John I (969–76)
DO Seals 6 no. 67.1; Zacos–Veglery, no. 73 (with a slightly different reading).
Half-length representation of Christ, bearded, wearing a tunic and himation. He raises his right hand in blessing and holds a blook in his left. He has a nimbus cruciger, each limb of which is decorated with a row of two dots. At left and right, sigla IC-XC: Ἰ(ησοῦ)ς Χ(ριστό)ς. Circular inscription. Border of dots.
Iηs(us) Xr(istu)s rex regnantium.
Half-length representation of John I, bearded, wearing a crown surmounted by a cross and a chlamys. He holds in his right hand a globus surmounted by a patriarchal cross and in his left seemingly a small cross. Circular inscription. Border of dots.
Ἰωάnn(ης) ἐn Χ(ριστ)ῷ αὐτοκ<ρ>άτ(ωρ) Ῥωm(αίων).
Iηsus Xristus rex regnantium.
Ἰωάnnης ἐn Χριστῷ αὐτοκράτωρ Ῥωmαίων.
Jesus Christ, King of Kings.
John, in Christ, autokrator of the Romans.
John I Tzimiskes reigned from 969–76. After his assassination of Nikephoros II, he sent Theophano into exile and married Theodora, a daughter of Constantine VII.
The first portion of the circular inscription on the reverse cannot be read with any confidence, and attribution is by process of elimination. There are too many letters for Romanos’s name and it is impossible to read Nikephoros’s. The seal is similar to a specimen on which its editor, Likhachev, Molivdovuly, pl. LXXVI, no. 10, believed that he could read the name John.
Zacos and Veglery have correctly noted that the combination on the obverse of the inscription Iηs(us) Xr(istu)s rex regnantium with the sigla IC-XC for Ἰ(ησοῦ)ς Χ(ριστό)ς is unusual.