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Constantine V (741–51)?

Accession Number:
BZS.1958.106.581 (formerly DO 58.106.581)

Previous Editions

DO Seals 6, no. 32.1; Zacos–Veglery, no. 35 bis.

Details

Diameter:
37 mm
Field:
32 mm
Condition:
Chipped.

Obverse

Constantine V (741–51)?

Cross potent on three steps. Circular inscription. Wreath border.

EΠOOPR........IS

Επ᾿ onom(ati) tu p(at)r[(os) (καὶ) tu y(io)u (καὶ) t]u agiu b(ne)u(mato)s.

Reverse

Constantine V (741–51)?

Inscription of five lines. Wreath border.

COS
AIOS
PISOSA
SILESRO
AIO

Constantinos pistos basileus Romaion.

Translation

Επ᾿ onomati tu patros καὶ tu yiou καὶ tu agiu bneumatos Constantinos pistos basileus Romaion.

Constantine, in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, faithful basileus of the Romans.

Audio

Commentary

Zacos and Veglery printed the opening initial letters of the circular inscription on the obverse as EN and interpreted the two letters before the final S as an upside down and retrograde PN.

In his review of the Zacos–Veglery volume, Werner Seibt (BSl 36 [1975]: 209) was inclined to assign this seal to the years 790–92 and the reign of Constantine VI, and the authors themselves were uncertain about their attribution.  The design of this seal is strikingly different from those attributed to Leo III and Constantine V (BZS.1958.106.588 and BZS.1955.1.4278). The field is larger in diameter, allowing the cross potent on the obverse to be higher and wider without crowding the circular inscription, a feature also of the silver coinage of Leo IV (for example, DOC 3.1:3.1 [pl. 12]). Furthermore, the legend on the reverse is distinguished by tall letters, evenly spaced. Comparing this seal to two that can reasonably be assigned to Constantine VI (Zacos–Veglery, nos. 38 and 39), one sees that the diameter of the latter's fields are substantially smaller in diameter than the former.  The preference here is to follow Zacos and Veglery in attributing this seal to Constantine V, while also admitting that Seibt could be correct.

If this seal belongs to Constantine V, it would have to date to the period prior to Leo IV’s elevation to the rank of co-emperor in 751.

 

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