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Constantine VII and Zoe (914–19)

Accession Number:

Previous Editions

DO Seals 6, no. 58.1; Zacos–Veglery, no. 64b; Oikonomides, Dated Lead Seals, no. 57. See also DOC 3.2: p. 533 and n. 37.


23 mm
One-third missing. No channel.


Constantine VII and Zoe (914–19)

Bust of the Mother of God, nimbate, wearing a chiton and maphorion and holding a medallion of Christ before her. Circular inscription. Border of dots.


[Ὑπερ]αγία Θεοτόκε β(οήθει)


Constantine VII and Zoe (914–19)

Two busts: at left, Constantine VII, beardless, wearing a crown surmounted by a cross and a chlamys; at right, Zoe, larger than Constantine, wearing a crown surmounted by two pinnacles and a cross and a loros. Between them they hold a large ball topped by a long cross. Remains of a circular inscription at right. Border of dots.


[Constantino] ce Ζωῇ b(asilis) Rom(aion).


Ὑπεραγία Θεοτόκε βοήθει Constantino ce Ζωῇ basilis Romaion.

Most holy Mother of God, help Constantine and Zoe, basileis of the Romans



The final epsilon of the circular inscription on the obverse is deformed. Grierson (DOC 3.2:1 [pl. 36]) describes a coin, actually a pattern solidus, of very similar design published by A. Veglery and G. Zacos (“A Unique Silver Coin of Constantine VII,” Numismatic Circular 64 [1956]: 379–80; see also p. 472 and “More about the Silver Coin of Constantine VII,” Numismatic Circular 65 [1957]: 195–96). On the obverse of the coin appears a bust of the Mother of God holding before her a medallion of Christ and a circular inscription reading +VPERAΓIAΘEOTOKER': Ὑπεραγία Θεοτόκε β(οήθει), and represents the earliest surviving appearance on coinage of the Mother of God holding a medallion of Christ. Grierson attributes the coin to the year 914.

One suspects that this specimen and BZS.1958.106.531 served as tokens for distributions of grain and that they were cancelled by the simple act of breaking them.


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