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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ Byzantine Coins ▸ Justinian Dynasty ▸ Justinian IView Options:  |  |  | 

Justinian I, 4 April 527 - 14 November 565 A.D.

Joint rule with Justin I (his uncle), 4 April - 1 August 527 A.D.
Justinian I served his uncle, Emperor Justin I, throughout his reign formulating most imperial policy. Recognizing his brilliance, he was rapidly promoted and in the final months of Justin's reign he was made co-emperor. Justinian's sole rule began on 1 August 527 and lasted almost four decades during which he re-conquered much of the empire lost during the preceding century, including North Africa, Italy, and parts of Spain. He is well known for his codification of the legal system. His grand scale building program included St Sophia, which still stands as the centerpiece of modern Istanbul. Unfortunately his ambitious efforts strained the empire's resources and depleted the treasure built by Anastasius. Most of the territory he gained was lost shortly after his death.
Byzantine Empire under Justinian 550 AD


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In May 540, the Byzantine general Belisarius conquered Mediolanum and the Gothic capital Ravenna. The Gothic king Vitiges and his wife Matasuntha were taken as captives to Constantinople. Vitiges later died there, without any children. After his death, Matasuntha married the patrician Germanus Justinus, a nephew of Justinian I by his sister Vigilantia.
SH71737. Bronze follis, DOC I 40b, Morrisson BnF 4/Cp/AE/60, Wroth BMC 58, Tolstoi 107, Ratto 507, Hahn MIBE 95a, SBCV 163, Sommer 4.20, Choice gVF, full circles strike on a huge flan, nice green patina, weight 23.632 g, maximum diameter 39.4 mm, die axis 180o, 2nd officina, Constantinople (Istanbul, Turkey) mint, 541 - 542 A.D.; obverse D N IVSTINIANVS PP AVI, helmeted and cuirassed bust facing, globus cruciger in right, shield on left ornamented with horseman, cross right; reverse large M (40 nummi), cross above, ANNO left, XY (regnal year 15) right, B (officina 2) below, CON (Constantinople) in exergue; $190.00 (€167.20)
 


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In 545, Justinian I sent General Narses to the rulers of the Heruli, to recruit troops for the campaigns in Italy and Syria.
SH72608. Bronze follis, DOC I 124a, Wroth BMC 202, Tolstoi 181, Ratto 592, Hahn MIB 113b, SBCV 201, Sommer 4.66, Morrisson BnF -, VF, well centered on a large flan, weight 20.489 g, maximum diameter 35.5 mm, die axis 180o, 1st officina, Nicomedia (Izmit, Turkey) mint, 544 - 545 A.D.; obverse D N IVSTINIANVS PP AVG, helmeted and cuirassed bust of Justinian facing, holding globus cruciger (cross on orb) in right, shield with horseman device on left shoulder, cross in right field; reverse large M (40 nummi) between A/N/N/O left and X/U/II/I right (regnal year 18), staurogram (rho-cross) above, A (first officina) below, NIKO (Nicomedia) in exergue; ex The Time Machine; $100.00 (€88.00)
 


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Cassander of Macedonia founded Thessalonica in 315 B.C. He named it after his wife Thessalonike, a half-sister of Alexander the Great. Thessalonica became the capital of Roman Macedonia in 168 B.C. and was later the administrative center for all of Greece. Its location at the nexus of both the East-West and North-South trade routes was ideal. In 1423, Andronicus ceded the city to Venice to protect it from the besieging Ottomans. The Venetians held Thessaloniki until it was taken by the Sultan Murad II on 29 March 1430.
BZ77229. Bronze 16 nummi, DOC I 98d, Wroth BMC 171, Morrisson BnF 4/Th/AE/9, Tolstoi 485, Hahn MIB 169c, SBCV 178, Sommer 4.41, VF, nice patina, well centered, light marks and bumps, light corrosion, weight 7.077 g, maximum diameter 23.0 mm, die axis 180o, Thessalonica (Salonika, Greece) mint, 542 - 547 A.D.; obverse D N IVSTINI-ANVS P P AVG, diademed, draped and cuirassed bust right; reverse large I and smaller S (16 nummi), Chi-Rho Christogram above, flanked by smaller A left and P right, TES in exergue; $95.00 (€83.60)
 


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Antioch was renamed Theoupolis after it was nearly destroyed by an earthquake on 29 November 528.
BZ72605. Bronze half-follis, Ratto 672, DOC I 211a (not in the collection, references Ratto), Hahn MIB 134, SRCV 226, Sommer 4.95, Morrisson BnF -, Wroth BMC -, Tolstoi -, VF, nice green patine with red earthen highlighting, tight flan, part of obverse legend unstruck, weight 6.797 g, maximum diameter 26.8 mm, die axis 315o, 1st officina, Theoupolis-Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) mint, 533 - 537 A.D.; obverse D N IVSTINI-ANVS PP AVG, Justinian enthroned facing holding long scepter in right, globus cruciger in left; reverse large K (20 nummi), T-H/E-u/O/P (Theoupolis) on left divided by large cross, A (1st officina) right; very rare from 1st officina; $85.00 (€74.80)
 


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In 562, Belisarius stood trial for corruption in Constantinople, possibly with Procopius acting as praefectus urbi. He was found guilty and sent to prison.
BZ67007. Bronze decanummium, DOC I 353 (Ravenna), Wroth BMC 407 (Ravenna), SBCV 326 (Ravenna), Hahn MIB I 29a (Rome), Sommer 4.155 (Rome), Ratto -, F, nice green patina, weight 2.846 g, maximum diameter 15.7 mm, die axis 180o, Ravenna or Rome mint, 562 - 563 A.D.; obverse D N IVSTINIANVS PP AVG, helmeted and cuirassed bust facing, holding globus cruciger in right, shield in left; reverse large I (10 nummi), ANNO left, XX/XVI (regnal year 36) right, all within wreath, no mintmark; $75.00 (€66.00)
 


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On 19 April 531, a Byzantine army (20,000 men) under command of Belisarius was defeated by the Persians in the Battle of Callinicum, at Ar-Raqqah (northern Syria). Justinian I negotiated an end to the hostilities and Belisarius was hailed as a hero.
BZ72603. Bronze follis, DOC I 28b, Morrisson BnF 4/Cp/AE/6, Wroth BMC 29, Tolstoi 84, Ratto 483, Hahn MIB 84, SBCV 158, Sommer 4.14, gF, well centered, some corrosion, weight 16.865 g, maximum diameter 32.9 mm, die axis 225o, 2nd officina, Constantinople (Istanbul, Turkey) mint, 527 - 532 A.D.; obverse D N IVSTINI-ANVS PP AVG, diademed, draped and cuirassed bust right, star on shoulder; reverse large M (40 nummi), star left, cross above, cross right, officina letter B (2nd officina) below, CON (Constantinople) in exergue; $55.00 (€48.40)
 


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Alexandria, founded c. 331 BC by Alexander the Great, remained the capital of Hellenistic, Roman and then Byzantine Egypt for almost one thousand years until the Muslim conquest of Egypt in 641 A.D., when a new capital was founded at Fustat (later absorbed into Cairo).

All 12 nummi were minted at Alexandria. The weight, diameter, thickness, and fabric of the Alexandrian 12 nummi coins is remarkably similar to that of the Alexandrian billon tetradrachms struck under Rome in the late third and early fourth centuries.
BZ75942. Bronze 12 nummi, DOC I 274, Wroth BMC 342, Morrisson BnF 5, Tolstoi 503, Ratto 689, Hahn MIB 165, SBCV 247, Sommer 4.115, F, corrosion, irregular flan, weight 4.110 g, maximum diameter 14.7 mm, die axis 0o, Alexandria mint, 4 Apr 527 - 14 Nov 565 A.D.; obverse D N IVSTINIANVS P P AV, diademed, draped and cuirassed bust right; reverse I B (12 nummi) divided by cross, AΛEZ (Alexandria) in exergue; $26.49 (€23.31)







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REFERENCES

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Sommer, A.U. Die Münzen des Byzantinischen Reiches 491-1453. Mit einem Anhang: Die Münzen des Kaiserreichs von Trapezunt. (Regenstauf, 2010).
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Catalog current as of Saturday, February 13, 2016.
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Byzantine Coins of Justinian I