ALEKSEIENKO N.A. The Xylinitai on the Service to Byzantine Emperors: A Seal of Niketas Xylinites, Protospatharios and epi tou koitonos

DOI: https://doi.org/10.15688/jvolsu4.2021.6.8

Nikolaу A. Alekseienko

Dr. Études médiévales (Paris IV-Sorbonne), Candidate of Sciences (History), Leading Researcher,

Department of Medieval Archaeology, Institute of Archaeology of Crimea of the Russian Academy of Sciences,

Prosp. Akademika Vernadskogo, 2, 295007 Simferopol, Russian Federation

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

https://orcid.org/0000-0003-1992-680X


Abstract. Introduction. Among the most ancient and noble Byzantine families there were the Xylinitai, who belonged to the first rank of “pure” civil nobility. Nevertheless, only restricted information of this family members survived. Therefore, any new account is of importance not only for the Byzantine prosopography but also for the Byzantine history in general. In this connection, interesting is one sigillographic find which uncovers a new page in the life of one of this family members. According to the seal legend, its owner Niketas Xylinites held the second-class rank of protospatharios and was engaged in the court service at the emperor’s bedchamber, the koiton. There is no doubt that the stylistic features date the molybdoboullon in question to the eleventh century.

Analysis and Results. The sources in possession supply information on a few persons bearing this name and belonging to the family in question, who left their footprint in the annals of history in this or that way. All of them were high-ranked courtiers and persons of importance, whose career stages were reflected in different periods of Byzantine history. The comparison of the seal data with other sources allows us to suppose that the owner of the seal was Niketas Xylinites, a member of the milieu of Empress Theodora, related to her ascension to the Byzantine throne following the death of Constantine IX. The sources only inform of his career that he got from the Empress of one of the highest civil offices (logothetes tou dromou) and a high court title of proedros. According to the seal under study, it reflects the earliest stage in Niketas’ career at the court, when he was selected to serve at the emperor’s bedchamber and got the rank of protospatharios. The Seal of Niketas Xylinites probably dates to the late 1030s – very early 1040s, the period before he got the title of patrikios, his works in the Iveron monastery, and Theodora’s ascension to the throne.

Key words: Byzantine history, Byzantine aristocracy, the Xylinitai family, prosopography, sigillography, molybdoboulla, seals.

Citation. Alekseienko N.A. The Xylinitai on the Service to Byzantine Emperors: A Seal of Niketas Xylinites, Protospatharios and epi tou koitonos. Vestnik Volgogradskogo gosudarstvennogo universiteta. Seriya 4. Istoriya. Regionovedenie. Mezhdunarodnye otnosheniya [Science journal of Volgograd State University. History. Area Studies. International Relations], 2021, vol. 26, no. 6, pp. 102-111. (in Russian). DOI: https://doi.org/10.15688/jvolsu4.2021.6.8.

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The Xylinitai on the Service to Byzantine Emperors: A Seal of Niketas Xylinites, Protospatharios and epi tou koitonos by Alekseienko N.A. is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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