ALEKSEIENKO N.A. Two Seals of Theodore (T’oros) Het’oum (Hetames): A Note to the Byzantine Prosopography


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

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Abstract. Introduction. As it has been underlined on several occasions, among the most important and valuable features of sigillographic sources there are the data kept by the seals which clarify and amend the Byzantine prosopography. In the result, every new molybdoboullon capable of shedding light on the dark pages in the history of the Byzantine state or a certain historical figure certainly has its own particular value and deserves particular attention and all-round study of the data it keeps.

Analysis and Results. This article researches two new molybdoboulla of well-known historical figure Theodore (Т’oros) Het’oum reflecting his works in the Near East in the late eleventh century AD. The first seal dates to the period when he was the governor of Melitene, and the second, although not informing about the place, unexpectedly shows the rank of emir, which belonged to the Muslim world. In contrast to previously known isolated seals, the both seals under study were made with new pairs of seal-matrices. The analysis of sigillographic data in comparison with written sources account shows that the seals under study uncover two stages of the career of kouropalates Theodore (T’oros) Het’oum, first as a high-ranked official appointed by Philaretos Brachamios to the position of the doux of Melitene (in between of 1078 and 1086), and, later, as a Muslim emir but still holding the rank of kouropalates (in between of 1086 and 1094). In a later period, he skilfully manoeuvred between the interests of Seljuk Turks and the Crusaders, remaining a de-facto independent regional ruler until his death in 1098.

Key words: Byzantine history, Byzantine aristocracy, Theodore (T’oros) Het’oum (Xetames), prosopography, sigillography, molybdoboulla, seals, kouropalates, doux, emir, Militene.

Citation. Alekseienko N.A. Two Seals of Theodore (T’oros) Het’oum (Hetames): A Note to the Byzantine Prosopography. Vestnik Volgogradskogo gosudarstvennogo universiteta. Seriya 4. Istoriya. Regionovedenie. Mezhdunarodnye otnosheniya [Science journal of Volgograd State University. History. Area Studies. International Relations], 2022, vol. 27, no. 6, pp. 57-64. (in Russian). DOI:

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Two Seals of Theodore (T’oros) Het’oum (Hetames): A Note to the Byzantine Prosopography by Alekseienko N.A. is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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