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Epiphanios imperial spatharios and tourmarches of Hellas (ninth century)

Accession number BZS.1958.106.3640
Diameter 30 mm
Previous Editions

DO Seals 2, no. 8.61a.
Cf. Zacos-Veglery, no. 1876.

Obverse

Cruciform invocative monogram (type V); in the four quarters: ΤΣ|ΔΛ. No visible border.

Θεοτόκε βοήθει τῷ σῷ δούλῳ

Reverse

Inscription of four lines. No visible border.

ΕΠΗΦΝ
Ι/ΣΠΘ/
ΤΡΜΡ
Χ/ΕΛΔ/

Ἐπηφανίῳ βασιλικῷ σπαθαρίῳ καὶ τουρμάρχ Ἑλάδος

Translation

Θεοτόκε βοήθει τῷ σῷ δούλῳ  Ἐπηφανίῳ βασιλικῷ σπαθαρίῳ καὶ τουρμάρχῃ Ἑλάδος.

Mother of God, help your servant Epiphanios imperial spatharios and tourmarch of Hellas.

Commentary

As suggested by Zacos, this seal may come from an earlier stage in the career of the owner of BZS.1958.106.4319, Epiphanios strategos of Hellas.

We cannot say with certainty whether the toponym Hellas should be understood here as the whole theme (i.e., the contingent of soldiers raised at the seat of the strategos: cf. DOSeals 1.71.39) or the region named Hellas along the Spercheios river (cf. DO Seals 2, nos. 8.2 and 8.10).

We know of one tourmarchissa of Hellas (ca. 800: Theodore Stoudites, letter no. 498 in the Fatouros edition) and of two more seals of officers similar to our Epiphanios: Theognios tourmarches of Hellas of the 8th/9th century (Schlumberger, Mélanges, 200, no. 3) and Leo imperial tourmarches of Hellas (Lihačev, Molivdovully, 52, pl. LIX,6). The latter presents problems: (i) the adjective βασιλικὸς, clearly legible, is unusual as a qualification of tourmarchai, and this led Lihačev to the hypothesis that in this spot the engraver had omitted a whole line of his model containing Leo's honorific title (of spatharokandidatos). This is possible but unlikely, since this honorific title would have been a major social distinction for anyone and its omission could hardly be bearable. (ii) Leo's office is spelled on the lead as ΤΟΥΡΜΑΡΧΣΥ, for which Seibt proposed the reading ΤΟΥΡΜΑΡΧΣΚ, "vielleicht Tourmarch Sklavon" (Winkelmann, Ämterstruktur, 94), while the editors adopted the simpler and epigraphically more convincing solution of considering a Σ as an engraver's mistake for Ο, and read τουρμάρχου in the genitive. We consider that the epithet basilikos may well reflect a personal desire to stress the owner's imperial affiliation a military leader (and on this point, no problem was created by the fact that all tourmarchai had the same affiliation): in the 9th century we also meet for the first time the "imperial kommerkiarioi" (cf. DO Seals 2, no. 8.29).

Accession number BZS.1958.106.3640
Diameter 30 mm
Previous Editions

DO Seals 2, no. 8.61a.
Cf. Zacos-Veglery, no. 1876.

Notes

Accession number BZS.1958.106.3640
Diameter 30 mm
Previous Editions

DO Seals 2, no. 8.61a.
Cf. Zacos-Veglery, no. 1876.