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Justin II and Sophie, Æ Follis, Nicomedia...


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This coin arrived today from across the large pond. I had posted the dealer's picture in another earlier thread, where the coin had a more reddish tint. In hand, it looks more brownish, similar to the photo. The portraits on this specimen have the clearest details of any of this type that I've seen, though the legs are either worn or poorly struck. From what I can tell from other examples, the robes on their legs usually display more detail of folds. Still, as with most Byzantines, one takes what one can get. Overall, I liked this one enough to bring it home. Also, it's the first Byzantine coin featuring a woman that I have acquired. From the little I have read, it sounds like Justin II, after some political missteps, suffered a mental collapse around 574 and Tiberius II became regent. Sophie apparently wielded considerable power throughout his reign and also throughout Tiberius II's regency. You go girl. The dealer had attributed it as Sear 379, but that's Theoupolis. Sear 369 is Nicomedia.

Justin II & Sophie (Year 5, 569 - 570), Æ Follis, 31.4mm, 11.83g, Nicomedia, Obv: DN IVUSTINUS PP AVG Justin II and Sophie seated facing forward, each with nimbus, holding globus cruciger and cruciform scepter; Rev: ANNO U, large M surmounted by cross, with B below, NIKO in exergue, Sear 369

Lastly, say hello to the heavily abstracted Emperor and Empress:

image.png.94c7bb3defe9b2478ab866991e8bcd7f.png  image.png.e875cb32249acede82fa4f1cd1cb12b6.png

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That's a nice example. 

The podcasters at Totalus Rankium loved Justin II; he allegedly bit people like a zombie, punched the patriarch in the face, clucked like a chicken, was wheeled around in a wheelbarrow (or wheeled chair), etc.  The History of Byzantium also has a Justin II episode.  Both are well worth listening to.

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That is a very nice example @ewomack, since we are limited to two coins on the other thread I chose not to use this one. It really shows how nice your example is. 



Justin II, with Sophia. 565-578. Æ Follis (30mm, 12.87 g, 6h). Nicomedia mint, 2nd officina. Dated RY 10 (574/5). Justin and Sophia seated facing on double throne, holding globus cruciger and cruciform scepter, respectively; cross above / Large M; cross above, date across field; B//NIKO. DOC 100d; MIBE 46b; SB 369. Rough dark green patina. VF.

From the Wise Centaur Collection.

I bought this in a group lot, not from CNG. it sold a bit high from them I feel. 






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What an unusually good strike. If only they were all so dead center on nice, round flans. Definitely a coin to treasure. My Justin II from Nikomedia is so ugly it’s not worth sharing, but rather, I’ll share my favorite anecdote about how the emperor’s mental breakdowns were calmed, quoted from John Julius Norwich’s Byzantium-The Early Years:

“In these moods there was only one way to pacify him: to speak the name of Harith, the leader of a minor Arab tribe known as the Ghassanids. For reasons that were never altogether understood, this relatively unimportant chieftain inspired him with such terror that he instantly became quiet.”

Sophia surely had her hands full carting him around the palace in a wheelbarrow whispering, “Harith… Harith… Harith..”. Better than having him jumping out windows I suppose! 

Edited by Nicomedia13
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