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Andrew patrikios, imperial protospatharios and strategos of Sicily (ninth century)

 
 

Obverse

Cruciform invocative monogram (type V); in the quarters: .σ.|δλ. Wreath border.

Θεοτόκε βοήθει [τ]ῷ [σ]ῷ δούλῳ

Reverse

Inscription of five lines. Indeterminate border.

..̣...
̣τρικ̣
̣σπSσρ̣
τηγσικ
ε̣λισ

[Ἀν]δ[ρέᾳ π]ατρικ(ίῳ), β(ασιλικῷ) (πρωτο)σπ(αθαρίῳ) (καὶ) σ<τ>ρατηγῷ Σικελίας

Obverse

Cruciform invocative monogram (type V); in the quarters: .σ.|δλ. Wreath border.

Θεοτόκε βοήθει [τ]ῷ [σ]ῷ δούλῳ

Reverse

Inscription of five lines. Indeterminate border.

..̣...
̣τρικ̣
̣σπSσρ̣
τηγσικ
ε̣λισ

[Ἀν]δ[ρέᾳ π]ατρικ(ίῳ), β(ασιλικῷ) (πρωτο)σπ(αθαρίῳ) (καὶ) σ<τ>ρατηγῷ Σικελίας

Accession number BZS.1951.31.5.825
Diameter 34.0 mm
Previous Editions

DO Seals 1, no. 5.7.
Zacos-Veglery, no. 1850.

Translation

Θεοτόκε βοήθει τῷ σῷ δούλῳ Ἀνδρέᾳ πατρικίῳ, βασιλικῷ πρωτοσπαθαρίῳ καὶ στρατηγῷ Σικελίας.

Theotokos, help your servant Andrew patrikios, imperial protospatharios, and strategos of Sicily.

Commentary

In Zacos-Veglery, the first line (rev.) has been read: ΔΑ[Δ]; the letter after Δ is certainly not an Α and there are at least two letters preceding Δ. Amari I, 338 note 1, speaks of a seal that belonged to a certain "Andrea consolare e stratego" of (Sicily?).

The Byzantine reconquest of Sicily began in 535 and the islands remained under firm Byzantine control until the Arabs attacked near Mazaras in 827 and began their systematic conquest, capturing Palermo in 832, Ena (Castrogiovanni) in 859, Syracuse in 878, and Taormina in 903. Rametta, the last Byzantine fortification on the island, fell in 965. Although the Byzantine reasserted their claim on the island in a series of brilliant campaigns by George Maniakes in 1038-1042, the Normans gradually conquered the island in the 11th century, seizing Palermo in 1072 and Taormina in 1079. For the general history of Byzantine Sicily, see Storia di Sicilia III (Naples, 1980), 19-52.

In 537 Justinian I placed the civil administration of Sicily under a praitor. Control of the army was exercised by a dux (see A. Guillou, "La Sicile byzantine: Etat de recherches." Sicily was then placed under a strategos, a post that seems to have been created sometime between 687 and 695 (see N. Oikonomides, "Une liste arabe des stratèges byzantins de VIIe siècle et les origines du thème de Sicile," Rivista di studi bizantini e neoellenici n.s. 1 [XI], [1964] 120-30). The first known strategos was probably Theophylaktos (DO Seals 1, no. 5.30). A different opinion, with detailed prosopography based on tets as well as on seals, is found in Winkelmann, Ämterstruktur, 84-89.

The theme of Sicily also included the δουκᾶτον of Calabria (cf. DO Seals 1, §4) and was subdivided into several tourmai (cf. DO Seals 1, nos. 5.36-37 and Theophanes Cont., 81: συντουρμάρχαι). The administration of the island was supported by protonotarioi, dioiketai, and chartoularioi (cf. our seals; Borsari, Amministrazione, and Laurent, Sicile). Despite incessant warfare, the central authorities maintained financial officials (kommerkia, an apotheke) as well as a mint, located first at Catania and later at Syracuse; its activities are reflected in the title of "monetarios". After the fall of Taormina in 902, the strategos of Sicily moved to Calabria.