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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ |Byzantine Coins| ▸ |Macedonian Dynasty| ▸ |John I Tzimisces||View Options:  |  |  | 

John I Tzimisces, 11 December 969 - 10 January 976 A.D.

John I Tzimisces became the lover of Empress Theophano, which led to the murder of Emperor Nicephorus II and John's elevation to the throne. John introduced a follis that depicted a bust of Christ on the obverse and a religious inscription on the reverse. These types, referred to as anonymous folles because they do not identify the issuing emperor, were to become the norm for bronze coinage during the following century.


Imitative Byzantine Anonymous Follis of Christ, c. 970 - 980 A.D.

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Of this type of imitative, Lampinen writes, "The second phase of Balkan coinage production goes into high gear with the introduction of the anonymous follis series during the reign of John I (969 - 976). The explicit Christian imagery must have struck a chord with the recently converted Balkan masses because the official mint issues were accompanied by a fair quantity of copies, to meet the excess demand. These Christian issues would also be the prototypes for the initial coinage of several medieval Christian states, such as the first Crusader issues of Edessa and Antioch, medieval Armenia and distant Georgia in the Caucasus."
BZ89911. Bronze anonymous follis, See Lampinen Imitative p. 154 for a similar imitative; for the likely prototype cf. official Byzantine anonymous class A1 folles; SBCV 1793, VF, green patina, double struck, porous, crude and blundered, weight 6.880 g, maximum diameter 26.3 mm, unofficial (Balkan?) mint, c. 970 - 980 A.D.; obverse facing bust of Christ, wears nimbus cruciger ornamented with two pellets in each limb of cross, pallium, and colobium, Gospels in both hands, blundered imitation of the abbreviation: IC - XC (Greek: Iisos Xrists - Jesus Christ) across field; reverse blundered inscription imitating: + IhSuS / XRISTuS / bASILEu / bASILE (Greek: Jesus Christ King of Kings); rare this crude; $300.00 (264.00)


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John I Tzimisces was the lover of Empress Theophano, which led to the murder of Emperor Nicephorus II and John's elevation to the throne. John introduced a follis that depicted a bust of Christ on the obverse and a religious inscription on the reverse. These types, referred to as anonymous folles because they do not identify the issuing emperor, would become the norm for bronze coinage during the following century.
SH73342. Gold histamenon nomisma, DOC III part 2, 3.2; SBCV 1785; Morrisson BnF 1; Ratto 1917; Berk 283; Sommer 39.1; Wroth BMC -, gVF, full legends, graffito (X) in obverse right field, weight 4.705 g, maximum diameter 21.3 mm, die axis 225o, Constantinople (Istanbul, Turkey) mint, c. 973 - 976 A.D.; obverse IhS XPS REX REGNANTInm (Jesus Christ King of Kings), bust of Christ facing, wearing nimbus cruciger with two pellets in the limb of each cross, pallium, and colobium, raising right in benediction, gospels in left; reverse ΘEOTOC BOHΘIω δESP (God help our ruler), the Virgin, nimbate, on right crowns John on left, John has short beard, wears loros, holds a long patriarchal cross with pellet on shaft, manus Dei (hand of God) above, the Virgin wears a stola and maphorium, MΘ (Mother of God) above; ex Kunker auction 248 (14 Mar 2014), lot 7685; SOLD


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This type with a plain cross was issued early in his reign and is scarcer than the later patriarchal cross variety.
SH04771. Gold histamenon nomisma, DOC III part 2, 2, Berk 282, SBCV 1786, Wroth BMC -, Morrisson BnF -, Ratto -, Sommer -, EF, weight 4.38 g, maximum diameter 22.3 mm, die axis 180o, Constantinople (Istanbul, Turkey) mint, c. 969 - 976 A.D.; obverse +IhS XPS REX REGNANTInm (Jesus Christ King of Kings), bust of Christ facing, wearing nimbus cruciger with two pellets in the limb of each cross, pallium, and colobium, raising right in benediction, gospels in left; reverse +ΘEOTOC BOHΘIω δESP (God help our ruler), the Virgin, nimbate, on right crowns John on left, John has short beard, wears loros, holds a long cross with pellet on shaft, manus Dei (hand of God) above his head, the Virgin wears a stola and maphorium, MΘ (Mother of God) above her head; rare; SOLD







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REFERENCES|

Berk, H. Eastern Roman Successors of the Sestertius. (Chicago, 1987).
Berk, H. Roman Gold Coins of the Medieval World, 383 - 1453 A.D. (Joliet, IL, 1986).
Feg, F. Corpus of the Nomismata from Anastasius II to John I in Constantinople, 713 - 976. (Lancaster, PA, 2007).
Grierson, P. Byzantine Coins. (London, 1982).
Grierson, P. Catalogue of the Byzantine Coins in the Dumbarton Oaks Collection and in the Whittemore Collection, Vol. III, Part 2: Basil I to Nicephorus III, 867-1081. (Washington D.C., 1973).
Morrisson, C. Catalogue des Monnaies Byzantines de la Bibliothque Nationale II, 711 - 1204. (Paris, 1970).
Ratto, R. Monnaies Byzantines et d'autre Pays contemporaines l'poque byzantine. (Lugano, 1930).
Sabatier, J. Description gnrale des monnaies Byzantines. (Paris, 1863).
Sear, D. Byzantine Coins and Their Values. (London, 1987).
Sommer, A. Die Mnzen des Byzantinischen Reiches 491-1453. Mit einem Anhang: Die Mnzen des Kaiserreichs von Trapezunt. (Regenstauf, 2010).
Tolstoi, I. Monnaies byzantines. (St. Petersburg, 1913 - 14).
Wroth, W. Catalogue of the Imperial Byzantine Coins in the British Museum. (London, 1908).

Catalog current as of Tuesday, October 22, 2019.
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Byzantine Coins of John I Tzimisces