Standing side by side with Basil II on the left and Constantine VIII on the right, both holding onto a patriarchal cross, dressed in imperial robes with crowns surmounted by crosses. Engraved onto a flat square bezel, with three granules on either side at the shank.
Basil II (r. 976 - 1025) and Constantine VIII (r. 1025 - 1028), brothers and co-emperors of the Byzantine Empire, were crowned as children by their father, Emperor Romanos II, to secure his line of succession in 960. Basil is widely regarded as one of the greatest emperors in Byzantine history. He was the longest-reigning Byzantine Emperor and expanded the empire to almost double its size, quashed two major rebellions, stabilized and built up a significant surplus of the treasury, and centralized his power by reducing the power of the landed aristocracy and monasteries. Upon his death, the Byzantine Empire was at its peak of prosperity, size, and strength.
Constantine, uninterested in politics, yielded his supreme rule to his brother, and only came into power upon Basil's death in 1025. During his three-year reign, Constantine mostly neglected and mismanaged the government, losing some of his power to the aristocracy. Historians have linked the start of the decline of the empire to Constantine's ascension to the throne. He and his successors squandered everything that Basil had built, leading to the decline and eventual collapse of the empire.
Dimensions: Bezel length: 1/2 inch (1.27 cm), US ring size: 7; UK: N 1/2; Germany: 17 1/4; Japan: 14
Condition: Intact and in very good condition overall.
Provenance: Private collection, home counties, UK, acquired before 1980.