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Akakios bishop of Herakleia (tenth century)

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DO Seals 3, no. 105.1.


17 mm


Akakios bishop of Herakleia (tenth century)

Bust of the Virgin. Sigla: ΜΡ̅ΘΥ̅ : Μήτηρ Θεοῦ. Traces of a circular inscription visible. Border of dots.



Akakios bishop of Herakleia (tenth century)

Inscription of five lines, partially effaced. Border of dots.


Θεοτόκε σώζοις Ἀκακίῳ ἐπισκόπ Ἡρακλίας


Θεοτόκε σώζοις Ἀκακίῳ ἐπισκόπῳ Ἡρακλίας.

Mother of God, preserve Akakios, bishop of Herakleia.



The reading on the obverse could also be Θεοτόκε σκέποις.

This seal, BZS.1951.31.5.92, and BZS.1951.31.5.996 (as Laurent, Corpus V/1, 686, observed) could be connected with any one of several episcopal sees with this name: Herakleia of Pontos, suffragan of Klaudiopolis; Herakleia of Salbake, suffragan of Stauropolis of Caria; or Herakleia of Latmos, also a suffragan of Stauroupolis. There is no need to include Herakleia of Macedonia, better known as Pelagonia, in this list. See the four articles by D. Stiernon in DHGE, fasc. 143 (1993) 1394-1423.

This is the place to comment on a passage of the Book of Ceremonies related to the preparation of the campaign against Crete in 911 (Cer. 659). When it was necessary to find four-member teams of oarsmen for the newly constructed small boats of the fleet, an imperial emissary, with the collaboration of the katepano (of the Mardaïtai of Attaleia), went to the Κορφιτιάνους Ἠρακλείας and recruited the sailors. This is no doubt Herakleia Lakymon on the gulf of Milet, which on the basis of this text was subordinate in 911 to the theme of the Kibyrraiotai (cf. DOSeals 2, p. 150). Herakleia Salbake, lying in the interior, would be an unlikely place for recruiting sailors.

The term κορφιτιάνοι requires explanation. Following Reiske's translation, scholars understood that it indicated sailors from Corfou and spoke of a detachment of the Corfiot fleet stationed in the neighborhood of Miletus, a very unlikely arrangement considering the distance and the fact that an operational fleet is not the place to recruit new sailors (e.g., E. Malamut, Les îles de l'empire byzantin [Paris, 1988] 60; Soustal, Nikopolis und Kephallenia, 178). We think that it is a composite made from the word κόρφος, a popular form of κόλπος (Demetrakos V, p. 4060; cf. E. Kriaras, Λεξικὸ τῆς Μεσαιωνικῆς Ἐλληνικῆς Δημώδους Γραμματείας 8 [Thessalonike, 1982], 237), referring here to the gulf of Miletus (κόρφος⟩κορφιτιάνος cf. κάραβος⟩καραβησιάνος). It is also relevant to note that in western Asia Minor an administrative unit of the navy, called Κόλπος, existed until the middle of the 9th century (cf. DOSeals 2, pp. 110-11).


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