Barasbakourios 1

Prosopography of the Byzantine Empire
Dates704 (taq) / 711 (ob.)
PmbZ No.743
Variant NamesBarisbakourios
LocationsOpsikion (officeplace);
Cherson (Tauric Chersonese) (residence);
Cherson (Tauric Chersonese)
TitlesPatrikios (protopatrikios) (dignity);
Komes of the basilikon Opsikion (office);
Strategos (office)
Textual SourcesNicephorus, Breviarium Historiae, ed. C. Mango, Nikephoros, Patriarch of Constantinople: Short History; prev. ed. C. de Boor Nicephori ArchiepiscopiConstantinopolitani Opuscula Historica Leipzig 1880 (history);
Theophanes Confessor, Chronographia, ed. C. de Boor, 2 vols. (Leipzig, 1883-85, repr. Hildesheim/NewYork, 1980); tr. and comm. C. Mango and R. Scott, The Chronicle of Theophanes Confessor, Oxford 1997 (chronicle)
Seal SourcesLikhachev, N. P., Molivdovuly Grecheskogo Vostoka, ed. V. S. Shandrovskaia (Moscow, 1991);
Oikonomides, N., A Collection of Dated Byzantine Lead Seals (Washington, DC, 1986);
Schlumberger, G. Sigillographie de l'empire byzantin (Paris, 1884);
Shandrovskaia, V. S., "Pamiatniki vizantiiskoi sfragistiki v Ermitazhe", VV 29 (1969), pp. 244-253;
Zacos, G. and Veglery, A., Byzantine Lead Seals, vol. I (in 3 parts) (Basel, 1972).

Barasbakourios 1 was perhaps of Iberian descent, to judge by his name. Barasbakourios 1 and his (unnamed) brother were inhabitants of Cherson in 695/705 when they befriended the exiled emperor Justinian II (Ioustinianos 1) and accompanied him on his visit to the Bulgars (perhaps in 704) to seek help to regain his throne: Nic. Brev. de Boor 41, Mango 42, Theoph. AM 6196 (called Βαρισβακούριος; other allies of Justinian II (Ioustinianos 1) at Cherson were Salibas 1, Stephanos 3, Moropaulos 1 and Theophilos 1). In 711 Barasbakourios 1 was protopatrikios and komes of the Opsikion: Theoph. AM 6203 (Βαρισβακούριος, ὁ πρωτοπατρίκιος καὶ κόμης τοῦ Ὀψικίου). When the new emperor Philippikos 1 seized Constantinople, Barasbakourios 1 fled but was pursued, seized and executed by agents of Philippikos (see Ioannes 9 and Mauros 1) together with other officers of the deposed emperor Justinian II (Ioustinianos 1): Nic. Brev. de Boor 48, lines 104-5, Mango 45 (Βαρασβακούριον καὶ τοὺς λοιποὺς Ἰουστινιανοῦ ἄρχοντας), cf. Theoph. AM 6203, Cedr. I 779.

Probably identical with the owner of two seals, both dateable to the eighth century, who was patrikios and komes of the theophylakton basilikon Opsikion, and (perhaps later) patrikios, komes of the basilikon Opsikion and strategos of an unidentifiable theme. The first is Zacos and Veglery 3080A = Oikonomides, Dated Seals, pp. 40-41, no. 28 = Ermitazh M-726 = Likhachev, Molivdovuly LIX 9 (M-8001) = Shandrovskaya, Sfragistika, nr. 257 = Shandrovskaya, Pamjatniki, 246-248ff. (cf. p. 246, n. 13; M-8001 and M-726 are two specimens of the same seal). Obv.: cruciform monogram of Θεοτόκε βοήθει with the legend τω δου - λω σου - Βαρασβα - κουριω. Rev.: +πατρι - κιω και κομ - ..ι του θεο - .υλακτου β - .σιλικου Ο - ψικιου. The second seal owned by this person is Zacos and Veglery 3081 = Schlumberger, Sig., p. 249, no. 1 = p. 625, no. 1 = Likhachev, Molivdovuly LIX 9 (M-8018). Obv.: cruciform monogram of Χριστὲ βοήθει, with .. - ρας - ... - ουριω - ... - ρικ - . - ω arranged in the corners. Rev.: +[κομ.] - τι τ.... - σιλικ.. ... - κιου κ.... - ατη.... - .κ... . The name and titles read: Βαρασβακουρίῳ πατρικίῳ, κόμητι τοῦ βασιλικοῦ Ὀψικίου καὶ στρατηγῷ... .

On the question of identification, Oikonomides, loc. cit., writes: "This non-Greek name is too unusual for envisaging the possibility of two homonymous persons holding the same office and bearing the same title in the eighth century".

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