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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ Byzantine Coins ▸ Heraclean Dynasty ▸ HeracliusView Options:  |  |  | 

Heraclius, 5 October 610 - 11 January 641 A.D.

Joint rule with Heraclius Constantine (his son), 23 January 613 - 3 July 638 A.D.
Joint rule with Heraclius Constantine and Heraclonas (his sons), 4 July 638 - 11 January 641 A.D.
Heraclius came to power in 610 following a successful revolt in North Africa against the tyrannical rule of the Emperor Focas. His son Heraclius Constantine was elevated to joint rule in 613 A.D. Heraclius' most spectacular military achievement was the total defeat of Rome's old enemy on the eastern frontier, the Sassanid Persians. Unfortunately, this only facilitated the Arab conquest of Persia and the eastern provinces of the Byzantine Empire. The Byzantines lost Syria and Palestine before Heraclius died in early 641 A.D. and Egypt fell to the Arabs soon after.


Byzantine Empire, Heraclius & Heraclius Constantine, 23 January 613 - 11 January 641 A.D.

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This coin is unusual and possibly unique because it was struck with small dies on a larger older coin, resulting in an appearance similar to countermarking. Other coins were struck in Sicily for Heraclius with countermark-like dies, but not with these types. This coin may have been struck under Constans II vice Heraclius.
SH68126. Bronze half follis, for Heraclius and Heraclius Constantine: cf. DOC II, part 1, 124; for Constans II and Constantine IV: cf. DOC II, part 2, 94, F, overstruck, obverse off-center, weight 3.329 g, maximum diameter 23.1 mm, die axis 180o, 1st officina, Syracuse (or Constantinopolis?) mint, obverse Heraclius (or Constans II?), on left, wearing military dress, long cross in right and akakia in left; Heraclius Constantine (or Constantine IV), on right (mostly off flan), wearing chlamys, globus cruciger in right; reverse large K (20 nummi), ANNO left, X[?] right, A below; unique(?); $230.00 (€204.70)
 


Sasanian Empire, Khusro II, Occupation of Egypt, 618 - 628 A.D.

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During his temporary domination of Egypt, 618 - 628 A.D., Khusru allowed the Alexandria mint to continue issuing the normal Byzantine coinage, but substituted his portrait for the Byzantine emperor's. The sun and moon replaced the obverse legend, just as on contemporary Sasanian coinage. It may seem strange that a Persian king would wear a crown surmounted by a cross; however, his wife Sira was a Christian, he was a benefactor of the church of St. Sergius in Edessa, he honored the Virgin, and he sometimes wore a robe embroidered with a cross which he had received as a gift from the Emperor Maurice Tiberius. The Byzantine emperors resumed the imperial coinage of Alexandria after their recapture of Egypt in 628 A.D.
WA77071. Bronze 12 nummi, DOC II, part 1, 191; Hahn MIB 202b; Wroth BMC 277; Tolstoi 109; Ratto 1316; Morrisson BnF 10/Al/AE/32; SBCV 855; Sommer 11.92, aVF, as-found slightly rough near black patina, well centered, weight 10.428 g, maximum diameter 18.2 mm, die axis 180o, Alexandria mint, 618 - 628 A.D.; obverse bust of the Sassanid King Khusru II wearing a crown with pendilia and surmounted by a cross, star left, crescent moon right; reverse large I B with cross potent on globe between, AΛEZ in exergue; from the J. Berlin Caesarea Collection, Caesarea Maritima surface find; $120.00 (€106.80)
 


Byzantine Empire, Heraclius & Heraclius Constantine, 23 January 613 - 11 January 641 A.D.

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In 614, a Sassanid Persian and Jewish army (26,000 men) led by by Shahrbaraz captured and sacked Jerusalem after a 20-day siege. Somewhere between 57,000 and 66,500 citizens were slain; another 35,000 were enslaved, including the Patriarch Zacharias. Many churches in the city (including the "Church of the Resurrection" or Holy Sepulchre) were burned, and numerous relics, including the True Cross, the Holy Lance, and the Holy Sponge, were carried off to the Persian capital Ctesiphon.
BZ77962. Bronze follis, DOC II part 1, 159b.4 (same dies); Morrisson BnF 10/Ni/AE/07; Wroth BMC 242; Tolstoi 270; Ratto 1436; Hahn MIB 175a; SBCV 834; Sommer 11.73, F, overstruck on a large flan, small edge cracks, strong undertype effects, weight 13.375 g, maximum diameter 31.2 mm, die axis 195o, 2nd officina, Nicomedia (Izmit, Turkey) mint, 613 - 614 A.D.; obverse Heraclius on left, Heraclius Constantine on right, both stand wearing crown and chlamys with globus cruciger in right hand, cross between heads, obscure blundered legend; reverse large M (40 nummi) between A/N/N/O and II/II (regnal year 4), cross above, B (2nd officina) below, NIK (Nicomedia) in exergue; from the Butte College Foundation, ex Lindgren; $70.00 (€62.30)
 


Byzantine Empire, Heraclius & Heraclius Constantine, 23 January 613 - 11 January 641 A.D.

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Heraclius offered peace to Khusro, presumably in 624, threatening otherwise to invade Persia, but Khusro rejected the offer. Heraclius marched into Persia with an army of probably less than 25,000 men, willingly abandoning any attempt to secure his rear or maintain lines of communication. Heraclius fought brilliantly and bravely repeatedly defeated the Persian forces. When the war ended in 628, Khusro had been murdered by his own men, the Byzantines regained all their lost territories, their captured soldiers, a war indemnity, and most importantly for them, the True Cross and other relics that were lost in Jerusalem in 614.
BZ64050. Bronze decanummium, Anastasi 62; DOC II part 1, 257; Wroth BMC 410; SBCV 886; Hahn MIB 241, VF, pit (flan defect?) on reverse, weight 5.067 g, maximum diameter 10.0 mm, die axis 180o, Sicily, Catania mint, 625 - 626 A.D.; obverse facing busts of Heraclius on left, bearded, and Heraclius Constantine on right, beardless; both crowned, draped and cuirassed; cross between their heads; reverse large I (10 nummi), ANNO right, X/ς (year 16) right, CAT in exergue; scarce; $60.00 (€53.40)
 


Byzantine Empire, Heraclius & Heraclius Constantine, 23 January 613 - 11 January 641 A.D.

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Heraclius came to power through revolt against the tyrannical Focas. He defeated the Sassanid Persians, but this only facilitated Arab conquest of Persia and the eastern Byzantine Empire. The Byzantines lost Syria and Palestine before Heraclius died and Egypt fell soon after.
BZ68100. Bronze follis, DOC II, part 1, 243; Anastasi 66; Wroth BMC 398; Tolstoi 315; Ratto 1450; Morrisson BnF 10/Sy/AE/35; SBCV 884; Sommer 11.115, F, overstruck, weight 5.875 g, maximum diameter 25.5 mm, die axis 180o, Syracuse mint, 632 - 11 Jan 641 A.D.; obverse facing busts of long-bearded Heraclius and his son Heraclius Constantine, wearing short beard, cross above, all within large round countermark; traces of undertype; reverse Heraclian monogram and SCs within large round countermark; traces of undertype; $50.00 (€44.50)
 


Byzantine Empire, Heraclius & Heraclius Constantine, 23 January 613 - 11 January 641 A.D.

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The Byzantine-Sassanid War ended with a Byzantine victory in 628, but the war, after a century of nearly continuous conflict, left both empires crippled. The Persians suffering economic decline, heavy taxation, religious unrest, dynastic turmoil and other social problems, plunged into civil war. The Byzantines had exhausted their treasure, the Balkans had been largely lost to the Slavs, and Anatolia was devastated. Neither empire was given any chance to recover, as within a few years they were struck by the onslaught of the Arabs, newly united by Islam. The Sassanid Empire would soon be completely destroyed. The Muslim conquest of Syria, Egypt and North Africa, would reduce the Byzantine Empire to a territorial rump consisting of Anatolia and a scatter of islands and footholds in the Balkans and Italy.
BZ68099. Bronze half follis, DOC II, part 1, 118a; Wroth BMC 206; Tolstoi 286; Ratto 1422; Morrisson BnF 88; Hahn MIB 171a; Sommer 11.65; SBCV 815, F, overstruck, weight 3.696 g, maximum diameter 22.1 mm, die axis 180o, 1st officina, Constantinople (Istanbul, Turkey) mint, 629 - 630 A.D.; obverse Heraclius, on left in military dress with long cross in right, and Heraclius Constantine, wearing chlamys holding globus cruciger in right, both stand facing wears crown with cross, Heraclius monogram left, K right; reverse large K (20 nummi), cross above, ANNO left, X/X (regnal year 20) right, A below; scarce; $40.00 (€35.60)
 


Byzantine Empire, Heraclius & Heraclius Constantine, 23 January 613 - 11 January 641 A.D.

Click for a larger photo
The Byzantine-Sassanid War ended with a Byzantine victory in 628, but the war, after a century of nearly continuous conflict, left both empires crippled. The Persians suffering economic decline, heavy taxation, religious unrest, dynastic turmoil and other social problems, plunged into civil war. The Byzantines had exhausted their treasure, the Balkans had been largely lost to the Slavs, and Anatolia was devastated. Neither empire was given any chance to recover, as within a few years they were struck by the onslaught of the Arabs, newly united by Islam. The Sassanid Empire would soon be completely destroyed. The Muslim conquest of Syria, Egypt and North Africa, would reduce the Byzantine Empire to a territorial rump consisting of Anatolia and a scatter of islands and footholds in the Balkans and Italy.
BZ77963. Bronze 12 nummi, DOC II, part 1, 189; Wroth BMC 289, Tolstoi 308; Ratto 1445; Morrisson BnF 10/A1/AE/01; Hahn MIB 200a; SBCV 853; Sommer 11.91, F, highlighting buff earthen fill, flan crack, weight 5.090 g, maximum diameter 15.9 mm, die axis 180o, Egypt, Alexandria mint, c. 613 - 618 A.D.; obverse dm HERACL (or similar), facing busts of Heraclius and his son Heraclius Constantine; reverse large IB (12 nummi) divided by cross potent on two steps, AΛEZ (Alexandria) in exergue; from the Butte College Foundation, ex Lindgren; $36.00 (€32.04)
 







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Catalog current as of Monday, September 25, 2017.
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Byzantine Coins of Heraclius