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Nik.... Masaraph, magistros, [vestes], vestarches and stratelates of the East (eleventh century)

Accession number BZS.1958.106.2780
Diameter 33 mm
Field diameter 30 mm
Condition Much of top half broken off.
Previous Editions

DO Seals 3, no. 99.12.


Bust of St. George holding a spear and a round shield. Inscription: .....Ρ|ΠΕ.|ΦΩ|ΡΟ|Σ: Ὁ ἅγιος Γεώργιος ὁ Τροπεοφόρος. Border of dots.


Inscription of eight lines. Border of dots.


Κύριε βοήθει Νικ..... μαγίστρῳ, βέστῃ, βεστάρχῃ, (καὶ) στρατηλάτ τῆς Ἀνατολῆς τῷ Μασαράφ


Κύριε βοήθει Νικ..... μαγίστρῳ, βέστῃ, βεστάρχῃ, καὶ στρατηλάτῃ τῆς Ἀνατολῆς τῷ Μασαράφ.

Lord, help Nik..... Masaraph magistros, vestes, vestarches, and stratelates of the East.


The owner's Christian name could be anything starting with Νικ: Nikolaos, Niketas, Nikephoros, Nikodemos, etc. The restitution βέστῃ in line 3 is the only one possible in the available space and is supported by a parallel: DOSeals 2.40.15. The family name, of Arabic origin, is usually spelled as Μωσαράφ or Μουσαράφ, but on our specimen the reading Μασαράφ looks more likely. For other members of the family, see C. Stavrakos, SBS 2 (1990) 42-44.

The owner of this seal should be added to the list of stratelati established by Guilland, Recherches I, 385-92; for this office, see also Listes 332.

An otherwise unknown stratelates of the East issued a seal (BZS.1951.31.5.587) which was subsequently restruck by a strategos of Anabarza (see Nesbitt, SBS 2 [1990] 89, no. 23).

From an administrative point of view, the term Anatole was used until the 10th century to indicate (a) the territories that had previously belonged to the praefectura praetorio per Orientem that is, essentially, all the themes of Asia Minor together with those of Thrace and Macedonia; or, more realistically, (b) the territories situated to the east of Constantinople, that is, Asia Minor. In the 10th century the army command of the East was separated from that of the West (that is, Europe), Listes, 329, 341-42; cf. Oikonomides, Évolution, 141-42 and AP 35 [1978] 300, 328-29. The seals published here (and some others, such as the one of the stratopedarches of the East: Zacos-Veglery, no. 2780; Lihačev, Molivdovuly, 104, pl. LXIII,9; Seyrig, no. 159; or the hikanatoi of the East: Seyrig, no. 154) show that in the 10th and eleventh centuries the entity called the East comprised only military commands.

It should be noted, however, that in some cases the term Anatole seems to have been used to indicate a strategos of the Anatolikoi (cf. Winkelmann, Ämterstruktur, 78-79); and several civilian officials defined as ton Anatolikon could well wave authority over territories covering the East, well beyond the boundaries of the theme (see DO Seals 3, § 86, nos. 86.9, 86.17, 86.34).