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John Helladikos, vestes, judge of the Velum and Seleukeia and kourator of Tarsos (eleventh century)

Accession number BZS 1947.2.152
Diameter 26 mm
Previous Editions

DO Seals 5 no. 5.3.

Obverse

Bust of the Mother of God orans, holding a medallion of Christ before her breast. Sigla to left and right: P-ΘV: [Μή(τη)]ρ Θ(εο)ῦ. Border of dots.

Reverse

Inscription of seven lines. Border of dots.

Θ̅Κ̅Ε̅,Θ,
Ι̅ΕΣΤ,ΚΡΙ
ΤΗΤΗΛ,ΣΕ
ΛΕΥΚΕΙΑΚ
ΡΑΤΡ,ΤΑΡ
ΤΕΛΑ
.ΙΚΟ

Θ(εοτό)κε β(οή)θει Ἰω(άννῃ) βέστ(ῃ), κριτῇ τοῦ βήλ(ου), Σελευκεία(ς) (καὶ) κουράτωρ(ι) Ταρ[σ]οῦ τῷ Ἑλά[δ]ικο.

Translation

Θεοτόκε βοήθει Ἰωάννῃ βέστῃ, κριτῇ τοῦ βήλου, Σελευκείας καὶ κουράτωρι Ταρσοῦ τῷ Ἑλάδικο.

Mother of God, help John, vestes, judge of the Velum and Seleukeia and kourator of Tarsos.

Commentary

Tarsos was the most wealthy and powerful of the towns on the Cilician plain, and following its capture by the Arabs and use as a base for raids into  Byzantine territory, became the focus of Nikephoros Phokas’s eastern campaigns. The city was recaptured and was converted into an imperial kouratoreia, as well as the seat for a strategos, later under the authority of the doux of Antioch. By the end of the eleventh century, control passed into the hands of Armenian chieftains.

A Constantine Helladikos took part in the failed coup of Constantine Doukas in 913 (Skylitzes, 198-99); this seal is a rare attestation of the family name at a later date. The combination of kourator of Tarsos and other offices or titles held in Seleukeia appears on two other eleventh-century seals: Braunlin-Nesbitt, "Thirteen Seals," no. 11; and SBS 3 (1993): 192, no. 1019 = Seibt-Zarnitz, no. 2.2.1. For another combination of offices in Seleukeia and Tarsos, see also BZS.1947.2.162 and BZS.1958.106.2063.

Accession number BZS 1947.2.152
Diameter 26 mm
Previous Editions

DO Seals 5 no. 5.3.

Notes

Accession number BZS 1947.2.152
Diameter 26 mm
Previous Editions

DO Seals 5 no. 5.3.

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