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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ Byzantine Coins ▸ Byzantine Mints ▸ SyracuseView Options:  |  |  |   

Byzantine Syracuse (c. 540 - 878)

Justinian I struck coins in Sicily, most likely at Syracuse beginning in the 540's. The Syracuse mint remained operational until the city was captured by the Arabs in 878.


Byzantine Empire, Philippicus Bardanes, 4 November 711 - June 713 A.D.

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Philippicus Bardanes was from a prominent Armenian family in Pergamum and a general of the Opsikion Theme army under Justinian II. While Justinian II ruled in a bloodthirsty frenzy of revenge, the Bulgars ravaged the empire right up to the city walls. Bardanes arrived at Constantinople with the army. But, instead of fighting the Bulgars he seized the throne. An ineffective ruler, Philippicus engaged in destructive internal religious disputes while the external threats grew and Bulgars and Arabs continued to raid Byzantine territory. In less than two years, he was deposed in a coup, blinded and exiled to a monastery.
BZ82676. Bronze follis, Anastasi 374, SBCV 1460A, Hahn MIB 24, DOC II-2, -, Tolstoi -, Ratto -, Morrisson BnF -, F, ragged flan, weight 3.824 g, maximum diameter 19.7 mm, die axis 180o, Syracuse mint, 4 Nov 711 - Jun 713 A.D.; obverse Philippicus standing facing, wearing helmet and military attire, eagle-tipped scepter in left hand, globus cruciger in right hand; reverse large M flanked by two stars, monogram above, SCL in exergue; very rare; $950.00 (€807.50)
 


Syracuse, Sicily, Timoleon and the Third Democracy, c. 344 - 317 B.C.

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Threatened by Carthage and dominated by Hiketas, the tyrant of Leontini, Syracusans sent an appeal for help to their mother city, Corinth. By a unanimous vote Corinth selected Timoleon to set sail for Sicily with a few leading citizens of Corinth and a small troop of Greek mercenaries. After defeating Hiketas, Timoleon put order to Syracuse' affairs and established a democratic government. He repelled Carthage in several wars, ending with a treaty which divided the island. Timoleon then retired without any title or office, though he remained practically supreme. He became blind before his death, but when important issues were under discussion he was carried to the assembly to give his opinion, which was usually accepted. When he died the citizens of Syracuse erected a monument to his memory, afterward surrounded with porticoes, and a gymnasium called Timoleonteum.
GI86586. Silver dilitron, SNG ANS 518; SNG Cop 717; SNG München 1126; BMC Sicily p. 186, 283; Weber 1644; HGC 2 1373 (R2), VF, well centered, very dark toning, porosity, edge crack, weight 1.226 g, maximum diameter 14.3 mm, die axis 45o, Syracuse mint, c. 344 - 317 B.C.; obverse ΣYPAKOΣI-ΩN, laureate Janiform female head, two dolphins nose to nose on right; reverse horse galloping right, barley ear right above, N below; rare; $400.00 (€340.00)
 


Constantine IV Pogonatus, 15 July 668 - 10 July 685 A.D.

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Constantine IV Pogonatus should be credited with saving Europe from Muslim conquest. Beginning in 674, the great siege of Constantinople, by the caliph Muawiyah I, lasted four years. The newly invented famous "Greek Fire" made the city impregnable and the Arabs were forced to retreat. In 681 he deposed his two brothers. He was succeeded by his 16-year-old son Justinian II.
BZ84239. Bronze half follis, Anastasi 245, DOC II 67, Spahr 186, Hahn MIB III 112, SBCV 1214, Berk -, VF, green patina, rough, weight 2.566 g, maximum diameter 17.6 mm, die axis 180o, Syracuse mint, 679 - 681 A.D.; obverse helmeted and cuirassed bust facing slightly right, holding spear over shoulder; reverse large K, cross above, +AN-NO ∆ (year 4) flanking left and right; very rare; $360.00 (€306.00)
 


Byzantine Empire, Tiberius III Apsimar, Late 698 - Summer 705 A.D.

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All coins of Tiberius III are scarce or rare.
After the Arabs took Carthage, the disgruntled army declared Tiberius emperor. He mutilated Leontius (the previous emperor), cutting off his nose, just as Leontius had done to Justinian II. After Justinian II attacked and regained his throne, both Leontius and Tiberius were beheaded.
BZ82678. Bronze follis, Anastasi 341; DOC II, part 2, 33; Wroth BMC 18; MIB 80; SBCV 1396, aVF, red and green patina, well centered on a ragged flan, weight 2.651 g, maximum diameter 21.6 mm, die axis 180o, Syracuse mint, late 698 - summer 705 A.D.; obverse Tiberius III standing facing, wearing crown with pendilia, and long tunic, long cross in right hand, globus cruciger in left hand; reverse large M (40 nummi) between two crosses, Tiberius' monogram above, star below, SCL in exergue; rare; $300.00 (€255.00)
 


Byzantine Empire, Theophilus, 12 May 821 - 20 January 842 A.D.

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Theophilus was an accomplished scholar and highly cultured. Although he admired Arab art and civilization, he was obliged to expend much effort defending his eastern frontier against Mutasim, the Caliph of Baghdad. He died of dysentery.
BZ76335. Bronze follis, Anastasi 554b; Spahr 413; SBCV 1680; DOC III, part 1, 29; Sommer 31.13, Nice VF, broad heavy flan for the type, nice green patina, weight 5.418 g, maximum diameter 19.9 mm, die axis 180o, Sicily, Syracuse mint, 831 - 835 A.D.; obverse ΘEOFIL bAS, crowned bust facing, wearing loros, cross potent in right; reverse MIXHAL S CONST, facing busts of Michael II (left) and Constantine, each wears crown and chlamys, star above center; rare this size; $240.00 (€204.00)
 


Syracuse, Sicily, Pyrrhus of Epirus, 278 - 276 B.C.

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In 279 B.C., Pyrrhus' forces, supporting the Greek cities of southern Italy, met and defeated the Romans at the battle of Asculum in Apulia. Pyrrhus, however, lost many men, several close associates, and all of his baggage. When one of his soldiers congratulated him on his victory, he famously replied: "Another such victory and we are ruined!" From this we have the term Pyrrhic victory, a victory achieved at ruinous cost.
GB82757. Bronze litra, Calciati II p. 325, 178; BMC Sicily p. 207, 505; SNG Cop 814, SNG ANS 850; HGC 2 1451 (R1), SNG München -, VF, brown and green patina, minor edge split, weight 9.262 g, maximum diameter 22.8 mm, die axis 90o, Syracuse mint, 278 - 276 B.C.; obverse head of Herakles left, clad in Nemean Lion scalp headdress; reverse ΣYPA-KOΣIΩN (clockwise starting at 3:00), Athena Promachos advancing right, hurling thunderbolt with right hand, oval shield on left arm, owl in lower right field; rare; $180.00 (€153.00)
 


Syracuse, Sicily, Timoleon, 344 - 336 B.C.

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Threatened by Carthage and dominated by Hiketas, the tyrant of Leontini, Syracusans sent an appeal for help to their mother city, Corinth. By a unanimous vote Corinth selected Timoleon to set sail for Sicily with a few leading citizens of Corinth and a small troop of Greek mercenaries. After defeating Hiketas, Timoleon put order to Syracuse' affairs and established a democratic government. He repelled Carthage in several wars, ending with a treaty which divided the island. Timoleon then retired without any title or office, though he remained practically supreme. He became blind before his death, but when important issues were under discussion he was carried to the assembly to give his opinion, which was usually accepted. When he died the citizens of Syracuse erected a monument to his memory, afterward surrounded with porticoes, and a gymnasium called Timoleonteum.
GI87379. Bronze hemidrachm, Calciati II p. 167, 72; SNG ANS 477; SNG Cop 727; SNG München 1151; BMC Sicily p. 189, 313; Laffaille 220; HGC 2 1440 (S), VF, nice style, brown tone, porosity/light corrosion, weight 16.601 g, maximum diameter 24.6 mm, die axis 180o, Syracuse mint, c. 342 - 338 B.C.; obverse ZEYΣ EΛEYΘEPIOΣ, laureate head of Zeus Eleutherios right; reverse ΣYPAKOΣIΩN (clockwise starting upper right), thunderbolt, eagle on right standing right with wings closed; $160.00 (€136.00)
 


Syracuse, Sicily, Hieron II, 275 - 215 B.C.

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Hieron II was tyrant and then king of Syracuse, c. 270 to 215 B.C. His rule brought 50 years of peace and prosperity, and Syracuse became one of the most renowned capitals of antiquity. He enlarged the theater and built an immense altar. The literary figure Theocritus and the philosopher Archimedes lived under his rule. After struggling against the Mamertini, he eventually allied with Rome.
GI87395. Bronze litra, cf. Calciati II p. 395, 197; BMC Sicily p. 218, 588 ff.; SNG Cop 844 ff.; SNG ANS 964 ff.; SNG München 1394 ff.; HGC 2 1550 (S); SGCV I 1223, aVF, green patina, cleaning scratches, corrosion, encrustations, weight 9.116 g, maximum diameter 23.8 mm, die axis 135o, Syracuse mint, c. 268 - 218 B.C.; obverse diademed head of Poseidon left; reverse ornamented trident head, dolphin downward flanking on each side, IEPΩ−NOΣ in lower field divided by shank, uncertain control symbols below; $110.00 (€93.50)
 


Byzantine Empire, Constans II, September 641 - 15 July 668 A.D.

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BZ76312. Bronze half follis, DOC II part 2, 183; SBCV 1113; Spahr 120; Hahn MIB 212; Anastasi 118, VF, well centered on a ragged flan, nice green patina, scratches, weight 4.620 g, maximum diameter 23.7 mm, die axis 180o, Syracuse mint, c. 650 - 651 A.D.; obverse facing bust with long beard, wearing chlamys, globus cruciger in right hand, cross surmounted by palm on right; reverse large Constans monogram , between A/N left and I (regnal year 1) right; very scarce; $105.00 (€89.25)
 


Byzantine Empire, Theophilus, 12 May 821 - 20 January 842 A.D.

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Some regard Theophilus as one of the best Byzantine emperors, others as an ordinary and insignificant ruler. He certainly did his best to check corruption and oppression. His personal leadership in battle indicates he was not afraid to command and put his life alongside that of his soldiers. Despite the drain of war and the large sums spent on building, commerce, and industry, the finances of the Empire flourished, largely due to highly efficient administration. He strengthened the Walls of Constantinople and built a hospital, which continued in existence until the twilight of the Empire.
BZ71131. Bronze half follis, Anastasi 562; Ratto 1837; DOC III, part 1, 29c (follis); SBCV 1680 (follis); Spahr 414 (follis); Sommer 31.14 (follis); Trivero -; Calciati MBBS -, VF, typical tight flan and uneven strike, "emaciated face" style variant, weight 1.821 g, maximum diameter 16.9 mm, die axis 180o, Syracuse mint, 835 - 20 Jan 842; obverse ΘEOFIL bAS, bust facing, wearing domed crown, loros, cross potent in right; reverse + MIXHAL S CONST, facing busts of Michael II (left) and Constantine, each wears domed crown and chlamys, star above center; $80.00 (€68.00)
 




  



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Byzantine Syracuse