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Niketas "Neos" Xylinites, sebastophoros and strategos of Samos (eleventh century)

 
 

Obverse

The Virgin standing on a suppedion, raising her hands up to her right, where traces of the hand of God are visible. Sigla: ̅ΘΥ̅: Μήτηρ Θεοῦ. Border of dots.

Reverse

Inscription of eight lines preceded by an ornament. Border of dots.

 
ΣΦΡΓ

ΝΙΚΗΤ
ΣΕΣΤ,ΦΟΡ
ΠΕΛΣΟΥ
ΣΤΡΤΗΓΟΥ
ΤΟΥΝΕΟΥ
ΞΥΛΙΝΙ
Τ,

Σφραγὶς Νικήτα σεβαστοφόρου πέλω Σάμου στρατηγοῦ τοῦ Νέου Ξυλινίτου

Obverse

The Virgin standing on a suppedion, raising her hands up to her right, where traces of the hand of God are visible. Sigla: ̅ΘΥ̅: Μήτηρ Θεοῦ. Border of dots.

Reverse

Inscription of eight lines preceded by an ornament. Border of dots.

 
ΣΦΡΓ

ΝΙΚΗΤ
ΣΕΣΤ,ΦΟΡ
ΠΕΛΣΟΥ
ΣΤΡΤΗΓΟΥ
ΤΟΥΝΕΟΥ
ΞΥΛΙΝΙ
Τ,

Σφραγὶς Νικήτα σεβαστοφόρου πέλω Σάμου στρατηγοῦ τοῦ Νέου Ξυλινίτου

Accession number BZS.1958.106.5516
Diameter 30.0 mm; field: 27.0 mm
Previous Editions

DO Seals 2, no. 44.8.
A translation of the seal's legend is noted in Laurent, Corpus II, no. 435. See also Wassiliou-Seibt, Siegel mit metrischen Legenden II, no. 2672.

Translation

Σφραγὶς Νικήτα σεβαστοφόρου πέλω Σάμου στρατηγοῦ τοῦ Νέου Ξυλινίτου.

I am the seal of Niketas Xylinites the younger, sebastophoros and strategos of Samos.

Commentary

Two twelve-syllable verses. The name Niketas Xylinites is not recorded in Guilland's list of "sebastophoroi" published in REB 21 (1963) 199 ff (= Guilland, Titres, XVI). He belonged to the immediate entourage of Empress Theodora (cf. DO Seals 2, no. 44.9).

The adjective τοῦ νέου accommodates the metrics but has to be somehow interpreted. When used with emperors, the adjective ὁ νέος usually indicates a second person with the same name and is usually understood as "the second"; compare, for example, Ῥωμανὸς ὁ Νέος concerning Romanos II (Skylitzes, 248) or Βασίλειος ὁ Νέος in the Marciana Psalter concerning Basil II (V. Lazarev, Storia della pittura bizantina [Torino, 1967], pl. 130). In the present case we have to imagine that another Niketas Xylinites was previously at the service of the palace, and then came the owner of our seal who, in order to distinguish himself, added to his name the adjective "the new one." This is interesting because it shows that people of the same family succeeded each other in the same service, and it says something about the quasi-dynastic concept of the family in 11th century Byzantium.