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Christophoros patrikios, imperial protospatharios and komes of the Opsikion (ninth century)

Accession number BZS.1958.106.4531
Diameter 34 mm
Condition Chipped. Break along channel.
Previous Editions

DO Seals 3, no. 39.25c.

Obverse

Cruciform invocative monogram (type V). In the quarters: .-σ.|.-λ. Indeterminate border.

Θεοτόκε βοήθει [τ]ῷ σ[ῷ δ]ούλῳ

Reverse

Inscription of five lines. No visible border.

+χρισ
.οφορπ
.τρηβσ
παθκο.
.οψ

Χρισ[τ]οφόρῳ π[α]τρη(κίῳ), β(ασιλικῷ) (πρωτο)σπαθ(αρίῳ) (καὶ) κό[μ(ητι) τ]οῦ Ὀψ(ικίου).

Translation

Θεοτόκε βοήθει τῷ σῷ δούλῳ Χριστοφόρῳ πατρηκίῳ, βασιλικῷ πρωτοσπαθαρίῳ καὶ κόμητι τοῦ Ὀψικίου.

Mother of God, help your servant Christophoros patrikios, imperial protospatharios and komes of the Opsikion.

Commentary

This seal belongs to the same person as BZS.1958.106.2875 and BZS.1958.106.3823. However, they differ substantially and are not from the same boulloterion.

Opsikion was one of the earliest themes of Byzantium; its name from the term obsequium (retinue), often called "imperial obsequium guarded by God." Its territory included many provinces and initially encompassed all northwestern Asia Minor; by the mid-eighth century it was subdivided, and the new themes of the Boukellarioi and of the Optimatoi appeared. All three names show that the origins of this theme are to be sought in the regiments of the imperial guard, and according to some scholars, to the milites praesentales of the fifth century.

The commander of Opsikion traditionally bore the titles of komes, probably because initially he was identical to the comes domesticorum. He is first attested in 626 (perhaps already in 615), and, because of his proximity to Constantinople (his residence was in Nicaea), he played an important role in imperial politics. As this happened regularly with all units of the imperial guard, the tagmata (Listes, 329), the second in command of the Opsikion was called for quite some time a topoteretes (cf. Zacos-Veglery, no. 1762). The province was organized as all other themes (with tourmarchai, anagrapheis, judges, protonotarioi, chartoularioi, strateutai [Laurent, Orghidan, no. 218], etc.), and, already in the ninth century, the commander was also called a strategos (see Listes, 264, footnote 23; Zacos, Seals II, no. 850; Seyrig, no. 191).

The littoral of the Opsikion was also part of the theme of Aigaion Pelagos.

See Pertusi, in De Them., 127-30; Winkelmann, Ämsterstruktur, 72-76, 119-20; ODB III, 1528-29; Haldon, Praetorians, passim, esp. 164 ff; T. Lounghis, "A Deo conservandum imperiale Obsequium," ByzSl 52 (1991) 54-60.

Accession number BZS.1958.106.4531
Diameter 34 mm
Condition Chipped. Break along channel.
Previous Editions

DO Seals 3, no. 39.25c.

Notes

Accession number BZS.1958.106.4531
Diameter 34 mm
Condition Chipped. Break along channel.
Previous Editions

DO Seals 3, no. 39.25c.