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The last Byzantine coin from Antioch (Theopolis)


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The revolt of of the Heraclii against Phocas (602-610) began in 608 and had its partizans in Antioch, but imperial forces defeated them. The Sasanians under Khusru II took advantage of the division and conquered Antioch from the Byzantine empire on October 8, 610. The Byzantine mint ceased operation and did not resume.  Here is a coin of the final issue, year 8 of Phocas, 609/610. This is the last Byzantine AE type from Antioch.


Phocas, 602-610. Year 8.
Follis. 26-24 mm. 9.79 grams.
DN FOCA NEPE AV, facing consular bust of Phocas, crowned, holding mappa and eagle-tipped scepter.  (We spell his name with "Ph" but his coins spell it with "F".)
Large uncial
m, ANNO down left, U/III to right (year 😎
THEUP'  in exergue, for Theopolis (City of God), the new name of Antioch after the disastrous earthquakes on 526 and 528.  [The ' indicates an abbreviation, like we use in don't.]

Sear 672. DOC 90. Andrea et al., Byzantine Coinage in the East, volume iI, page 103. #839, page 130.

The coins of Justinian from Antioch that follow the earthquakes are discussed here:

Heraclius defeated Phocas in 610 and had a long and eventful reign, but Antioch was lost to the Sasanians and then, not long thereafter, to the Arabs. It minted coins again, but the coins were not Byzantine coins. 

Show us anything even remotely related!


Edited by Valentinian
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The entire era from the overthrow of Maurice, to the "reign of terror" of Phocas, and to his eventual overthrow by the Heraclii remains a fascinating story. Some claim that history has possibly distorted Phocas unfairly, similar to Richard III, but tales of the supposed "Nero of Byzantium" will probably always attract the morbidly curious. I know that I'm guilty. So much so, that I picked up a coin of Phocas from Cyzicus, not only for its ominous, and almost frightening, portrait, but out of fascination for this rather obscure historical age as well.

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

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That's a great coin, Warren... they are hard to come by!  I have a half follis of the same type, SB 674 (unlisted in DOC, they seem to be quite rare):


It's a bit hard to make out the year, but it has to be either ЧII or ЧIII, and I think it's the former... so the second last year of the mint's operation. (I have found a few obverse die matches, but the die appears to have been used in both years. I haven't found a reverse die match.) 

I think these are also the last realistic portraits in good style that the empire produced!

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Chapter 20 of the e-book Early Byzantine Copper Coins has plates of mysterious Heraclian coins with a Theup mintmark.  I've never seen one in person, however.

None of my Phocas coins are photographed. In addition to the normal ones, I have a 30 nummi kicking around somewhere, as well as a Solidus, a long-ago Christmas present.


Here's my nicest Byzantine coin from Antioch. Sear 220, 37mm.

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1 hour ago, Nerosmyfavorite68 said:

Simon, do you know anything about those enigmatic Heraclian issues?  The ones pictured had listed weights of c. 10 grams, too much for Arab-Byzantine.  However, Antioch would have been under Persian rule in 623.  Perhaps it was like the mysterious 'Rome' mint military mint issue of Maurice?

No, it is too early for me, I am really focused on 12th century. I have at home a small group of Heraclian issues unattributed. 

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