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

Focas, 23 November 602 - 5 October 610 A.D.

Focas became emperor through a military revolt in the winter of 602 A.D. He was an oppressive evil tyrant. His reign was a period of disaster with invasions in the East and West, persecution of the aristocracy and civil unrest. Focas restored recognizable portraiture to the coinage - An oddity considering his appearance is often described as grotesque.


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The ruins of Antioch on the Orontes lie near the modern city of Antakya, Turkey. Founded near the end of the 4th century B.C. by Seleucus I Nicator, one of Alexander the Great's generals, Antioch's geographic, military and economic location, particularly the spice trade, the Silk Road, the Persian Royal Road, benefited its occupants, and eventually it rivaled Alexandria as the chief city of the Near East and as the main center of Hellenistic Judaism at the end of the Second Temple period. Antioch is called "the cradle of Christianity," for the pivotal early role it played in the emergence of the faith. It was one of the four cities of the Syrian tetrapolis. Its residents are known as Antiochenes. Antioch was renamed Theoupolis after it was nearly destroyed by an earthquake on 29 November 528. Once a great metropolis of half a million people, it declined to insignificance during the Middle Ages because of warfare, repeated earthquakes and a change in trade routes following the Mongol conquests, which then no longer passed through Antioch from the far east. 6th Century Antioch
BZ71752. Bronze follis, DOC II, part 1, 88; Morrisson BnF 8/An/AE/14; Wroth BMC 109; Tolstoi 147; Ratto 1274; Hahn MIB 83a; Sommer 9.56; SBCV 671, VF, green patina, well centered on a tight flan, weight 9.172 g, maximum diameter 27.6 mm, die axis 0o, Antioch as Theoupolis (Antakya, Turkey) mint, 607 - 608 A.D.; obverse O N FOCA NE PE AV, Focas on left and Leontia on right standing facing, emperor holds globus cruciger, empress holds cruciform scepter, cross between their heads; reverse large M (40 nummi) between ANNO and UI (year 6), cross above, THEUP' (Theoupolis) in exergue; scarce; $50.00 (€42.50)
 


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In 603, the senate acclaimed the statues of emperor Phocas and empress Leontia. This trivial event was the last ever mention of the Roman Senate in the Gregorian Register. The institution must have vanished by 630 when the Curia was transformed into a church by Pope Honorius I. The Senate at Constantinople continued to exist in the Eastern Roman Empire's capital until at least the mid-14th century when the ancient institution finally vanished from history.
BZ77960. Bronze half follis, DOC II, part 1, 36a (also with obv. leg. d N N...); Tolstoi 149 (same); cf. Hahn MIB 65; SBCV 643; Sommer 9.28; Morrisson BnF -; Ratto -; Wroth BMC -, aVF, overstruck, crude, ragged flan, some corrosion, weight 2.983 g, maximum diameter 23.9 mm, die axis 229o, 1st officina, Constantinople (Istanbul, Turkey) mint, 603 - 610 A.D.; obverse d N N FOCA PER AVC (or similar), crowned bust facing, bearded, wearing consular robes, mappa in right hand, cross in left hand; reverse large XX (20 nummi), cross above, CONA in exergue; from the Butte College Foundation, ex Lindgren; rare legend variety; $45.00 (€38.25)
 


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Certificate of Authenticity issued by David R. Sear. 

The smallest gold fraction in the Byzantine series. One of three known.
SH15443. Gold half-tremissis, SBCV 635; cf. DOC II part 1, 20; cf. Hahn MIB 29, aEF, weight 0.723 g, maximum diameter 14.4 mm, die axis 180o, Constantinople (Istanbul, Turkey) mint, 607 - 610 A.D.; obverse d N FOCAS PER AV, diademed, draped, and cuirassed bust right, beardless; reverse VICTORI FOCAS AV, cross potent, CONOB beneath; extremely rare; SOLD







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REFERENCES

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Catalog current as of Sunday, November 19, 2017.
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Byzantine Coins of Focas