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Andronikos II Palaiologos (1282-1328)

Accession number BZS.1958.106.644
Diameter 30 mm
Condition Blank too small fro dies.
Previous Editions

DO Seals 6, no. 106.3.
Zacos-Veglery, no. 124a.
Byzantium: Faith and Power, no. 7B.


Christ standing before a low thokos, wearing a tunic and himation and holding the right hand in blessing and a book with jeweled cover in left. The cover is ornamented with a pellet in the center and two pellets above and below. Traces of an inscription to the right of Christ’s figure: ΧΣ̅ : [Ἰ(ησοῦ)ς] Χ(ριστό)ς. Border of dots.


The emperor Andronikos (?) standing to front, wearing a loros and holding a labarum (?) in the right hand and (presumably) an akakia in the left. Remains of an inscription in column to the left and right of emperor. Border of dots.

ΚΟΣ            Η
Δ                 Π

[Ἀν]δρόνικος δ[εσπότ]η[ς ὁ] Π[αλ(αιολόγος)].


Andronikos Palaiologos, despotes.


As Zacos and Veglery correctly observe, a positive identification of the emperor represented is impossible. They have proposed an attribution to Andronikos II based upon comparison with a depiction of Andronikos II on a gold boulla preserved at the Athonite monastery of Philotheou. A telling detail on the gold boulla—and one found as well on our lead seal—is the petal-like design at bottom that results from the joining of the ends of the emperor’s drapery with the border of a dais. For an illustration of the gold boulla see Dölger, Schatzkammern, pl. 117/1. In our opinion the figure’s drapery closely approximates that of the coins of Andronikos II. Note the decoration of closely set dots that appears on the loros draped from the emperor’s wrist. This same decorative element is found on DOC 5.2:586 (pl. 34).

There are no close matches between Andronikos’s coins and his seals, but on Andronikos’s copper trachea the figure of the emperor is depicted in a manner that, despite variations, somewhat resembles his appearance on his seals. See, for example, DOC 5.2:586 (pl. 34), a coin on which Andronikos is shown standing, holding a labarum in the right hand and a globus cruciger in the left; also DOC 5.2:583 (pl. 34). Here the emperor is shown standing and holding in the right hand a cross scepter and in the lefthand an akakia. In the upper right field appears the manus Dei.