ewomack Posted November 24, 2022 · Member Share Posted November 24, 2022 (edited) The great jazz pianist Theolonious Monk once wrote a terrific song called "Ugly Beauty," and that exact phrase came to mind when I saw this Byzantine Phocas Æ follis. It's ugly, but, to me, it's also equally gorgeous. Historical records, quoted in Sear, say that Phocas had a "grotesque physical appearance." Others claim that he had a disfigurement. That might also mean that those who ultimately deposed him and dragged his decapitated body through the streets of Constantinople may have just had the advantage of the final word. Though he definitely looks sinister, ominous, and probably not GQ material, on this somewhat bloated and misshapen Follis. Some have also referred to him as the "Nero" or "Caligula" of Byzantium. He definitely made a fuss by deposing and executing the emperor Maurice and his family, and then conducting a reign of terror before Heraclius revolted and claimed the throne for a new dynasty. At least one commentator that I've heard thinks that Phocas might have received a bad historical rap, a la Richard III. Whichever interpretation one accepts, Phocas remains one of the most intriguing figures in Byzantine history. His coinage also runs a fascinating gamut of variations, complete with many unforgettable portraits. Phocas (602-610), Æ Follis (33mm, 11.79g), Cyzicus, Dated RY 4 ? (605/6); Obv: δN POCAS+PERPAVG, Crowned bust facing, wearing consular robes and holding mappa and cross, small cross to left; Rev: Large XXXX, ANNO above, II/II (date) to right, KYZA, Sear 665 Please post your Phocas coins! Edited November 24, 2022 by ewomack 16 1 1 Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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