National Archaeological Institute with Museum, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences
Member, Department of Numismatics and Epigraphy
The main purpose of this project is to examine professions non-related to the State, the Church or the aristocracy, and practiced by “lesser figures” within the Byzantine Empire, from the 6th to the 12th century, through the – so far neglected – sigillographic evidence. Such professions are the merchants, sellers, butchers, bakers, jewelers etc. The sources are literary texts, inscriptions, and seals. The last will be collected from published studies, unpublished collections and auction catalogues and will form the core of the research. The project will attempt to approach fundamental issues such as: who was sealing, why and how often; do the findspots of seals matter; onomastics; literacy, content, decoration and style of the seals. This study – never attempted before – will reveal more aspects of the life of Byzantium’s working class and will contribute to the study of Byzantine social history.