You are here: Home / Publications & Online Resources / Byzantine Seals Online Catalogue / Search the Catalogue / Anonymous (Justin I [519 or 522?–27])

Anonymous (Justin I [519 or 522?–27])

Accession Number:
BZS.1955.1.4234 (formerly DO 55.1.4234)

Previous Editions

DO Seals 6 no. 3.1; Zacos-Veglery, no. 1 bis (Justin I?)

Details

Diameter:
21 mm
Field:
18 mm
Weight:
12.12 g
Condition:
Chipped. Channel runs from 9 o'clock to 3 o'clock

Obverse

Anonymous (Justin I [519 or 522?–27])

Bust of an emperor turned three-quarters to the right, wearing a plumed helmet with a diadem and a cuirass. One can discern the fingers of the right hand grasping what should be the shaft of a spear held transversely behind the head. In the left hand the figure holds a shield decorated with a stylized representation of a horseman striking a fallen enemy. No epigraphy. Wreath border.

Reverse

Anonymous (Justin I [519 or 522?–27])

An angel wearing a long chiton, standing, facing forward, on a horizontal line and holding in the right hand a globus cruciger and in the left a long staff. No epigraphy. Wreath border.

Audio

Commentary

The representations on the obverse and reverse of our seal very closely resemble the iconography found on gold coinage of Constantinople issued under Justin I between 519 (or 522) and 527.  During the reign, the characteristic identifying the reverse female figure as Victory, a high girdle below the breasts, was substituted by a tunic, therefore identifying the figure as an angel.  See the remarks of Grierson, Byzantine Coins, 52; cf. BNC 1:35.  The change reflects, as Hahn observes, the transformation of a pagan representation into a Christian one.  Bellinger dated this change to 519; Hahn (Money, 32) prefers a date of 522.  In addition to this, that the angel on the reverse of this seal stands on what can only be considered an exergual line is a further reflection that the seal’s design is coin inspired.

 

Document Actions