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Thomas patrikios, genikos logothetes, and kommerkiarios of the apotheke of Mesembria (722/3)

Accession number BZS.1958.106.692
Diameter 30 mm
Previous Editions

DO Seals 1, no. 77.11.
Zacos-Veglery, no. 232a, where the indiction is mistakenly read as θˊ. The authors also publish a similar seal from a different boulloterion.


Busts of two emperors in upper field. Both wear chlamys and crown with a cross and hold a globus cruciger; the figure at left is bearded, the other being represented as a beardless youth. Indiction sign visible at right.: . Inscription of four lines below. No discernible border.


νδικτιὼν ςˊ


Inscription of six lines. No visible border.


Θωμᾶ πατρικίου, γενικοῦ λογοθέτου καὶ κομμερκιαρίου ἀποθήκης Μεσεμβρίας


Ἰνδικτιὼν ςˊ.  Θωμᾶ πατρικίου, γενικοῦ λογοθέτου καὶ κομμερκιαρίου ἀποθήκης Μεσεμβρίας.

Indiction 6.  (Seal of) Thomas patrikios, genikos logothetes and kommerkiarios of the apotheke of Mesembria.


Zacos-Veglery reasonably assigned this seal to the joint reign of Leo III and Constantine V. It would not have been impossible to recognize here Justinian II and his son Tiberius, but on coins and seals these are regularly shown holding a cross on a stand between them. So we adopt the classification proposed by Zacos-Veglery, 301-3 but redate it according to the correct reading of the indiction sign (6, not 9).

Modern Nessebǎr, on the Bulgarian coast of the Black Sea; Greek Μεσημβρία or, quite often, Μεσεμβρία. After the installation of the Bulgarians south of of the Danube, the city became a Byzantine outpost, a center where commercial transactions took place in conformity with the treaties between Byzantium and Bulgaria (hence the numerous seals of kommerkiarioi and of kommerkia of Mesembria listed with bibliography by Zacos-Veglery I, 182-84). Taken by Krum in 812, the city was later destroyed by the Bulgarians and recaptured by the Byzantines during the reign of Basil I. It was still an important outpost, but its contacts with Constantinople were by sea; thus it never acquired its former commercial importance. Since the year 812, these exchanges centred in the border town of Develtos. See N. Oikonomides, "Tribute or Trade? The Byzantine-Bulgarian Treaty of 716," 29-31; idem, "Mesembria in the Ninrht Century: Epigraphical Evidence," 269-73 (with bibliography). It seems that before 812 the administration of the city was in the hands of an archon (DO Seals 1, no. 77.1-3, and Ebersolt, Sceaux, 19); after its recapture, in the tenth/eleventh century (DO Seals 1, no. 77.4), we find an ek prosopou (who presumably replaced a strategos) and later, in the eleventh century, a katepano of Mesembria (Zacos, Seals II, no. 1059; cf. Skylitzes Cont., 184, 185), who seems to have been a Slav. The ecclesiastical see of Mesembria evolved in a parallel manner: bishopric, then archbishopric (from the end of the 7th century), and metropolis (after 1032): Asdracha, Thrace orientale, 243-44, 289-91.