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John II Komnenos (1118–1143)

Accession number BZS.1951.31.5.1693
Diameter 40 mm
Condition Fragmentary.
Previous Editions

DO Seals 6, no. 91.1. Two similar specimens are published in Zacos-Veglery, nos. 104a and 104b.


A bearded Christ seated on a high-back throne, wearing a chiton and himation and holding the right hand in blessing and a book in the left. His feet rest on a dais. He has a nimbus cruciger. Sigla visible at left: ΙΣ̅ : Ἰ(ησοῦ)ς [Χ(ριστό)ς]. Border of dots.


An emperor standing on a dais ornamented with dots. He wears a crown and a loros, an end of which is draped over the left wrist and decorated with six pellets. He holds in the right hand (a labarum?) and a globus cruciger in the left. Remains of a circular inscription at right.

. . . ρφυρογεννητω

[Ἰω(άννῃ) δεσπότ(ῃ) τῷ πο]ρφυρογεννήτῳ?


Ἰωάννῃ δεσπότῃ τῷ πορφυρογεννήτῳ

John porphyrogennetos, despotes


We have attributed this specimen to John II since the inscription on the reverse is in the dative case, just as on the one specimen published by Zacos and Veglery (no. 104a) that preserves the emperor’s name and title.

The use of the dative case is unusual as there is no invocation accompanying the inscription. For coins of John II with a similar dative inscription see DOC 4.1: no. 12a.