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Andronikos protoproedros and strategos of the Thrakesioi, "man" of the caesar [John] Doukas (eleventh century)

Accession number BZS.1958.106.1111
Diameter 24 mm
Field diameter 18 mm
Condition Cracked along the channel (obverse).
Previous Editions

DO Seals 3, no. 2.39.


Inscription of five lines preceded by decoration. Border of dots.

– + –

Κ(ύρι)ε βοήθ(ει) τῷ σῷ δούλ(ῳ) Ἀνδρονίκ(ῳ) πρωτοπροέδρῳ


Inscription of six lines preceded by decoration. Border of dots.

κα -

(καὶ) στρατιγῷ τῶν Θρᾳκησ[ί]ων [τ]ῷ [ἀ]ν(θ)ρώ[π]ῳ (καὶ)σαρο[ς] τοῦ Δούκα


Κύριε βοήθει τῷ σῷ δούλῳ Ἀνδρονίκῳ πρωτοπροέδρῳ καὶ στρατιγῷ τῶν Θρᾳκησίων τῷ ἀνθρώπῳ καὶσαρος τοῦ Δούκα.

Lord, help your servant Andronikos, protoproedros and strategos of Thrakesioi, the man of the caesar Doukas.


Caesar is an axia dia brabeiou and cannot by any means indicate the emperor. And so the Doukas mentioned at the end of the inscription must be the caesar John Doukas, the power behind the throne during the reigns of Constantine X and of Michael VII, who after his failed coup in 1074 became a monk under the name of Ignatios but kept the title of caesar all the same. Cf. Zacos-Veglery, no. 2683, 2685. We assume that the present seal, on which it is specified that the caesar was called Doukas, must have been issued at a time when another caesar existed in the empire with a different family name. This is the case after 1081, when Nikephoros Melissenos was appointed caesar by Alexios I Komnenos, followed later by Nikephoros Bryennios and Isaakios Komnenos, the son of Alexios I (Guilland, Recherches II, 31). Consequently the present seal must have been struck sometime between 1081 and ca. 1088, when John Doukas died. It is an interesting illustration of the power and prestige that John Doukas had during the early reign of Alexios I, although he had become a monk: a high official of the provincial administration felt it necessary to stress that he was the "man" of the caesar John. This in fact meant that he was connected to him by liege; see Oikonomides, "Οἱ αὐθένται τῶν Κρητικῶν τὸ 1118," Πεπραγμένα τοῦ B´ Διεθνοῦς Κρητολογικοῦ Συνεδρίου (Athens, 1981) II, 308-317. We think that the owner of the present seal has nothing to do with Andronikos Doukas despite the coincidence of names and titles.