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Basil I, Leo and Constantine (870-79)

Accession number BZS.1977.34.96
Diameter 22 mm
Condition Tessera; no channel; concave in shape.
Previous Editions

DO Seals 6, no. 52.1.


Bust of St. Basil blessing and holding a book. Circular inscription. A six rayed star on either side. No visible border.


Ἅγιε Βασίλειε βοήθει


Three figures: in center a half-length representation of the emperor Basil I (bearded) wearing a crown surmounted by a cross and a loros. Left, a bust of Leo wearing a crown surmounted by a cross and at right a bust of Constantine (beardless) wearing a crown surmounted by a cross and a chlamys. Remains of an inscription. No visible border.


Leon, Basilios καὶ Constantinos augusti


Ἅγιε Βασίλειε βοήθει Leon, Basilios καὶ Constantinos augusti.

St. Basil, help Leo, Basil and Constantine, augusti.


The images on this specimen do not derive from the dies of a boulloterion. The reverse is concave, indicating that first one side was struck with a punch and then the other. The object may have been used as a grain token.

Between 870 and 970, folles were struck depicting on the obverse Emperor Basil I flanked by his sons Leo and Constantine. Basil is represented half-length, bearded, and wearing a crown with a cross and a loros. Leo (at the l.) and Constantine (at the r.) are shown half-length, but smaller. Each is beardless, and wears a crown surmounted by a cross and a chlamys. The trio are usually identified by a circular inscription reading LEOASILSCOSA: Leon, Basilios, καὶ Constantinos augusti. The aniconic reverse regularly bears an inscription of five lines reading ASIL|COSA|SLEOE|ΘOSILS|ROEO: Basilios, Constantinos, καὶ Leon en Θeo basilis Romeon. See DOC 3.2: 10a.1 (pl. 31); the obverse of this coin is different from this tessera, which contains a portrait of St. Basil.