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Romanos I and Constantine VII (931–44)

Accession Number:
BZS.1960.125.1729 (formerly DO 60.125.1729)

Previous Editions

DO Seals 6, no. 61.2.


29 mm


Romanos I and Constantine VII (931–44)

Half-length representation of Christ. He has a cross behind his head; other details are indistinct. Portion of circular inscription visible at left. Border of dots.


[I]η[sus Xristus].


Romanos I and Constantine VII (931–44)

Two half-length figures: at left, Constantine VII, beardless, wearing a crown with a cross and a loros; at right, Romanos I, bearded and larger than Constantine, wearing a crown with a cross. They appear to hold between them a long (patriarchal?) cross. Remains of an inscription along the circumference at left and right.

.o. . . R

[R]om[an(os) et Consta]n(tinos) b(asilis) R(omaion).


Iηsus Xristus.
Romanos et Constantinos basilis Romaion.

Jesus Christ.
Romanos and Constantine, basileis of the Romans.



The absence from this seal of Christophoros, Romanos’s son and, for the years 921–931, co-emperor, suggests that it either pre-dates his coronation or post-dates his death. Although there is no way to be certain it seems to the editors that an earlier date would be more likely. This seal follows the same composition and stylistic patterns of earlier Macedonian seals, particularly in the pairing of the emperors and the flat, generic way in which their likenesses are handled. This stands in clear contrast to the later seals of Romanos with their three figure design and realistic handling of the portrait of the senior emperor. This new realism, although absent on the early seals of Romanos, Constantine, and Christopher, is present on later specimens, and also on all examples firmly dated after Christopher's death, when his brother Stephen took his place on the seals. It seems more likely that this seal belongs to an earlier phase of the reign, before Christopher's elevation, and the reintroduction of realistic portrature, rather than it being an anachronistic interlude.


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