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John Komnenos, sebastos and doux of Skopia (eleventh/twelfth century)

Accession number BZS.1958.106.4345
Diameter 28 mm
Condition Chipped and corroded. Two holes.
Previous Editions

DO Seals 1, no. 30.1a.
Zacos-Veglery, no. 2714.

Obverse

The Transfiguration. In the upper register, Christ stands between Moses and Elijah, who incline their heads. In the lower register, can be seen one of three kneeling figures. No inscription visible.

Reverse

Inscription of six lines. No visible border.

.Ε̅,Θ,
ΤΟΣΔΛ,
Ι̅ΣΕΑΣΤ
.ΟΥΚΙΣ.Ο
ΝΤΟ
..

Κύριε βοήθει τῷ σῷ δούλ Ἰωάννῃ σεβαστῷ καὶ δουκὶ Σκοπίων τῷ Κομνηνῷ

Translation

Κύριε βοήθει τῷ σῷ δούλῳ Ἰωάννῃ σεβαστῷ καὶ δουκὶ Σκοπίων τῷ Κομνηνῷ.

Lord, help your servant John Komnenos, sebastos and doux of Skopia.

Commentary

This specimen comes from a different boulloterion than BZS.1951.31.5.2572, but obviously reproduces the other and belonged to the same individual.

The owner of these seals cannot be identified with absolute certainty. Zacos-Veglery suggested that he is John Komnenos (born in 1073; cf. Barzos, Komnenoi, no. 23; also Theophylacti, Epistulae, 48-53, and Skoulatos, Personnages, 135-38), the son of Isaac sebastokrator and Irene of Alania, who in 1092 received command of Dyrrachion and the title of sebastos. On the contrary, Milan Boškoski (Zbor. Rad. 22 [1983] 31-41) asserts that the person attested on this seal is John Angelos Komnenos, who governed Skopia sometime between 1160 (or 1165) and 1176. We prefer the identification with John Komnenos of the turn of the eleventh century for the following reasons: Zacos-Veglery, nos. 2713 and 2713bis, published three seals of John Komnenos, doux of Dyrrachion, all decorated with the Transfiguration, a relatively uncommon iconographic theme. That we should find this image on the seal of a John Komnenos, doux of Skopia, strongly suggests that John Komnenos, doux of Dyrrachion (DO Seals 1, no. 12.3) and John Komnenos, doux of Skopia, are one and the same. Moreover, a date of ca. 1100 (as opposed to the second half of the 12th century) is supported by the epigraphy (esp. the ligature ).

It appears that, despite being accused of treason in 1093, John Komnenos retained his post of doux of Dyrrachion for a long period, from 1092 until as late, perhaps, as 1103, when we find him active in Larissa and the region in Thessalonica (Iviron II, nos. 51-52, and p. 224). By 1106 he campaigned against Bolkan. It is not impossible--but not certain either--that he was then entrusted with the command of Skopia.

The city of Skopia, traditional seat of the doux/katepano of Bulgaria, gave its name to one of the administrative units that replaced Bulgaria when it was divided at the beginning of the reign of Alexios I Komnenos (Litavrin, Bolgarija, 267-69). The first known doux of Skopia is John Taroneites, a correspondent of Theophylaktos of Ohrid (Theophylacti, Epistulae, 126 ff). The theme of Skopia is still attested in 1198 (Zakythinos, Mélétai 17 [1941] 229).

Accession number BZS.1958.106.4345
Diameter 28 mm
Condition Chipped and corroded. Two holes.
Previous Editions

DO Seals 1, no. 30.1a.
Zacos-Veglery, no. 2714.

Notes

Accession number BZS.1958.106.4345
Diameter 28 mm
Condition Chipped and corroded. Two holes.
Previous Editions

DO Seals 1, no. 30.1a.
Zacos-Veglery, no. 2714.