Tiberios Constantine (578–582)

Tiberios Constantine (578–582)

During a moment of lucidity amid bouts of insanity, Sophia urged her husband Justin II to appoint Tiberios as Caesar and his successor. Tiberios acted as regent during the last four years of Justin's reign and reversed many of his policies, notably buying peace from the Avars. Even so, Tiberios was unable to prevent Slav and Avar raids into the Balkans or to the attacks of of Chosroes I in the East, although his general Maurice did score some successes against the Persians. Tiberios displayed great magnanimity: he was generous in taxation, allegedly ordering the end of the epibole, the transfer of abandoned land and its tax obligations to relatives or members of the same fiscal unit. He also undertook a number of expensive building projects and liberally distributed gifts to his friends and supporters.

The seal of Tiberios shown above appears to mark his year as consul and differs from his usual seals in a number of ways. Tiberios is shown on the obverse wearing a diadem and loros. In addition, the emperor is holding an eagle scepter, an ancient consular symbol that would recur on the coins of Maurice, Phokas, and Philippikos, but only on the seals of Philippikos. The reverse shows a cross surrounded by the inscription Victoria Augustorum (Victory to the Augustii). Tiberios's other seals are noteworthy for two changes that would characterize imperial seals for the next century and a half. The first is the replacement of the Winged Victory with the Mother of God. The second is the transfer of the imperial portrait to the reverse, a move made well in advance of that on coins, which occurred only during the reign of Justinian II over a century later.

 
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