Imperator

Imperator

Originally a Roman military title, imperator occurs on only two groups of seals during the Byzantine period: late issues of Michael III (above left, BZS.1947.2.415) and early issues of Basil I (above right BZS.1958.106.500). It is reasonable to assume that the latter merely conserved the design present on his predecessor’s seals. The use of a purely Latin title was a response to papal charges, in a letter of 865, that Byzantine emperors were ignorant of Latin, and that as a result they should not call themselves emperors of the Romans. Michael’s response, on seals and coins, was immediate, with those classes dating to the years 866/7.

 

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