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Justin II & Sophia AE21 1/2 follis.  Thessalonica  Delta officiana


thenickelguy
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Justin II or Justin the Younger was Eastern Roman Emperor from 565 until 578.

2088645531_JustinIISophiaAE2112follis.ThessalonicaDeltaofficianaG.jpg.0ee3b1421850a13e638d4f347822c0b9.jpg

Nephew of Justinian I and the husband of Sophia, the niece of the Empress Theodora, therefore a member of the Justinian dynasty.
She was the Empress consort of Justin II of the Byzantine Empire. She was also ruler in her capacity as regent during the incapacity of her spouse from 573 until 578.

A couple things about Justin II and Sophia stood out for me in my reading.

The Two Justins

yutes.jpg.d88f65e3155f6a0e62aa21aea46f87f3.jpg

There was another Justin in the family, the eldest son of Germanus. He was seen as a probable successor to the throne, but was beaten to the throne by his cousin, Justin II.
When Justinian I would die, they both were contenders. 
Justin II had been already living in Constantinople and was well supported by the Byzantine Senate and imperial guard. So it was already arranged that Justin II would be elevated to the throne.

Both Justins had agreed prior, that whomever would be crowned emperor would make the other the "second man" in the empire.
The very day the death of Justinian I was announced in the Hippodrome, Justin II quickly became emperor.
Justin II called his cousin to Constantinople and Justin was was a warm reception at first but soon was accused of plotting against Justin II and Sophia. 
He was set up, and exiled to Alexandria Egypt and it is believed that Justin II and Sophia had him murdered in his sleep and beheaded.
The head of Justin was brought back to Constantinople and perhaps true, kicked his severed head.


In 567 or 569, Justin and Sophia together reportedly sent a relic of the True Cross to Radegund, a French Benedictine monastery of nuns founded in the 6th century. The monastery was renamed to the Abbey of the Holy Cross, when Radegond was given the fragment of the True Cross. 

They also sent relics to Pope John III in an attempt to improve relations.
The Cross of Justin II is in the Vatican Museums. It has been reduced in size and altered. 
A crux gemmata (Latin for jewelled cross) , a reliquary, (showing inlaid on white in the center) of the True Cross, and has an inscription recording their donation and their portraits on the ends of the arms on the reverse. 

justincross.jpg.383b1fe03631533ed281148d5cc95bba.jpg

In 573, Justin II had become insane, acted like a wild animal and needed to hear organ music day and night. Sophia had the windows of the palace barred after Justin II attempted to jump out of them. She assumed sole power over the Empire at this point.

Edited by thenickelguy
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Fun coin @thenickelguy! It’s a shame that Justin II ended up in such a state. Here is my example of Justin II and Sophia.

53F23AA0-F128-40FC-8686-066A5821CF9D.jpeg.2ec7c76ea5d58cb299fee8f461293a50.jpeg

Byzantine Empire
Justin II 
AE Follis, Nicomedia mint, Ca. AD 576-577
Wt.: 13.76 g
Dia.: 31 mm
Obv.: DN IVSTINVS PP AVG Justin II and Sophia, seated, facing
Rev.: ANNO XI, M in center; A below; cross above; NIKO in exergue
SB 369 MIB 46a (vine)

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I like it that you got a half follis rather than the full follis.  The full folles (judging by acsearch) outnumber the halves by about 3 times, at least in the coin market.

Here's my full follis:

image.jpeg.bf6cf8d52cad6d18605465f3e699fd4c.jpeg

Year 9 = 573/4, so right at the beginning of Sophia as regent.  (That's why I picked this date.)

Yours is year 4 (568/9), the year of the Lombard invasion of Italy I believe.

4 hours ago, thenickelguy said:

In 567 or 569, Justin and Sophia together reportedly sent a relic of the True Cross to Radegund, a French Benedictine monastery of nuns founded in the 6th century. The monastery was renamed to the Abbey of the Holy Cross, when Radegond was given the fragment of the True Cross. 

They also sent relics to Pope John III in an attempt to improve relations.

Relics made good thrifty gifts in those days.  The real source:

image.png.c3bef1e98c51c557ea207777081cfb45.png

😆

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1 hour ago, Severus Alexander said:

Year 9 = 573/4, so right at the beginning of Sophia as regent.  (That's why I picked this date.)

Yours is year 4 (568/9), the year of the Lombard invasion of Italy I believe.

I wondered about these strange "years"

One of the four coins I just bought, the Justinian I AE20 Decanummium was described with year 25.

I have no clue about years. Where can I find the cross reference? Thanks

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3 hours ago, thenickelguy said:

I wondered about these strange "years"

One of the four coins I just bought, the Justinian I AE20 Decanummium was described with year 25.

I have no clue about years. Where can I find the cross reference? Thanks

Many of these earlier Byzantine AE's have ANNO (year) and a numeral (combo of Greek and Latin) on either side of the denomination mark.  Unfortunately the conventions use for converting these into dates aren't necessarily straightforward, depending on what counted as year one.  Sear's Byzantine Coins & their Values has handy-dandy charts to make sure you don't go wrong.  A little more cumbersome, but free, is to look up your coin in https://www.byzantine-ae.info, an online catalogue of a private collection.  More cumbersome still, but also free, and the standard catalogue for the Byzantine series, find your coin in the huge multi-volume Dumbarton Oaks catalogue.

One note on the symbols used for the year numbers: the symbols for 5 and 6 are easily confused.  5 is usually indicated with "Ч", a sort of modified Latin V, while six is officially a Greek "stigma" or ϛ.  Often a stigma looks kinda like a "Ч" though!  (As on my coin above, the symbol that resembles a capital "G".)

You'll also have noted the gamma above the K on your coin.  (M = follis, K = half follis, I = decanummium, Є = pentanummium... those are the most common denominations.)  That indicates the third the mint workshop or officina.  On my coin it's below the M, a B indicating the second officina.

The mixture of Latin and Greek on Byzantine coins can be quite confusing sometimes!

To post another coin: at the time the Byzantines were being severely pressured by the Arab expansion, the coinage took a serious dive in quality.  As a result it can be very hard to read the coins.  Here's a Justinian II half follis that is quite difficult:

image.jpeg.b7e3c966852f70090b3db4d70da9dc5f.jpeg

The symbols on the right are confusing!  My bet is that it has Ч over IIII, year 9 (Sear includes this as a possibiliity), where the furthest left stroke is small because the engraver was nearing the corner of the K. (It might look like there are 5 strokes, but the furthest right one, out past the Ч, is an illusion of the photo.)   But it could show Ч over III (if we ignore the short stroke on the left) or ϛ beside II (year 8), or ϛ beside/above III (year 9) or....  Probably year 8 or 9 though.  It can't be later than 11 because Justinian was deposed and de-nosed by then!

Edited by Severus Alexander
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33 minutes ago, Severus Alexander said:

The mixture of Latin and Greek on Byzantine coins can be quite confusing sometimes!

I must sincerely thank you for that awesome response.

I have a probably easy task, owning just four Byzantine coins. But I must look them up myself to learn.

It took you a good amount of time to compose that well written post.

daman.jpg.b5e9e243cb0c2dddaffd4846d8209066.jpg

 

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minted at Cyzicus during the reign of Justin II w/ Sophia between 15 Nov. 565 – 5 Oct. 578, with a regnal date of 574/5. Obv. D.N.IVSTINVS.P.P.AVG.: Justin on l., Sophia, on r., seated facing on double throne, both nimbate (except for some specimens of unusual style dated year 10); he holds gl. Cr., she holds cruciform sceptre; with cross between their heads. Rev. Large M between A/N/N/O, and numerals representing regnal year; above, cross; beneath Officina letter, in ex. KYZ. BCVS #372. CBE #10 pg.77.

 

73 JUSTIN II S-372  OBV.jpg

73 JUSTIN II S-372  REV.jpg

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On 7/17/2022 at 7:07 PM, thenickelguy said:

But I must look them up myself to learn.

Here is a page that will help you:
http://augustuscoins.com/ed/Byz/legends.html

and for a general introduction to Byzantine coins, look here:
http://augustuscoins.com/ed/Byz/

Here is a Justin II and Sophia from Carthage. You can read their names. Sophia is spelled with an F instead of PH.

2063375928_SB395JustinIISophia2246.jpg.5326290d2fd8efe157216728dcb3a7cd.jpg

23-22 mm. 8.62 grams.
DN IVSTIO ET SOFIA AC
Two facing busts. VITA below, but virtually off the flan.
K (20-nummi)
ANNO VIII (year 8, 572/3)
KAR in exergue for Carthage.
Sear 395. DIC Justin II 199.
MIBEC Justin II 76.
 

 

 

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Here's a follis of Justin II, regnal year one, ascending to the throne upon the death of Justinian I.

Justin II, AE follis, Antioch, Regnal Year 1,  565/66 AD, Officina A.

SB 378

15.8 grams

2086641268_D-CameraJustinIIAEfollisAntiochYear1565-66ADofficinaASB37815.8g01-20-21.jpg.ad937304b25991c3a1eed84e841d0e3a.jpg

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