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Michael III, the drunkard, 842-867


Valentinian
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Here is a Byzantine copper coin with Michael III, the drunkard, and Basil I, the Macedonian. 

SB1693MichaelIIIn2248.jpg.968b6773948a747ac6bead7514c72f5e.jpg
Michael III, "the drunkard," 842-867 and Basil I, 867-886. Struck 866-867.
25 mm. 6.98 grams.
Struck in the last year of Michael's reign.
MIҺAЄL IMPЄRAT ', facing bust of Michael in loros
bASIL-IVS RЄX, facing bust of Basil in loros
The legends use the Latin terms imperator for Michael and rex for Basil which are titles not seen on other Byzantine coins.
Sear 1693. DOC 3.1 Michael III 8

Basil was elevated to joint rule by his predecessor, Michael III, who had come to the throne at age six when Michael's father Theophilus took ill and died in 842. Michael III had his mother as regent until he was about 20 when her brother Bardas removed her. Michael III remained sole emperor but was content to let advisors run the empire. In 866 Michael, at age 30, proclaimed Basil I, formerly a lowly stablehand, his co-emperor. Bad decision. The next year Basil murdered Michael and assumed sole rule as the founder of the "Macedonian Dynasty," rulers of the Byzantine empire from 867 to 1056.  


In the sixth century Byzantine-coin inscriptions were entirely in Latin. Gradually legends began to mix Latin and Greek until in the eighth and ninth centuries the legends are almost entirely in Greek. In 865 Rome ridiculed the Byzantines by saying they didn't even know Latin.  Michael III responded with this unique type. [Grierson, p. 39] 

The story continues through Leo VI  (son of Basil I) with more images and text on my page
http://augustuscoins.com/ed/Byz/Basil.html
updated today with additional images. 

 

Show us some Byzantine coins of the era! 

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Not one that comes up that often. I thought I had a Miliaresion too, but t turned out to be Michael II. I might have to do something about that... 🤔

Byzantine Empire: Michael III "the Drunkard" (842-867) Æ Follis, Constantinople (Sear 1693; DOC 😎

Obv: +miҺAЄL IMPЄRAT'; Crowned facing bust of Michael, holding patriarchal cross on globus and akakia
Rev: +ЬASIL-IЧS REX ✳; Crowned facing bust of Basil, holding patriarchal cross on globus and akakia
Dim: 25mm, 6.06g

Byzantine Empire: Michael III "the Drunkard" (842-867) Æ Follis, Constantinople (Sear 1693; DOC 8) Obv: +miҺAЄL IMPЄRAT'; Crowned facing bust of Michael, holding patriarchal cross on globus and akakia Rev: +ЬASIL-IЧS REX ✳; Crowned facing bust of Basil, holding patriarchal cross on globus and akakia Dim: 25mm, 6.06g

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Very nice coins! I have yet to see a Michael III for sale anywhere that I have looked. That is a great type with two-two-two emperors in one.

The closest I get to Michael III is the lineage backwards, a coin featuring Michael III's father, Theophilus and Michael II.

820_to_829_MichaelII_AE_Follis_01.png.78d2e43a8421f751c7ea1ac8331fcc23.png820_to_829_MichaelII_AE_Follis_02.png.dba365cb1b0dac3116e002ed094c15a3.png

Michael II the Amorian (AD 820-829) with Theophilus Æ Follis; Constantinople mint; Obv: MIXAHL S ΘЄOFILOS, crowned facing busts of Michael (on left) and Theophilus (on right); cross above; Rev: Large M, X/X/X to left, cross above, N/N/N to right, Θ below; 29.12mm; 6.21 grams; Sear 1642

Edited by ewomack
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I've been looking for a Michael II, The Drunkard for quite some time. I have yet to find anything. What a great example, @Valentinian!

Absent a Michael III, I present my pre-game (Theophilus) and hungover (Basil I) emperors:

 

116839075_TheophilusFollis.png.5963b7f3b456f7a8468a3996341712e1.png
Theophilus
AE Follis
830-842 AD
Constantinople
Obverse: ThEOFIL' bASIL', crowned, three-quarter length figure of Theophilus facing, pellets on crown, wearing loros, holding labarum and cross on globe
Revere: ThEO-FILE AVG-OVStE SV-nICAS in four lines. 

2097688636_BasilIWithLeoVIandConstantineVIIFollis.png.6b2fa41d9e29b0624d8d18cdb16263c0.png
Basil I, Leo VI and Constantine VII
AE Follis
Constantinople
Obverse: LEON bASIL S CONST AVGG, Basil I, crowned and with short beard, in centre; Leo VI, crowned, no beard, on left and Constantine VII, crowned on right, all wearing chlamys, all half-length figures facing
Reverse: bASIL-CONSTAN-T S LEON EN-ThO bASILS-ROMEON in five lines, with star or cross or nothing below.

 

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On 12/24/2022 at 3:41 PM, Nerosmyfavorite68 said:

Very nice!

I have nothing to show,however.  I have few coins of that period and they're not photographed.

You might also be interested in the History of Byzantium podcast. They did an episode on him.

Great podcast. A great continuation of Roman history after Mike Duncan finished "The History of Rome".

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On 12/24/2022 at 2:39 PM, Valentinian said:

Here is a Byzantine copper coin with Michael III, the drunkard, and Basil I, the Macedonian. 

SB1693MichaelIIIn2248.jpg.968b6773948a747ac6bead7514c72f5e.jpg
Michael III, "the drunkard," 842-867 and Basil I, 867-886. Struck 866-867.
25 mm. 6.98 grams.
Struck in the last year of Michael's reign.
MIҺAЄL IMPЄRAT ', facing bust of Michael in loros
bASIL-IVS RЄX, facing bust of Basil in loros
The legends use the Latin terms imperator for Michael and rex for Basil which are titles not seen on other Byzantine coins.
Sear 1693. DOC 3.1 Michael III 8

Basil was elevated to joint rule by his predecessor, Michael III, who had come to the throne at age six when Michael's father Theophilus took ill and died in 842. Michael III had his mother as regent until he was about 20 when her brother Bardas removed her. Michael III remained sole emperor but was content to let advisors run the empire. In 866 Michael, at age 30, proclaimed Basil I, formerly a lowly stablehand, his co-emperor. Bad decision. The next year Basil murdered Michael and assumed sole rule as the founder of the "Macedonian Dynasty," rulers of the Byzantine empire from 867 to 1056.  


In the sixth century Byzantine-coin inscriptions were entirely in Latin. Gradually legends began to mix Latin and Greek until in the eighth and ninth centuries the legends are almost entirely in Greek. In 865 Rome ridiculed the Byzantines by saying they didn't even know Latin.  Michael III responded with this unique type. [Grierson, p. 39] 

The story continues through Leo VI  (son of Basil I) with more images and text on my page
http://augustuscoins.com/ed/Byz/Basil.html
updated today with additional images. 

 

Show us some Byzantine coins of the era! 

A nice one, Valentinian. Here's mine.

9.11 gr. 27 mm. 6 hr. Sear 1693; DO 8; BNP 1-5; BM 11-12; R. 1849; T. 18. Ex Hunt Collection. Sotheby's Dec. 5-6, 1990, lot 476. 

As you mention, Michael had criticized the Latin language as a "barbarous and Scythian tongue" in a letter to Pope Nicholas I. The curial reply was that it was "ridiculous for the emperors to call themselves Roman if they were ignorant of Latin" (quia ridiculum est vos apellare Romanorum imperatores et tamen linguam non nosse Romanam). This coin inscription was "evidence" that Latin was alive and well in Constantinople!

S1693.jpg

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