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Michael III and Theodora (843?–856)

Accession number BZS.1955.1.4284 (formerly DO 55.1.4284)
Diameter 30 mm
Condition Half of seal is missing
Previous Editions

DO Seals 6, no. 48.3.
Zacos-Veglery, no. 55a (different readings).

Obverse

Partial bust of Michael III, bearded, wearing a crown surmounted by a cross, and holding in his right hand a labarum. Circular inscription. Border of dots.

HLESPO

[Miχa]ηl despo[tis].

Reverse

Partial bust of Theodora, wearing a crown surmounted by two triangular projections. Circular inscription. Border of dots.

OO..ES

[Θe]odo[ra] des[pyna].

Translation

Miχaηl despotis.
Θeodora despyna.

Michael, despotes.
Theodora, despoina.

Commentary

The portraits of Michael III and Theodora resemble those from the reverse of solidi which Grierson has dated to 843(?)–56 (DOC 3.1:2.1 [pl. 28]).

The transcription of the inscriptions reflects the orthography found on Theophilos’s class 5 gold coins (DOC 3.1:5) and Michael III’s class 1 solidi (DOC 3.1:1).

Zacos and Veglery read the inscription on the obverse as HL-bASRO, but one may be reasonably certain that the initial letter after the name is d. They read the inscription on the reverse as EOdO-RAdE. At left, one can see only the letters OdO, and the letters RA are not visible at right. Ébersolt (Sceaux, no. 4) has published a specimen that he has attributed to Michael III and Theodora. Unfortunately the side with Michael is badly worn. On the other side (pl. VII) one sees a half-length representation of Theodora holding a globus cruciger, with partial remains of a circular inscription at right: *ΘEOdO: Θeodo[ra . . .

Accession number BZS.1955.1.4284 (formerly DO 55.1.4284)
Diameter 30 mm
Condition Half of seal is missing
Previous Editions

DO Seals 6, no. 48.3.
Zacos-Veglery, no. 55a (different readings).

Accession number BZS.1955.1.4284 (formerly DO 55.1.4284)
Diameter 30 mm
Condition Half of seal is missing
Previous Editions

DO Seals 6, no. 48.3.
Zacos-Veglery, no. 55a (different readings).

Notes

Accession number BZS.1955.1.4284 (formerly DO 55.1.4284)
Diameter 30 mm
Condition Half of seal is missing
Previous Editions

DO Seals 6, no. 48.3.
Zacos-Veglery, no. 55a (different readings).

Parallels

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