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Herakleios and Herakleios Constantine (ca. 613–ca. 616)

Accession Number:
BZS.1958.106.552 (formerly DO 58.106.552)

Previous Editions

DO Seals 6 no. 13.5; Zacos–Veglery, no. 12c. Illustrated and discussed in Morrisson, “Du consul à l’empereur,” 259, table 1, and 264, no. 4. Similar specimens found in Cyprus are published in Byzantine Seals from Cyprus, nos. 2a–b. See also Likhachev, Molivdovuly, no. LXXVI.1.

Details

Diameter:
28 mm
Field:
23 mm
Weight:
17.56 g
Condition:
Chipped.

Obverse

Herakleios and Herakleios Constantine (ca. 613–ca. 616)

The Mother of God standing, wearing a chiton and maphorion, and holding Christ, who is framed by an oval mandorla, before her. Her left hand is held under Christ’s foot, and her right leg is bent at the knee. A cross potent at left and right. Wreath border.

Reverse

Herakleios and Herakleios Constantine (ca. 613–ca. 616)

Bust of Herakleios at left, and a smaller bust of Herakleios Constantine at right. Each wears a crown with a cross and a chlamys. Herakleios is shown with a beard of medium length and Herakleios Constantine is beardless. Herakleios wears his hair long at the sides and curled inward, but the length is not symmetrical. A small cross in the field above. A circular inscription beginning at left. Wreath border.

Herakleios and Herakleios Constantine (ca. 613–ca. 616)

D(omini) n(ostri) Heracl[ius et] Hera(clius) Consta(ntinus) [p(er)p(etui) aug(usti)].

Translation

Domini nostri Heraclius et Heraclius Constantinus perpetui augusti.

Our lords Herakleios and Herakleios Constantine, eternal augusti.

Audio

Commentary

The seals below bear depictions of Herakleios with a short beard and of his son Herakleios Constantine in diminutive bust. The latter was born in May of 612 to Herakleios’s first wife, Eudokia. On coins (see DOC 2.1:8j2; MIB 3: Prägetabelle 1, nos. 8–10) from the first three years after his son’s crowning Herakleios is represented with a short beard and is accompanied by a diminutive bust of Herakleios Constantine.

Seibt (Bleisiegel, 69) has employed the following criteria for classifying and dating seals, from 613–616, with representations of Herakleios and Herakleios Constantine. (1) 613–ca. 614: Herakleios Constantine (small); style of hair: inward curl. (2) 613–16: imperial representations remain the same; reverse blank. (3) 614–16: the Virgin’s right leg is bent. As possible examples of the latter he cites Zacos–Veglery, nos. 12a and c.

For a discussion of the emperor’s hair, particularly asymmetrical sidelocks, which also occur on coins, see DOC 2.1: p. 93.

The cross flanking the Virgin at right is set higher than the one at left, and their shafts gradually widen into triangles. The Mother of God is shown with her left leg bent at the knee.

Both emperors appear to be wearing a flat crown and for this reason, although Herakleios’s beard is longer, the seal has been placed in this earlier group. Likhachev, “Nekotorye,” 511, figs. 32 and 34, publishes a seal on which, similarly, Herakleios seems to be wearing a flat crown and a longer beard. He is accompanied on the right by a diminutive bust of Herakleios Constantine.

 

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