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Pothos [vestes?] exaktor, oikistikos of the sakelle and kommerkiarios of Chaldia (eleventh century)

Accession number BZS.1951.31.5.1317
Diameter 24 mm
Previous Editions

DO Seals 4, no. 32.26.

V. Laurent, "Sceaux byzantins inédits," BZ 33 (1933) 356, no. 7 (also noted in Bryer-Winfield, Pontos, 318). The Fogg seal seems to be the same as the one illustrated on plate 4, although Laurent listed the weight of his seal as 17 grams; he also dates the seal at least a century too late and did not decipher the last three lines of the reverse.


Inscription of five lines. No visible border.

- λησ

Πόθῳ [βέστῃ?], ἐξάκτ(ο)[ρ(ι)], οἰκιστι[κ(ῷ) τ]ῆς σακ[έ]λη[ς] [(καὶ)]


Inscription of six lines. No visible border.

ι̅R -

[κομμε]ρκιαρί[ῳ] Χαλδίας. [Ἰ]νδικτίῶ[νος] ια᾽ καὶ ιβ᾽.


Πόθῳ βέστῃ, ἐξάκτορι, οἰκιστικῷ τῆς σακέλης καὶ κομμερκιαρίῳ Χαλδίας. Ἰνδικτίῶνος ια᾽ καὶ ιβ᾽.

Pothos vestes, exaktor, oikistikos of the sakelle and kommerkiarios of Chaldia. Indiction 11 and 12.


There is one more letter at the end of all lines of the obverse (on line 5 it must have been a dash). Hence: (a) After the name of Pothos we have two illegible letters, which should normally provide his honorific title; we propose βέστῃ only because this word can conceivably be abridged with two letters distributed on two lines, but any other title with a very drastic abbreviation is possible. b) The reading οἰκιστικῆς σακέλλης proposed by Laurent, is impossible, because it does not accommodate the extra letters that certainly were there.  We propose οἰκιστικῷ τῆς σακέλλης without much conviction, because we have no other example of this combination; we understand that he was an official providing to the sakelle the same services as the oikistikos was providing to the genikon. See Oikonomides, Fiscalité, 140, 181, 277.

Pothos was employed at the central administration, and took over the lucrative position of kommerkiarios of Chaldia for two years (and not for the normal one year). For this reason he had the indiction numbers engraved on his seal, much in the same way as did the seventh-century kommerkiarioi (see Oikonomides, "Kommerkiarioi," 40-41). This was quite unusual by the eleventh century.