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Home>Catalog>ByzantineCoins>JustinianDynasty>JustinianI

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


Click for a larger photo Above the denomination (H) this type usually has nothing, or a cross, or a Christogram, and sometimes the symbol above is flanked by pellets or stars. CNG 60 (2002), lot 1985, is unique with ΘEIW above. This coin appears to have A∆K above with the ∆ a little larger, which is unpublished. It may be ancient counterfeit, or the "apparent" letters are the odd result of die damage or corrosion.
BZ62085. Bronze 8 nummi, unpublished with A∆K above); cf. SBCV 192, DOC I 100, Wroth BMC 177, Tolstoi 494, Hahn MIB 174d, aF, weight 2.785 g, maximum diameter 18.2 mm, die axis 180o, Thessalonica(?) mint, obverse D N IVSTINI-ANVS P P AVG, diademed, draped and cuirassed bust right; reverse large H between smaller A and P, A∆K(?) above; unique(?); $120.00 (€90.00)

Click for a larger photo 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; $85.00 (€63.75)

Click for a larger photo In 549, the Ostrogoths Totila unsuccessfully besieged Rome for the third time since Belisarius returned to Constantinople. Totila offered a peace agreement, but this was rejected by Justinian. Totila took the city of Perugia in central Italy, captured the bishop Herculanus and ordered him to be completely flayed. The Ostrogoth soldier asked to perform this gruesome execution shows pity and decapitated Herculanus before removing the skin on every part of his body.
BZ69716. Bronze decanummium, DOC I 304, Wroth BMC 382, Morrison BnF 43, Ratto 709, Tolstoi 453, Berk 268, Sommer 4.132, Hahn MIB 200, SBCV 271, F, weight 4.415 g, maximum diameter 19.2 mm, die axis 0o, Carthage mint, 548 - 549 A.D.; obverse D N IVSTIN-IANVS P AVC (or similar, obscure), diademed, draped and cuirassed bust right; reverse VICTORIA AC, Victory standing facing, wreath in right, globus cruciger in left, X between two stars in exergue; from the Butte College Foundation, ex Lindgren; $60.00 (€45.00)

Click for a larger photo In 540, General Solomon captured the Aurès Mountains from the Moors and extended Byzantine authority over Numidia and Mauretania Sitifensis. The city of Theveste (Algeria) was restored and fortified.
BZ90821. Bronze nummus, DOC I 303, Hahn MIB 305; Morrisson BnF 65, SBCV 279, Tolstoi -, Ratto -, Wroth BMC -, Sommer -, VF, weight 1.069 g, maximum diameter 11.4 mm, die axis 90o, Carthage mint, 540 - 541 A.D.; obverse diademed, draped and cuirassed bust right, pseudo legend; reverse VOT / XIIII (regnal year 14) in two lines within linear border, within wreath; from the Butte College Foundation, ex Lindgren; rare; $50.00 (€37.50)

Click for a larger photo Justinian's sole rule lasted almost four decades during which he re-conquered N. Africa, Italy, and parts of Spain, codified the legal system and built St. Sophia. Unfortunately he depleted the treasure built by Anastasius and most of his territory gains were lost shortly after his death.
BZ69707. Bronze decanummium, DOC I 34, Wroth BMC 120, Morrisson BnF 18, Tolstoi 403, Sommer 4.26, Hahn MIB 92, Berk 132, SBCV 166, Ratto -, F, weight 4.133 g, maximum diameter 20.9 mm, die axis 180o, Constantinople (Istanbul, Turkey) mint, 527 - 538 A.D.; obverse D N IVSTINI-ANVS PP AVC, diademed, draped and cuirassed bust right; reverse large I (10 nummi) between two stars, cross above, CON (Constantinople) in exergue; scarce; $36.00 (€27.00)

Click for a larger photo In 535 - 536 A.D., the world experienced the most severe and protracted short-term cooling episode in the last 2,000 years. The cooling is thought to have been caused by an extensive atmospheric dust veil, possibly resulting from a large volcanic eruption in the tropics, or debris from space impacting the Earth. Its effects were widespread, causing unseasonal weather, crop failures, and famines worldwide. The Byzantine historian Procopius recorded of 536, in his report on the wars with the Vandals, "during this year a most dread portent took place. For the sun gave forth its light without brightness...and it seemed exceedingly like the sun in eclipse, for the beams it shed were not clear." Crop failures were recorded in some areas until 539.
BZ69706. Bronze half follis, DOC I 33b, Morrisson BnF 15, Sommer 4.24, Hahn MIB 90, Berk 130, SBCV 164, Wroth BMC -, Tolstoi -, Ratto -, F, weight 7.826 g, maximum diameter 23.1 mm, die axis 0o, 3rd officina, Constantinople (Istanbul, Turkey) mint, 527 - 537 A.D.; obverse D N IVSTINI-ANVS PP AVC, diademed, draped and cuirassed bust right; reverse large K (20 nummi), star above and below, cross left, Γ (3rd officina) right; scarce; $35.00 (€26.25)

Click for a larger photo In 535 - 536 A.D., the world experienced the most severe and protracted short-term cooling episode in the last 2,000 years. The cooling is thought to have been caused by an extensive atmospheric dust veil, possibly resulting from a large volcanic eruption in the tropics, or debris from space impacting the Earth. Its effects were widespread, causing unseasonal weather, crop failures, and famines worldwide. The Byzantine historian Procopius recorded of 536, in his report on the wars with the Vandals, "during this year a most dread portent took place. For the sun gave forth its light without brightness...and it seemed exceedingly like the sun in eclipse, for the beams it shed were not clear." Crop failures were recorded in some areas until 539.
BZ69705. Bronze half follis, DOC I 33c, Wroth BMC 103, Morrisson BnF 16, Tolstoi 390, Sommer 4.24, Hahn MIB 90, Berk 130, SBCV 164, Ratto -, F, ragged flan, small spots of potentially active corrosion, weight 7.423 g, maximum diameter 26.6 mm, die axis 180o, 4th officina, Constantinople (Istanbul, Turkey) mint, 527 - 537 A.D.; obverse D N IVSTINI-ANVS PP AVG, diademed, draped and cuirassed bust right; reverse large K (20 nummi), star above and below, cross left, ∆ (4th officina) right; scarce; $29.00 (€21.75)

Click for a larger photo
The war with the Vandalic Kingdom of Carthage in 533 - 534 was the first of Justinian I's wars of reconquest of the lost Western Roman Empire. The Vandals had occupied Roman North Africa in the early 5th century and established an independent kingdom. The Byzantine expeditionary force landed on the African coast in early September 533. The Vandal king Gelimer met the Byzantine army at the Battle of Ad Decimum, near Carthage, on 13 September. His elaborate plan to encircle and destroy the Byzantines came close to success, but Belisarius, forced a Vandal retreat and occupied Carthage. Gelimer withdrew, gathered his remaining strength, and in December advanced towards Carthage and met the Romans at the Battle of Tricamarum. Gelimer was defeated, and fled to a remote mountain fortress, where he was blockaded until he surrendered in the spring. Belisarius returned to Constantinople with the Vandals' royal treasure and the captive Gelimer to enjoy a triumph. Africa was formally restored to imperial rule as the praetorian prefecture of Africa. The new province faced war with the Moors and military rebellions, and it was not until 548 that peace was restored and Roman government firmly established.The Vandalic War in 533-534
BZ69726. Bronze pentanummium, DOC I 300, Morrisson BnF 52, Sommer 4.133, Hahn MIB 203, Berk 271, SBCV 274, Wroth BMC -, Tolstoi -, Ratto -, aF, weight 2.443 g, maximum diameter 16.9 mm, die axis 180o, Carthage (near Tunis, Tunisia) mint, 539 - 543 A.D.; obverse D N IVSTIN-IANI PP AC (or similar, obscure), diademed, draped and cuirassed bust right; reverse large E (5 nummi), cross right, all within a linear border surrounded by a wreath; from the Butte College Foundation, ex Lindgren; scarce; $29.00 (€21.75)


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Catalog current as of Friday, December 19, 2014.
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Byzantine Coins of Justinian I