20; ODB III, 1528-29; Haldon, Praetorians, passim, esp. 164 ff; T. Lounghis, "A Deo conservandum imperiale Obsequium," ByzSl 52 (1991) 54-60.

Accession number BZS.1958.106.1051
Diameter 31 mm
Condition Half missing.
Previous Editions

DO Seals 3, no. 39.28.

Zacos-Veglery, no. 1961.

Notes

Accession number BZS.1958.106.1051
Diameter 31 mm
Condition Half missing.
Previous Editions

DO Seals 3, no. 39.28.

Zacos-Veglery, no. 1961.