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Gregory Taronites, magistros, vestarches, judge and doux of the Optimatoi (eleventh century)

 
 

Obverse

Inscription of five lines with decoration below. Border of dots.

+ΚΕΟ
ΗΘΕΙΓΡΗ
ΓΟΡΙΜΑ
ΓΙΣΤΡΕ
ΣΤΑΡΧ,

Κ(ύρι)ε βοήθει Γρηγορίῳ μαγίστρῳ, βεστάρχ(ῃ)

Reverse

Inscription of five lines ending with decoration; below, pellet between bars.

ΚΡΙΤΗ
ΔΚΙΤΝ
ΟΠΤΙΜΑΤ,
ΤΤΑΡ
ΝΙΤΗ

κριτῇ (καὶ) δουκὶ τῶν Ὀπτιμάτ(ων) τῷ Ταρωνίτῃ

Obverse

Inscription of five lines with decoration below. Border of dots.

+ΚΕΟ
ΗΘΕΙΓΡΗ
ΓΟΡΙΜΑ
ΓΙΣΤΡΕ
ΣΤΑΡΧ,

Κ(ύρι)ε βοήθει Γρηγορίῳ μαγίστρῳ, βεστάρχ(ῃ)

Reverse

Inscription of five lines ending with decoration; below, pellet between bars.

ΚΡΙΤΗ
ΔΚΙΤΝ
ΟΠΤΙΜΑΤ,
ΤΤΑΡ
ΝΙΤΗ

κριτῇ (καὶ) δουκὶ τῶν Ὀπτιμάτ(ων) τῷ Ταρωνίτῃ

Accession number BZS.1955.1.3347
Diameter 28.0 mm
Previous Editions

DO Seals 3, no. 71.19. See also Stratos Nikolaros, “Die Taronitai. Eine prosopographisch-sigillographische Studie,” Millennium 14 (2017), 227-291, no. 12.

Translation

Κύριε βοήθει Γρηγορίῳ μαγίστρῳ, βεστάρχῃ, κριτῇ καὶ δουκὶ τῶν Ὀπτιμάτων τῷ Ταρωνίτῃ.

Lord, help Gregory Taronites, magistros, vestarches, judge and doux of the Optimatoi.

Commentary

The title of doux for the governor of the Optimatoi is attested here for the first time; it is the equivalent of katepano, and it is easily conceivable in a unit the commander of which was traditionally called a domestikos (which is another equivalent of doux). The combination of the titles of doux and judge in an eleventh-century context means that Gregory exercised full authority over the theme of the Optimatoi.

There are more seals of a magistros Gregory Taronites (Sig., 706; Konstantopoulos, no. 1185b). The present seal seems too early to have belonged to the famous Gregory Taronites of the early twelfth century (Skoulatos, Personnages, 116-18). We know of another Gregory Taronites, patrikios, who was caught and punished for a conspiracy against his military leader in 1040 (Skylitzes, 412); but already at the time of his disgrace he seems to have had high-level support in Constantinople (the Orphanotrophos, under Michael IV), and one may assume that he may well have been pardoned and carried on with his career to become magistros and governor of the Optimatoi, as attested on our seal. Another, likely earlier, Gregory Taronites is mentioned in an eleventh-century judicial decision (Fontes Minores 3 [1979] 242).

Bibliography

  • Catalogue of Byzantine Seals at Dumbarton Oaks and at the Fogg Museum of Art, Vol. 3: West, Northwest, and Central Asia Minor and the Orient (Open in Zotero)
  • Documents de sigillographie byzantine: La collection C. Orghidan (Open in Zotero)
  • Les listes de préséance byzantines des IXe et Xe siècles (Open in Zotero)
  • Byzantinische Rang- und Ämterstruktur im 8. und 9. Jahrhundert: Faktoren und Tendenzen ihrer Entwicklung (Open in Zotero)
  • Byzantine Praetorians: An Administrative, Institutional, and Social Survey of the Opsikion and Tagmata, c. 580-900 (Open in Zotero)
  • Die byzantinische Armee im 10. und 11. Jahrhundert: Studien zur Organisation der Tagmata (Open in Zotero)