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Unusual Saints and other Elements of Christian Iconography


TheTrachyEnjoyer
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Medieval coinage features many unusual Saints and other elements of Christian iconography! Jesus, Mary, St Demetrius, St Theodore, St George, Archangel Michael and others are common. What about the rarely seen Saints or other symbols/elements? 

37F902EA-B4BD-4D2F-8298-F8E893A40377.jpeg.5a4a8de6d0cdf537f0bc2f80120a53ba.jpegA7839B86-5112-4FC2-ABA4-40C29F008367.jpeg.983209836218697b07d0e682f2fe5087.jpeg

Saint Nicholas (Bulgarian empire trachy)

CD0E92AA-B2AF-48D2-9495-19A9D7C369EB.jpeg.205d447737205bcdac7475f6593554ce.jpeg

Seraph (Michael VIII trachy)

51A21967-707C-4F4B-9D6E-463D3C4977B6.jpeg.eaf7e7729b6f8a3308db2b851788dbad.jpeg

Winged Patriarchal Cross (Andronikos II Tornese)

E68263AF-0F1B-4627-8B2D-598F7ECD9B21.jpeg.88b7b89d6d9d281bf5512b10ef65f879.jpeg

Castle with a crescent moon and stars (Politkon Tornese)

707AF59E-1F47-409A-A26B-154F410D484D.jpeg.83a5ea30ff6ca4321a33949fd3bcbfeb.jpeg52897902-1337-4A43-9BAE-6840269B2927.jpeg.0fc31b8b41dbf73babbd266f66e55597.jpeg

Fluer de Lis / Patriarchal Cross with decorations (Anonymous John Komnenodoukas trachy)

 

I would consider these all rather uncommon (and fun) designs! What strange saints or iconography do you have in your collection?

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Interesting varieties and good idea for a post! I do love those unusual varieties. They definitely started getting weirder "at the end" (though it wasn't necessarily the end from their perspective).

I've been getting a lot of mileage out of this one recently. John Ducas Vatatzes of Nicaea, interlaced crosses in quadrilobe (that should prob be the obv though). Don't think anyone else used that design, did they? 

image.jpeg.0b254e0073303fa1440b7b928011f8bc.jpeg

 

This one isn't at all rare as an issue, but the design showing the six towers (only a couple survive on my clipped example) of the Theodosian walls around Constantinople (Mary orans inside) is an interesting design: 

image.jpeg.20ea3a98e719469de10dff1c392bc36c.jpeg

 

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10 minutes ago, Curtis JJ said:

Interesting varieties and good idea for a post! I do love those unusual varieties. They definitely started getting weirder "at the end" (though it wasn't necessarily the end from their perspective).

I've been getting a lot of mileage out of this one recently. John Ducas Vatatzes of Nicaea, interlaced crosses in quadrilobe (that should prob be the obv though). Don't think anyone else used that design, did they? 

image.jpeg.0b254e0073303fa1440b7b928011f8bc.jpeg

 

This one isn't at all rare as an issue, but the design showing the six towers (only a couple survive on my clipped example) of the Theodosian walls around Constantinople (Mary orans inside) is an interesting design: 

image.jpeg.20ea3a98e719469de10dff1c392bc36c.jpeg

 

1204 to 1351 is the golden age of Byzantine numismatic creativity 

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12 minutes ago, TheTrachyEnjoyer said:

Not everyone got put on coins though! 
 

I am still missing saint Tryphon. Beyond him, I think I have them all

FF6F9226-C9EC-4CA7-95E2-0F050C42FECD.jpeg

It was a tongue in cheek reference to the fact that almost all rulers ended up being saints.  But, I know you meant from a periodicity point of view.  Here are a few:

Bosnia: Štefan II Tomaševič (1461-1463) AR Dinar (Jovanovic-62.2)

Obv: crowned and veiled helmet left set on royal coat-of-arms; R and five-rayed star set in six-rayed star on either side of helmet; Legend around - STEFAn •CRAGL
Rev: St. Gregorius standing facing, raising hand in benediction and holding crozier; Legend around - S GREGO RI • PAPE

normal_Jovanovic-62_2.jpg

 

Serbia: Stefan Uroš II Milutin (1282-1321) AR Dinar (Jovanovic-7.1.1)

Obv: Emperor, standing facing to left, receiving banner from St. Stefan, standing facing to right; •S• STEFAN' VROSIVS / REX
Rev: Enthroned Christ facing; IC - XC

normal_Jovanovic-7_1_1.jpg

 

Bulgaria: Georgi Terter II (1322-1323) AR Grosh (Raduchev & Zhekov 1.10.1)

Obv: Christ enthroned facing, IC XC across field
Rev: Georgi and St. Mark standing facing, holding banner between them

normal_RZ-1_10_1.jpg

 

Bohemia: Vladislav I (1109-1118,1120-1125) AR Denár, Prauge mint (Cach-534)

Obv: Horseman right, piercing fallen person with lance; Legend around - + VVLADIZAVS
Rev: Nimbate bust of St. Wenceslaus facing with raised hand and cross; Legend around - + WENCEZLAVS

839167l.jpg

 

Metz: Civic Issue (ca. 14th-16th centuries) AR Gros, Metz (Robert p. 213, 4; Boudeau 1659-60; Roberts 8932)

Obv: S.STEPHA.PROTH.M; St. Étienne kneeling left; civic coat-of-arms of Metz to left and right; manus Dei above; star stops
Rev: BNDICT.SIT.NOM.DNI.NRI.IHV.XP,GRO-SSU-S.M-ETE; Cross pattée; star in quarters; annulet stops

normal_Roberts-8932.jpg

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Mary is by far the most used ( Saint, Christ not a saint)  because she was the Patron Saint of Constantinople. The other ones listed as common are all 12th century, were any other saints used on coins before 12th century? In the 13th century they were all over the board.

The saints were being used the same way the old Gods were, each one had a story with a meaning, ready to fight, St George, St Demetrius ,both always showed as armed. Mary for protection, she was the only woman by name mentioned in the Koran.  So the enemies of Constantinople would have respected her coinage. I am not sure of the stories of the later saints. 

Here is another Saint, common  because of the Alexius III rd issue.  Saint Constantine. I don't he was used that often though, not sure what he represented? Repent?

2011a.jpg.a10274038aaf0e7228437b611faab876.jpg

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Posted (edited)

Nice coins!  

Here are my two "non-traditional" icons depicted on later coins from the Empire of Nicaea.

Archangel Michael (if I remember correctly I have one more from a group lot that needs to be researched and labeled).  I noticed the lack of wings, but I assume that was due to an oversight or simply a lack of space on the die.  

Nicaea Empire, John III Ducas, AE tetarteron. Magnesia Mint.

2.0 grams

1570276221_D-CameraNicaeaEmpireJohnIIIDucasTetarteron.MagnesiaMint2.0gRoma80largelot2-17-21.jpg.146fb48b4563feaf7600e648521d223b.jpg

Seraphim wings.

Nicaea Empire,, John III Ducas, tetarteion, SBVC 2215.

2.3 grams

1407106471_D-CameraNicaeaEmpireJohnIIIDucastetarteionSBVC22152.3gRoma80largelot2-20-21.jpg.e740348d741ae84654779c1e21ba2ed3.jpg

Edited by robinjojo
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A few more, with some that are rare...

 

St. Nicholas:

Byzantine Empire: Michael VIII Palaeologos (1261-1282) Æ Trachy, Constantinople (Sear 2285; Bendall-Donald C.25; PCPC 48; Lianta 566)

Obv: O/A/ΓI/O to left, NI/KO/ΛA/S to right. Bust of St. Nicholas, bearded and nimbate, wearing episcopal vestments (sticharion, felonion and omophorion); left hand holds Gospel
Rev: Χ/Μ/ΔЄ/C/ΠΟ/ΤI to left, ΟΠ/Α/Λ... to right. Full-length figure of emperor wearing stemma, divitision, jeweled loros of simplified type and sagion; right hand holds scepter cruciger; left hand holds anexikakia. Manus Dei in upper right field

normal_Sear-2285.jpg

 

 

St. Andronicus:

Byzantine Empire: Andronicus II Palaeologus (1282-1328) Æ Assarion, Constantinople (Sear 2438; DOC V, 686-89; LPC 90.39; PCPC 171; Lianta 798)

Obv: O/AΓ/IOC/AN to left, Δ/PO/NI/KO/C to right, or similar; Half-length figure of St. Andronicus, beardless and nimbate, wearing episcopal vestments; right hand holds small cross before him
Rev: AVTOKPATOPЄC - POMAIШN; Full-length figure of Andronicus II, bearded on left, and of Michael IX, beardless on right, wearing stemma, divitision, collar-piece and jeweled loros
of simplified type; between them labarum on long shaft. Both emperors place free hands upon chest

normal_Sear-2438.jpg

 

 

St. Peter:

Latin Rulers of Constantinople: Anonymous (1204-1261) BI Large Module Trachy, Constantinople (Sear 2039; CLBC 11.18.1; DOC IV Type S; Grierson 1259)

Obv: Columnar legend O/A/ΓΙ/OC to left, NЄ/T/P/O/C to right; Full-length figure of Saint Peter nimbate, wearing tunic and kolobion, holds in right hand scepter cruciger, and in left, two keys
Rev: MP - ΘV in upper field, columnar legend A/ΓΙO/CO to left, PI/TI/CA to right; Full-length figure of Virgin Hagisoritissa nimbate, orans, turned to right, wearing tunic and maphorion; Manus Dei in upper field
Dim: 32 mm, 3.71 g

normal_Sear-2039.jpg

 

 

St. Peter & St. Paul:

Latin Rulers of Constantinople: Anonymous (1204-1261) BI Large Module Trachy, Constantinople (Sear 2040; DOC 20)

Obv: MP ΘV H AΓIOCOPITICA in two columnar groups; Full-length figure of Virgin Hagiosoritissa nimbate, orans; Manus Dei in upper right field
Rev: O AΓIOC ΠЄTPOC O AΓIOC ΠAVΛOC in two columnar groups; Full-length figure of St. Peter, on left, and St. Paul, on right, nimbate, wearing tunic and kolobion, embracing each other; St. Peter has short beard, St. Paul has a long one
Dim: 29.45 mm, 3.00 g

normal_Sear-2040_01.jpg

 

 

St. Nicholas & St. John the Baptist:

Latin Rulers of Constantinople: Anonymous (1204-1261) BI Large Module Trachy, Constantinople (Sear 2041; CLBC 11.20.1; DOC IV Type U)

Obv: Columnar legend ΟΑΓΙΟC to left, ΝΚΟΛΛΟC to right; Full-length figure of St. Nicholas, bearded and nimbate, orans, wears episcopal vestments, including omophorion and sakkon
Rev: Columnar legend ΟΑΓΙ to left, ΙШΟΠΡΔΡΟΜΟ to right; Full-length figure of St. John the Baptist, bearded and nimbate, wearing tunic and mantle, holds in right hand patriarchal cross on long shaft, and his left hand is placed on some uncertain object (perhaps a pole or short column), or is perhaps displaying a scroll reaching to the ground
Dim: 30 mm, 4.0 g

normal_Sear-2041.jpg

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28 minutes ago, quant.geek said:

A few more, with some that are rare...

 

St. Nicholas:

Byzantine Empire: Michael VIII Palaeologos (1261-1282) Æ Trachy, Constantinople (Sear 2285; Bendall-Donald C.25; PCPC 48; Lianta 566)

Obv: O/A/ΓI/O to left, NI/KO/ΛA/S to right. Bust of St. Nicholas, bearded and nimbate, wearing episcopal vestments (sticharion, felonion and omophorion); left hand holds Gospel
Rev: Χ/Μ/ΔЄ/C/ΠΟ/ΤI to left, ΟΠ/Α/Λ... to right. Full-length figure of emperor wearing stemma, divitision, jeweled loros of simplified type and sagion; right hand holds scepter cruciger; left hand holds anexikakia. Manus Dei in upper right field

normal_Sear-2285.jpg

 

 

St. Andronicus:

Byzantine Empire: Andronicus II Palaeologus (1282-1328) Æ Assarion, Constantinople (Sear 2438; DOC V, 686-89; LPC 90.39; PCPC 171; Lianta 798)

Obv: O/AΓ/IOC/AN to left, Δ/PO/NI/KO/C to right, or similar; Half-length figure of St. Andronicus, beardless and nimbate, wearing episcopal vestments; right hand holds small cross before him
Rev: AVTOKPATOPЄC - POMAIШN; Full-length figure of Andronicus II, bearded on left, and of Michael IX, beardless on right, wearing stemma, divitision, collar-piece and jeweled loros
of simplified type; between them labarum on long shaft. Both emperors place free hands upon chest

normal_Sear-2438.jpg

 

 

St. Peter:

Latin Rulers of Constantinople: Anonymous (1204-1261) BI Large Module Trachy, Constantinople (Sear 2039; CLBC 11.18.1; DOC IV Type S; Grierson 1259)

Obv: Columnar legend O/A/ΓΙ/OC to left, NЄ/T/P/O/C to right; Full-length figure of Saint Peter nimbate, wearing tunic and kolobion, holds in right hand scepter cruciger, and in left, two keys
Rev: MP - ΘV in upper field, columnar legend A/ΓΙO/CO to left, PI/TI/CA to right; Full-length figure of Virgin Hagisoritissa nimbate, orans, turned to right, wearing tunic and maphorion; Manus Dei in upper field
Dim: 32 mm, 3.71 g

normal_Sear-2039.jpg

 

 

St. Peter & St. Paul:

Latin Rulers of Constantinople: Anonymous (1204-1261) BI Large Module Trachy, Constantinople (Sear 2040; DOC 20)

Obv: MP ΘV H AΓIOCOPITICA in two columnar groups; Full-length figure of Virgin Hagiosoritissa nimbate, orans; Manus Dei in upper right field
Rev: O AΓIOC ΠЄTPOC O AΓIOC ΠAVΛOC in two columnar groups; Full-length figure of St. Peter, on left, and St. Paul, on right, nimbate, wearing tunic and kolobion, embracing each other; St. Peter has short beard, St. Paul has a long one
Dim: 29.45 mm, 3.00 g

normal_Sear-2040_01.jpg

 

 

St. Nicholas & St. John the Baptist:

Latin Rulers of Constantinople: Anonymous (1204-1261) BI Large Module Trachy, Constantinople (Sear 2041; CLBC 11.20.1; DOC IV Type U)

Obv: Columnar legend ΟΑΓΙΟC to left, ΝΚΟΛΛΟC to right; Full-length figure of St. Nicholas, bearded and nimbate, orans, wears episcopal vestments, including omophorion and sakkon
Rev: Columnar legend ΟΑΓΙ to left, ΙШΟΠΡΔΡΟΜΟ to right; Full-length figure of St. John the Baptist, bearded and nimbate, wearing tunic and mantle, holds in right hand patriarchal cross on long shaft, and his left hand is placed on some uncertain object (perhaps a pole or short column), or is perhaps displaying a scroll reaching to the ground
Dim: 30 mm, 4.0 g

normal_Sear-2041.jpg

Very nice 2039, one of the best I have seen

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To me it definitely looks like St. Peter is winning the fight and is successfully strangling St. Paul to death. You can tell they both know it too: Peter is smiling 🙂 while Paul is frowning ☹️ !!! 

In fact, I think I can see Paul's ghostly spirit beginning to depart his body and make its ascension to heaven. I think we can safely refer to this specimen as "The Apotheosis of St. Paul and Murder by St. Peter." AND treat it as a factual historical document.

Apparently the exact details of his death were unknown until... just now! It was St. Peter. (According to "the knowing""The exact details of St. Paul's death are unknown [...] perhaps part of the executions of Christians ordered by the Roman emperor Nero [...]" so I'm going with what this coin tells me.)

If other people don't see that scene on there, then I must have a really sick mind! Because it jumped out at me like that and I can't see it any other way! 😂

  image.png.d0fd0f3728d9bd1f244e8ef1a6f535e9.png

2 hours ago, quant.geek said:

Full-length figure of St. Peter, on left, and St. Paul, on right, nimbate, wearing tunic and kolobion, embracing each other; St. Peter has short beard, St. Paul has a long one
Dim: 29.45 mm, 3.00 g

normal_Sear-2040_01.jpg

Edited by Curtis JJ
adverb-adjective; snip-zoom
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I've always really liked this rough depiction of Saint Maurice from the Archbishops of Vienne. Not exactly fancy iconography, but a Saint nonetheless.

image.png.c92a9ab3c46dad3762d62265c03c3fe3.png

France ARCHBISHOPRIC OF VIENNE - ANONYMOUS AR Denier, 11th - 12th Centuries; Obv: .+. S. M. VIENNA. (Saint Maurice of Vienne), profile of Saint Maurice, facing left; Rev: MAXIMA. GALL (Grand Gaul)

 

Edited by ewomack
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D44C9318-EBFE-4912-A2F7-93DDDC009C9F.jpeg.35889d8b32c8a58a6ac837411b1fe462.jpeg
Latin Empire of Constantinopole. AE Trachy Large module. Constantinople mint.
 St. Nicholas standing facing, orans.
 St. John the Baptist standing facing. 
2.9 g. 
SBCV 2041 


44BDEAFF-EB8E-44DA-B971-52FACDC57FC0.jpeg.c980e85130bff4540be4221ef297badf.jpeg

Latin Empire of Constantinopole. AE Trachy small module. Constantinople mint.
 St. Nicholas standing facing, orans.
 St. John the Baptist standing facing.

2.1 g.

SBCV 2052

88D0827A-81CC-4FD6-A5B4-4F307B170E25.jpeg.e97ff62117f9215009e52af0a3891332.jpeg

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Going back to my original question, were any saints used in coinage before the 12th century besides the Virgin?  I do no recall any, however I do miss things,.

You were confused by my question @TheTrachyEnjoyer, what one ? Constantine being a Saint ?   I am always happy to learn. Some questions lead to to better understanding. 

The use of St Constantine was a ambiguous figure, his life was not that of a saint but the orthodox church of that time  gave him that title. I am really not certain what virtue they chose,  my best guess is redemption, especially after having his wife boiled alive after she tricked him into killing his son, then he was forgiven? 

Here is a rare coin with St George and the first use of lye de fleur, clearly on his shield.  Andronicus I , sometimes unconvincingly attributed to later ruler in the Trebizond.  From the collection of Simon Bendall, now in mine. I follow  Hendy and the site finds, its Andronicus I issued during the siege of Thessalonica, btw Bendall's tickets also included with the coin leaves it as Androinicus I.  He never changed it.  Not a rare Saint  but a rare combination.1988.jpg.1cc57cc19977bcbb7c8c18d0644a574c.jpg

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