Mike Markowitz published a CoinWeek article on coins of the Byzantine leader Basil II. Here's an excerpt - be sure to read the complete article online.
BORN IN THE year 958, Basil II was the son of Emperor Romanos II and the beautiful and ruthless Empress Theophano. At the age of two, Basil was crowned co-emperor with his father. Of the 93 rulers of the Byzantine Empire, he had the longest reign, dying of natural causes at the age of 67. Considered one of the greatest rulers, Basil is remembered as the
Bulgar Slayer (Bulgaroktonos) for his conquest of the First Bulgarian Empire. The coinage of this long reign illuminates a glorious era that many historians have considered the peak of the Byzantine Empire.
Silver Coins of Basil II
Basil II Bulgaroktonos, with Constantine VIII, 976-1025. Miliaresion (Silver, 30mm, 2.88 g 12).
There was also an abundant coinage of the silver miliaresion, which varied from two to three grams (many surviving examples are clipped). One full-weight gold piece could be exchanged for 12 to 14 miliaresia.
The standard silver coin bears small busts of the co-emperors flanking an elaborate cross. The surrounding Greek inscription translates as
By This Conquer, Basil and Constantine. The long five-line reverse inscription abbreviates the word Porphyrogennetoi, meaning
Born in the Purple, to emphasize their legitimate claim to the throne.
Basil II Bulgaroctonos (976-1025 CE), with Constantine VIII. AR miliaresion. Classical Numismatic Group, Auction 105, Auction date: 10 May 2017, Lot number: 1058, realized: $3,000.
commemorative silver coin was issued to mark Basil's decisive victory over the rebel army of Bardas Phocas on April 13, 989. Bardas suffered a fatal stroke while charging. Basil attributed this victory to the intercession of the Virgin Mary. The obverse bears an image of the Virgin and Child, surrounded by an abbreviated Greek inscription that translates
O Virgin, Help the Emperors. The unique reverse inscription in five lines is
Mother of God, Full of Glory, He Who Puts His Trust in You Will Never Fail in His Undertakings.
To read the complete article, see:
Bulgar Slayer: The Coinage of Basil II
THE BOOK BAZARRE
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