Michael III (856–67)
DO Seals 6 no. 49.3
Half-length representation of Christ, bearded with a cross behind the head, wearing a tunic and himation. He raises his right hand in blessing and holds in his left a book with a cover ornamented with four rows of pellets, two pellets in each row. Circular inscription. No visible border.
Miχaηl imperator basileus.
Michael, imperator [and] basileus.
After Theodora’s fall from power in 856 Michael appears alone, wearing a loros, on the reverse of his gold coinage (DOC 3.1:3.1 [pl. 28]).
Zacos and Veglery optimistically read the circular inscription on the obverse as IhSUSX[R]ISTOS*: Iηsus Xristos. In their discussion of this specimen they erroneously describe the decoration of the labarum as consisting of five pellets. In fact the ornament is a simple cross composed of four pellets. On folles that Grierson assigns to the years 866–67 Michael is identified as IMPERAT. Grierson (DOC 3.1: p. 456; see also note 17) repeats the argument that the reason for the revival of the title was to show that the imperial court was fully acquainted with the Latin language.
- Catalogue of Byzantine Seals at Dumbarton Oaks and in the Fogg Museum of Art, Volume 6: Emperors, Patriarchs of Constantinople, Addenda
- Byzantine Lead Seals, vol. 1
- Catalogue of the Byzantine Coins in the Dumbarton Oaks Collection and in the Whittemore Collection, vol. 3, Leo III to Nicephorus III (717–1081)