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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ |Byzantine Coins| ▸ |Isaurian Dynasty| ▸ |Theophilus||View Options:  |  |  |   

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

Joint rule as junior emperor with Michael II (his father), 12 May 821 (or 1 June 822) - 2 October 829 A.D.
Joint rule with Constantine (his son), 5 June 830 - c. 831 A.D.
Joint rule with Michael III (his son), 1 September 840 - 20 January 842 A.D.
Theophilus was the son of Emperor Michael II, who raised him to the rank of co-emperor shortly after his own accession. Though his father was a little educated rough soldier, 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 in early 842, leaving his two-year-old son, Michael III as his successor.
Anatolia 842 AD


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After Leo III, 717-741 A.D., the semissis and tremissis were issued only in small quantities and normally only on particular occasions for ceremonial distribution.
SH10988. Gold semissis, SBCV 1674; DOC III part 1, 26c, Morrisson BnF 8-10, EF, weight 1.749 g, maximum diameter 12.8 mm, die axis 135o, Sicily, Syracuse mint, 829 - 830 A.D.; obverse ΘEOFIΛOS, crowned bust of Theophilus facing with short beard, wearing chlamys and holding globus cruciger; reverse similar to obverse, but emperor wears loros instead of chlamys; ex Edward J. Waddell; SOLD


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The reverse depicts Michael II, and Constantine, the deceased father and son of Theophilus, making this coin a touching memorial handed down through time.
SH17797. Gold solidus, DOC III part 1, 3b; SBCV 1653; Morrisson BnF 4; Wroth BMC 7; Sommer 31.2; Tolstoi -; Ratto -,, Choice VF, weight 4.349 g, maximum diameter 19.8 mm, die axis 180o, Constantinople (Istanbul, Turkey) mint, c. 830 - 840 A.D.; obverse * ΘEOFI-LOS bASILE Θ, crowned bust facing, short beard, chlamys, patriarchal cross in right, and akakia in left; reverse + mIXAHL S COnStANtIn ', facing busts of Michael II (left) and Constantine, each wears a crown and chlamys, cross above; scarce; SOLD


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In 832, Theophilus banned the usage of icons, establishing strict punishments.
SH83905. Gold solidus, Anastasi 530d; DOC III part 1, 24; Wroth BMC 31; Tolstoi 10; Sommer 31.8; Morrisson BnF 32/Sy/Av/1 ff.; SBCV 1670; Ratto -, VF, well centered on a tight flan, double struck, die wear, weight 3.495 g, maximum diameter 13.7 mm, die axis 180o, Syracuse mint, c. 831 - 842 A.D.; obverse ΘEO-FILOS, bearded bust facing, wearing crown with cross on triangle and chlamys, cross potent in right hand; reverse ΘE-OFILOS, bearded bust facing, wearing crown with cross on triangle and loros, globus cruciger in right hand; from the Robert Watcher Collection, ex Harlan Berk; scarce; SOLD


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

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Most references date this type to the joint reign of Michael II and his son Theophilus II (12 May 821 - 2 Oct 829 A.D.) Anastasi identified it as Theophilus' first issue after Michael's death (2 Oct 829 - 830 A.D.).

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.
SH83908. Gold solidus, DOC III part 1, 15a; Anastasi 515c; Wroth BMC 11; Tolstoi 13; SBCV 1646; Sommer 30.6; Morrisson BnF -; Ratto -, VF, slightly irregular tight flan, weight 3.794 g, maximum diameter 13.4 mm, die axis 180o, Syracuse mint, 829 - 830 A.D.; obverse MI-XAHL bA, bearded facing bust of Michael, wearing chlamys and crown with cross, globus cruciger in right hand; reverse ΘE-OFILO bA, beardless facing bust of Theophilus, wearing loros and crown with cross, cross potent in right hand; from the Robert Watcher Collection; very rare; SOLD


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After Leo III, 717-741 A.D., the semissis and tremissis were issued only in small quantities and normally only on particular occasions for ceremonial distribution.
BZ06186. Gold semissis, DOC III part 1, 19; Wroth BMC 34; Tolstoi 14; Ratto -; Morrisson BnF 6-7; SBCV 1676, gem EF, a near perfect example of this scarce issue - bold, sharp, fantastic centering and mint luster, weight 1.800 g, maximum diameter 12.8 mm, die axis 180o, Sicily, Syracuse mint, 829 - 830 A.D.; obverse * ΘEOFILOS b A, crowned bust of Theophilus facing with short beard, wearing chlamys and holding globus cruciger; reverse similar to obverse, but emperor wears loros instead of chlamys and without star preceding legend; from the Woolslayer Collection; scarce; SOLD


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In 831, Caliph Al-Abbas ibn al-Ma'mun led a large-scale Abbasid raid into Cappadocia. He defeated Theophilos and Heraclea Cybistra and Tyana fell to the Arabs. In 837 Vikings from Scandinavia attacked Constantinople. In 841, the Byzantine general Constantine Kontomytes defeated the Cretan Saracens near Mount Latros.
BZ50630. Bronze follis, DOC III part 1, 15a; Morrisson BnF 32/Cp/AE/04; Wroth BMC 20; Tolstoi 25; Ratto 1823; Sommer 31.5, SBCV 1667, Choice gVF, nice green patina, weight 8.409 g, maximum diameter 29.2 mm, die axis 180o, Constantinople (Istanbul, Turkey) mint, 830 - 842 A.D.; obverse ΘEOFIL bASIL, three-quarter length figure facing, wearing loros and tufa crown decorated with pellets, labarum in right with cross and two dangling streamers, globus cruciger in left hand, loros end draped over the emperors left arm; reverse +ΘEO/FILE AVG/OVSTES V / nICAS (Emperor Theofilos, may you conquer), inscription in four lines; SOLD


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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; DOC III part 1, 29a; Morrisson 32/Sy/AE/01; Sommer 31.13; SBCV 1680, 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; SOLD


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At the time of his accession, Theophilos was obliged to wage wars against the Arabs on two fronts. The Abbasid Caliph Al-Ma'mun invaded Antatolia and Sicily was once again invaded by the Arabs. The Arabs took Palermo after a year-long siege in 831, established the Emirate of Sicily, and gradually continued to expand across the island.

Anastasi identifies this type as a half follis, noting, "M to reverse probably does not indicate more value, but it is an imitation of the earlier folles."
BZ71132. Bronze follis, Anastasi 548; SBCV 1681; DOC III part 1, 30; Calciati MBBS 91; Trivero 120; Wroth BMC 44; Tolstoi 24; Ratto 1829, aVF, corrosion, overstruck, weight 3.131 g, maximum diameter 20.7 mm, die axis 180o, Syracuse mint, 830 - 842; obverse ΘEOFILOS bASI, facing bust wearing crown and chlamys, globus cruciger in right; reverse large M (40 nummi), cross above, X/X/X left, N/N/N right, Θ below; SOLD


Byzantine Empire, Michael II and Theophilus, 12 May 821 - 2 October 829 A.D.

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Michael II started his career as a humble soldier and as Emperor remained religiously neutral. With Bulgarian help he defeated the usurper Thomas, who, with his Arab allies, even besieged Constantinople for one year.
BZ83087. Bronze follis, Anastasi 513d; Morrisson BnF 31/Sy/AE/1, SBCV 1652, gVF, weight 4.213 g, maximum diameter 21.1 mm, die axis 180o, Syracuse mint, 12 May 821 - 2 Oct 829; obverse MIXA-HL S ΘEOF (F upside down), facing crowned busts of Michael, on left with short beard and chlamys, and Theophilus, beardless with loros; reverse large M (40 nummi), cross above, Θ below; scarce; SOLD


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The same inscription and type as minted at Constantinople but with crude workmanship.
BZ36546. Bronze follis, SBCV 1685; DOC III part 1, 17, VF, weight 5.966 g, maximum diameter 26.3 mm, die axis 210o, uncertain provincial mint, 830 - 842 A.D.; obverse ΘEOFIL bASIL, three-quarter length figure facing wearing loros and tufa crown, labarum in right, globus cruciger in left; reverse +ΘEO/FILE AVG/OVSTES V / nICAS (Emperor Theofilos, may you conquer), inscription in four lines; scarce; SOLD




  




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REFERENCES|

Anastasi, M. Monete Bizantine di Sicilia. (NP, 2009).
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).
Calciati, R. Monete Bizantine di Bronzo della Sicilia. (Cairo, 2000).
Füeg, 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 1: Leo III to Michael III, 717-867. (Washington D.C., 1973).
Morrisson, C. Catalogue des Monnaies Byzantines de la Bibliothèque Nationale II, 711 - 1204. (Paris, 1970).
Ratto, R. Monnaies Byzantines et d'autre Pays contemporaines à l'époque byzantine. (Lugano, 1930).
Sabatier, J. Description générale des monnaies Byzantines. (Paris, 1863).
Sear, D. Byzantine Coins and Their Values. (London, 1987).
Sommer, A. Die Münzen des Byzantinischen Reiches 491-1453. Mit einem Anhang: Die Münzen des Kaiserreichs von Trapezunt. (Regenstauf, 2010).
Spahr, R. Le monete siciliane, dai Bizantini a Carlo I d' Angio (582 - 1282). (Graz, 1976).
Tolstoi, I. Monnaies byzantines. (St. Petersburg, 1913 - 14).
Trivero, A. La monetazione di rame dela Sicilia bizantina (testo e archivio fotografico allegato). (Achao, 2006).
Wroth, W. Catalogue of the Imperial Byzantine Coins in the British Museum. (London, 1908).

Catalog current as of Thursday, November 21, 2019.
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Byzantine Coins of Theophilus