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Ιezid imperial spatharios and komes of the imperial stables (eighth century, first half)

 
 

Obverse

Circular inscription between two wreath borders. In center, cruciform invocative monogram (type V): Κύριε βοήθει. In the four angles, Ι – Ζ – Η – Θ—Ἰζήθ.

εελμεκεεανθροππονιρ

Ἐξελοῦ με Κ(ύρι)ε ἐξ ἀνθρόπου πονιροῦ

Reverse

Inscription in six lines beginning and ending with a cross. Wreath border.

̣β̣α̣..λ̣,
σπαθαρι̷
Sκομιτι
τωνβασι̷
σταυλ
ων

βα[σι]λ(ικῷ) σπαθαρί(ῳ) (καὶ) κόμιτι τῶν βασι(λικῶν) σταύλων

Obverse

Circular inscription between two wreath borders. In center, cruciform invocative monogram (type V): Κύριε βοήθει. In the four angles, Ι – Ζ – Η – Θ—Ἰζήθ.

εελμεκεεανθροππονιρ

Ἐξελοῦ με Κ(ύρι)ε ἐξ ἀνθρόπου πονιροῦ

Reverse

Inscription in six lines beginning and ending with a cross. Wreath border.

̣β̣α̣..λ̣,
σπαθαρι̷
Sκομιτι
τωνβασι̷
σταυλ
ων

βα[σι]λ(ικῷ) σπαθαρί(ῳ) (καὶ) κόμιτι τῶν βασι(λικῶν) σταύλων

Accession number BZS.1955.1.1330
Diameter 32.0 mm; field: 23.0 mm
Previous Editions

J. Glynias, “Prayerful Iconoclasts: Psalm Seals and Elite Formation in the First Iconoclast Era (726–750),” 86–87, no. 8b; see also Zacos–Veglery, no. 1986b.

Translation

Ἐξελοῦ με, Κύριε, ἐξ ἀνθρόπου πονιροῦ. Κύριε, βοήθει Ἰζὴθ βασιλικῷ σπαθαρίῳ καὶ κόμιτι τῶν βασιλικῶν σταύλων.

Rescue me, Lord, from the evil man. Lord, help Yezid imperial spatharios and komes of the imperial stables.

Commentary

On the komes of the imperial stables, see R. Guilland, “Le Grand connétable.”

The seal owner’s name appears variously as Iezeth, Iezid, Ized, and Iszid on seals, and corresponds to the Arabic Yazid or Yezid. Four groups of seals belonging to Yezid, and dating to the first half of the eighth century, are known. On the first three, Yezid holds the rank of imperial spatharios and the offices of (a) droungarios, (b) tourmarches, and (c) komes of the imperial stables. A fourth type attests Yezid’s rise in rank from imperial spatharios to hypatos and imperial spatharios, but does not include his office.

Apart from the regular promotion through military offices attested by these specimens, Yezid’s seals are also part of a group from approximately the first half of the eighth century that includes Psalm verses as invocations—in the present case, from Psalm 139:1 (Septuagint): Ἐξελοῦ με, Κύριε, ἐξ ἀνθρώπου πονηροῦ (“Rescue me, O Lord, from the evil man”). Other types belonging to Yezid use verses from Psalms 42 (Ἀπὸ ἀνδρὸς ἀδίκου καὶ δολίου ῥῦσαί με [“Deliver me from the unjust and deceitful man”]) and 142 (Ἐξελοῦ με, Κύριε, ἐκ τῶν ἐχθρῶν μου [“Rescue me, O Lord, from my enemies”]). Zacos and Veglery suggest that “quotations from the Psalms were used during the First Iconoclastic Controversy” (Byzantine Lead Seals, 1113–14), a position more fully explored in the article by Joe Glynias, in which the seals of Iezid are edited with extensive commentary. Glynias argues that their association with the first period of Iconoclasm allow us to date this group more precisely to ca. 725–50.

The unusual name and the Psalm inscriptions have permitted a fuller identification of the seal owner’s career than is usually possible from lead seals alone; see bibliography in PmbZ, no. 2656.