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Peter Serblias, magistros, vestes, judge of the Velum of the Peloponnesos and Hellas (eleventh century)

 
 

Obverse

Inscription of five lines, a pellet on each side of final five letters. No visible border.

ΚΕΟΗ
ΘΕΙΤΣ
ΔΛ,ΠΕΤΡ
ΜΑΓΙΣΤΡ
ΕΣΤΗ

Κύριε βοήθει τῷ σῷ δούλ Πέτρῳ μαγίστρῳ, βέστῃ

Reverse

Inscription of five lines. No visible border.


ΚΡΙΤ,Τ
ΗΛΠΕΛΟ
ΠΟΝΣΕ
ΛΛΑΔΟΣΤ
ΣΕΡΒΛΙΑ

κριτ τοῦ βήλου, Πελοποννήσου καὶ Ἑλλάδος τῷ Σερβλίᾳ

Obverse

Inscription of five lines, a pellet on each side of final five letters. No visible border.

ΚΕΟΗ
ΘΕΙΤΣ
ΔΛ,ΠΕΤΡ
ΜΑΓΙΣΤΡ
ΕΣΤΗ

Κύριε βοήθει τῷ σῷ δούλ Πέτρῳ μαγίστρῳ, βέστῃ

Reverse

Inscription of five lines. No visible border.


ΚΡΙΤ,Τ
ΗΛΠΕΛΟ
ΠΟΝΣΕ
ΛΛΑΔΟΣΤ
ΣΕΡΒΛΙΑ

κριτ τοῦ βήλου, Πελοποννήσου καὶ Ἑλλάδος τῷ Σερβλίᾳ

Accession number BZS.1955.1.3298
Diameter 24.0 mm; field: 21.0 mm
Previous Editions

DO Seals 2, no. 8.26a.
In Sig., 190, no. 4 (with a misreading of the title βέστης as βεστίτωρ), we find a specimen from the Schlumberger Collection with the same alignment of letters similar to DO Seals 2, no. 8.26b. Cf. Bon, Péloponnèse, 201.

Translation

Κύριε βοήθει τῷ σῷ δούλῳ Πέτρῳ μαγίστρῳ, βέστῃ, κριτῇ τοῦ βήλου, Πελοποννήσου καὶ Ἑλλάδος τῷ Σερβλίᾳ.

Lord, help your servant Peter Serblias magistros, vestes, judge of the Velum of the Peloponnesos and Hellas.

Commentary

A Peter Serblias, hypatos, judge of the Velum and of Seleukeia is known from his seal (Sig., 270-71). Another seal belonged to Peter Serblias, magistros, vestes, judge of the Velum and of Opsikion (two specimens in DOSeals 3, no. 39.16). Both could be the same person as the owner of the present seal at earlier stages of his career.

A strategos of Hellas, a patrikios, is first mentioned in 695 (Theophanes I, 368); the position was created in the late 7th century, probably by Justinian II (687-695). A tourmarches ton Helladikon is mentioned in 727 at the head of the fleet (Theophanes I, 405). The officials of Hellas are well attested throughout the centuries, those belonging to the "regular" thematic administration (strategoi, ek prosopou, merarchai, tourmarchai, dioiketai, protonotarioi, anagrapheis, epoptai, chartoularioi, judges, and the droungarioi who possibly commanded naval forces, see DO Seals 2, no. 810) as well as those attesting special jurisdisctions insied the thematic framework such as the archontes of Slavic settlements or of Byzantine cities or the imperial administration from a very early date. In the 8th century Hellas was called a strategia, a term als used for the oriental theme of Thrakesion (Zacos-Veglery, no. 254, cf. no. 261), but later the expression θέμα Ἑλλάδος will appear on the seals (cf. DO Seals 2, no. 8.5). Initially this Hellas included, we suppose, whatever remained under imperial control of the former province of Achaia (which was also called Hellas in the Synekdomos), the capital of which was Corinth (cf. DO Seals 2, § 25). Later (ca. 800) the Peloponnesos (DO Seals 2, § 22) constituted a separate theme and Hellas was limited to the north of the Isthmus. The strategos resided possibly in Athens (9th century), certainly in Thebes (first half of the 10th century) and Larissa (second half of the 10th century).

Hellas remained an independent theme adjacent to Peloponnesos, and its strategoi are attested until the last decades of the 11th century (no. 8.54), after what had been Hellas was divided into smaller administrations. But, on the other hand, there was a tendency to combine the financial and fiscal authorities of the two themes, especially the protonotarioi and judges (praitores): this change dates from the late 10th/early 11th century. In the late 11th century the praitores appear on the seals (including a protopraitor: see DO Seals 2, no. 8.39) as well as the doukes of the two themes (see DO Seals 2, no. 8.32; Bon, Péloponnèse, 200-201 and J.-Cl. Cheynet, "Du stratège du thème au duc: chronologie de l'évolution au cours du XIe siècle," TM 9 [1985] 192), and later, the megas doux, the admiral in chief of the Komnenian navy, like Eumathios Philokales (see DO Seals 2, no. 22.15).

For the theme of Hellas, see Listes, 351, n. 360 (biblio.); Koder-Hild, Hellas, 54-67; Herrin; Winkelmann, Ämterstruktur, 92-95, 123-25; and Kühn, Armee, 240-41.