PB seal of Michael VII Doukas (1071–1078)
Obv: Christ seated on a square-backed throne. The upper part of the throne is decorated at left and right with seven pellets. He is shown wearing a tunic and himation and blessing with the right hand and holding a book in the left. He has a nimbus cruciger; each arm is decorated with one pellet. Sigla at left and right: [Ἰ(ησοῦ)]ς Χ(ριστό)ς. Border of dots.
Rev: Michael VII standing, wearing a crown with a cross and a loros, an end of which is draped over the left wrist and ornamented with five dots. He holds a labarum in the right hand and a globus cruciger in the left hand. Circular inscription: +Μιχαὴλ (α)ὐτοκράτ(ωρ) Ῥωμα(ίων) ὁ Δούκ(ας). Border of dots.
Translation: Michael Doukas, autokrator of the Romans.
On this specimen one can clearly discern that the emperor’s labarum is decorated in the middle with a device consisting of five pellets.
Cf. BLS I 95c-d; Seibt & Zarnitz 3.2.4; DO Seals 6, no. 84.6.
Michael VII is the eldest son of Constantine X Doukas and Eudokia Makrembolitissa. After the defeat at Mantzikert in 1071, he gained the throne, but his reign was one of economic and military disaster. Michael’s reign saw a series of rebellions staged by pretenders to the throne. Economically, the reign saw a rapid and deep debasement of gold, and the reduction of the measure of wheat (modios) by a quarter (para pinakiou), which effectively raised the price of wheat by a third. These economic changes attest to the high level of inflation in the 1070s, and earned Michael the nickname “Parapinakion”. He abdicated in 1078 and retired into the monastery of Stoudios.
Condition: Extremely Fine.
Weight: 29.83 g.
Diameter: 34.70 mm.