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Basil I and Constantine (869–79)

Accession number BZS.1958.106.580 (formerly DO 58.106.580)
Diameter 26 mm
Condition Half of seal is missing.
Previous Editions

DO Seals 6, no. 51.15.


Half-length representation of Christ, wearing a tunic and himation. He raises his right and in blessing and holds in his left a book with a cover ornamented with five rows of pellets. Traces of a circular inscription at right, of which the only clear letter is R. No visible border.


[Iηsus X]r[istos]


Half-length representation of Basil I, bearded, wearing a crown surmounted by a cross and a loros. He and Constantine (lost on broken half) a labarum between them, of which the left side is visible. Circular inscription at left. No visible border.

ASILIOS. . .

Basilios [. . .]


Iηsus Xristos.
Basilios [. . .]

Jesus Christ.
Basil [and Constantine?, augusti]


On solidi dating from Basil’s joint reign with Constantine, the obverse depicts Christ seated on a lyre-backed throne, while on the reverse are Basil to left and Constantine to right, holding between them a patriarchal cross on long shaft.  Basil wears a loros, and Constantine a chlamys (DOC 3.2:2a1 [pl. 30]). In common with the coinage as well is the employment of "augusti," present on the class 2 solidus as well as class 2d follis (DOC 3.2:9d.1 [pl. 31]).

Grierson explains the awkward relationship between the chronology of coinage and the depiction of Basil’s co-emperors in terms of the former's antipathy towards his middle son, Leo. Dating here follows that of the class 2 solidus, up to Constantine’s death in 879, rather than the class 2 follis, which includes Leo after his association with Basil in 870, and reflects the degree to which the design of imperial seals followed that of the solidus.

The labarum, held between Basil and Constantine, is found on classes 1 and 2 folles minted in Constantinople, dated by Grierson to 868–70 (DOC 3.2: 8-9).

The co-emperor at right. on the missing half of the seal, is likely Constantine, but lacking any remains of an identifying inscription, this entry leaves the transcription unexpanded.