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Justinian I AE20 Decanummium Theoupolis Antioch


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Justinian I also known as Justinian the Great, was the Eastern Roman emperor from 527 to 565 AD.

Antioch mint year 35 to 38



I was surprised to learn today just how important chariot racing was in ancient history. That there were fans of various teams. Blues, Greens, Reds, and Whites were generally the colors of the teams and they were very much political.

No fancy names like Spartans or Trojans, just colors. Fans would wear the colors they rooted for and had sections. The chariot, horses and driver could be identified by colored flags and what the driver wore.   Those fans were pretty serious about their team winning too. Maybe this little coin was used in betting long ago at The Hippodrome. Scores of people watched the races. just before the crowd went wild during the Nika Riots?

It was during the reign of Justinian I that a riot broke out at the races. A lot of the people left the event but many remained and then Imperial troops stormed into the Hippodrome, killing any remaining people. About 30,000 were killed.

There is a lot more to this story which from what I have been reading had a lot to do with overthrowing Justinian I and other politics, but mob mentality certainly went into the works.

Edited by thenickelguy
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On 7/16/2022 at 6:55 PM, thenickelguy said:

Maybe this coin was picked up off the ground after the riot too?

That particular coin was minted at Antioch (far fromConstantinople) with its new name "The(u)opolis," "City of God."  See its mintmark
The story of the name change is here:

on my page about the numerous mintmarks of Antioch.  Here is one from year 38 with a variant of that mintmark where an "E" has been inserted:


  Sear 239
  Decanummium. 10 nummi.
  19-18 mm. 4.65 grams.
  THEUP  [The "T" is so curved it is almost like a C with a T top.
  This shape for "T" is also used later on Byzantine coins under Theophilus.]
  This mintmark was used years 35-38
  on the M and I denominations.


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Valentinian said

"That particular coin was minted at Antioch"

I'm sorry about that. The description for the coin on the attribution was incorrect. Thanks for pointing that out. I'll remove that line in my post above. The rest can stay I suppose.

Thanks for the year bracket too.

Edited by thenickelguy
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