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ЄN TɣTo NIKA


Valentinian
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I just got a nice example of this legend on a coin of Constans II, AD 641-668:
SB1005ConstansIIn2260.jpg.08784702c8ef86d97be6974179841878.jpg

ЄN TɣTo NIKA  "In this [sign], conquer"
with reference to Constantine's vision at the Battle of the Milvian Bridge (in 312).  The Greek equivalent of the Roman "HOC SIGNO VICTOR ERIS".
Normally much of the legend is obscure. 

ANA NEO (either side of the M) for ANANEOSIS = "renewal" [Of good times, much like FEL TEMP REPARATIO is in the 4th century]

There are many similar varieties depending upon what it in the exergue (which is usually obscure and uncertain, as is this one). Sear 1005 [edit: I changed it from Sear 1000 based on information below from @quant.geek] and maybe DOC II.II Constans II, 65, which is very much like 59 and 66 and others. DOC plate XXVI has 23 similar coins, none of which has the obverse legend as clear as this one and only a few of which have decipherable letters in exergue. 

I collected Byzantine coins at a moderate level for years before I decided to learn much about their legends. Now I can decipher most. If you would like to learn about them, look at this page on how to read them:

http://augustuscoins.com/ed/Byz/legends.html 

Show us something Byzantine (especially something with a legend)!


 

Edited by Valentinian
Sear number changed
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That is a lovely example of this often poorly-struck issue, @Valentinian.  The desert patina is especially handsome.  

I have several of these, but they are all pretty awful, except this one, which has most of the legends visible.  I had some trouble attributing - it seems to be a "variation" but there are so many variations that I'm not sure it really counts as a "variation." (If that makes any sense!)

1954589716_Byz-ConstansII-FollisConst.Jan2020(0).jpg.21273205df78362c781109cf8173030d.jpg

Constans II  Æ Follis Year 1 (641-642 A.D.) Constantinople Mint ЄNTO V TO NIK[A], Constans beardless standing facing with long cross and cross on globe / large m, ANA to left, cross above, NЄOS to right, Є I ς (sideways) below. SB 1000; DOC 59d / Class 1 (2.57 grams / 21 x 19 mm) eBay Jan. 2020   Attribution Note: The obverse legend appears to be a variety.  Wildwinds and labrum have it as:  ЄN TVTO NIKA.  This specimen is:  ЄN TO V TO NIK[A],

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  • Valentinian changed the title to ЄN TɣTo NIKA

That's a nice example, @Valentinian!  Here's one I used to have which is lacking some legend on the obverse, but has a clear exergue (ΓII, officina and year 2):

spacer.png

 

I love your page on Byzantine legends too - very informative!  As I think you note, the legends are often garbled.  On high grade examples I'm often surprised by what I find, as on this Justinian decanummium from Antioch:

image.jpeg.a17395ec5452f5e5c0c9098ccd64d7c3.jpeg

This legend seems to correspond only vaguely to something meaningful, although one can see vestiges of D N, the beginnings of Justinian's name, and AVCC for example.

Even weirder, here's a late decanummium from some other mint:

image.jpeg.719122f9e4d723ce6a4189b17afd1663.jpeg

When I bought this I was sure it was an imitation.  Not so sure now... while it could be, there appear to be crude late products of the Constantinople mint with retrograde CON, and both Cyzicus and Nikomedia produced some pretty cartoonish looking coins.  It could also be a product of an "uncertain Italian mint."  EBCC (great resource!) has examples of all of these, but is quite rightly attentive about their attributions.  One can't even trust mint signatures (as Hahn ruefully obvserved).  The introduction to EBCC notes that it's hard to draw the line between official product and imitations in this territory.  Maybe once I get some more of the crud off I'll be able to tell.

 

Edited by Severus Alexander
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Very cool OP, @Valentinian, with some terrific complementary examples.  This does a lot to eloquently confirm the points several people have made in this forum about the substantive continuity between the (big fat air quotes:) "Roman" and "Byzantine" empire(/s) ...while emphasizing its specifically late Classical, um, Constantinian origin.

With apologies, here's an example of a 'Crusader' follis of Antioch, early enough to be freely imitating Byzantine equivalents, and in this case, riffing on the same slogan.  I'm sure other people here have better ones, that even have the operative part of the legend.

Tancred, regent for Bohemond I (initially during his imprisonment by early Turks in northwest Anatolia), 1101-1103; 1104-1112. 

image.jpeg.f3a10e47d8376e9cc49e3109347bb707.jpeg

Rev.  Cross, dividing the legend in the field. IC /XC /[NI /KA]

Obv.  Tancred, mailed, wearing turban and holding a sword.  Greek legend (just, well, take Malloy's word for it).  Malloy, CCS; p. 199 (Antioch), 3a.

Since the 'Crusader' principality of Antioch was founded by Normans from Apulia, who were already imitating the Byzantine prototypes in circulation there, there might be similar legends in the Norman series from southern Italy and Sicily.  Not sure on that; I for one don't have any examples.  Likewise, I'm out of my depth regarding any direct Byzantine prototype for this variant of the slogan. 

 

Edited by JeandAcre
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– Minted at Constantinople during the reign of Constans II between September 641 – 15 July 668. Obv. ENTXTO NIKA. Constans, beardless, stg. facing, wearing crown and chlamys and holding long cross and gl. Cr. Rev. Large m between O/0/A and N/E/O/C; above, ANA; in ex., Officina letter followed by numerals representing the regnal year. BCVS #1001.

386 CONSTANS II OBV.jpg

386 CONSTANS II REV.jpg

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@Valentinian Nice one! I saw that particular specimen and was examining what the variation of that coin was. Unfortunately, Sear is wrong in the description of the coin and thus he confused the year with the legend.  During the first two years, this particular type underwent several revisions due to the enormous legend in the reverse. It caused the engravers a lot of headaches and thus they resorted to several abbreviations.  While you are correct in that the legend is ANA-NЄO-CIC for renewal, the first iteration of so-called Sear-1000 was this extremely rare issuance (not my coin):

 

image.png.b757e0b678e7878fe4102d192bf0c05e.png

The legend is fully spelled out with, where the exergue has CIC, officina A, and regal year I.  You coin is the subsequent issuance where the mint engravers abbreviated  the CIC with a C with a slanted I.  The remaining letters are the officina and regal year as usual. This is the so-called Sear-1005, but it is NOT regal year 6 as indicated by Sear (again, not my coin):

image.png.6298a560ca08b408fdb91c8234ab8617.png

They went through, yet another version where it was further refined by moving the CIC to the right, next to NЄO as a fancy 'S'. This one is  my coin:

spacer.png

 

On top of all of these variations, there are minor variations where the standard is either Round, Square, or a Chi-Rho...This is all been explained by Goodwill in his paper The Early Folles of Constans II. You can download it at https://www.academia.edu/24105129/The_Early_Folles_of_Constans_II

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by quant.geek
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Attached is Peter Donald's  paper which Tony Goodwill references. I can't upload it as it has my IP address in it, but it is extremely short. It goes over the main points I wrote above...

 

image.png.6fe4e1a6e3cb16182ae8ed7ac7246588.png

Edited by quant.geek
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Cool!  There are some nice examples here.

The only Constans ones I have are from very early in my collecting, mostly Allen Berman 'junk box' ones.

I can't remember if I have a Constans solidus or not.  I was on the verge of purchasing one at a coin show when I spied a Heraclius "Jerusalem' solidus.  I think I ended up not getting a Constans.

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Just won the following coin.  It is the same type, officina, and regal year as the coin illustrated in SBCV as Sear 1005, but you get a good view of the full legends. Note that the standard is square, whereas the OP coin has a round standard...

image.png.7a010d109f304656dcebb907e98ad3e1.png

3067833_1657313437.jpg.7fdb5956aa4a3506962322d8831b6a05.jpg

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8 hours ago, quant.geek said:

Just won the following coin.  It is the same type, officina, and regal year as the coin illustrated in SBCV as Sear 1005, but you get a good view of the full legends. Note that the standard is square, whereas the OP coin has a round standard...

image.png.7a010d109f304656dcebb907e98ad3e1.png

3067833_1657313437.jpg.7fdb5956aa4a3506962322d8831b6a05.jpg

Very nice, @quant.geek!  It's an enjoyable challenge to get decent examples from this period, and that one's great!

I added a different Constans II type this week, one that I think is even harder to get nice.  When I saw it in the auction I knew it wasn't what they said it was (Leontius), and I suppose a specialist could have ID'd it at a glance, but I couldn't and had to do some digging.  Here it is (2.52g, 20mm):

image.jpeg.8af875533eb72713336477bd75f5ae94.jpeg

think it's a military-dress half follis of Constans II from Constantinople: DOC 93 and SB 1018, struck 655-56 (at the time of the famous Battle of the Masts).  Judging by acsearch they're pretty rare and don't come much better than this one!  (Yikes.)  Luckily nobody believed the Leontius attribution and I got it for a 20 dollar hammer or so.  Very happy to add it to my Constans II timeline!  Assuming I've got the ID right, that is... have I?  Here are the two illustrated in DOC:

image.jpeg.4252ce1f44f5101bc3a2006ae920e858.jpeg

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Here's a "Byzantine-adjacent," a John III Ducas-Vatatzes (1222-1254) of Nicaea AE Tetarteron, my favorite "Byzantine" bronze. The precise legend seems to vary by die (there are a few known dies for this rather rare type). Until recently, there were only a handful of known examples (at least published and/or in major auctions). How the coin was transcribed seems to have depended heavily on the particular example (or two) available to the authors. (I've posted it before, but not here. It's CNG's photo.)

There are now a lot of better examples out there, showing a range of reasonable readings, but interestingly, some authors (and myself) come to different readings even when we clearly are using the same specimens:

Sear, Suarez: [no legend given].
DOC IV.2 (pp. 508-509), which illustrated at least 3:  IШ ΔЄCΠOTHC O ΔϪKAC .
Goodacre (this coin), Sabatier, Wroth: IШ ΔЄC O ΔϪKAC.
de  Saulcy (Rev. Num., 1842: 416): IШ ΔЄCΠ O ΔOVKCA
But Leon Dardel (de Saulcy, RN 1842) illustrated it differently: IШ ΔHΠ CΔKA
For my specimen, I go with: IШ ΔK O ΔKAC.
(Dardel seems to have drawn the left K as a wavy H and guessed at the rest/)

image.jpeg.0b254e0073303fa1440b7b928011f8bc.jpeg

My coin is the Goodacre specimen (he first published it in 1931, perhaps citing it as the Wroth-de Saulcy-Sabatier example, again in 1938, and in his popular, reprinted Handbook). I suspect it's also the model that Dardel illustrated and de Saulcy described as ex von Bose Collection. (It's clearly my obv. die [emperor side], but they guessed at the missing parts and got it wrong, at least for that die; if so, it's also one of the two models for Sabatier. The other, I believe, being DOC IV, XXXIV 56.1 = Hendy 1969 34.1 = Prince Egon II of Furtstenberg Coll., Cahn 75, lot 1759 [thus also de Saulcy collection (but not the von Bose specimen) and, later, Peirce collection]. The primary rival candidate for the de Saulcy 1842-Sabatier specimen would be Ratto 2291 = DOC IV, XXXIV 56.3 [Note on Hendy, Ratto] = Hendy 1969 34.2.)

Edited by Curtis JJ
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Thanks, @quant.geek, for confirming the ID and also for correcting the orientation!  I couldn't help but see the N in "ANA" as part of the K... I like the coin better now that you've oriented it correctly, more of the details fit rather than being parts of some undertype.

Am I right in thinking this is a pretty rare type?  The alternative being that it's fairly common but usually so junky that it doesn't even make it into the auction databases.  I doubt this, though, as it's missing from Labarum, EBCC(revised) has one miserable example, and I couldn't find a single one on acsearch, even from the cut-price mass volume auction houses.  (Though surely I missed a few that were simply ID'd as "unknown Byzantine" or something.)  In general, the Constantinople half-folles of Constans II seem to be thin on the ground, by contrast with the Syracusan ones.

To add a coin, here's an Arab-Byzantine imitation based on the OP type dating to near the beginning of the Umayyad Caliphate under Mu'awiya (661-680), just after the First Fitna civil war period that started at the time of my new half follis.

image.jpeg.cd41399dc6d1d4c63d698e71af61770f.jpeg

A good companion to the OP type, I think.  The obverse reads bismillah to left and K/A/Λ/O/H (= “good”) to the right.  The reverse is mostly imitative, but the exergue reads tayyib = “good”.

Any Byzantine collector should surely have some Arab-Byzantine types in their collection, no?  But then again, I'm a generalist by nature, always inclined to expand the horizon...

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4 minutes ago, Severus Alexander said:

 The obverse reads bismillah to left and K/A/Λ/O/H (= “good”) to the right.  The reverse is mostly imitative, but the exergue reads tayyib = “good”.

Bilingual on the same side, that's pretty cool! I like bilingual coins but it's usually on different sides. A select few on one side. Hadn't ever noticed this kind before. 

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1 hour ago, Severus Alexander said:

To add a coin, here's an Arab-Byzantine imitation based on the OP type dating to near the beginning of the Umayyad Caliphate under Mu'awiya (661-680), just after the First Fitna civil war period that started at the time of my new half follis.

image.jpeg.cd41399dc6d1d4c63d698e71af61770f.jpeg

A good companion to the OP type, I think.  The obverse reads bismillah to left and K/A/Λ/O/H (= “good”) to the right.  The reverse is mostly imitative, but the exergue reads tayyib = “good”.

Any Byzantine collector should surely have some Arab-Byzantine types in their collection, no?  But then again, I'm a generalist by nature, always inclined to expand the horizon...

There is also the Greek mint name EMH / CIC ("Emesa", modern Homs in Syria), arranged either side of the M on reverse. The bilingual series is interesting in that it demonstrates the abrupt cultural shift following the Arab conquest of Syria. Equally interesting that بسم الله ("in the name of Allah") runs along the long cross held by the very Christian figure.

Edited by DLTcoins
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Neat!  Quant.Geek's examples are much better than my handful.  I'd like to find a very nice example of one of the 'fat face' 40 nummi of Constantinople (too lazy to look up the Sear number).

Per the affordable AE, I'm rather partial to the portrait issues of Syracuse.

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16 hours ago, Curtis JJ said:

Here's a "Byzantine-adjacent," a John III Ducas-Vatatzes (1222-1254) of Nicaea AE Tetarteron, my favorite "Byzantine" bronze. The precise legend seems to vary by die (there are a few known dies for this rather rare type). Until recently, there were only a handful of known examples (at least published and/or in major auctions). How the coin was transcribed seems to have depended heavily on the particular example (or two) available to the authors. (I've posted it before, but not here. It's CNG's photo.)

There are now a lot of better examples out there, showing a range of reasonable readings, but interestingly, some authors (and myself) come to different readings even when we clearly are using the same specimens:

Sear, Suarez: [no legend given].
DOC IV.2 (pp. 508-509), which illustrated at least 3:  IШ ΔЄCΠOTHC O ΔϪKAC .
Goodacre (this coin), Sabatier, Wroth: IШ ΔЄC O ΔϪKAC.
de  Saulcy (Rev. Num., 1842: 416): IШ ΔЄCΠ O ΔOVKCA
But Leon Dardel (de Saulcy, RN 1842) illustrated it differently: IШ ΔHΠ CΔKA
For my specimen, I go with: IШ ΔK O ΔKAC.
(Dardel seems to have drawn the left K as a wavy H and guessed at the rest/)

image.jpeg.0b254e0073303fa1440b7b928011f8bc.jpeg

My coin is the Goodacre specimen (he first published it in 1931, perhaps citing it as the Wroth-de Saulcy-Sabatier example, again in 1938, and in his popular, reprinted Handbook). I suspect it's also the model that Dardel illustrated and de Saulcy described as ex von Bose Collection. (It's clearly my obv. die [emperor side], but they guessed at the missing parts and got it wrong, at least for that die; if so, it's also one of the two models for Sabatier. The other, I believe, being DOC IV, XXXIV 56.1 = Hendy 1969 34.1 = Prince Egon II of Furtstenberg Coll., Cahn 75, lot 1759 [thus also de Saulcy collection (but not the von Bose specimen) and, later, Peirce collection]. The primary rival candidate for the de Saulcy 1842-Sabatier specimen would be Ratto 2291 = DOC IV, XXXIV 56.3 [Note on Hendy, Ratto] = Hendy 1969 34.2.)

Wow, that's some great provenance for a great example. I also managed to get an example of the type a while back, albeit in far inferior condition (and with very little provenance). It could perhaps also use a little cleaning. I'm still happy with it though as it fills the hole for the type in my collection.

IMG_5769.png

Edited by Zimm
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18 hours ago, Severus Alexander said:

Thanks, @quant.geek, for confirming the ID and also for correcting the orientation!  I couldn't help but see the N in "ANA" as part of the K... I like the coin better now that you've oriented it correctly, more of the details fit rather than being parts of some undertype.

Am I right in thinking this is a pretty rare type?  The alternative being that it's fairly common but usually so junky that it doesn't even make it into the auction databases.  I doubt this, though, as it's missing from Labarum, EBCC(revised) has one miserable example, and I couldn't find a single one on acsearch, even from the cut-price mass volume auction houses.  (Though surely I missed a few that were simply ID'd as "unknown Byzantine" or something.)  In general, the Constantinople half-folles of Constans II seem to be thin on the ground, by contrast with the Syracusan ones.

Your assessment is correct.  They are very scarce and thus rarely shows up.  This is true for several of the military-type coins of Heraclius and Constans II, among others.  You did good with those eagle eyes of yours.

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The ЄNTϪT ONIKA type coins come in various designs as the die engravers struggled with the legends.  Another variation is the introduction of the only Byzantine coin to have the O/Φ/A legend. It is the Greek version of officina and is an abbreviation of σφικκίνα.  The interesting thing about this version is that there seems to be two types, one with ANA above and one without.  Sear and DOC only list the one with ANA. My theory is that the die engravers got so confused at this point, that they just messed up and forgot the ANA 🙂:

 

Byzantine Empire: Constans II (641-668) Æ Follis, Constantinople, RY2 (Sear 1001; DOC 61a; MIBE 163a)

Obv: ЄNTϪT ONIKA; Constans standing, facing, beardless, wearing chlamys and crown with cross; In right hand, long cross, in left, globus cruciger
Rev: Large M; above ANA, to left, O/Φ/A, to right, N/Є/O/ς; in exergue, to left A, to right II
Dim: 23mm, 4.10 g

Sear-1001.jpg.b8463e256552c0ee84c51e84b1e440c8.jpg

 

 

The below specimen is even more interesting since the exergue is reversed and a cross replaces ANA in ANA-NЄOς.  This was classified as an Arab-Byzantine, but that seems to be the case for a lot of Constans II folles due to the various types that was issued during the first few years...

874168.jpg.2d898466efd8b25b2f805d2e91c02ca8.jpg

Edited by quant.geek
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5 hours ago, Zimm said:

I also managed to get an example of the type ...

IMG_5769.png

Nice one! Tough to find in any condition (and never fully centered). You've got most of the legend on the right; on the left it's weakly struck but maybe a bit more under the crust. (Better this way than the over- cleaned examples I've seen.) Interesting traces of an over-strike on both sides toward 12h?

I believe we have the same "obv" die (i.e., emperor-side [some call that rev], not sure about "rev"/quatrefoil). I've still never found one showing the bottom left quarter (i.e., full legend, 6h to 9h). Mine shows upper left & upper right. Yours the right (minus C at the end) & top left very faintly ( IШ Δ...).

Other dies have different legends. But this one's still a partial mystery: Is " IШ ΔK O ΔKAC" everything? Or another character at ~7h after K  (e.g., "Π," for "ΔKΠ" instead of "ΔK")?

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