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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ |Byzantine Coins| ▸ |Justinian Dynasty| ▸ |Focas||View Options:  |  |  |   

Focas, 23 November 602 - 5 October 610 A.D.

Focas became emperor through a military revolt in the winter of 602 A.D. He was an oppressive evil tyrant. His reign was a period of disaster with invasions in the East and West, persecution of the aristocracy and civil unrest. Focas restored recognizable portraiture to the coinage - An oddity considering his appearance is often described as grotesque.


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Hahn and Berk attribute this style variation to Thessalonica. Other reference fail to distinguish the type from similar Constantinople issues. Hahn identifies the Greek number following the reverse legend as the regnal year.
SH86280. Gold solidus, MIBEC p. 181 and pl. 31, N3; Berk Gold 109; other references do not distinguish this type from Constantinople issues, Choice EF, well centered and struck, graffiti on reverse, weight 4.362 g, maximum diameter 20.5 mm, die axis 180o, Thessalonica(?) mint, c. 607 A.D.(?); obverse o N FOCAS PERP AVC, bust facing, bearded, wearing cuirass, paludamentum, and crown with cross on circlet and without pendilia, globus cruciger in right hand; reverse VICTORIA AVCC E (victory of the two emperors, 5th officina? or regnal year 5?), angel standing facing, staurogram staff in right hand, globus cruciger in left hand, CONOB in exergue; graffiti reading ƆMΘ (retrograde, Greek additive number 249?) or less likely ΘEC (Thessalonica?); ex Numismatik Naumann auction 58, lot 626; very rare; SOLD


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Certificate of Authenticity issued by David R. Sear.

Superb example of the return to portraiture. There is no mistaking this portrait for any other ruler. Unpublished year II consular type with mappa and eagle-scepter. Possibly unique.
SH15637. Bronze follis, cf. Hahn 69a (only years 3 and 4 noted); DOC II part 1, 56 - 60 (lists only years 3 - 7); and SBCV 658 (only years 3 and 4), gVF for the type, fantastic portrait, weight 11.498 g, maximum diameter 32.2 mm, die axis 45o, 1st officina, Nicomedia mint, 603 - 604 A.D.; obverse d N FOCAS PERP AVG, bust facing wearing consular robes and crown with cross on circlet, mappa in right, eagle-tipped scepter in left; reverse XXXX (40 nummi), ANNO above, II right, NIKOA in exergue; from the Woolslayer Collection; unpublished year two; SOLD


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Certificate of Authenticity issued by David R. Sear.

Of greatest rarity in this condition.
SH15451. Bronze SBCV 666v; DOC II part 1, 77 note (Longuet collection); Hahn MIB 77 (citing two specimens -- Birmingham and Longuet collection), EF, beautiful patina, excellent portrait, some flatness, weight 10.10 g, maximum diameter 26.3 mm, die axis 0o, 1st officina, Cyzicus (Kapu Dagh, Turkey) mint, 609 - 610 A.D.; obverse [D N FOCAS] PERP AVG, bust facing wearing cuirass, paludamentum, and crown with pendilia and cross on circlet; reverse large XXX (30 nummi), cross above, ςII (year 8) right, KYZA (Cyzicus, 1st officina) in exergue; from the Woolslayer collection, ex Harlan Berk; very rare; SOLD


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Certificate of Authenticity issued by David R. Sear.

SH15444. Gold semissis, DOC II part 1, 16; Hahn MIB 25; Wroth BMC 28-9; Tolstoi 29-31; Ratto 1205; Morrisson BnF 8/Cp/AV/32, SBCV 631, EF, weight 2.110 g, maximum diameter 20.1 mm, die axis 195o, Constantinople (Istanbul, Turkey) mint, 602 - 610 A.D.; obverse d N FOCAS PER AVG, diademed, draped, and cuirassed bust right; reverse VICTORIA AVGU (victory of the Emperor), Victory advancing right, head left, wreath in right hand, globus cruciger in left hand, CONOB in exergue; from the Woolslayer Collection; scarce; SOLD


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Focas is usually spelled Phocas in English; however, we see no reason to change the "F" used by the emperor and his mint into "PH."
SH56784. Gold solidus, DOC II part 1, 10j.1; Morrisson BnF 8/Cp/AV/23; Wroth BMC 23; Tolstoi 19; Ratto 1186; Sommer 9.8; Hahn MIB II 9; SBCV 620, EF, uneven strike, weight 4.467 g, maximum diameter 20.8 mm, die axis 195o, 10th officina, Constantinople (Istanbul, Turkey) mint, 607 - 609 A.D.; obverse d N FOCAS PERP AVG, bust facing, bearded, wearing cuirass, paludamentum, and crown with cross on circlet and without pendilia, globus cruciger in right hand; reverse VICTORIA AVGu I (victory of the Emperor, 10th officina), angel standing facing, staurogram staff in right hand, globus cruciger in left hand, CONOB in exergue; SOLD


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The Column of Phocas at Rome was erected before the Rostra and dedicated to the Emperor on 1 August 608. It was the last addition made to the Forum Romanum. The Corinthian column has a height of 13.6 m (44 ft). Both the column and the marble socle were recycled from earlier use. It still stands in its original location, but the statue that was once on top was probably taken down soon after Phocus' death. An English translation of the inscription follows: To the best, most clement and pious ruler, our lord Phocas the perpetual emperor, crowned by God, the forever august triumphator, did Smaragdus, former praepositus sacri palatii and patricius and Exarch of Italy, devoted to His Clemency for the innumerable benefactions of His Piousness and for the peace acquired for Italy and its freedom preserved, this statue of His Majesty, blinking from the splendor of gold here on this tallest column for his eternal glory erect and dedicate, on the first day of the month of August, in the eleventh indiction in the fifth year after the consulate of His Piousness.Column of Phocas
SH81675. Gold solidus, DOC II part 1, 10e.1; Morrisson BnF 8/Cp/AV/12; Wroth BMC 10; Tolstoi 8; Ratto 1181; Hahn MIB II 9; Sommer 9.8; SBCV 620, EF, weight 4.486 g, maximum diameter 22.4 mm, die axis 180o, 5th officina, Constantinople (Istanbul, Turkey) mint, 607 - 609 A.D.; obverse d N FOCAS PERP AVC, bust facing, bearded, wearing cuirass, paludamentum, and crown with cross on circlet and without pendilia, globus cruciger in right hand; reverse VICTORIA AVGY E (victory of the Emperor, 5th officina), angel standing facing, staurogram staff in right hand, globus cruciger in left hand, CONOB in exergue; SOLD


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In 610, Gundemar succeeded Witteric as king of the Visigoths and the Avars tried to invade Italy.
SH56782. Gold solidus, DOC II part 1, 10e.6; Wroth BMC 6; Morrisson BnF 8/Cp/AV/15; Tolstoi 9; Sommer 9.10; Hahn MIB II 11; SBCV 620; Ratto -, VF, graffiti, marks, weight 4.375 g, maximum diameter 20.6 mm, die axis 180o, 5th officina, Constantinople (Istanbul, Turkey) mint, 609 - 5 Oct 610 A.D.; obverse d N N FOCAS PERP AVC, bust facing, bearded, wearing cuirass, paludamentum, and crown with cross on circlet and without pendilia, globus cruciger in right hand; reverse VICTORIA AVGY E (victory of the Emperor, 5th officina), angel standing facing, staurogram staff in right hand, globus cruciger in left hand, CONOB in exergue; SOLD


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In 609, Edessa, Mesopotamia was taken by the Sassanids.
SH56796. Gold solidus, DOC II part 1, 11c.1; Morrisson BnF 8/Cp/AV/29; Tolstoi 22; Sommer 9.9; Hahn MIB II 10b; SBCV 621; Wroth BMC -; Ratto -, VF, graffiti, weight 4.316 g, maximum diameter 21.0 mm, die axis 180o, 10th officina, Constantinople (Istanbul, Turkey) mint, 607 - 610 A.D.; obverse d N FOCAS PERP AVG, bust facing, bearded, wearing cuirass, paludamentum, and crown with cross on circlet and without pendilia, globus cruciger in right hand; reverse VICTORIA AVGu I (victory of the Emperor, 10th officina), angel standing facing, staurogram staff in right hand, globus cruciger in left hand, CONOB in exergue; SOLD


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Focas changed the traditional plural legend VICTORIA AVGG or AVGVSTORVM to a singular form, VICTORIA AVGU (AVGU = AVGVSTI). His intent may have been to discourage a popular movement to make his son-in-law co-emperor. The N in the reverse field has been interpreted to represent indictional year 13, however Sear notes the symbol is also found on earlier varieties.
SL55829. Gold solidus, DOC II part 1, 11a (not in the collection, refs BMC); Wroth BMC 13; Ratto 1182; Hahn MIB II 10a; Morrisson BnF 8/Cp/AV/28; Sommer 9.9; SBCV 621, NGC AU, weight 4.40 g, maximum diameter 20.7 mm, die axis 190o, 5th officina, Constantinople (Istanbul, Turkey) mint, 607 - 609 A.D.; obverse D N FOCAS PERP AVC, crowned, draped and cuirassed bust of Focas, facing, bearded, the crown without pendilia, holding globus cruciger in right; reverse VICTORIA AVGU E (victory of the Emperor, 5th officina), angel standing facing, holding long staff surmounted by Chi-Rho monogram in right hand and globus cruciger in left hand, N in right field CONOB in exergue; NGC certified (slabbed) about Uncirculated, Strike: 3/5, NGC Surface 2/5, wavy; scarce; SOLD


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In 609, Nicetas, a cousin of future emperor Heraclius, launched an overland invasion of Egypt. Outside Alexandria, he defeated a Byzantine army sent from Constantinople.
SH70067. Gold solidus, DOC II part 1, 10i; Morrisson BnF 8/Cp/AV/21; Tolstoi 16; Ratto 1186; Hahn MIB 9; Sommer 9.8; SBCV 620; Wroth BMC 19 var. (PER vice PERP), gVF, weak obverse legend, weight 4.464 g, maximum diameter 21.5 mm, die axis 225o, 9th officina, Constantinople (Istanbul, Turkey) mint, 607 - 609 A.D.; obverse d N FOCAS PERP AVG, bust facing, bearded, wearing cuirass, paludamentum, and crown with cross on circlet and without pendilia, globus cruciger in right hand; reverse VICTORIA AVGU Θ (victory of the Emperor, 9th officina), angel standing facing, long staurogram staff in right hand, globus cruciger in left hand, CONOB in exergue; SOLD




  




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REFERENCES|

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Catalog current as of Saturday, December 14, 2019.
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Byzantine Coins of Focas