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Corpus of the Byzantine Seals from Bulgaria, Volume 3

Ivan Jordanov, Konstantin Preslavsky University, Shumen, Bulgaria, Summer Fellow 2008

The project I have been researching at Dumbarton Oaks is Corpus of the Byzantine Seals from Bulgaria, Volume 3: Byzantine Institutions (Secular and Ecclesiastical) located in the Capital Constantinople. It will include nearly 1,200 seals of title-holders of various institutions (civil, military, and ecclesiastical) who resided in Constantinople.

After the material was classified it turned out that more than 1,500 seals could not be attributed to any of the above rubrics. These are seals of private individuals containing one or two names, anonymous seals, monogrammatic seals, and approximately 1000 seals which cannot be deciphered because their texts are incomplete. They are important for medieval Bulgarian history because they were found in various settlements of former medieval Bulgaria and thus their publication is also obligatory.

Meanwhile new Byzantine seals were found in Bulgaria that supplement or correct what was already published in the first two volumes.

Volume 3, the final stage of the project, will include all Byzantine seals found in modern Bulgaria arranged according to the existing classifications. It will include seals already published with references to the relevant publications and in cases of new finds or new readings they will be noted appropriately. Thus all the material will be documented so as to illustrate the ranks and official hierarchy in Byzantium as elucidated by the material from Bulgaria.

During my stay at Dumbarton Oaks, I arranged the text and the respective photos according to the following scheme:

  1. Imperial palace, nos.1–715 (Imperial seals, nos. 1–126; Offices at the Palace, nos. 218–363; Titles at the Palace, nos 364–715)
  2. Central administration, nos. 716–965
  3. Army, 966–1089
  4. Provincial administration, nos. 1100–1617
  5. Church, nos. 1618–1796
  6. Seals of private individuals, nos. 1797–2586
  7. Undeciphered seals, nos. 2587–3500.