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Tiberios Constantine (578–82)

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C. Morrisson and J. Nesbitt, "An Unpublished Seal of Tiberios II Constantine (578–582)." 


22 mm
Chipped at ends of channel.


Tiberios Constantine (578–82)

Bust of Tiberios Constantine, wearing consular robes and a crown with cross and pendilia. He holds a mappa in his right hand and an eagle-headed scepter in his left. Circular inscription. Border of dots.

Tiberios Constantine (578–82)

[D(ominus) n(oster)] Tib(erius) Constan[t(inus) p(er)p(etuus) aug(ustus)]


Tiberios Constantine (578–82)

Cross potent on four steps. Circular inscription: [VIC]TOR IA[AVCC]: Victoria augustorum. Border of dots.


Dominus noster Tiberius Constantinus perpetuus augustus.

Our lord Tiberios Constantine, eternal augustus.



While BZS.1958.106.512 demonstrates a departure on seals from the designs of coins, the present specimen echoes the imperial portrait and reverse design found on Tiberios Constantine's solidi (for example, DOC 1:2 [pl. 60], and MIB 2: pl. 10, no. 2). This is the earliest seal to depict the eagle-headed scepter, an ancient consular symbol, which made periodic reappearances on the coins of Maurice Tiberios, Phokas, and Philippikos, but only again on the seals of Philippikos at the beginning of the eighth century (BZS.1958.106.597 and BZS.1955.1.4268).

Morrisson and Nesbitt note the innovation of depicting the cross potent on the coins, an iconography which linked him, as did his chosen first name, with Constantine the Great. The cross, and its replacement by Tiberios with the Mother of God, represents a firm Christianization of sigillographic and numismatic iconography, rejecting the ambiguity of the Angel/Victory figures present on the coins and seals of his predecessors.


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