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Justin II (565–68)

Accession number BZS.1955.1.4238 (formerly DO 55.1.4238)
Diameter 21 mm
Condition Chipped.
Previous Editions

DO Seals 6, no. 7.2; Zacos–Veglery, no. 5.


Nimbate bust of Justin II, facing forward, wearing a helmet with diadem and trefoil ornament and pendilia. Ties hanging down from the diadem visible at the left and right of the neck. Circular inscription. Border of dots.


[D(ominus)] n(oster) Iustinus p(er)p(etuus) au[g(ustus)].


Winged Victory standing, holding in each hand a victory wreath. Border of dots.


Dominus noster Iustinus perpetuus augustus.

Our lord Justin, eternal augustus.


Justin’s seals employ the same motifs as Justinian I’s and, in comparison with coins, the imperial bust is of simplified design. For the most part the emperor is shown beardless, but on an issue that Grierson attributes to January of 566 he is depicted with a short beard. Winged Victory as a main type appears on Justin II’s gold coinage, but as in the case of Justinian’s gold issues, we meet it on the reverse of the tremissis.

Seibt, in his review of the Zacos–Veglery catalogue (BSl 36 [1975]: 209), is inclined to attribute this seal to Justin I because of an absence of crosses flanking Winged Victory.  The manner in which the emperor is portrayed, however, varies considerably from BZS.1955.1.4234, and therefore the present entry follows Zacos–Veglery in assigning the specimen to Justin II. Corrosion has obscured the imperial bust, so it is not possible to determine if it is lightly bearded, a characteristic identified on an issue which Grierson dated to January of 566 (DOC 1:1 [pl. 49].  See also MIB 2: pl. 1, no. 52)