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Eumathios Philokales, grand doux and praitor of Hellas and the Peloponnesos (eleventh/twelfth century, ca. 1118)

 
 

Obverse

Bust of the Virgin orans with medallion of Christ on breast. Sigla: ̅ΘΥ̅ : Μήτηρ Θεοῦ. No border visible.

Reverse

Inscription of seven lines. No border visible.

ΘΚ...
ΥΜΕΘˋ
ΕΓΑΛΔΚΙ
ΠΡΑΙΤΡΙΕΛ
ΑΔΟΣΠΕΛΟ
ΟΣ,ΤΦΙ
ΟΚΑΛΗ

Θεοτόκε βοήθει Εὐμεθίμεγάλῳ δουκὶ (καὶ) πραίτωρι Ἑλλάδος καὶ Πελοποννήσου τῷ Φιλοκάλῃ

Obverse

Bust of the Virgin orans with medallion of Christ on breast. Sigla: ̅ΘΥ̅ : Μήτηρ Θεοῦ. No border visible.

Reverse

Inscription of seven lines. No border visible.

ΘΚ...
ΥΜΕΘˋ
ΕΓΑΛΔΚΙ
ΠΡΑΙΤΡΙΕΛ
ΑΔΟΣΠΕΛΟ
ΟΣ,ΤΦΙ
ΟΚΑΛΗ

Θεοτόκε βοήθει Εὐμεθίμεγάλῳ δουκὶ (καὶ) πραίτωρι Ἑλλάδος καὶ Πελοποννήσου τῷ Φιλοκάλῃ

Accession number BZS.1955.1.3249
Diameter 24.0 mm
Previous Editions

DO Seals 2, no. 22.15.
Cf. similar seal from a different boulloterion, published in Sig., 189-90, no. 2 (cf. Bees, Zur Sigillographie, 229).

Translation

Θεοτόκε βοήθει Εὐμεθίῳ μεγάλῳ δουκὶ καὶ πραίτωρι Ἑλλάδος καὶ Πελοποννήσου τῷ Φιλοκάλῃ.

Mother of God, help Eumathios Philokales, grand doux and praitor of Hellas and the Peloponnesos.

Commentary

Line 2 (rev.): Note the odd spelling of the name, Εὐμεθίῳ instead of Εὐμαθίῳ; however, the pivotal letter Ε as well as the abbreviation mark after Θ are certain (the Schlumberger specimen carries the normal speling of the name). This variant is problematic because it can be understood as a pun with the name: instead of εὖ+μάθ-, "quick learner," we have εὖ+μέθ-, "can't hold his liquor." As we are dealing here with a very powerful man, very overbearing toward his subordinates, we must take it that this seal was made and used with his own approval. Was this a mistake of the engraver that the grand doux found unnecessary to correct or was it a deliberate pun on a seal used only in correspondence with friends?

Eumathios Philokales was a well-known figure of the late 11th/early 12th century (cf. Bon, Péloponnèse, 197, no. 48; Laurent, Vatican, no. 68; Herrin, chart between p. 276-77, no. 6; Skoulatos, Personnages, 79-82; N. Oikonomides, Οἱ αὐθένται τῶν Κρητικῶν τὸ 1118, Pepragmena of the 4th International Congress of Cretan Studies II [Athens, 1981] 311-13). He is attested with the titles of grand doux doux and praitor (of Hellas and Peloponnesos: but this is not written out) in a document of Patmos of August 25, 1118 (MM VI, 96). We assume (contra Skoulatos) that our seal must refer to this period of his life.