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Beauty is in the eye of the Byzantine Beholder


Furryfrog02
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Welcome to my first thread on the new forum! 🙂

I feel like Byzantines should get more love. Sure, their coins were often crudely engraved, struck on wonky flans, or even over struck on previous' ruler's coins...but that doesn't mean they don't deserve love too!

Just like that slightly off-looking dog, Byzantine coins are beautiful in their own right. You sometimes just have to look past the surface to see their inner beauty.

Britain's 'ugliest dog' Chase dies in Wales - BBC News

 

So let's show off those Byzantine coins that have great personalities, even if they may terrify you if you were to meet them in a dark alley. 

I will kick it off with my newest Byzantine coin.  It isn't the ugliest in my collection but it does suffer from a certain lack of style. The legends are often garbled (who needs spelling?) and the busts of Justin II and his wife Sophia look more like visitors from another planet than what I'm sure they looked like in real life. The reverse is plain and uninspired as well. All-in-all, it is a bit of a "meh" coin. But I still love it. Why? Because I enjoy the odd denominations that Byzantine coins have. I like that they actually have a denomination marked; "I" in this case for decanummium. And lastly, I like that it was minted in Carthage. Not your ho-hum everyday Constantinople. Anyways, here it is:

1587881274_JustinIISophiaDecanummiumCarthage.thumb.png.b1be0a9e845af26890dc30b8059e75e8.png

Justin II and Sophia, AE Decanummium, Carthage. DN IVSTINO ET SOFIA AG (usually garbled or illegible), Facing busts of Justin (helmeted and cuirassed) and Sophia (crowned and draped), cross between their heads, VITA below / Large I, N to left, M to right.

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Here‘s a pretty fun coin I bought a while back

 

IMG_3925.jpg?width=1085&height=581

A small module trachy of John Komnenos Doukas (from the Empire of Thessalonica). The pictures are awful since the coin is about 8mm in diameter and has a dark black patina. It's in amazing condition for the issue though

Sear 2208

(Rev. John holding labarum and akakia)

(Obv. Brockage) 

Edited by Zimm
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Sicilian follis of Justinian II.

I have a mixed attitude to Byzantine coinage. At one hand, they are incredible cool as something that came from medieval iteration of the Roman Empire.

At the same time, the decline of artistic value when compared to the coinage of Principate and even the Late Roman period is staggering.

 

ZomboDroid 27052022153238.jpg

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1 hour ago, TheTrachyEnjoyer said:

Hey I would say that is an objectively beautiful coin…maybe I have been collecting Byzantine for too long 😂 

Thank you. I actually do collect Late Eastern Roman, just snared a few as representations of their coinage.  Gotta a couple butt-uglies too.

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  • 2 weeks later...
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I've lately focused on the last year of Maurice Tiberius' reign, year 20 and year 21 (part of).  His regnal year 21 was literally cut short by the rebellion led by Phocas and others.

Here's what I have so far.

Constantinople

Maurice Tiberius follis, RY 20 601/2 officina gamma.  I thought it might be 21, but it's not.

12.42 grams

858105182_D-CameraMauriceTiberiusfollisConry20or21601-2officinagamma12.42g5-20-22.thumb.jpg.ec1d86fa8fca3e51f4ffb5765b5e8e36.jpg

 

Maurice Tiberius follis, RY 20 601/2,  Sear 495.

12.13g

1213202973_D-CameraMauriceTiberiusfollisConry20601-602Roma12.13gRoma961518Sear4955-20-22.thumb.jpg.3d46a1bc9daa564b43d815ceb78921f5.jpg

 

Antioch

Maurice Tiberius follis Antioch RY 20 AD 601/2.AD Sear 533.

10.61 grams

1064511816_D-CameraMauriceTiberiusfollisAntiochRY20AD601-2_AD10.61gSear5335-2-22.thumb.jpg.d1250c555020c8cdff11a229b1d8ee5e.jpg

 

Maurice Tiberius follis RY 21 AD 602/3.AD Sear 533.

9.86g

966301306_D-CameraMauriceTiberiusfollisAntiochRY21AD602-3_AD9.86gSear5335-2-22.thumb.jpg.15f52ba6bc83e917514f44fd060fd764.jpg

 

Cyzicus

Maurice Tiberius follis Cyzicus RY 20 AD 601/2.AD  Sear 519.

9.96 grams

866553936_D-CameraMauriceTiberiusfollisCyzicusRY20AD601-2_AD9.96gRoma951486Sear5195-2-22.thumb.jpg.041ad35bebe1490e702216584e2c8dab.jpg

 

I still need to add a RY 21 from Constantinople, which might be a bit of a challenge.

 

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Love everyone's examples!
The coinage from Syracuse was pretty awful. Oddly shaped flans and lackluster portraits were the norm instead of the exception. The one thing I like about them though, is that you can get multiple rulers on just one coin.

Here's a follis with Leo IV, Constantine V, and Leo III. The only way I can tell the difference is because they are named. Otherwise, they might as well be triplets IMO 🙂

1849119179_ConstantineVandLeoIVFollisSyracuse.png.c07732334dbf9065a3c7e3d5b97da361.png

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37 minutes ago, Furryfrog02 said:

Love everyone's examples!
The coinage from Syracuse was pretty awful. Oddly shaped flans and lackluster portraits were the norm instead of the exception. The one thing I like about them though, is that you can get multiple rulers on just one coin.

Here's a follis with Leo IV, Constantine V, and Leo III. The only way I can tell the difference is because they are named. Otherwise, they might as well be triplets IMO 🙂

1849119179_ConstantineVandLeoIVFollisSyracuse.png.c07732334dbf9065a3c7e3d5b97da361.png

That‘s a great example. I‘ve always had a soft spot for Syracusan dynastic folles. The small flans and poor style combined with designs that have so much going on makes the coins just have a different feel to them. Also the emerald coloured patina on your example looks amazing! 

 

Here‘s my example of the type (though the patina isn‘t nearly as nice)

 

2DF3B5B9-8C51-4C29-807B-1F9E8B96677C.jpeg

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I have been trying to wrap up my XXX/NNN-type coins and it is proving to be challenging. My recent pickup is a follis of Nicephorus.  Its a bit of a dog, unfortunately...

 

Byzantine Empire: Nicephorus I (802-811) Æ Follis, Constantinople (Sear 1606; DOC III.4)

Obv: hI-CIFORI bAS, crowned, draped bust facing, holding cross potent and akakia
Rev: Large M, X/X/X to left, cross above, N/N/N to right, A below

2832749_1651849433.thumb.jpg.0865c08c0a506aa8eed026ed04965c5f.jpg

 

 

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Here is my only Nicephorus I (another twofer) with Stauracus. 

Nicephorus I. 802-811. AE Follis. Constantinople. no legend, crowned busts facing of Nicephorus with short beard, on left and Stauracus, unbearded, on right, each wearing chlamys, cross between their heads / large M, XXX to left, cross above, NNN to right, A below

243277965_NicephorusIwithStauraciusFollis.thumb.png.03a2cb1991f8e23b15929ab06c33ab0c.png

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@Furryfrog02, how about I increase the head-count to FOUR:

 

Byzantine Empire: Nicephorus I (802-811) Æ Follis, Constantinople (Sear 1607; DOC III.5)

Obv: Facing busts of Nicephorus on the left, with short beard, and Stauracius on the right, beardless, each wearing crown and chlamys; between their heads, cross.
Rev: Large M between XXX and NNN; above, cross; beneath, A.
Dim: 25 mm; 3.97 g

A Flipover Double Strike of Sear 1607...

Sear-1607(3).thumb.jpeg.8f85f7f24972bc49314c9ac52ed51c87.jpeg

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