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Michael VIII Palaiologos (1261-1282)

Accession number BZS.1955.1.4357
Diameter 30 mm
Field diameter 22 mm
Previous Editions

DO Seals 6, no. 104.1; Zacos–Veglery, no. 121 bis a (slightly different reading).


Christ standing before a low thokos, wearing a tunic and himation and holding the right hand in blessing and a book with jewelled cover in the left. He has a nimbus cruciger; each arm contains a decoration consisting of a dot. Sigla at left and right: Ἰ(ησοῦ)ς Χ(ριστό)ς. Border of dots.


The emperor Michael VIII (bearded) standing, wearing a crown and a chlamys. He holds a labarum in the right hand and an akakia in the left. Inscription in two columns. Border of dots.

 Χ                    Π
 Μ                    ΛΕ
.Ε.                    ΛΟ
...                    ΓΟΣ

Μ(ι)χ(αὴλ) δεσπότης [ὁ] Π[α]λε[ο]λόγος.


Μιχαὴλ δεσπότης ὁ Παλεολόγος.

Michael Palaiologos, despotes.


The gamma at the end of the right hand vertical inscription on the reverse has been placed by the engraver above the line. In their description Zacos and Veglery mention the manus Dei appearing in the upper right field. We cannot see it, but it was likely there, as on BZS.1955.1.4358.

Zacos and Veglery have published two variant types. On their type A Michael is represented holding a short labarum in the right hand and a globus surmounted by a patriarchal cross in the left (Zacos–Veglery, no. 120). A superb example of this type is preserved in the Istanbul Collection. See Ébersolt, Sceaux, pl. VII, no. 6. On this specimen it is possible to discern that the emperor is wearing a long, pointed beard. In the upper right field the manus Dei appears quite clearly. On their type B (no. 121) the emperor wears a loros, an end of which is draped over the left forearm. He holds a cross scepter in the right hand and an akakia in the left.