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George Maniakes, protospatharios and archegetes of the East (eleventh century)

Accession number BZS 1958.106.3689
Diameter 27 mm
Previous Editions

DO Seals 3, no. 99.1.


Bust of St. Michael holding a trefoil scepter (r. hand) and a globus (l. hand). Inscription: ΜΧ: Μιχαήλ. Along the circumference on the right, remnants of a semi-circular inscription: ΔΛ : Border of dots.

Κύριε βοήθει τῷ σῷ δούλ 


Inscription of six lines preceded by an ornament. Border of dots.


Γεωργίῳ πρωτοσπαθαρίῳ καὶ ἀρχιγέτ τῆς Ἀνατολῆς το Μανιάκ


Κύριε βοήθει τῷ σῷ δούλῳ Γεωργίῳ πρωτοσπαθαρίῳ καὶ ἀρχιγέτῃ τῆς Ἀνατολῆς το Μανιάκῃ.

Lord, help your servant George Maniakes protospatharios and archegetes of the East.


The term archegetes (or hoplitarches) means the supreme commander of the infantry of a standing army or the head of the footsoldiers of a vast region of the empire (his immediate subordiantes are the taxiarchai, each commanding a thousand foot). We know the seals of at least three archegetai of the West (cf. DOSeals 1.1.3), but this is the first archegetes of the East (Listes, 335).

The seal could have belonged to the famous George Maniakes, katepan of Italy and rebel (+1045), at a much earlier stage of his career when he still held the rank of protospatharios. We know that this was his rank at the time when he became strategos of the "cities near Euphrates" with seat at Samosata (Skylitzes, 387; cf. Kühn, Armee, 292). Previously he had been strategos of Telouch (Skylitzes, 381), and later he bacame patrikios and katepano of Baasprakania (SBS 3 [1993] 189); he could have exercised the function of archegetes of the East about 1030 or even earlier

From an administrative point of view, the term Anatole was used until the 10th century to indicate (a) the territories that had previously belonged to the praefectura praetorio per Orientem that is, essentially, all the themes of Asia Minor together with those of Thrace and Macedonia; or, more realistically, (b) the territories situated to the east of Constantinople, that is, Asia Minor. In the 10th century the army command of the East was separated from that of the West (that is, Europe), Listes, 329, 341-42; cf. Oikonomides, Évolution, 141-42 and AP 35 [1978] 300, 328-29. The seals published here (and some others, such as the one of the stratopedarches of the East: Zacos-Veglery, no. 2780; Lihačev, Molivdovuly, 104, pl. LXIII,9; Seyrig, no. 159; or the hikanatoi of the East: Seyrig, no. 154) show that in the 10th and eleventh centuries the entity called the East comprised only military commands.

It should be noted, however, that in some cases the term Anatole seems to have been used to indicate a strategos of the Anatolikoi (cf. Winkelmann, Ämterstruktur, 78-79); and several civilian officials defined as ton Anatolikon could well wave authority over territories covering the East, well beyond the boundaries of the theme (see DO Seals 3, § 86, nos. 86.9, 86.17, 86.34).