Petronas, komes of the vigla, 8th century. Seal (Lead, 25 mm, 23.27 g, 12 h). Large cruciform monogram of ΘEOTOKE BOHΘH; in corners, Tω / Cω / Δ૪/Λω ('Mother of God, help your servant'). Rev. ΠЄTPO/NA KOMH/TI THC BI/ΓΛAC/ [A]MHN ('Petronas, komes of the watch. Amen') in five lines. Unpublished in the standard references. An interesting and attractive piece. Good very fine.
The 'vigla' or 'watch' was one of the imperial 'tagmata', regiments of elite troops which numbered up to 4000 men and whose commanding officers were called 'droungarioi of the watch'. Petronas' rank of a 'komes of the vigla', on the other hand, was rather low and appears to be extremely rare in the sphragistic record, if not completely unknown. Moreover, the 'komes tes viglas' is not mentioned in N. Oikonomidès, Liste de préséance byzantines des IXe et Xe siècles (Paris 1972), which means that this seal is of particular importance to the study of Byzantine military ranks and history.