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Basil Apokapes, (proto?)proedros and doux of Edessa (between 1077 and 1084)

Accession number BZS.1958.106.4763
Diameter 22 mm
Condition Struck off center. Corroded.
Previous Editions

DO Seals 4, no. 73.1.

M. Grünbart in SBS 5 (1998) 40, n. 35. A similar specimen from a different boulloterion was published by Konstantopoulos, no. 173.


Bust of St. Basil; details unclear. Remains of a vertical inscription at left: -σι|λι|ο,. : [Ὁ ἅγιος Βα]σίλιο(ς). Border of dots.


Inscription of six lines. Border of dots.


[Κ(ύρι)]ε βοήθ(ει) [Β]ασιλείιω [(πρωτο?)]προέδρῳ [(καὶ)] δουκὶ Ἐδέ[σ]σ(ης) τῷ Ἀπ[ο]κά[π(ῃ)].


Κύριε βοήθει Βασιλείιω πρωτοπροέδρῳ καὶ δουκὶ Ἐδέσσης τῷ Ἀποκάπῃ.

Lord, help Basil Apokapes, protoproedros and doux of Edessa.


At the behest of Philaretos Brachamios, Basil Apokapes seized Edessa in 1077-78 and governed the city until his death in 1083-84. After the fall of Michael VII, he recognized the imperial authority and was recognized as the emperor’s subject, although all this was arranged through being a vassal of Philaretos, who was the vassal of the emperor. The most reliable discussion of Apokapes’ family and career is given by Lemerle, Cinq études, 49-53 and now by M. Grünbart, “Die Familie Apokapes im Lichte neuer Quellen,” SBS 5 (1998) 29-41.

The most important military and economic center in Mesopotamia, Edessa (modern Urfa) was besieged by the Byzantines several times in the tenth century, but resisted capture until 1032 when the city fell to George Maniakes. It was initially the seat of a strategos, later of a doux or katepano (see the list compiled by V. Arutjunova, “Vizantijskie praviteli Edessy v XI v.,” VizVrem 35 [1973] 137-153). After 1071 Byzantine control over Edessa weakened. The city was controlled by Philaretos Brachamios between 1083 and 1086, then passed briefly to the Turks before being taken by the Crusaders in 1098. Cf. Honigmann, Ostgrenze, 134-146; ODB I, 676; J. Laurent, “Des Grecs aux Croisés. Etude sur l’histoire d’Edesse entre 1071 et 1098,” Études d’histoire arménienne (Louvain, 1971), 61-128; Sinclair IV, 2 ff. Also the seat of a metropolitan, Edessa lay within the ecclesiastical jurisdiction of the Patriarch of Antioch (Laurent, Corpus V/2, 374-5; DHGE 14, 1421-24. Episcopal list in Fedalto II, 805 ff).