You are here:Home/Resources/ Byzantine Seals/ Search the Catalogue/ (Nicholas?) ho tou barbarou, kourator of Cyprus (eleventh century)

(Nicholas?) ho tou barbarou, kourator of Cyprus (eleventh century)

 
 

Obverse

Bust of St. Nicholas. Inscription in two columns. Ο|Ν|ΙΚ|.|Λ..: Ὁ ἅγιος Νικόλαος. Border of dots.

Reverse

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


ΣΦΡΑΓ,
ΚΡΑΤΟΡ,
ΚΥΠΡΟ
ΤΑΡ
ΑΡ,

Σφραγὶς κουράτορος Κύπρου ὁ τοῦ Βαρβάρου

Obverse

Bust of St. Nicholas. Inscription in two columns. Ο|Ν|ΙΚ|.|Λ..: Ὁ ἅγιος Νικόλαος. Border of dots.

Reverse

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


ΣΦΡΑΓ,
ΚΡΑΤΟΡ,
ΚΥΠΡΟ
ΤΑΡ
ΑΡ,

Σφραγὶς κουράτορος Κύπρου ὁ τοῦ Βαρβάρου

Accession number BZS.1958.106.4730
Diameter 27.0 mm; field: 19.0 mm
Previous Editions

DO Seals 2, no. 38.11.
It is possible that a second specimen of the same seal was published by Konstantopoulos, no. 165 (with a slightly different reading).

Translation

Σφραγὶς κουράτορος Κύπρου ὁ τοῦ Βαρβάρου.

Seal of the kourator of Cyprus ho tou barbarou.

Commentary

The choice of St. Nicholas for the decoration of the obverse may be an indication of the owner's Christian name. A certain Constantine primikerios ὁ ἀπὸ βαρβάρων is mentioned in the Life of St. Basil the Younger (ActaSS March III, 24*). The legend of our seal is prosodic, in spite of its thirteen syllables.

The office of kourator of Cyprus is also known from another seal (BZS.1958.106.4730) and from letters of Psellos addressed to such a kourator, congratulating him for having pacified the island (Psellos, Minora II, nos. 80, 159). Malamut (Iles, 320-21) deduced from these letters that the kourator was a governor of the island, appointed in order to pacify it after the revolt of the Cypriots in 1042. But the date of these letters is not known, and our seals show that the kouratoreia was a semipermanent institution, since we know of at least two kouratores. Thus we would tend to consider that, according to a well-established tradition, the kourator was at the head of a domain of the crown (kouratoreia) possibly assembled from the lands abandoned by the Arabs immediately after the capture of the island by the Byzantines in 965, much in the same way as Melitene had become a kouratoreia after its capture in 934 (Listes, 356).