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Leo III and Constantine V (720–41)

Accession number BZS.1955.1.4278 (formerly DO 55.1.4278)
Diameter 33 mm
Field diameter 27 mm
Condition One-quarter missing.
Previous Editions

DO Seals 6, no. 31.2.


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


En o[nom(ati) t]u p(at)r(os) (καὶ) tu y(io)u (καὶ) tu agiu pn(eumato)s.


Inscription of six lines. Wreath border.


Leon (καὶ) Constantinos [pi]stoi bas[i]lis Romaion.


En onomati tu patros καὶ tu yiou καὶ tu agiu pneumatos Leon καὶ Constantinos pistoi basilis Romaion.

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


The two-year-old Constantine V became his father’s colleague on 25 March 720, and he appears alongside Leo on his coinage from this point forward.

Aniconic silver issues were struck under Leo III in the period 720–41, but the first use of the phrase “basilis Romaion” on miliaresia, as opposed to seals, did not occur until the next century, during the reign of Leo V (813–20).

Dating to the reign of Leo III is based on the stumpy letter forms on the reverse (following Zacos and Veglery) as well as the relative size of the upper and lower portions of the vertical bar on the cross, the former of which, as on Leo's miliaresia (see DOC 3.1:22a.2 [pl. 2]), is substantially shorter than the latter the upper portion of the upright bar of the cross. Zacos and Veglery also point out two abbreviations on the obverse: (a) PATROS is abbreviated PR; and (b) PNEUMATOS is abbreviated PNS.

On the coin, as well as the seal, the engraver has used a rounded N rather than the Latin N. Likewise, S is used as an abbreviation for καί. Of further interest are the inscriptions on the obverse and reverse of the seal, in which Greek legends are expressed in Latin letters; for example, bASILIS is the Latin equivalent of the Greek βασιλεῖς.