Nikephoros I (802–3)?
DO Seals 6 no. 38.1; Zacos–Veglery, no. 43.
The Mother of God standing, wearing a chiton and maphorion, and holding Christ on her left arm. Her right leg is bent at the knee. Christ has a nimbus cruciger, and he holds a scroll in his right hand. Invocative monograms reading [Θ]εοτόκε βοήθει at left and right. No visible border.
Θεοτόκε βοήθει Niciforos basileus Romaion.
Mother of God, help Nikephoros, basileus of the Romans
Nikephoros ruled from 802 to 811. In December of 803 he raised his son Staurakios to the rank of co-emperor. On gold coins issued when Nikephoros reigned alone the obverse shows the bearded bust of the emperor, holding a cross potent on base in his right hand and in his left an akakia (for example, DOC 3.1:1a.2 [pl. 15]).
The upper portion of the Mother of God’s body is disproportionately longer than the lower part. Christ’s body is stiffly frontal and is unusually tall. One wonders if the image of the Mother of God is modeled on a monumental icon that an artist viewed and copied from ground level.
- 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)