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The E-Sylum: Volume 23, Number 29, July 19, 2020, Article 22

THE BYZANTINE ANONYMOUS FOLLIS

Mike Markowitz published another article in his Ancient Coin Series for CoinWeek; this one is on the Byzantine Anonymous Follis. Here's an excerpt - see the complete article online. -Editor

The Byzantine Anonymous Follis

IN THE ANCIENT WORLD, gold and silver were the coinage of the elite, but humble copper was the coinage of the common folk.

For over 120 years, the single denomination of copper coinage issued by the Eastern Roman ("Byzantine") Empire was "Anonymous". The Anonymous follis did not bear the name or portrait of the ruler but instead bore an image of Jesus and a religious motto. Fifteen different types are known, though only about six are common, with affordable and collectible examples. These coins are often carelessly overstruck, and generations of painstaking research by numismatists have made it possible to reconstruct the sequence of this fascinating series.

Class A1 Anonymous Follis

Constantinople anonymous follis time of John I

Anonymous Ӕ. Constantinople, time of John I, 969-76 CE. + EMMANOVHΛ, facing bust of Christ Pantokrator; IC-XC across fields/ + IҺSЧS XRISTЧS ЬASILЄЧ ЬASILЄ, in four lines. Class A1, Sear 1793. 8.96g, 28mm, 6h. Roma Numismatics Ltd E-Sale 39 26 August 2017. Lot: 929. Realized: 260 GBP (approx. 335 USD).

Born about 925 CE, John Tzimiskes was a handsome aristocrat who rose to command the Byzantine army in Armenia at the age of 25. Empress Theophano fell in love with John and helped him murder his uncle, the emperor Nikeforos Phokas, in bed on the night of December 10-11, 969.

Perhaps in remorse, John became intensely devout, and his coinage reflects this. The copper follis, weighing seven to nine grams, typically purchased a loaf of bread. John's "Class A1" follis bears the image of Christ Pantokrator ("ruler of all things"), His head surrounded by a halo containing a cross.

To read the complete article, see:
The Byzantine Anonymous Follis – CoinWeek Ancient Coin Series (https://coinweek.com/coins/coin-profiles/ancient-coins-coin-profiles/the-byzantine-anonymous-follis-coinweek-ancient-coin-series/)

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Wayne Homren, Editor

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