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Herakleios (610–13)

Accession number BZS.1958.106.523 (formerly DO 58.106.523)
Diameter 27 mm
Previous Editions

DO Seals 6, no. 12.1; Zacos–Veglery, no. 10b. Zacos–Veglery, no. 10a, is similar, but the crosses on the obverse and the emperor’s bust on the reverse are much smaller.


The Mother of God standing, wearing a chiton and maphorion, and holding Christ before her. A large cross potent with an elongated vertical shaft, whose vertical and transverse shafts terminate in perpendicular elongated bars, at left and right. Wreath border.


Large bust of Herakleios with a short, round beard, wearing a crown with a cross and pendilia, and a chlamys. Remains of a circular inscription beginning at left. Wreath border.


D(ominus) n(oster) Heracli[us p(er)p(etuus) a(u)g(ustus)].


Dominus noster Heraclius perpetuus augustus.

Our lord Herakleios, eternal augustus.


Herakleios’s earliest seals date from the time of his revolt against Phokas, and he continues to be depicted alone until the birth and crowning of his son, Herakleios Constantine, in December of 612 or January of 613. For detailed analysis, with citation of sources, of the date of Herakleios Constantine’s elevation, see Grierson, “Solidi of Phocas and Heraclius,” 139.

The emperor’s crown here more closely resembles the one appearing on coinage after his son’s coronation (for discussion, see DOC 2.1: p. 221). It is uncertain what precise letters complete the circular inscription on the reverse. The reading here is based on the inscription from one of Heraclius' gold coins used as comparison (DOC 2.1:2a.2; MIB 3: Prägetabelle 1, nos. 1–7). On Zacos–Veglery, no. 10a, the emperor’s beard is longer than it is on the illustrated coin. In addition, on this seal the emperor’s hair seems to fall straight, but on Zacos–Veglery, no. 10a, the hair seems to curl outward.

The crosses on the obverse are so large that they crowd the depiction of the Mother of God, whose chiton is much fuller at the bottom than on the seals of Phokas (compare to BZS.1951.31.5.7).