Classical Numismatics Discussion Members' Gallery
  Welcome Guest. Please login or register.

Members' Gallery Home | Member Collections | Last Added | Last Comments | Most Viewed | Top Rated | My Favorities | Search Galleries
Search results - "Byzantium"
020_Vespasian,_AR-Den,_IMP_CAESAR_VESPAS_AVG_COS_II_TR_P_P_P,_CONCORDIA_AVG,_BY,_RIC-2_1416,_RPC_II_824,_Ephesus,_Byzantium,-AD,_Q-001,_6h,_19mm,_3,6g-s.jpg
020 Vespasian (69-79 A.D.), RIC² 1416, Ephesus (Byzantium), AR-Denarius, CONCORDIA AVG, Ceres, #1104 views020 Vespasian (69-79 A.D.), RIC² 1416, Ephesus (Byzantium), AR-Denarius, CONCORDIA AVG, Ceres, #1
avers: IMP CAESAR VESPAS AVG COS II TR P P P, Laureate head right.
reverse: CONCORDIA AVG, Ceres, enthroned left, holding grain ears and a cornucopiae, BY (monogram) mintmark for Byzantium in the exergue.
exergue: -/-//BY(monogram, mintmark for Byzantium), diameter: 17,5-19,0mm, weight: 3,60 g, axis: 6h,
mint: Ephesus (Byzantium), date: A.D., ref: RIC² 1416, RPC II 824, Sear/RCV 2266var., RSC 66a,
Q-001
2 commentsquadrans
438_P_Hadrian_Varbanov1656.jpg
1085 THRACE. Byzantium. Hadrian, Demetrius, magistrate Wicker35 viewsReference. Rare
RPC III, 1085; Varbanov 1656;

http://rpc.ashmus.ox.ac.uk/coins/3/1085/

Obv: AVTO KAI TPAI AΔPIANOC AVΓ.
Laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right.

Rev: EΠI ΔHMHTPOC BYZANTIΩN / TO B.
Conical wicker basket.

16.10 gr
30 mm
6h
okidoki
449_P_Hadrian.JPG
1086 THRACE, Byzantium Hadrian AE 27 117-138 AD Corinthian helmet27 viewsReference.
RPC III, 1086; Varbanov 3657v (rev. legend with TO B after magistrete).


Obv. AVTO KAI TPAI AΔPIANOC AVΓ
Laureate, draped, cuirassed bust right, seen from front.

Rev. BYZANTIΩN EΠI ΔHMHTPOC TO B
crested Corinthian helmet right, with cheek-pieces

11.60 gr
27 mm
6h
okidoki
Lcnius1.jpg
1308b, Licinius I, 308 - 324 A.D. (Siscia)59 viewsLicinius I, 11 November 308 - 18 September 324 A.D. Bronze follis, RIC 4, F, Siscia, 3.257g, 21.6mm, 0o, 313 - 315 A.D. Obverse: IMP LIC LICINIVS P F AVG, laureate head right; Reverse IOVI CONSERVATORI AVGG NN, Jupiter standing left holding Victory on globe and scepter, eagle with wreath in beak left, E right, SIS in exergue.



De Imperatoribus Romanis : An Online Encyclopedia of Roman Rulers and their Families

Licinius (308-324 A.D.)

Michael DiMaio, Jr.
Salve Regina University

Licinius' Heritage

Valerius Licinianus Licinius, more commonly known as Licinius, may have been born ca. 265. Of peasant origin, his family was from Dacia. A close friend and comrade of arms of the Emperor Galerius, he accompanied him on his Persian expedition in 297. When campaigns by Severus and Galerius in late 306 or early 307 and in the summer of 307, respectively, failed to dislodge Maxentius who, with the luke warm support of his father Maximianus Herculius, was acclaimed princeps on 28 October 306, he was sent by the eastern emperor to Maxentius as an ambassador; the diplomatic mission, however, failed because the usurper refused to submit to the authority of his father-in-law Galerius. At the Conference of Carnuntum which was held in October or November of 308, Licinius was made an Augustus on 11 November 308; his realm included Thrace, Illyricum, and Pannonia.

Licinius' Early Reign

Although Licinius was initially appointed by Galerius to replace Severus to end the revolt of Maxentius , Licinius (perhaps wisely) made no effort to move against the usurper. In fact, his first attested victory was against the Sarmatians probably in the late spring, but no later than the end of June in 310. When the Emperor Galerius died in 311, Licinius met Maximinus Daia at the Bosporus during the early summer of that year; they concluded a treaty and divided Galerius' realm between them. It was little more than a year later that the Emperor Constantine defeated Maxentius at the Battle of the Milvian Bridge on 28 October 312. After the defeat of the usurper, Constantine and Licinius met at Mediolanum (Milan) where Licinius married the former's sister Constantia; one child was born of this union: Valerius Licinianus Licinius. Licinius had another son, born of a slave woman, whose name is unknown. It appears that both emperors promulgated the so-called Edict of Milan, in which Constantine and Licinius granted Christians the freedom to practice their faith without any interference from the state.

As soon as he seems to have learned about the marital alliance between Licinius and Constantine and the death of Maxentius, who had been his ally, Daia traversed Asia Minor and, in April 313, he crossed the Bosporus and went to Byzantium, which he took from Licinius after an eleven day siege. On 30 April 313 the armies of both emperors clashed on the Campus Ergenus; in the ensuing battle Daia's forces were routed. A last ditch stand by Daia at the Cilician Gates failed; the eastern emperor subsequently died in the area of Tarsus probably in July or August 313. As soon as he arrived in Nicomedeia, Licinius promulgated the Edict of Milan. As soon as he had matters in Nicomedeia straightened out, Licinius campaigned against the Persians in the remaining part of 313 and the opening months of 314.

The First Civil War Between Licinius and Constantine

Once Licinius had defeated Maximinus Daia, the sole rulers of the Roman world were he and Constantine. It is obvious that the marriage of Licinius to Constantia was simply a union of convenience. In any case, there is evidence in the sources that both emperors were looking for an excuse to attack the other. The affair involving Bassianus (the husband of Constantius I's daughter Anastasia ), mentioned in the text of Anonymus Valesianus (5.14ff), may have sparked the falling out between the two emperors. In any case, Constantine' s forces joined battle with those of Licinius at Cibalae in Pannonia on 8 October 314. When the battle was over, Constantine prevailed; his victory, however, was Pyrrhic. Both emperors had been involved in exhausting military campaigns in the previous year and the months leading up to Cibalae and each of their realms had expanded so fast that their manpower reserves must have been stretched to the limit. Both men retreated to their own territory to lick their wounds. It may well be that the two emperors made an agreement, which has left no direct trace in the historical record, which would effectively restore the status quo.

Both emperors were variously engaged in different activities between 315 and 316. In addition to campaigning against the Germans while residing in Augusta Treverorum (Trier) in 315, Constantine dealt with aspects of the Donatist controversy; he also traveled to Rome where he celebrated his Decennalia. Licinius, possibly residing at Sirmium, was probably waging war against the Goths. Although not much else is known about Licinius' activities during this period, it is probable that he spent much of his time preparing for his impending war against Constantine; the latter,who spent the spring and summer of 316 in Augusta Treverorum, was probably doing much the same thing. In any case, by December 316, the western emperor was in Sardica with his army. Sometime between 1 December and 28 February 317, both emperors' armies joined battle on the Campus Ardiensis; as was the case in the previous engagement, Constantine' s forces were victorious. On 1 March 317, both sides agreed to a cessation of hostilities; possibly because of the intervention of his wife Constantia, Licinius was able to keep his throne, although he had to agree to the execution of his colleague Valens, who the eastern emperor had appointed as his colleague before the battle, as well as to cede some of his territory to his brother-in-law.

Licinius and the Christians

Although the historical record is not completely clear, Licinius seems to have campaigned against the Sarmatians in 318. He also appears to have been in Byzantium in the summer of 318 and later in June 323. Beyond these few facts, not much else is known about his residences until mid summer of 324. Although he and Constantine had issued the Edict of Milan in early 313, Licinius turned on the Christians in his realm seemingly in 320. The first law that Licinius issued prevented bishops from communicating with each other and from holding synods to discuss matters of interest to them. The second law prohibited men and women from attending services together and young girls from receiving instruction from their bishop or schools. When this law was issued, he also gave orders that Christians could hold services only outside of city walls. Additionally, he deprived officers in the army of their commissions if they did not sacrifice to the gods. Licinius may have been trying to incite Constantine to attack him. In any case, the growing tension between the two rulers is reflected in the consular Fasti of the period.

The Second Civil War Between Licinius and Constantine and Licinius' Death

War actually broke out in 321 when Constantine pursued some Sarmatians, who had been ravaging some territory in his realm, across the Danube. When he checked a similar invasion of the Goths, who were devastating Thrace, Licinius complained that Constantine had broken the treaty between them. Having assembled a fleet and army at Thessalonica, Constantine advanced toward Adrianople. Licinius engaged the forces of his brother-in-law near the banks of the Hebrus River on 3 July 324 where he was routed; with as many men as he could gather, he headed for his fleet which was in the Hellespont. Those of his soldiers who were not killed or put to flight, surrendered to the enemy. Licinius fled to Byzantium, where he was besieged by Constantine. Licinius' fleet, under the command of the admiral Abantus, was overcome by bad weather and by Constantine' s fleet which was under the command of his son Crispus. Hard pressed in Byzantium, Licinius abandoned the city to his rival and fled to Chalcedon in Bithynia. Leaving Martinianus, his former magister officiorum and now his co-ruler, to impede Constantine' s progress, Licinius regrouped his forces and engaged his enemy at Chrysopolis where he was again routed on 18 September 324. He fled to Nicomedeia which Constantine began to besiege. On the next day Licinius abdicated and was sent to Thessalonica, where he was kept under house arrest. Both Licinius and his associate were put to death by Constantine. Martinianus may have been put to death before the end of 324, whereas Licinius was not put to death until the spring of 325. Rumors circulated that Licinius had been put to death because he attempted another rebellion against Constantine.

Copyright (C) 1996, Michael DiMaio, Jr.
Published: De Imperatoribus Romanis: An Online Encyclopedia of Roman Rulers and their Families http://www.roman-emperors.org/startup.htm. Used by permission.

Edited by J. P. Fitzgerald, Jr.

Cleisthenes
Licin1AEFolJupiAlex.jpg
1308c, Licinius I, 308-324 A.D. (Alexandria)66 viewsLicinius I, 308-324 A.D. AE Follis, 3.60g, VF, 315 A.D., Alexandria. Obverse: IMP C VAL LICIN LICINIVS P F AVG - Laureate head right; Reverse: IOVI CONS-ERVATORI AVGG - Jupiter standing left, holding Victory on a globe and scepter; exergue: ALE / (wreath) over "B" over "N." Ref: RIC VII, 10 (B = r2) Rare, page 705 - Hunterian Museum, Glasgow, Scotland.


De Imperatoribus Romanis : An Online Encyclopedia of Roman Rulers and their Families

Licinius (308-324 A.D.)

Michael DiMaio, Jr.
Salve Regina University

Licinius' Heritage

Valerius Licinianus Licinius, more commonly known as Licinius, may have been born ca. 265. Of peasant origin, his family was from Dacia. A close friend and comrade of arms of the Emperor Galerius, he accompanied him on his Persian expedition in 297. When campaigns by Severus and Galerius in late 306 or early 307 and in the summer of 307, respectively, failed to dislodge Maxentius who, with the luke warm support of his father Maximianus Herculius, was acclaimed princeps on 28 October 306, he was sent by the eastern emperor to Maxentius as an ambassador; the diplomatic mission, however, failed because the usurper refused to submit to the authority of his father-in-law Galerius. At the Conference of Carnuntum which was held in October or November of 308, Licinius was made an Augustus on 11 November 308; his realm included Thrace, Illyricum, and Pannonia.

Licinius' Early Reign

Although Licinius was initially appointed by Galerius to replace Severus to end the revolt of Maxentius , Licinius (perhaps wisely) made no effort to move against the usurper. In fact, his first attested victory was against the Sarmatians probably in the late spring, but no later than the end of June in 310. When the Emperor Galerius died in 311, Licinius met Maximinus Daia at the Bosporus during the early summer of that year; they concluded a treaty and divided Galerius' realm between them. It was little more than a year later that the Emperor Constantine defeated Maxentius at the Battle of the Milvian Bridge on 28 October 312. After the defeat of the usurper, Constantine and Licinius met at Mediolanum (Milan) where Licinius married the former's sister Constantia; one child was born of this union: Valerius Licinianus Licinius. Licinius had another son, born of a slave woman, whose name is unknown. It appears that both emperors promulgated the so-called Edict of Milan, in which Constantine and Licinius granted Christians the freedom to practice their faith without any interference from the state.

As soon as he seems to have learned about the marital alliance between Licinius and Constantine and the death of Maxentius, who had been his ally, Daia traversed Asia Minor and, in April 313, he crossed the Bosporus and went to Byzantium, which he took from Licinius after an eleven day siege. On 30 April 313 the armies of both emperors clashed on the Campus Ergenus; in the ensuing battle Daia's forces were routed. A last ditch stand by Daia at the Cilician Gates failed; the eastern emperor subsequently died in the area of Tarsus probably in July or August 313. As soon as he arrived in Nicomedeia, Licinius promulgated the Edict of Milan. As soon as he had matters in Nicomedeia straightened out, Licinius campaigned against the Persians in the remaining part of 313 and the opening months of 314.

The First Civil War Between Licinius and Constantine

Once Licinius had defeated Maximinus Daia, the sole rulers of the Roman world were he and Constantine. It is obvious that the marriage of Licinius to Constantia was simply a union of convenience. In any case, there is evidence in the sources that both emperors were looking for an excuse to attack the other. The affair involving Bassianus (the husband of Constantius I's daughter Anastasia ), mentioned in the text of Anonymus Valesianus (5.14ff), may have sparked the falling out between the two emperors. In any case, Constantine' s forces joined battle with those of Licinius at Cibalae in Pannonia on 8 October 314. When the battle was over, Constantine prevailed; his victory, however, was Pyrrhic. Both emperors had been involved in exhausting military campaigns in the previous year and the months leading up to Cibalae and each of their realms had expanded so fast that their manpower reserves must have been stretched to the limit. Both men retreated to their own territory to lick their wounds. It may well be that the two emperors made an agreement, which has left no direct trace in the historical record, which would effectively restore the status quo.

Both emperors were variously engaged in different activities between 315 and 316. In addition to campaigning against the Germans while residing in Augusta Treverorum (Trier) in 315, Constantine dealt with aspects of the Donatist controversy; he also traveled to Rome where he celebrated his Decennalia. Licinius, possibly residing at Sirmium, was probably waging war against the Goths. Although not much else is known about Licinius' activities during this period, it is probable that he spent much of his time preparing for his impending war against Constantine; the latter,who spent the spring and summer of 316 in Augusta Treverorum, was probably doing much the same thing. In any case, by December 316, the western emperor was in Sardica with his army. Sometime between 1 December and 28 February 317, both emperors' armies joined battle on the Campus Ardiensis; as was the case in the previous engagement, Constantine' s forces were victorious. On 1 March 317, both sides agreed to a cessation of hostilities; possibly because of the intervention of his wife Constantia, Licinius was able to keep his throne, although he had to agree to the execution of his colleague Valens, who the eastern emperor had appointed as his colleague before the battle, as well as to cede some of his territory to his brother-in-law.

Licinius and the Christians

Although the historical record is not completely clear, Licinius seems to have campaigned against the Sarmatians in 318. He also appears to have been in Byzantium in the summer of 318 and later in June 323. Beyond these few facts, not much else is known about his residences until mid summer of 324. Although he and Constantine had issued the Edict of Milan in early 313, Licinius turned on the Christians in his realm seemingly in 320. The first law that Licinius issued prevented bishops from communicating with each other and from holding synods to discuss matters of interest to them. The second law prohibited men and women from attending services together and young girls from receiving instruction from their bishop or schools. When this law was issued, he also gave orders that Christians could hold services only outside of city walls. Additionally, he deprived officers in the army of their commissions if they did not sacrifice to the gods. Licinius may have been trying to incite Constantine to attack him. In any case, the growing tension between the two rulers is reflected in the consular Fasti of the period.

The Second Civil War Between Licinius and Constantine and Licinius' Death

War actually broke out in 321 when Constantine pursued some Sarmatians, who had been ravaging some territory in his realm, across the Danube. When he checked a similar invasion of the Goths, who were devastating Thrace, Licinius complained that Constantine had broken the treaty between them. Having assembled a fleet and army at Thessalonica, Constantine advanced toward Adrianople. Licinius engaged the forces of his brother-in-law near the banks of the Hebrus River on 3 July 324 where he was routed; with as many men as he could gather, he headed for his fleet which was in the Hellespont. Those of his soldiers who were not killed or put to flight, surrendered to the enemy. Licinius fled to Byzantium, where he was besieged by Constantine. Licinius' fleet, under the command of the admiral Abantus, was overcome by bad weather and by Constantine' s fleet which was under the command of his son Crispus. Hard pressed in Byzantium, Licinius abandoned the city to his rival and fled to Chalcedon in Bithynia. Leaving Martinianus, his former magister officiorum and now his co-ruler, to impede Constantine' s progress, Licinius regrouped his forces and engaged his enemy at Chrysopolis where he was again routed on 18 September 324. He fled to Nicomedeia which Constantine began to besiege. On the next day Licinius abdicated and was sent to Thessalonica, where he was kept under house arrest. Both Licinius and his associate were put to death by Constantine. Martinianus may have been put to death before the end of 324, whereas Licinius was not put to death until the spring of 325. Rumors circulated that Licinius had been put to death because he attempted another rebellion against Constantine.

Copyright (C) 1996, Michael DiMaio, Jr.
Published: De Imperatoribus Romanis: An Online Encyclopedia of Roman Rulers and their Families http://www.roman-emperors.org/startup.htm. Used by permission.

Edited by J. P. Fitzgerald, Jr.

Cleisthenes
Theo1Ae3Ant.jpeg
1505b, Theodosius I, 19 January 379 - 17 January 395 A.D. (Antioch)69 viewsTheodosius I, 19 January 379 - 17 January 395 A.D. Bronze AE 3, RIC 44(b), VF, Antioch, 2.17g, 18.1mm, 180o, 9 Aug 378 - 25 Aug 383 A.D. Obverse: D N THEODOSIVS P F AVG, rosette-diademed, draped and cuirassed bust right; Reverse: CONCORDIA AVGGG, Constantinopolis enthroned facing, r. foot on prow, globe in l., scepter in r., Q and F at sides, ANTG in ex; scarce.


De Imperatoribus Romanis: An Online Encyclopedia of Roman Rulers and their Families

THEODOSIUS I (379-395 A.D.)
David Woods
University College of Cork


Origin and Early Career
Flavius Theodosius was born at Cauca in Spain in about 346 to Thermantia and Theodosius the Elder (so-called to distinguish him from his son). Theodosius the Elder was a senior military officer serving in the Western empire and rose to become the magister equitum praesentalis under the emperor Valentinian I from late 368 until his execution in early 375. As the son of a soldier, Theodosius was legally obliged to enter upon a military career. He seems to have served under his father during his expedition to Britain in 367/8, and was the dux Moesiae Primae by late 374. Unfortunately, great controversy surrounds the rest of his career until Gratian had him hailed as his imperial colleague in succession to the emperor Valens at Sirmium on 19 January 379. It is clear that he was forced to retire home to Spain only to be recalled to active service shortly thereafter, but the circumstances of his forced retirement are shrouded in mystery. His father was executed at roughly the same time, and much speculation has centred on the relationship between these events.

[For a very detailed and interesting discussion of the Foreign Policy of Theodosius and the Civil Wars that plagued his reign, please see http://www.roman-emperors.org/theo1.htm]

Family and Succession
Theodosius married twice. His first wife was the Spanish Aelia Flavia Flaccilla. She bore him Arcadius ca. 377, Honorius on 9 September 384, and Pulcheria ca. 385. Theodosius honoured her with the title of Augusta shortly after his accession, but she died in 386. In late 387 he married Galla, daughter of Valentinian I and full-sister of Valentinian II. She bore him Gratian ca. 388, Galla Placidia ca. 388/390, and died in childbirth in 394, together with her new-born son John. Of his two sons who survived infancy, he appointed Arcadius as Augustus on 19 January 383 and Honorius as Augustus on 23 January 393. His promotion of Arcadius as a full Augustus at an unusually young age points to his determination right from the start that one of his own sons should succeed him. He sought to strengthen Arcadius' position in particular by means of a series of strategic marriages whose purpose was to tie his leading "generals" irrevocably to his dynasty. Hence he married his niece and adoptive daughter Serena to his magister militum per Orientem Stilicho in 387, her elder sister Thermantia to a "general" whose name has not been preserved, and ca. 387 his nephew-in-law Nebridius to Salvina, daughter of the comes Africae Gildo. By the time of his death by illness on 17 January 395, Theodosius had promoted Stilicho from his position as one of the two comites domesticorum under his own eastern administration to that of magister peditum praesentalis in a western administration, in an entirely traditional manner, under his younger son Honorius. Although Stilicho managed to increase the power of the magister peditum praesentalis to the disadvantage of his colleague the magister equitum praesentalis and claimed that Theodosius had appointed him as guardian for both his sons, this tells us more about his cunning and ambition than it does about Theodosius' constitutional arrangements.

Theodosius' importance rests on the fact that he founded a dynasty which continued in power until the death of his grandson Theodosius II in 450. This ensured a continuity of policy which saw the emergence of Nicene Christianity as the orthodox belief of the vast majority of Christians throughout the middle ages. It also ensured the essential destruction of paganism and the emergence of Christianity as the religion of the state, even if the individual steps in this process can be difficult to identify. On the negative side, however, he allowed his dynastic interests and ambitions to lead him into two unnecessary and bloody civil wars which severely weakened the empire's ability to defend itself in the face of continued barbarian pressure upon its frontiers. In this manner, he put the interests of his family before those of the wider Roman population and was responsible, in many ways, for the phenomenon to which we now refer as the fall of the western Roman empire.


Copyright (C) 1998, David Woods.
Published: De Imperatoribus Romanis: An Online Encyclopedia of Roman Rulers and their Families http://www.roman-emperors.org/startup.htm. Used by permission.

There is a nice segue here, as we pick-up John Julius Norwich's summation of the reign of Theodosius, "Readers of this brief account of his career may well find themselves wondering, not so much whether he deserved the title of 'the Great' as how he ever came to acquire it in the first place. If so, however, they may also like to ask themselves another question: what would have been the fate of the Empire if, at that critical moment in its history after the battle of Adrianople, young Gratian had not called him from his Spanish estates and put the future of the East into his hands? . . . the probability is that the whole Empire of the East would have been lost, swallowed up in a revived Gothic kingdom, with effects on world history that defy speculation.

In his civil legislation he showed, again and again, a consideration for the humblest of his subjects that was rare indeed among rulers of the fourth century. What other prince would have decreed that any criminal, sentenced to execution, imprisonment or exile, must first be allowed thirty days' grace to put his affairs in order? Or that a specified part of his worldly goods must go to his children, upon whom their father's crimes must on no account be visited? Or that no farmer should be obliged to sell his produce to the State at a price lower than he would receive on the open market?

Had he earned his title? Not, perhaps, in the way that Constantine had done or as Justinian was to do. But, if not ultimately great himself, he had surely come very close to greatness; and had he reigned as long as they did his achievements might well have equalled theirs. He might even have saved the Western Empire. One thing only is certain: it would be nearly a century and a half before the Romans would look upon his like again" (Norwich, John Julius. Byzantium, the Early Centuries. London: Penguin Group, 1990. 116-7;118).

Edited by J. P. Fitzgerald, Jr.



Cleisthenes
Theod1GlrMan.jpg
1505c, Theodosius I, 379 - 395 A.D. (Constantinople)78 viewsTheodosius I (379 - 395 AD) AE3. 388-394 AD, RIC IX 27(a)3, Third Officina. Seventh Period. 20.27 mm. 4.8gm. Near VF with black and earthen patina. Constantinople. Obverse: DN THEODO-SIANVS P F AVG, pearl-diademed, draped, & cuirassed bust right; Reverse: GLORIA-ROMANORVM, Theodosius I standing, facing, holding labarum and globe, CONSB in exergue (scarcer reverse). A Spanish find.



De Imperatoribus Romanis: An Online Encyclopedia of Roman Rulers and their Families

THEODOSIUS I (379-395 A.D.)
David Woods
University College of Cork


Origin and Early Career
Flavius Theodosius was born at Cauca in Spain in about 346 to Thermantia and Theodosius the Elder (so-called to distinguish him from his son). Theodosius the Elder was a senior military officer serving in the Western empire and rose to become the magister equitum praesentalis under the emperor Valentinian I from late 368 until his execution in early 375. As the son of a soldier, Theodosius was legally obliged to enter upon a military career. He seems to have served under his father during his expedition to Britain in 367/8, and was the dux Moesiae Primae by late 374. Unfortunately, great controversy surrounds the rest of his career until Gratian had him hailed as his imperial colleague in succession to the emperor Valens at Sirmium on 19 January 379. It is clear that he was forced to retire home to Spain only to be recalled to active service shortly thereafter, but the circumstances of his forced retirement are shrouded in mystery. His father was executed at roughly the same time, and much speculation has centred on the relationship between these events.

[For a very detailed and interesting discussion of the Foreign Policy of Theodosius and the Civil Wars that plagued his reign, please see http://www.roman-emperors.org/theo1.htm]

Family and Succession
Theodosius married twice. His first wife was the Spanish Aelia Flavia Flaccilla. She bore him Arcadius ca. 377, Honorius on 9 September 384, and Pulcheria ca. 385. Theodosius honoured her with the title of Augusta shortly after his accession, but she died in 386. In late 387 he married Galla, daughter of Valentinian I and full-sister of Valentinian II. She bore him Gratian ca. 388, Galla Placidia ca. 388/390, and died in childbirth in 394, together with her new-born son John. Of his two sons who survived infancy, he appointed Arcadius as Augustus on 19 January 383 and Honorius as Augustus on 23 January 393. His promotion of Arcadius as a full Augustus at an unusually young age points to his determination right from the start that one of his own sons should succeed him. He sought to strengthen Arcadius' position in particular by means of a series of strategic marriages whose purpose was to tie his leading "generals" irrevocably to his dynasty. Hence he married his niece and adoptive daughter Serena to his magister militum per Orientem Stilicho in 387, her elder sister Thermantia to a "general" whose name has not been preserved, and ca. 387 his nephew-in-law Nebridius to Salvina, daughter of the comes Africae Gildo. By the time of his death by illness on 17 January 395, Theodosius had promoted Stilicho from his position as one of the two comites domesticorum under his own eastern administration to that of magister peditum praesentalis in a western administration, in an entirely traditional manner, under his younger son Honorius. Although Stilicho managed to increase the power of the magister peditum praesentalis to the disadvantage of his colleague the magister equitum praesentalis and claimed that Theodosius had appointed him as guardian for both his sons, this tells us more about his cunning and ambition than it does about Theodosius' constitutional arrangements.

Theodosius' importance rests on the fact that he founded a dynasty which continued in power until the death of his grandson Theodosius II in 450. This ensured a continuity of policy which saw the emergence of Nicene Christianity as the orthodox belief of the vast majority of Christians throughout the middle ages. It also ensured the essential destruction of paganism and the emergence of Christianity as the religion of the state, even if the individual steps in this process can be difficult to identify. On the negative side, however, he allowed his dynastic interests and ambitions to lead him into two unnecessary and bloody civil wars which severely weakened the empire's ability to defend itself in the face of continued barbarian pressure upon its frontiers. In this manner, he put the interests of his family before those of the wider Roman population and was responsible, in many ways, for the phenomenon to which we now refer as the fall of the western Roman empire.


Copyright (C) 1998, David Woods.
Published: De Imperatoribus Romanis: An Online Encyclopedia of Roman Rulers and their Families http://www.roman-emperors.org/startup.htm. Used by permission.

There is a nice segue here, as we pick-up John Julius Norwich's summation of the reign of Theodosius, "Readers of this brief account of his career may well find themselves wondering, not so much whether he deserved the title of 'the Great' as how he ever came to acquire it in the first place. If so, however, they may also like to ask themselves another question: what would have been the fate of the Empire if, at that critical moment in its history after the battle of Adrianople, young Gratian had not called him from his Spanish estates and put the future of the East into his hands? . . . the probability is that the whole Empire of the East would have been lost, swallowed up in a revived Gothic kingdom, with effects on world history that defy speculation.

In his civil legislation he showed, again and again, a consideration for the humblest of his subjects that was rare indeed among rulers of the fourth century. What other prince would have decreed that any criminal, sentenced to execution, imprisonment or exile, must first be allowed thirty days' grace to put his affairs in order? Or that a specified part of his worldly goods must go to his children, upon whom their father's crimes must on no account be visited? Or that no farmer should be obliged to sell his produce to the State at a price lower than he would receive on the open market?

Had he earned his title? Not, perhaps, in the way that Constantine had done or as Justinian was to do. But, if not ultimately great himself, he had surely come very close to greatness; and had he reigned as long as they did his achievements might well have equalled theirs. He might even have saved the Western Empire. One thing only is certain: it would be nearly a century and a half before the Romans would look upon his like again" (Norwich, John Julius. Byzantium, the Early Centuries. London: Penguin Group, 1990. 116-7;118).

Edited by J. P. Fitzgerald, Jr.
Cleisthenes
ValerianAntVict.jpg
1cx Valerian38 views253-260

Antoninianus

Radiate draped and cuirassed bust, right, IMP C P LIC VALERIANVS AVG
Victory standing left, holding wreath and palm, VICTORIA AVGG

RIC 125

Persians surrounded Valerian's army in the East in 260 and took the emperor prisoner. He died on an unknown date in captivity.

Zosimus noted: The nations subject to the Romans being unable to endure [Maximinus'] monstrous cruelty, and greatly distressed by the ravages he committed, the Africans proclaimed Gordianus and his son, of the same name, emperors, and sent ambassadors to Rome, one of whom was Valerianus, a man of consular rank, who afterwards himself became emperor. . . .

Aemilianus advanced with great speed into Italy, and the armies were very near to each other, when the soldiers of Gallus, reflecting that his force was much inferior to the enemy both in number and strength, and likewise that he was a negligent indolent man, put him and his son to death, and going over to the party of Aemilianus, appeared to establish his authority. But Valerianus brought into Italy from beyond the Alps a vast army, with which he deemed himself secure of conquering Aemilianus. The soldiers of Aemilianus, who saw that his conduct was more like that of a private sentinel than of an emperor, now put him to death as a person unfit for so weighty a charge.

By these means Valerianus became emperor with universal consent, and employed himself in the regulation of affairs. But the excursions of the Scythians, and of the Marcomanni, who made an inroad into all the countries adjacent to the empire, reduced Thessalonica to extreme danger; and though they were with muct difficulty compelled to raise the siege by the brave defence of those within, yet all Greece was in alarm. The Athenians repaired their walls, which they had never thought worth their care since Sylla threw them down. The Peloponnesians likewise fortified the Isthmus, and all Greece put itself upon its guard for the general security.

Valerianus, perceiving the empire in danger on every side, associated his son Gallienus with himself in the government! and went himself into the east to oppose the Persians. He entrusted to his son the care of the forces in Europe, thus leaving him to resist the Barbarians who poured in upon him in every direction. . . .

Valerianus had by this time heard of the disturbances in Bithynia, but his district would not allow him to confide the defence of it to any of his generals. He therefore sent Felix to Byzantium, and went in person from Antioch into Cappadocia, and after he had done some injury to every city by which he passed, he returned homeward. But the plague then attacked his troops, and destroyed most of them, at the time when Sapor made an attempt upon the east, and reduced most of it into subjection. In the mean time, Valerianus became so effeminate and indolent, that he dispaired of ever recovering from the present ill state of affairs, and would have concluded the war by a present of money; had not Sapor sent back the ambasadors who were sent to him with that proposal, without their errand, desiring the emperor to come and speak with him in person concerning the affairs he wished to adjust; To which he most imprudently consented, and going without consideration to Sapor with a small retinue, to treat for a peace, was presently laid hold of by the enemy, and so ended his days in the capacity of a slave among the Persians, to the disgrace of the Roman name in all future times.
Blindado
JulianIIAE3VotX.jpg
1en Julian II "Apostate"26 views360-363

AE3

Pearl-diademed, helmeted, cuirassed bust left, holding shield & spear, D N FL CL IVLIANVS P F AVG
VOT X MVLT XX in four lines within wreath, palm branch-BSIS-palm branch in ex [?].

RIC 415

According to Zosimus: Constantius, having so well succeeded in his design against Vetranio, marched against Magnentius, having first conferred the title of Caesar on Gallus, the son of his uncle, and brother to Julian who was afterwards emperor, and given him in marriage his sister Constantia. . . . CONSTANTIUS, after having acted towards Gallus Caesar in the manner I have related, left Pannonia to proceed into Italy. . . . He scarcely thought himself capable of managing affairs at this critical period. He was unwilling, however, to associate any one with himself in the government, because he so much desired to rule alone, and could esteem no man his friend. Under these circumstances he was at a loss how to act. It happened, however, that when the empire was in the greatest danger, Eusebia, the wife of Constantius, who was a woman of extraordinary learning, and of greater wisdom than her sex is usually endowed with, advised him to confer the government of the nations beyond the Alps on Julianus Caesar, who was brother to Gallus, and grandson to Constantius. As she knew that the emperor was suspicious of all his kindred, she thus circumvented him. She observed to him, that Julian was a young man unacquainted with the intrigues of state, having devoted himself totally to his studies; and that he was wholly inexperienced in worldly business. That on this account he would be more fit for his purpose than any other person. That either he would be fortunate, and his success would be attributed to the emperor's conduct, or that he would fail and perish; and that thus Constantius would have none of the imperial family to succeed to him.

Constantius, having approved her advice, sent for Julian from Athens, where he lived among the philosophers, and excelled all his masters in every kind of learning. Accordingly, Julian returning from Greece into Italy, Constantius declared him Caesar, gave him in marriage his sister Helena, and sent him beyond the Alps. . . .

Constantius, having thus disposed of Julian, marched himself into Pannonia and Moesia, and having there suppressed the Quadi and the Sarmatians, proceeded to the east, and was provoked to war by the inroads of the Persians. Julian by this time had arrived beyond the Alps into the Gallic nations which he was to rule. Perceiving that the Barbarians continued committing the same violence, Eusebia, for the same reasons as before, persuaded Constantius to place the entire management of those countries into the hands of Julian. . . . Julian finding the military affairs of Gallia Celtica in a very ruinous state, and that the Barbarians pased the Rhine without any resistance, even almost as far as the sea-port towns, he took a survey of the remaining parts of the enemy. And understanding that the people of those parts were terrified at the very name of the Barbarians, while those whom Constantius had sent along with him, who were not more than three hundred and sixty, knew nothing more, as he used to say, than how to say their prayers, he enlisted as many more as he could and took in a great number of volunteers. He also provided arms, and finding a quantity of old weapons in some town he fitted them up, and distributed them among the soldiers. The scouts bringing him intelligence, that an immense number of Barbarians had crossed the river near the city of Argentoratum (Strasburg) which stands on the Rhine, he no sooner heard of it, than he led forth his army with the greatest speed, and engaging with the enemy gained such a victory as exceeds all description.

After these events he raised a great army to make war on the whole German nation; He was opposed however by the Barbarians in vast numbers. Caesar therefore would not wait while they came up to him, but crossed the Rhine, preferring that their country should be the seat of war, and not that of the Romans, as by that means the cities would escape being again pillaged by the Barbarians. A most furious battle therefore took place; a great number of the Barbarians being slain on the field of battle, while the rest fled, and were pursued by Caesar into the Hercynian forest, and many of them killed. . . .

But while Julian was at Parisium, a small town in Germany, the soldiers, being ready to march, continued at supper till midnight in a place near the palace, which they so called there. They were as yet ignorant of any design against Caesar [by Constantius], when some tribunes, who began to suspect the contrivance against him, privately distributed a number of anonymous billets among the soldiers, in which they represented to them, that Caesar, by his judicious conduct had so managed affairs, that almost all of them had erected trophies over the Barbarians ; that he had always fought like a private soldier, and was now in extreme danger from the emperor, who would shortly deprive him of his whole army, unless they prevented it. Some of the soldiers having read these billets, and published the intrigue to the whole army, all were highly enraged. They suddenly rose from their seats in great commotion, and with the cups yet in their hands went to the palace. Breaking open the doors without ceremony, they brought out Caesar, and lifting him on a shield declared him emperor and Augustus. They then, without attending to his reluctance, placed a diadem upon his head. . . .

Arriving at Naisus, he consulted the soothsayers what measures to pursue. As the entrails signified that he must stay there for some time, he obeyed, observing likewise the time that was mentioned in his dream. When this, according to the motion of the planets, was arrived, a party of horsemen arrived from Constantinople at Naisus, with intelligence that Constantius was dead, and that the armies desired Julian to be emperor. Upon this he accepted what the gods had bestowed upon him, and proceeded on his journey. On his arrival at. Byzantium, he was received with joyful acclamations. . . .

[After slashing through Persia and crossing the Tigris,] they perceived the Persian army, with which they engaged, and having considerably the advantage, they killed a great number of Persians. Upon the following day, about noon, the Persians drew up in a large body, and once more attacked the rear of the Roman army. The Romans, being at that time out of their ranks, were surprised and alarmed at the suddenness of the attack, yet made a stout and spirited defence. The emperor, according to his custom, went round the army, encouraging them to fight with ardour. When by this means all were engaged, the emperor, who sometimes rode to the commanders and tribunes, and was at other times among the private soldiers, received a wound in the heat of the engagement, and was borne on a shield to his tent. He survived only till midnight. He then expired, after having nearly subverted the Persian empire.

Note: Julian favored the pagan faith over Christianity and was tarred by the church as "the apostate."
Blindado
145187.jpg
201c. Pescennius Niger127 viewsGaius Pescennius Niger was governor of Syria in the year 193 when he learned of the emperor Pertinax's murder. Niger's subsequent attempt to claim the empire for himself ended in failure in Syria after roughly one year. His life before becoming governor of Syria is not well known. He was born in Italy to an equestrian family. He seems to have been older than his eventual rival Septimius Severus, so his birth should perhaps be placed ca. AD 135-40. Niger may have held an important position in the administration of Egypt. He won renown, along with Clodius Albinus, for participation in a military campaign in Dacia early in Commodus' reign. Although Niger could have been adlected into the senate before the Dacian campaign, he was by now pursuing a senatorial career and must have been held in high esteem by Commodus. Niger was made a suffect consul, probably in the late 180s, and he was sent as governor to the important province of Syria in 191.

Niger was a well-known and well-liked figure to the Roman populace. After Pertinax became emperor at the beginning of 193, many in Rome may have hoped that the elderly Pertinax would adopt Niger as his Caesar and heir, but Pertinax was murdered without having made succession plans. When Didius Julianus arrived at the senate house on 29 March 193, his first full day as emperor, a riot broke out among the Roman crowd. The rioters took over the Circus Maximus, from which they shouted for Niger to seize the throne. The rioters dispersed the following day, but a report of their demonstration may well have arrived in the Syrian capital, Antioch, with the news that Pertinax had been murdered and replaced by Julianus.

Spurred into action by the news, Niger had himself proclaimed emperor in Antioch. The governors of the other eastern provinces quickly joined his cause. Niger's most important ally was the respected proconsul of Asia, Asellius Aemilianus, and support began to spread across the Propontis into Europe. Byzantium welcomed Niger, who now was preparing further advances. Niger took the additional cognomen Justus, "the Just." Justice was promoted as the theme of his intended reign, and personifications of Justice appeared on his coins.

Other provincial governors, however, also set their sights on replacing Julianus. Albinus in Britain and Septimius Severus in Upper Pannonia (western Hungary) had each aspired to the purple, and Severus was marching an army on Rome. Severus was still 50 miles from the city when the last of Julianus' dwindling authority disappeared. Julianus was killed in Rome 1 June 193.

Niger sent messengers to Rome to announce his acclamation, but those messengers were intercepted by Severus. A deal was struck between Severus and Albinus that kept Albinus in Britain with the title of Caesar. The larger armies of the western provinces were now united in their support for Severus. Niger's support was confined to the east. Severus had Niger's children captured and held as hostages, and a legion was sent to confront Niger's army in Thrace.

The first conflict between the rival armies took place near Perinthus. Although Niger's forces may have inflicted greater casualties on the Severan troops, Niger was unable to secure his advance; he returned to Byzantium. By the autumn of 193, Severus had left Rome and arrived in the region, though his armies there continued to be commanded by supporters. Niger was offered the chance of a safe exile by Severus, but Niger refused.

Severan troops crossed into Asia at the Hellespont and near Cyzicus engaged forces supporting Niger under the command of Aemilianus. Niger's troops were defeated. Aemilianus attempted to flee but was captured and killed. Not long after, in late December 193 or early January 194, Niger was defeated in a battle near Nicaea and fled south to Antioch. Eastern provincial governors now switched their loyalty to Severus, and Niger faced revolts even in Syria. By late spring 194, the Severan armies were in Cilicia preparing to enter Syria. Niger and his army met the Severan troops near Issus. The battle was a decisive defeat for Niger, who fled back to Antioch. The Syrian capital that only one year earlier had cheered as Niger was proclaimed emperor now waited in fear for the approach of its new master. Niger prepared to flee once more, but outside Antioch he was captured and killed.

Despite his popularity with the Roman mob, Pescennius Niger lacked both the strong loyalty of other senatorial commanders and the number of soldiers that his rival Severus enjoyed. Niger was ultimately unable to make himself the true avenger of Pertinax, and his roughly one-year control of the eastern provinces never qualified him to be reckoned a legitimate emperor.

BITHYNIA, Caesarea. Pescennius Niger. AD 193-194. Æ 22mm (6.35 g). Laureate head right / KAICAREIAC GERMANIKHC, coiled serpent left. RG p. 282, 9, pl. XLIV, 8 (same dies); SNG Copenhagen -; SNG von Aulock -. Near VF, brown patina, rough surfaces. Very rare. Ex-CNG
2 commentsecoli
coin225.JPG
409. Maximinus II Daza37 viewsCaius Valerius Galerius Maximinus, more commonly known as Maximinus Daia or Daza, was from Illyricum and was of peasant origin. He was born 20 November perhaps in the year 270. Daia was the son of Galerius' sister and had served in the army as a scutarius, Protector, and tribunus. He had been adopted by Galerius ; his name had been Daia even before that time. He had a wife and daughter, whose names are unknown, while his son's name was Maximus. When Diocletian and Maximianus Herculius resigned their posts of emperor on 1 May 305, they were succeeded by Constantius I Chlorus and Galerius as Augusti; their new Caesars were Severus and Maximinus Daia respectively. Constantius and Severus ruled in the West, whereas Galerius and Daia served in the East. Specifically, Daia's realm included the Middle East and the southern part of Asia Minor.[[1]]

Immediately after his appointment to the rank of Caesar, he went east and spent his first several years at Caesarea in Palestine. Events of the last quarter of 306 had a profound effect on the Emperor Galerius and his Caesar Daia. When Constantius I Chlorus died in July 306, the eastern emperor was forced by the course of events to accept Constantius' son Constantine as Caesar in the West; on 28 October of the same year, Maxentius , with the apparent backing of his father Maximianus Herculius, was acclaimed princeps. Both the attempt to dislodge Maxentius by Severus, who had been appointed Augustus of the West by Galerius after the death of Constantius in late 306 or early 307, and the subsequent campaign of Galerius himself in the summer of 307 failed. Because of the escalating nature of this chain of events, a Conference was called at Carnuntum in October and November 308; Licinius was appointed Augustus in Severus's place and Daia and Constantine were denoted filii Augustorum. Daia, however, unsatisfied with this sop tossed to him by Galerius, started calling himself Augustus in the spring of 310 when he seems to have campaigned against the Persians.[[2]] Although, as Caesar, he proved to be a trusted servant of Galerius until the latter died in 311, he subsequently seized the late emperor's domains. During the early summer of that year, he met with Licinius at the Bosporus; they concluded a treaty and divided Galerius' realm between them. Several yea rs later, after the death of Daia, Licinius obtained control of his domain. Like his mentor the late emperor, Daia had engaged in persecution of the Christians in his realm.[[3]]

In the autumn of 312, while Constantine was engaged against Maxentius, Daia appears to have been campaigning against the Armenians. In any case, he was back in Syria by February 313 when he seems to have learned about the marital alliance which had been forged by Constantine and Licinius. Disturbed by this course of events and the death of Maxentius, who had been his ally, Daia left Syria and reached Bythinia, although the harsh weather had seriously weakened his army. In April 313, he crossed the Bosporus and went to Byzantium, garrisoned by Licinius' troops; when the city refused to surrender, he took it after an eleven day siege. He moved to Heraclea, which he captured after a short siege; he then moved his forces to the first posting station. With only a small contingent of men, Licinius arrived at Adrianople while Daia was besieging Heraclea. On 30 April 313 the two armies clashed on the Campus Ergenus; in the ensuing battle Daia's forces were routed. Divesting himself of the purple and dressing like a slave, Daia fled to Nicomdeia. Subsequently, Daia attempted to stop the advance of Licinius at the Cilician Gates by establishing fortifications there; Licinius' army succeeded in breaking through, and Daia fled to Tarsus where he was hard pressed on land and sea. Daia died, probably in July or August 313, and was buried near Tarsus. Subsequently, the victorious emperor put Daia's wife and children to death.

Maximinus II Daza. 309-313 AD. ? Follis. Laureate head right / Genius standing left holding cornucopiae.
ecoli
coin536.JPG
410. Licinius I43 viewsFlavius Galerius Valerius Licinianus Licinius (c. 250 - 325) was Roman emperor from 308 to 324.

Of Dacian peasant origin, born in Moesia Superior, Licinius accompanied his close friend the Emperor Galerius on the Persian expedition in 297. After the death of Flavius Valerius Severus, Galerius elevated Licinius to the rank of Augustus in the West on November 11, 308. He received as his immediate command the provinces of Illyricum, Thrace and Pannonia.

On the death of Galerius, in May 311, Licinius shared the entire empire with Maximinus Daia, the Hellespont and the Bosporus being the dividing line.

In March 313 he married Flavia Julia Constantia, half-sister of Constantine, at Mediolanum (now Milan), the occasion for the jointly-issued "Edict of Milan" that restored confiscated properties to Christian congregations though it did not "Christianize" the Empire as is often assumed, although it did give Christians a better name in Rome. In the following month (April 30), Licinius inflicted a decisive defeat on Maximinus at Battle of Tzirallum, after Maximinus had tried attacking him. He then established himself master of the East, while his brother-in-law, Constantine, was supreme in the West.

In 314 his jealousy led him to encourage a treasonable enterprise in favor of Bassianus against Constantine. When his actions became known, a civil war ensued, in which he was first defeated at the battle of Cibalae in Pannonia (October 8, 314), and next some 2 years later (after naming Valerius Valens co-emperor) in the plain of Mardia (also known as Campus Ardiensis) in Thrace. The outward reconciliation left Licinius in possession of Thrace, Asia Minor, Syria and Egypt, but he later added numerous provinces to Constantine's control.

In 324 Constantine, tempted by the "advanced age and unpopular vices" of his colleague, again declared war against him, and, having defeated his army at the battle of Adrianople (July 3, 324), succeeded in shutting him up within the walls of Byzantium. The defeat of the superior fleet of Licinius by Flavius Julius Crispus, Constantine’s eldest son, compelled his withdrawal to Bithynia, where a last stand was made; the battle of Chrysopolis, near Chalcedon (September 18), resulted in his final submission. He was interned at Thessalonica under a kind of house arrest, but when he attempted to raise troops among the barbarians Constantine had him and his former co-emperor Martinianus assassinated.

O: IMP LICINIVS AVG; Emperor, facing left, wearing imperial mantle, holding mappa and globe.
R: IOVI CONSERVATORI AVGG; Jupiter standing left holding Victory; palm to left, epsilon in right field, SMN in exergue. Sear 3804, RIC Nicomedia 24 (Scarce), Failmezger #278. Remarkable detail on this nicely silvered Late Roman bronze, ex Crisp Collection.

ecoli
domitian AE19~0.jpg
81-96 AD - DOMITIAN AE19 Byzantion - struck 81-96 AD47 viewsobv: DOMITIANOY KAICAPOC (laureate head left)
rev: [BYZ]ANTIWN (crescent moon and star)
ref: Moushmov3274
mint: Byzantion (Thrace)
3.16gms, 19mm
Very rare

The crescent and star is one of the oldest symbol, it appears on petroglyphs and steles of the first civilization in Sumer. This symbol was adopted by the Greeks and was associated with many of their gods. Nevertheless, Byzantium was the first governing state to use the crescent moon as its national symbol. According to some reports, they chose it in honor of the goddess Diana.
berserker
Aurelian- Concordia Militum.jpg
Aurelian- Concordia Militum140 viewsAurelian, August or September 270 - October or November 275 A.D.

Obverse:
Radiate and cuirassed bust right

IMP AVRELIANVS AVG

IMP: Imperator, leader of the army
AVRELIANVS: Aurelian
AVG: Augustus, emperor

Reverse
CONCORD • MILIT, Accordance with the army

CONCORD • : Accordance
MILIT: Army

The dot in legend appears on the specimen illustrated by Göbl. Göbl 276a3 (2). He says "Moneta Comitatentis (later in Byzantium), 2nd. Emission"
He dates that to middle of 272. Göbl's concordance is -> Göbl (MiR 47) 276 = RIC 391 = Rohde 119, 120


Aurelian standing right, holding sceptre and clasping hand of Concordia standing left.

Domination: Bronze, size 23 mm

Mint: Cyzicus Γ (3.rd Officina), scarce or RIC V/1, 391; unattributed mint. It is Cohen 25. It could be RIC V/1, 342. I can't tell the difference! The description in RIC is the same for both types. Moneta Comitatensis, but it may be obsolete in any case.


Comment: In Estiot, Monnaies de l'Empire romain, vol.II, it is #987, pl.31; atelier Balkanique. The portrait on the obverse looks very strange. It is strange in the sense that there are very odd pictorial trends in the portraiture of Aurelian, but within the context it's not that unusual.
John Schou
Constantine_I_37.jpg
B140 viewsConstantine I “The Great” AE3

Attribution: RIC VII 117, Thessalonica
Date: AD 320-321
Obverse: CONSTANTINVS AVG, laureate head r.
Reverse: DN CONSTANTINI MAX AVG, VOT dot XX in wreath with star at top,
TSEVI in exergue
Size: 18.5 mm
Weight: 3.0 grams

"When men commend my services, which owe their origin to the inspiration of Heaven, do they not clearly establish the truth that God is the cause of the exploits I have performed? Assuredly they do, for it belongs to God to do whatever is best, and to man, to perform the commands of God." - Constantine To the Assembly of the Saints 26

Constantine fought his battles under the banner of the cross and with Christian standards. This is quite a shift from the mentality of his predecessors who were overtly pagan. After his defeat of Licinius I in AD 324, Constantine established himself as the master of the entire Roman Empire, and suddenly changed his entire demeanor as sole ruler. He seemed to have acquired a self-righteousness about him. He moved the capital of the empire to a new city in Byzantium named, aptly, Constantinople. This further diminished the importance of Rome and Italy in the entire scope of things. In fact, he even disbanded the praetorian guard which had played an undeniably central role in the appointment of numerous previous emperors. In AD 326, he had his son Crispus executed for commiting adultery. His wife, Fausta, also died when the temperature of her bath was turned up and she subsequently suffocated on the steam. Despite these instances of questionable judgement, Constantine's reputation remained unscathed. Constantine proved to be an able administrator, but was often criticized by critics and supporters alike for his heavy taxation. When it came to the military, he excelled. His restructuring of the military was also criticized at first, but Constantine proved these doubts wrong with his military successes. Although Constantine waged several victorious campaigns against the Alemanni, Goths, and Sarmatians, much of the land he won was soon lost after his death. One of his most ambitious military endeavors occurred in the latter years of his reign. Constantine planned to Christianize Persia and even went to the lengths of appointing his nephew Hannibalianus as "King of Armenia" intending to give him rule over Persia. He never saw these plans come to fruition, however, because he became terminally ill. Before his death at Ankyrona on May 22, AD 337, Constantine had himself baptized by the bishop of Nicomedia. He was buried in Constantinople in a customized mausoleum called the Church of the Holy Apostles. His sons divided the empire amongst themselves as follows: Constantine II took the west, Constantius II the east, and Constans Italy and the Upper Danube. A fourth heir, Constantine's nephew Flavius Dalmatius II was given control of Greece and the Lower Danube. So ended the legacy of one of the most influential emperors Rome had ever produced: Constantine the Great.
9 commentsNoah
Roman_Buckles_6.jpg
Barbarian or East Roman (Byzantine) Buckles115 viewsUPDATE: I have finally definitively identified these buckles. They are Sucidava type buckles associated with the Byzantine military circa AD 550 - 600. They are named after a Byzantine fort site on the Danube river. They are sometimes found in early Avar and Slav contexts but were imported by them from Byzantium or were booty taken from the Byzantine legions. Type 1 is the "cross and crescent type" at the top which shows a Christian context. Type two is the anthropomorphic face type" at the middle and bottom.otlichnik
Bithynia.jpg
Bithynia12 viewsAs a Roman province, the boundaries of Bithynia frequently varied, and it was commonly united for administrative purposes with the province of Pontus. This was the state of things in the time of Trajan, when Pliny the Younger was appointed governor of the combined provinces, a circumstance to which we are indebted for valuable information concerning the Roman provincial administration. Under the Byzantine Empire Bithynia was again divided into two provinces, separated by the Sangarius, to the west of which the name of Bithynia was restricted.

The most important cities were Nicomedia and Nicaea. The two had a long rivalry with one another over which city held the rank of capital. Both of these were founded after Alexander the Great; but at a much earlier period the Greeks had established on the coast the colonies of Cius (modern Gemlik); Chalcedon (modern Kadıköy), at the entrance of the Bosporus, nearly opposite Byzantium (modern Istanbul; and Heraclea Pontica (modern Karadeniz Ereğli), on the Euxine, about 120 miles (190 km) east of the Bosporus.
ancientone
146.jpg
BYZ▪Δ133 viewsUncertain mint. Æ 26. 1st-2nd Century A.D. (?). Obv: Outline of early imperial bust; countermark before. Reverse worn smooth. Weight: 8.80 g. Found in Spain according to seller’s notes. CM: BYZ▪Δ in rectangular punch, 4.5 x 11 mm (actually the "Z" is mirrored). Howgego 520 var. (2 pcs). Note: Likely applied in Byzantium (Thrace). This specimen is quite clear, and it would seem that the countermark is made up of a combination of a city reference (BYZ) and a denomination (Δ). Collection Automan.Automan
Byzantium-lead-seal-Q-03-s.jpg
Byzantine Lead Seal, #03,111 viewsByzantine Lead Seal, #03,1 commentsquadrans
Byzantium-lead-seal-009-s.jpg
Byzantine Lead Seal, #09,76 viewsByzantine Lead Seal, #09,

diameter: 13,5-14,5mm,
weight: 3,19g,
Q-001
quadrans
Byzantium-lead-seal-013-s.jpg
Byzantine Lead Seal, #10,77 viewsByzantine Lead Seal, #10,
Georgios. Byzantine lead tessera 7th century AD
Monogram ΘEOTOKE BOHΘEI
Cruciform monogram ΓEOPΓIOV (by Gert, thank you Gert).
diameter: 15-16mm,
weight: 2,99g,
Q-001
quadrans
Byzantium-lead-seal-014-s.jpg
Byzantine Lead Seal, #11,79 viewsByzantine Lead Seal, #11,

diameter: 15,5-17,5mm,
weight: 5,60g,
Q-001
quadrans
Byzantium-lead-seal-021-s.jpg
Byzantine Lead Seal, #21,108 viewsByzantine Lead Seal, #21,2 commentsquadrans
Byzantium-lead-seal-022-s.jpg
Byzantine Lead Seal, #22,78 viewsByzantine Lead Seal, #22,quadrans
Byzantium-lead-seal-024-s.jpg
Byzantine Lead Seal, #24,177 viewsByzantine Lead Seal, #24,
"That's an anonymous seal depicting two warrior saints. Obv. shows Saint George [O GE]-WPGIO' (The accent is an abbreviation mark, peculiarly only for the letter 'C'!). The rev. shows Demetrios [O D]H/[M]H - TPIOC (can't see these last letters clearly from the photo though). He is holding a spear in r. hand and his l. on hilt of sword set on the ground. I'd date this one 12th century." by Gert thank you Gert.
quadrans
Byzantium-lead-seal-025_Q-001_axis-0h_15,5-18,5mm_6,67ga-s.jpg
Byzantine Lead Seal, #25, ---,96 viewsByzantine Lead Seal, #25, ---,
avers:Draped bust faceing with imperial mantle.
revers:--- ???.
size : 15,5x18,5mm,
weight: 6,675g,
Q-001
quadrans
Byzantium-lead-seal-029_Helm-head_right_GENA-DIS_Q-001_axis-0h_15,5-13mm_3,46g-s.jpg
Byzantine Lead Seal, #29,ΓENA/ΔIC,82 viewsByzantine Lead Seal, #29,ΓENA/ΔIC,
avers:Helmetad head right, border of dots.
revers:ΓENA/ΔIC, border of dots.
size : 15,5x13mm,
weight: 3,46g,
Q-001
quadrans
Byzantium-lead-seal-031_Cuirassed_bust_faceing_with_shield_and_sceptre_--OVTO-PAKO-TOC-_Q-001_axis-0h_13-14,5mm_3,85g-s.jpg
Byzantine Lead Seal, #31, --OVTO-PAKO-TOC-,88 viewsByzantine Lead Seal, #31, --OVTO-PAKO-TOC-,
"This is a Byzantine seal, about 11th/12th century. The obv. has an image of - probably - saint George, who is by far the most common beardless military saint to be found on seals. As you can see from the obv., the flan is much too small to incorporate all of the design of the boulloterion, which on the reverse leads to a very fragmentary inscription." by Gert thank you Gert.
avers:Cuirassed bust faceing with small round shield and sceptre.
revers:--OVTO-PAKO-TOC- ???.
size : 13x14,5mm,
weight: 3,85g,
Q-001
quadrans
Byzantium-lead-seal-035_Q-001_0h_19mm_7,60g-s.jpg
Byzantine Lead Seal, #35,185 viewsByzantine Lead Seal, #35,
avers:
revers: +/ΛOΓVC/ΦVLATTω/ΦVΛAKOC/KωN in five row.
diameter: 19mm,
weight: 7,60g,
Q-001
"+/ΛOΓVC/ΦVLATTω/ΦVΛAKOC/KωN "
"I guard the words of Konstantinos Phylax" - Your seal is published by Laurent, in his Corpus, vol. II, no 671, dated mid 12th century. Alexandra Wassiliou-Seibt dates it last third 11th century in her Corpus of Byzantine metric seals (no 1333). by Gert , thank you Gert.
1 commentsquadrans
Byzantium-lead-seal-011-IVSTINIANVS-s.jpg
Byzantine Lead Seal, IVSTINIANVS-I, (527-565 A.D.), Pb Imperial Seal (Zacos–Veglery 3a, BZS.1958.106.563), #01185 viewsByzantine Lead Seal, IVSTINIANVS-I, (527-565 A.D.), Pb Imperial Seal (Zacos–Veglery 3a, BZS.1958.106.563), #01
avers: - D N IVSTINI ANVS PP AVG - (Dominus noster Iustinianus perpetuus augustus (Our lord Justinian, eternal augustus)), Nimbate, beardless bust of Justinian I, facing forward, wearing both a helmet with diadem, trefoil ornament, and pendilia, and a chlamys. A circular inscription beginning at left. Border of dots.
revers:- Winged Victory advancing, wearing a long chiton and holding a victory wreath in each hand. A small byzatian cross visible at left and right. No epigraphy. Border of dots.
diameter: 17-19,5 mm,
weight: 5,49 g,
mint:
date:
ref:Zacos–Veglery 3a, BZS.1958.106.563
Q-001
1 commentsquadrans
Byzantium-lead-seal-012-IVSTINVS-s.jpg
Byzantine Lead Seal, IVSTINIANVS-I, (527-565 A.D.), Pb Imperial Seal (Zacos–Veglery 3a, BZS.1958.106.563), #02,70 viewsByzantine Lead Seal, IVSTINIANVS-I, (527-565 A.D.), Pb Imperial Seal (Zacos–Veglery 3a, BZS.1958.106.563), #02,
avers: - D N IVSTINI ANVS PP AVG - (Dominus noster Iustinianus perpetuus augustus (Our lord Justinian, eternal augustus)), Nimbate, beardless bust of Justinian I, facing forward, wearing both a helmet with diadem, trefoil ornament, and pendilia, and a chlamys. A circular inscription beginning at left. Border of dots.
revers:- Winged Victory advancing, wearing a long chiton and holding a victory wreath in each hand. A small byzatian cross visible at left and right. No epigraphy. Border of dots.
diameter: 19-22 mm,
weight: 6,48 g,
mint:
date:
ref:Zacos–Veglery 3a, BZS.1958.106.563
Q-002
quadrans
Basil II the Bulgarslayer.jpg
BYZANTINE, Basil II the Bulgarslayer, AV Histamenon, Constantinopolis170 views548. Basile II le Bulgarochtone (976-1025), AV histamenon, 1001-1005 (?), Constantinople.
Obv : B. du Christ nimbé de face, bénissant et tenant les Evangiles. Trois groupes de sept globules dans les bras de la croix.
Rev : B. de Basile et de Constantin de face, tenant entre eux une croix patriarcale. Manus Dei au-dessus de la tête de Basile.
Ref.: S., 1798; R., 1941; B.N. 13; D.O. 4a.
4,23gm, Rare.

Under Basil, the empire expanded in all directions. He conquered Bulgaria, as his name suggests, and recovered Antioch from the Arabs.
goldcoin
Byzantion-_Cross-like-a-pendant_Q-002_28,5x39,5mm_3,68g-s.jpg
Byzantion Cross Like a pendant, AE #02150 viewsByzantion Cross Like a pendant, AE #02
type:Cross
size: 28,5x39,5mm,
weight: 3,68g,
date: ??? A.D.,
ref: ???
distribution: Byzantium,
Q-002
quadrans
Byzantion-_Cross_Q-001_37x25mm_8,64g-s.jpg
Byzantion Cross, AE #01218 viewsByzantion Cross, AE #01
type:Cross
size: 37x25mm,
weight: 8,64g,
date: ??? A.D.,
ref: ???
distribution: Byzantium,
Q-001
quadrans
005_(2).JPG
Byzantion, Thrace46 views357 - 340 B.C.
Silver Tetrobol
2.51 gm, 14 mm
Obverse: Cow standing left on dolphin foreleg raised, ΠΥ above (the first letter is an archaic form of "B" used at Byzantium)
Reverse: Incuse square of mill-sail pattern, punched surfaces textured with dots
Sear 1582; BMC Thrace pg. 94, 15/16
1 commentsJaimelai
Byzantium-lead-seal-031-s.jpg
Byzantium lead-seal, Virgin and eagle, #03193 viewsByzantium lead-seal, Virgin and eagle, #031
type: lead-seal, Virgin and eagle.
avers: The Virgin standing faceing, holding Christ in her hands and the Byzantion cross both side.
revers: Open-winged eagle, above his head a cruciform monogramm, name as "John".
size: 21,4x20,5mm,
weight: 9,51g,
date: cc. 6th. or 7th. century A.D.,
ref: ???
distribution: Byzantium,
Q-031
1 commentsquadrans
byzantion.jpg
Byzantium, Thrace; Hemidrachm19 viewsByzantium, Thrace
386 - 340 B C
Forepart of bull on dolphin l.
Trident
1.93 gram
10.9 mm
Klein 23, 88.
Adrian S
ConstanCommRIC63_ConstantinopleMint.jpg
City of Constantinople Commemorative, 330 - 333 A.D.82 viewsBronze AE 3, RIC 63, VF, Constantinople, 2.524g, 18.5mm, 0o, 330 - 333 A.D.; Obverse: CONSTAN-TINOPOLI, Constantinopolis' helmeted bust left in imperial cloak and holding scepter across left shoulder; Reverse: Victory standing left, right foot on prow, scepter in right, resting left on grounded shield, CONSZ in exergue; nice style. Ex FORVM.

Constantinople Commemoratives minted by the actual city of Constantinople mint are much scarcer than those minted by other Eastern mints.

The village that was to become the site of Byzantium/Constantinople/Istambul was founded c. 658 B. C. by a Greek colony from Megara; the site was then occupied by the Thracian village of Lygos. The chief of the Megarian expedition was Byzas, after whom the city was naturally called Byzantion (Lat. Byzantium). Despite its perfect situation, the colony did not prosper at first; it suffered much during the Medic wars, chiefly from the satraps of Darius and Xerxes. Later on, its control was disputed by Lacedæmonians and Athenians; for two years (341-339 B. C.) it held out against Philip of Macedon. It succeeded in maintaining its independence even against victorious Rome, was granted the title and rights of an allied city, and its ambassadors were accorded at Rome the same honours as those given to allied kings; it enjoyed, moreover, all transit duties on the Bosporus. Cicero defended it in the Roman Senate, and put an end to the exactions of Piso.

The city continued prosperous to the reign of Septimius Severus, when it sided with his rival, Pescennius Niger. After a siege of three years (193-196) Severus razed to the ground its walls and public monuments, and made it subject to Perinthus or Heraclea in Thrace. But he soon forgave this resistance, restored its former privileges, built there the baths of Zeuxippus, and began the hippodrome. It was devastated again by the soldiers of Gallienus in 262, but was rebuilt almost at once. In the long war between Constantine and Licinius (314-323) it embraced the fortunes of the latter, but, after his defeat at Chrysopolis (Scutari), submitted to the victor.

Constantine had chosen this city as the new capital of the Roman Empire, but owing to his wars and the needs of the State, he rarely resided there.

(The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume IV; Copyright © 1908 by Robert Appleton Company;Online Edition Copyright © 2003 by K. Knight).

Edited by J. P. Fitzgerald, Jr.
1 commentsCleisthenes
14106p00.jpg
City of Constantinopolis Commemorative, 330-346 A.D. (Cyzikus)50 viewsConstantinopolis City Commemorative, issued by CONSTANTINE THE GREAT AND HIS SONS, of the period AD 330-346, commemorating the transfer of the Seat of the Empire from Rome to Constantinople, AE3/4, aVF, Cyzikus. Obverse: CONSTAN-TINOPOLI, Constantinopolis wearing imperial mantle, holding inverted spear, laureate helmet, bust L.; Reverse: No legend; Victory stg. L., right foot on prow, holding scepter and leaning on shield; star?pellet?SMK pellet? in exergue.

The village that was to become the site of Byzantium/Constantinople/Istambul was founded c. 658 B. C. by a Greek colony from Megara; the site was then occupied by the Thracian village of Lygos. The chief of the Megarian expedition was Byzas, after whom the city was naturally called Byzantion (Lat. Byzantium). Despite its perfect situation, the colony did not prosper at first; it suffered much during the Medic wars, chiefly from the satraps of Darius and Xerxes. Later on, its control was disputed by Lacedæmonians and Athenians; for two years (341-339 B. C.) it held out against Philip of Macedon. It succeeded in maintaining its independence even against victorious Rome, was granted the title and rights of an allied city, and its ambassadors were accorded at Rome the same honours as those given to allied kings; it enjoyed, moreover, all transit duties on the Bosporus. Cicero defended it in the Roman Senate, and put an end to the exactions of Piso.

The city continued prosperous to the reign of Septimius Severus, when it sided with his rival, Pescennius Niger. After a siege of three years (193-196) Severus razed to the ground its walls and public monuments, and made it subject to Perinthus or Heraclea in Thrace. But he soon forgave this resistance, restored its former privileges, built there the baths of Zeuxippus, and began the hippodrome. It was devastated again by the soldiers of Gallienus in 262, but was rebuilt almost at once. In the long war between Constantine and Licinius (314-323) it embraced the fortunes of the latter, but, after his defeat at Chrysopolis (Scutari), submitted to the victor.

Constantine had chosen this city as the new capital of the Roman Empire, but owing to his wars and the needs of the State, he rarely resided there.

(The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume IV; Copyright © 1908 by Robert Appleton Company;Online Edition Copyright © 2003 by K. Knight).

Edited by J. P. Fitzgerald, Jr.
Cleisthenes
City_of_Rome_Commemorative_AE18_Treveri_330-331_AD.jpg
City of Rome Commemorative AE18 Treveri 330-331 AD32 viewsBillon reduced centenionalis, RIC VII Trier 529, LRBC I 58, SRCV IV 16487, Cohen VII 17, Hunter V -, gVF, well centered, ragged flan, a few light scratches, 2nd officina, Treveri (Trier, Germany) mint, 2.249 grams, 17.5 mm, die axis 0o, 330 - 331 A.D.; obverse VRBS ROMA, helmeted bust of Roma left wearing imperial mantle; reverse she-wolf standing left, head turned back right, suckling the infant twins Romulus and Remus, two stars above, TRS⚫ in exergue.

FORVM Ancient Coins. / From The Sam Mansourati Collection.


On 11 May 330, Constantine I refounded Byzantium, renamed it Constantinopolis after himself, and moved the capital of the Roman Empire from Rome to his new city. The new capital was Christian, old gods and traditions were either replaced or assimilated into a framework of Christian symbolism. Constantine built the new Church of the Holy Apostles on the site of a temple to Aphrodite. Generations later there was the story that a divine vision led Constantine to this spot. The capital would often be compared to the `old` Rome as Nova Roma Constantinopolitana, the "New Rome of Constantinople." Special commemorative coins were issued with types for both Rome and Constantinople to advertise the importance of the new capital.
Sam
Costantine2.jpg
Constantine II 337-340 A.D.34 views
Metal: Bronze
Diam: 16 mm.
Weight: 1.6 gr.

OBV: Constantine II, Elder son of Constantine The Great :Diademed and cuirassed bust facing Right
OBV-LEGEND: CONSTANTINVSIVNNOBC
Marks-OBV: None

REV: Two helmeted soldiers standing with spears & shields, facing one standard between them.
REV-LEGEND : GLOR IAEXER ITUS
Marks-REV: In Exergue: SMNA also Alignment shifted 180 (Obv and Rev. are upside down one to aother)

Source : N/A
Age: 337-340 A.D.
Mint: Nicomedia *
*Nicomedia Nicomedia (Greek: Νικομήδεια, modern İzmit in Turkey) was founded by Nicomedes I of Bithynia at the head of the Gulf of Astacus which opens to the Propontis. The city was founded in 712 BC and, in early Antiquity, was called Astacus or Olbia. After being destroyed, it was rebuilt by Nicomedes I in 264 BC under the name of Nicomedia, and has ever since been one of the most important cities in northwestern Asia Minor. Hannibal came to Nicomedia in his final years and committed suicide in nearby Libyssa (Diliskelesi, Gebze). The historian Arrian was born there. Nicomedia was the metropolis of Bithynia under the Roman Empire, and Diocletian made it the eastern capital city of the Roman Empire in 286 when he introduced the Tetrarchy system. Nicomedia remained as the eastern (and most senior) capital of the Roman Empire until co-emperor Licinius was defeated by Constantine the Great at the Battle of Chrysopolis (Üsküdar) in 324. Constantine mainly resided in Nicomedia as his interim capital city for the next six years, until in 330 he declared the nearby Byzantium as Nova Roma, which eventually became known as Constantinople (present-day Istanbul). Constantine died in a royal villa at the vicinity of Nicomedia in 337. Owing to its position at the convergence of the Asiatic roads leading to the new capital, Nicomedia retained its importance even after the foundation of Constantinople.[1]

However, a major earthquake on 24 August 358 caused extensive devastation to Nicomedia and was followed by a fire which completed the catastrophe. Nicomedia was rebuilt, but on a smaller scale.[2] In the sixth century under Emperor Justinian the city was extended with new public buildings. Situated on the roads leading to the capital, the city remained a major military center, playing an important role in the Byzantine campaigns against the Caliphate.[3]

From the 840s on, Nicomedia was the capital of the thema of the Optimatoi. By that time, most of the old, seawards city had been abandoned and is described by the Arab geographer Ibn Khurdadhbeh as lying in ruins. The settlement had obviously been restricted to the hilltop citadel.[3] In the 1080s, the city served as the main military base for Alexios I Komnenos in his campaigns against the Seljuk Turks, and the First and Second Crusades both encamped there. The city was held by the Latin Empire between 1204 and ca. 1240, when it was recovered by John III Vatatzes. It remained in Byzantine control for a further century, but following the Byzantine defeat at the Battle of Bapheus in 1302, it was threatened by the rising Ottoman beylik. The city was twice blockaded by the Ottomans (in 1304 and 1330) before finally succumbing in 1337.[3]



Ref : Ric VII 189
Michel C2
CTGSolInvAE3London.jpg
Constantine the Great, early 307 - 22 May 337 A.D.57 viewsAE 3: RIC VI 282, 312-313 AD, 3.3 g, 22 mm; London, EF; Obverse: IMP CONSTANTINVS P AVG, Laureate draped cuirassed bust right; Reverse: SOLI INV-IC-TO COMITI, Sol standing facing, right hand raised, globe in left hand, PLN in ex., star in left field; an attractive bronze with great detail. Ex Ancient Imports.

As I have noted elsewhere, I have chosen the date 395 AD, with the emperor Arcadius, to mark the beginning of the Byzantine Empire in my collection.

That said, it seems appropriate to display a couple of coins struck for the man whose decision made Byzantium possible. As historian John Julius Norwich has writen, “The Byzantine Empire, from its foundation by Constantine the Great on Monday, 11 May 330 to its conquest by the Ottoman Sultan Mehmet II on Tuesday, 29 May 1453, lasted for a total of 1,123 years and 18 days – a period of time comfortably longer than that which separates us from the Norman conquest of England in 1066. For everyone except astronomers and geologists, such a period must be considered a long time . . ." (Norwich, John Julius. A Short History of Byzantium. New York: Vintage Books, 1999. xxxvii).


Flavius Valerius Constantinus, Constantine the Great, is as controversial as he is "great."


From John Julius Norwich:
"The first thing to be said is that no ruler in all history--not Alexander nor Alfred, not Charles nor Catherine, not Fredrick nor even Gregory--has ever more fully merited his title of "the Great . . . [he has] a serious claim to be considered--excepting only Jesus Christ, the Prophet Mohammed and the Buddha--the most influential man who ever lived" (Norwich, John Julius. The Middle Sea: A History of the Mediterranean. New York: Doubleday, 2006. 50-1).

From Michael Grant:
". . . But he was also murderous, and the many whom he murdered, or executed, included not only his rival Licinius (to whom he had promised survival) but also his own eldest son and his own second wife Fausta. There is no excusing those deaths, at any time or in any society . . . There are, and remain, certain absolute standards, and by his death-dealing Constantine offended signally against them. . . It is a mocking travesty of justice to call such a murderer Constantine the Great . . . (Grant, Michael. The Emperor Constantine. London: Phoenix Press, 1998. 226).

J. P. Fitzgerald, Jr.
1 commentsCleisthenes
w4~0.JPG
Constantinople CONSS66 viewsConstantine had altogether more ambitious plans. Having restored the unity of the empire, now overseeing the progress of major governmental reforms and sponsoring the consolidation of the Christian church, Constantine was well aware that Rome had become an unsatisfactory capital for several reasons. Located in central Italy, Rome lay too far from the eastern imperial frontiers, and hence also from the legions and the Imperial courts. Moreover, Rome offered an undesirable playground for disaffected politicians; it also suffered regularly from flooding and from malaria.

It seemed impossible to many that the capital could be moved. Nevertheless, Constantine identified the site of Byzantium as the correct place: a city where an emperor could sit, readily defended, with easy access to the Danube or the Euphrates frontiers, his court supplied from the rich gardens and sophisticated workshops of Roman Asia, his treasuries filled by the wealthiest provinces of the empire.

Constantine laid out the expanded city, dividing it into 14 regions, and ornamenting it with great public works worthy of a great imperial city. Yet initially Constantinople did not have all the dignities of Rome, possessing a proconsul, rather than a prefect of the city. Furthermore, it had no praetors, tribunes or quaestors. Although Constantinople did have senators, they held the title clarus, not clarissimus, like those of Rome. Constantinople also lacked the panoply of other administrative offices regulating the food supply, police, statues, temples, sewers, aqueducts or other public works. The new program of building was carried out in great haste: columns, marbles, doors and tiles were taken wholesale from the temples of the empire and moved to the new city. Similarly, many of the greatest works of Greek and Roman art were soon to be seen in its squares and streets. The emperor stimulated private building by promising householders gifts of land from the imperial estates in Asiana and Pontica, and on 18 May 332 he announced that, as in Rome, free distributions of food would be made to citizens. At the time the amount is said to have been 80,000 rations a day, doled out from 117 distribution points around the city.

Constantinople was a Greek Orthodox Christian city, lying in the most Christianised part of the Empire. Justinian ordered the pagan temples of Byzantium to be deconstructed, and erected the splendid Church of the Holy Wisdom, Sancta Sophia (also known as Hagia Sophia in Greek), as the centrepiece of his Christian capital. He oversaw also the building of the Church of the Holy Apostles, and that of Hagia Irene.

Constantine laid out anew the square at the middle of old Byzantium, naming it the Augusteum. Sancta Sophia lay on the north side of the Augusteum. The new senate-house (or Curia) was housed in a basilica on the east side. On the south side of the great square was erected the Great Palace of the emperor with its imposing entrance, the Chalke, and its ceremonial suite known as the Palace of Daphne. Located immediately nearby was the vast Hippodrome for chariot-races, seating over 80,000 spectators, and the Baths of Zeuxippus (both originally built in the time of Septimius Severus). At the entrance at the western end of the Augusteum was the Milion, a vaulted monument from which distances were measured across the Eastern Empire.

From the Augusteum a great street, the Mese, led, lined with colonnades. As it descended the First Hill of the city and climbed the Second Hill, it passed on the left the Praetorium or law-court. Then it passed through the oval Forum of Constantine where there was a second senate-house, then on and through the Forum of Taurus and then the Forum of Bous, and finally up the Sixth Hill and through to the Golden Gate on the Propontis. The Mese would be seven Roman miles long to the Golden Gate of the Walls of Theodosius.

Constantine erected a high column in the middle of the Forum, on the Second Hill, with a statue of himself at the top, crowned with a halo of seven rays and looking towards the rising sun.

RIC VII Constantinople 61 C1
ecoli
cse-080LG.jpg
Crusaders .Principality of Antioch . Tancred (1104-1112). AE-Follis 43 viewsCrusaders. Principality of Antioch. Tancred (1104-1112). AE-Follis 4th type overstruck on 3rd type

Obverse: Bust of Christ, nimbate, between IC-XC

Reverse: Cross, in the quarters TA/NK/P/H.

weight 3.72g – diameter 22.9mm

Ref.: Schlumberger Pl. II, 8; Malloy et al. 6; Metcalf 81

Ex BYZANTIUM COINS
Vladislav D
9C6D2C04-80EC-4212-8765-A3B60EB50585.jpeg
Crusaders, Tripoli, Sidon or Other Uncertain Syrian City, 1250 - 1268 . AE - Pougeoise .25 viewsCrusaders, Tripoli, Sidon or Other Uncertain Syrian City, 1250 - 1268 .
AE - Pougeoise . 0.63 g
Obverse : Uncertain blundered Arabic legend, cross pommeté, pellets in upper left and lower right quarters.
Reverse : uncertain blundered Arabic legend, six-rayed chrismon

CCS 35 .
Ex Byzantium Coins, Wolfgang Leimenstoll, Gundelfingen, April 2011.
Ex Erich Wäckerlin collection
Ex Münzen & Medaillen GmbH
Auction 47 lot 67
Vladislav D
cse-051LG.jpg
Crusaders. Lordship of Beirut. Raymond of Tripoli (1184-1186). AE-Pougeoise41 viewsCrusaders. Lordship of Beirut. Raymond of Tripoli (1184-1186). AE-Pougeoise
Obverse: T.V.R.R.I.S.; tower of David, annulet each side of the tower
Reverse: + D.A.V.I.T.; eight pointed star

weight 0.99g – diameter 16.0mm

Ref.: Schlumberger Pl. III, 26 (attributed to the kingdom of Jerusalem, Guy de Lusignan); Malloy et al. 2; Metcalf 206 f.
Ex BYZANTIUM COINS (Wolfgang Leimenstoll)
Vladislavs D
EB0018_scaled.JPG
EB0018 Bull / Trident5 viewsByzantium, Thrace, hemidrachm, circa 386-340 BC.
Obverse: Forepart of Bull walking left on dolphin, monogram before, ΠY above.
Reverse: Ornamented Trident in circular depression.
References: Cf. SNG BM Black Sea-17; Klein-88; Schönert-Geiss-778.
Diameter: 12mm, Weight: 1.969g.
EB
EB0019_scaled.JPG
EB0019 Cow, Dolphin / Incuse Square6 viewsByzantion, Thrace, Silver Tetrobol, 357 - 340 BC.
Obverse: Cow standing left on dolphin foreleg raised, ΠΥ above (the first letter is an archaic form of "B" used at Byzantium).
Reverse: Granulated mill-sail incuse square.
References: Sear 1582; BMC Thrace pg. 94, 15/16.
Diameter: 13.5mm, Weight: 2.002g.
Ex: Harold F. Donald.
EB
12093q00.jpg
GREEK, Pontic Kingdom, Mithradates VI, c. 120 - 63 B.C., Lysimachos Type, Gold stater22 viewsSH12093. Gold stater, SNG Cop 1089 var. (monogram), Choice EF, weight 8.232 g, maximum diameter 23.0 mm, die axis 0o, Byzantium (Istanbul, Turkey) mint, c. 100 - 85 B.C; obverse diademed head of Alexander the Great (with the features of Mithradates VI), wearing the horn of Ammon; reverse BAΣIΛEΩΣ ΛYΣIMAXOY, Athena enthroned left, holding Nike and resting left arm on shield, transverse spear against her side, BY on throne, AP monogram under right arm, trident and two dolphins in exergue; fantastic style with superb portrait of Mithradates as Alexander the Great!Joe Sermarini
byzantium_hemidrachm.jpg
Hemidrachm. c. 386-340 B.C. Forepart of bull on dolphin/ Trident15 viewsThrace, Byzantium, Hemidrachm. c. 386-340 B.C. 1.90g. Obv: Forepart of bull on dolphin l., monogram before. Rev: Trident. Fine. SNG BM Black Sea-17; Klein-88; Schönert-Geiss-778. Ex H.J.BerkPodiceps
3340093.jpg
IONIA, Phokaia.38 viewsThe ancient Greek geographer Pausanias says that Phocaea was founded by Phocians under Athenian leadership, on land given to them by the Aeolian Cymaeans, and that they were admitted into the Ionian League after accepting as kings the line of Codrus. Pottery remains indicate Aeolian presence as late as the 9th century BC, and Ionian presence as early as the end of the 9th century BC. From this an approximate date of settlement for Phocaea can be inferred.

According to Herodotus the Phocaeans were the first Greeks to make long sea-voyages, having discovered the coasts of the Adriatic, Tyrrhenia and Spain. Herodotus relates that they so impressed Arganthonios, king of Tartessus in Spain, that he invited them to settle there, and, when they declined, gave them a great sum of money to build a wall around their city.

Their sea travel was extensive. To the south they probably conducted trade with the Greek colony of Naucratis in Egypt, which was the colony of their fellow Ionian city Miletus. To the north, they probably helped settle Amisos (Samsun) on the Black Sea, and Lampsacus at the north end of the Hellespont (now the Dardanelles). However Phocaea's major colonies were to the west. These included Alalia in Corsica, Emporiae and Rhoda in Spain, and especially Massalia (Marseille) in France.

Phocaea remained independent until the reign of the Lydian king Croesus (circa 560–545 BC), when they, along with the rest of mainland Ionia, first, fell under Lydian control[8] and then, along with Lydia (who had allied itself with Sparta) were conquered by Cyrus the Great of Persia in 546 BC, in one of the opening skirmishes of the great Greco-Persian conflict.

Rather than submit to Persian rule, the Phocaeans abandoned their city. Some may have fled to Chios, others to their colonies on Corsica and elsewhere in the Mediterranean, with some eventually returning to Phocaea. Many however became the founders of Elea, around 540 BC.

In 500 BC, Phocaea joined the Ionian Revolt against Persia. Indicative of its naval prowess, Dionysius, a Phocaean was chosen to command the Ionian fleet at the decisive Battle of Lade, in 494 BC. However, indicative of its declining fortunes, Phocaea was only able to contribute three ships, out of a total of "three hundred and fifty three". The Ionian fleet was defeated and the revolt ended shortly thereafter.

After the defeat of Xerxes I by the Greeks in 480 BC and the subsequent rise of Athenian power, Phocaea joined the Delian League, paying tribute to Athens of two talents. In 412 BC, during the Peloponnesian War, with the help of Sparta, Phocaea rebelled along with the rest of Ionia. The Peace of Antalcidas, which ended the Corinthian War, returned nominal control to Persia in 387 BC.

In 343 BC, the Phocaeans unsuccessfully laid siege to Kydonia on the island of Crete.

During the Hellenistic period it fell under Seleucid, then Attalid rule. In the Roman period, the town was a manufacturing center for ceramic vessels, including the late Roman Phocaean red slip.

It was later under the control of Benedetto Zaccaria, the Genoan ambassador to Byzantium, who received the town as a hereditary lordship; Zaccaria and his descendants amassed a considerable fortune from his properties there, especially the rich alum mines. It remained a Genoese colony until it was taken by the Turks in 1455. It is a titular see of the Roman Catholic Church.

IONIA, Phokaia. Circa 521-478 BC. AR Hemidrachm (9mm, 1.54 g). Head of griffin left / Quadripartite incuse square. SNG Copenhagen –; SNG von Aulock 2116; SNG Kayhan 512-6. VF, dark toning.
ecoli
den001_quad_sm.jpg
L SEPT SEV PERT AVG IMP [VIIII?] / P M TR P V COS II P P / Septimius Severus Fortuna denarius (197 AD) 17 viewsL SEPT SEV PERT AVG IMP [VIIII?], laureate head right / P M TR P V COS II P P, Fortuna standing left, holding rudder on globe in right hand, cornucopiae in left.

AR (post 196 mint, so probably 54% purity), 17 mm, 3.48g, die axis 12h.

Both small flan and image style (bust, wreath, shape of the rudder etc.) point towards the mint of Rome rather than the Eastern one. A bit heavier than expected (the standard supposed to be 3.41g), but WildWinds reports a 3.63g denarius of this type. Unfortunately it is impossible to read the number after IMP (it can be either VIIII or X for TR P V), but based on the spacing and, perhaps, a hint of V I think it is VIIII. So this must be RIC IV 104, BMCRE 229, RSC 442 type. Two other, less probable ID possibilities: RIC 115A (Rome, IMP X) and RIC 493 (Eastern mint, Laodicea ad Mare(?) IMP VIIII).

Lucius SEPTimius SEVeverus PERTinax AVGustus IMPerator (in this case not just an imperial title, but a military one, "invested with the Nth imperial acclaim", a victorious general, the number refers to important victories when the title was renewed); Pontifex Maximus (the high priest, starting with Augustus the emperor was always the head of state religion) TRibunitia Potestas (Tribunal power, the function of the tribune of the people, originally an important republican official, was "hijacked" by Augustus when he was building the imperial structure of power and subsequently became another emperor's title, renewed every year and thus very useful for dating coins) V (5th year means 193+4=197, give or take the actual date of renewing the title), COnSul (under the Empire, the office of Consul remained of some importance and was held by the Emperor with some frequency) II (during or after the consulship of 194 and before next one in 202), Pater Patriae (Father of his Country, the title was held by most Augusti but was usually not assumed at the very beginning of the reign). Denarius was the staple of Roman monetary system from 211 BC to mid 3d century AD.

SEPTIMIUS SEVERUS, *11 Apr 145 in Leptis Magna (Khoms, Libya) † 4 Feb 211 (aged 65) Eboracum (York, England) ‡ 14 April 193 – 4 February 211

Septimius Severus was born in the Roman province of Africa. He came from a wealthy and distinguished family of equestrian rank, had Roman ancestry on his mother's side (gens Fulvia was one of the most famous plebeian clans in Rome) and descended from Punic, and perhaps also Libyan, forebears on his father's side. Several members of his family held important imperial offices (although, strangely, not his father who seemed to have no career to speak about). He was trilingual, speaking Punic, Latin and Greek, and got some classical education, but probably less than he wanted to. At 17 he was helped by his influential relatives to relocate to Rome, to be presented to the Emperor Marcus Aurelius, and start his political career. With some difficulty he started to advance through the cursus honorum, holding a variety of offices. His career was helped by the Antonine Plague of 166, Septimius avoided it by returning to Leptis Magna for a while, and when he was back in Rome he found his competition conveniently thinned out. Despite him going through an impressive number of offices in a very short time there is very little record of his actual accomplishments in 170s and 180s.

In 191 Severus was appointed governor of Pannonia Superior (one of the provinces on Danube frontier) by Emperor Commodus (on advice from one of Septimius' friends). When the hell was unleashed by the assassination of Commodus on 31 December 192 and 193, , the infamous Year of the Five Emperors started, as a general in charge of significant army Severus was able to fight for the highest office. While he moved on Rome, Pertinax, the first Emperor of 193, was killed by the Praetorian Guard, and the next one, Didius Julianus, who famously bought the emperorship at an auction, was condemned by the Senate and executed, so Septimius entered Rome virtually unopposed. He then wisely appeased the powerful governor of Britannia, Clodius Albinus, who was also proclaimed the Emperor, by offering him the title of Caesar, which implied some degree of co-ruling and a chance to succession (Albinus did not give up that easy, reasserting his claim in three years, but then he was easily dealt with at the Battle of Lugdunum in Gaul). Afterwards he had to fight off the final pretender, Pescennius Niger, the former governor of Syria, who was proclaimed the Emperor by the eastern legions. Losing no time, Severus sent a considerable vanguard force to the East and, later, joined in with additional armies. In a series of battles in 193-195 Niger and his supporters were defeated. The last to surrender was Byzantium, which held even after the head of Niger was sent there. It is interesting to note that during this campaign Septimius visited the tomb of his famous fellow countryman, Hannibal Barca in Libyssa (Gebze, Turkey) and ordered to cover it with fine marble. Severus also took an opportunity to wage a short punitive campaign beyond the eastern frontier, annexing the Kingdom of Osroene as a new province.

After consolidating his rule over the western provinces, Severus waged another brief, more successful war in the east against the Parthian Empire, sacking their capital Ctesiphon in 197 and expanding the eastern frontier to the Tigris. He then enlarged and fortified the Limes Arabicus in Arabia Petraea. In 202 he campaigned in Africa and Mauretania against the Garamantes; capturing their capital Garama and expanding the Limes Tripolitanus along the southern desert frontier of the empire. In 208 he travelled to Britain, strengthening Hadrian's Wall and reoccupying the Antonine Wall. In the same year he invaded Caledonia (modern Scotland), but his ambitions were cut short when he fell fatally ill in late 210, dying in early 211 at Eboracum (York, England), and was succeeded by his sons Caracalla and Geta, thus founding the Severan dynasty. It was the last dynasty of the Roman empire before the Crisis of the Third Century.

In the context of this coin it is interesting to note, that, due to huge military expenses, upon his accession Severus decreased the silver purity of the denarius from 81.5% to 78.5%, although the silver weight actually increased, rising from 2.40 grams to 2.46 grams. Nevertheless, the following year he debased the denarius again because of rising military expenditures. The silver purity decreased from 78.5% to 64.5% – the silver weight dropping from 2.46 grams to 1.98 grams. In 196 he reduced the purity and silver weight of the denarius again, to 54% and 1.82 grams respectively [corresponds to this issue]. Severus' currency debasement was the largest since the reign of Nero.
Yurii P
001  tetradrachm.JPG
Lysimachos23 viewsLysimachos 323-281 b.c
Tetradrachm
Restoration Lysimachos Type,Byzantium 2nd - 1st Cent b.c

Obverse:Head of Alexander the Great wearing the horn of Ammon,
Reverse:Athena enthroned rests arm on shield,transverse spear against her right side, holding Nike,ΒΑΣΙΛΕΩΣ ΛΥΣΙΜΑΧΟΥ,trident down

34.56mm 15.02gm

MULLER 192
Ex forum
maik
Lysimachos_Byzantium.jpg
Lysimachos - AR tetradrachm11 viewsByzantion
circa 125-75 BC
Head of the deified Alexander with Ammon's horns right
Athena Nikephoros seated left
BAΣIΛEΩΣ / ΛYΣIMAXOY
monogram (ΠΩΛYB) to left; BY below throne
trident in exergue
Dewing 1361, Müller 204. Marinescu 508 (O. 211 R. 483) issue 149; Gorny & Mosch: Auction 160 lot 1182, Künker Auction 174 lot 174
16,87 g 35-32 mm
Johny SYSEL
Thrace_1h_img.jpg
Lysimachos, Kingdom of Thrace, AR tetradrachm, Posthumous Issue, circa 2nd Century B.C.58 viewsObv:– Diademed head of the deified Alexander right, with horn of Ammon.
Rev:– Athena enthroned l., holding Nike on extended r. hand and spear, and resting l. elbow on shield propped against throne; LUSIMACOU in l. field; KP monogram in inner field; BY on throne, BASILEWS in r. field; ornamented trident in exergue
Minted in Byzantium, circa 2nd Century B.C. (Posthumous Issue)

Weight 16.97g. Size 37.11 mm
1 commentsmaridvnvm
PhilipIIMacedonLifetimeTet.jpg
Macedonian Kingdom, Philip II, 359 - 336 B.C., Lifetime Issue132 viewsSilver tetradrachm, Le Rider 233 (D130/R188); SNG ANS 385 ff., VF, Pella, 14.163g, 25.4mm, 225o, 342 - 336 B.C.; obverse laureate head of Zeus right; reverse "FILIPPOU", naked youth on horse pacing right on horseback holding palm, thunderbolt below; ex CNG 214, 82; very high relief sculptural portrait, nice style, lifetime issue. Ex FORVM.

Philip II expanded the size and influence of the Macedonian Kingdom, but is perhaps best known as the father of Alexander the Great. He personally selected the design of his coins.

Philip II of Macedon (382 BC–336 BC; in Greek Φίλιππος = φίλος (friend) + ίππος (horse), transliterated Philippos) was the King of Macedon from 359 BC until his assassination. He was the father of Alexander the Great, Phillip III Arrhidaeus, and possibly Ptolemy I Soter, founder of the Ptolemaic dynasty.

Born in Pella, Philip was the youngest son of King Amyntas III and Eurydice. In his youth, (ca. 368 BC–365 BC) Philip was a hostage in Thebes, which was the leading city of Greece during the Theban hegemony. While a captive there, Philip received a military and diplomatic education from Epaminondas, was involved in a pederastic relationship with Pelopidas and lived with Pammenes, who was an enthusiastic advocate of the Sacred Band of Thebes. In 364 BC, Philip returned to Macedonia. The deaths of Philip's elder brothers, King Alexander II and Perdiccas III, allowed him to take the throne in 359 BC. Originally appointed regent for his infant nephew Amyntas IV, who was the son of Perdiccas III, Philip managed to take the kingdom for himself that same year.

Philip's military skills and expansionist vision of Macedonian greatness brought him early success. The hill tribes were broken by a single battle in 358 BC, and Philip established his authority inland as far as Lake Ohrid. He used the Social War as an opportunity for expansion. In 357 BC, he took the Athenian colony of Amphipolis, which commanded the gold mines of Mount Pangaion. That same year Philip married the Epirote princess Olympias, who was the daughter of the king of the Molossians. In 356 BC, Philip conquered the town of Crenides and changed its name to Philippi. Philip also attacked Abdera and Maronea, on the Thracian sea-board. Also in 356 Alexander was born and his race horse won in the Olympics in He took Methone in 354 BC, a town which had belonged to Athens. During the siege of Methone, Philip lost an eye.

Not until his armies were opposed by Athens at Thermopylae in 352 BC did Philip face any serious resistance. Philip did not attempt to advance into central Greece because the Athenians had occupied Thermopylae. Also in 352 BC, the Macedonian army won a complete victory over the Phocians at the Battle of Crocus Field. This battle made Philip tagus of Thessaly, and he claimed as his own Magnesia, with the important harbour of Pagasae.
Hostilities with Athens did not yet take place, but Athens was threatened by the Macedonian party which Philip's gold created in Euboea. From 352 to 346 BC, Philip did not again come south. He was active in completing the subjugation of the Balkan hill-country to the west and north, and in reducing the Greek cities of the coast as far as the Hebrus (Maritza). For the chief of these coastal cities, Olynthus, Philip continued to profess friendship until its neighboring cities were in his hands.

In 349 BC, Philip started the siege of Olynthus. Olynthus at first allied itself with Philip, but later shifted its allegiance to Athens. The Athenians did nothing to help Olynthus. Philip finally took Olynthus in 348 BC and razed the city to the ground. In 346 BC, he intervened effectively in the war between Thebes and the Phocians, but his wars with Athens continued intermittently.

Macedonia and the regions adjoining it having now been securely consolidated, Philip celebrated his Olympic games at Dium. In 347 BC, Philip advanced to the conquest of the eastern districts about the Hebrus, and compelled the submission of the Thracian prince Cersobleptes. Meanwhile, Athens had made overtures for peace, and when Philip, in 346 BC, again moved south, peace was sworn in Thessaly. With key Greek city-states in submission, Philip turned to Sparta; he sent them a message, "You are advised to submit without further delay, for if I bring my army into your land, I will destroy your farms, slay your people, and raze your city." Their reply was "If." Philip and Alexander would both leave them alone. Later, the Macedonian arms were carried across Epirus to the Adriatic Sea. In 342 BC, Philip led a great military expedition north against the Scythians, conquering the Thracian fortified settlement Eumolpia to give it his name, Philippoupolis (modern Plovdiv).

In 340 BC, Philip started the siege of Perinthus. Philip began another siege in 339 BC of the city of Byzantium. After unsuccessful sieges of both cities, Philip's influence all over Greece was compromised. However, Philip successfully reasserted his authority in the Aegean by defeating an alliance of Thebans and Athenians at the Battle of Chaeronea in 338 BC. He erected a memorial of a marble lion to the Sacred Band of Thebes for their bravery that still stands today. Philip created and led the League of Corinth in 337 BC. Members of the League agreed never to wage war against each other, unless it was to suppress revolution. Philip was elected as leader (hegemon) of the army of invasion against the Persian Empire. In 336 BC, when the invasion of Persia was in its very early stage, Philip was assassinated, and was succeeded on the throne of Macedon by his son Alexander the Great.

Philip’s Assassination

The murder happened in October of 336 BC, at Aegae, the ancient capital of the kingdom of Macedon. The court had gathered there for the celebration of the marriage between Alexander of Epirus and Philip's daughter. While the king was entering unprotected into the town's theatre (highlighting his approachability to the Greek diplomats present), he was killed by Pausanias of Orestis, one of Philip's seven bodyguards. The assassin immediately tried to escape and reach his associates who were waiting for him with horses at the entrance of Aegae. He was pursued by three of Philip's bodyguards and died by their hands.
The reasons for Pausanias' assassination of Phillip are difficult to fully expound, since there was controversy already among ancient historians. The only contemporary account in our possession is that of Aristotle, who states rather tersely that Philip was killed because Pausanias had been offended by the followers of Attalus, the king's father-in-law.

Whatever else that may be written about Philip II it must be recognized that he was responsible for making Macedon the ascendant Greek power. He reorganized the Macedonian army. It was this army that Alexander the Great inherited. Phillip II trained some of Alexander’s best generals: Antigonus Cyclops, Antipater, Nearchus, Parmenion, and Perdiccas.

According to the Greek historian Theopompus of Chios, Europe had never seen a man like king Philip of Macedonia, and he called his history of the mid-fourth century BCE the Philippic History. Theopompus had a point. Not even his better known son Alexander has done so much to change the course of Greek history. Philip reorganized his kingdom, gave it access to the sea, expanded its power so that it could defeat the Achaemenid Empire, and subdued the Greek city-states, which never regained their independence again. To achieve this, he modernized the Macedonian economy, improved the army, and concluded several marital alliances. The result was a superpower with one weakness: it was as strong as its king. When Philip's son Alexander died, the institutions were too weak, and Macedonia never recovered.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philip_II_of_Macedon
http://www.livius.org/phi-php/philip/philip_ii.htm
Ed. by J. P. Fitzgerald, Jr.
1 commentsCleisthenes
SeptimiusPisidiaAntiochAE22.jpg
Pisidia, Antioch. Septimius Severus. 198-217 AD. 105 viewsPisidia, Antioch. Septimius Severus. 198-217 AD. AE 22mm (5.21 gm). Obverse: Laureate, head left. Reverse: Mên standing facing, head right, foot on bucranium, holding sceptre and Nike on globe; cock at feet left. SNG France 3, 1118. Cleaning scratches, very fine. Ex Tom Vossen.

De Imperatoribus Romanis
An Online Encyclopedia of Roman Emperors

Septimius Severus (193-211 A.D.)

Michael L. Meckler
Ohio State University

Introduction
Lucius Septimius Severus restored stability to the Roman empire after the tumultuous reign of the emperor Commodus and the civil wars that erupted in the wake of Commodus' murder. However, by giving greater pay and benefits to soldiers and annexing the troublesome lands of northern Mesopotamia into the Roman empire, Septimius Severus brought increasing financial and military burdens to Rome's government. His prudent administration allowed these burdens to be met during his eighteen years on the throne, but his reign was not entirely sunny. The bloodiness with which Severus gained and maintained control of the empire tarnished his generally positive reputation.

Severus' Early Life and Acclamation
Severus was born 11 April 145 in the African city of Lepcis Magna, whose magnificent ruins are located in modern Libya, 130 miles east of Tripoli. Septimius Severus came from a distinguished local family with cousins who received suffect consulships in Rome under Antoninus Pius. The future emperor's father seems not to have held any major offices, but the grandfather may have been the wealthy equestrian Septimius Severus commemorated by the Flavian-era poet Statius.

The future emperor was helped in his early career by one of his consular cousins, who arranged entry into the senate and the favor of the emperor Marcus Aurelius. Life as a senator meant a life of travel from one government posting to another. Moorish attacks on his intended post of Baetica (southern Spain) forced Severus to serve his quaestorship in Sardinia. He then traveled to Africa as a legate and returned to Rome to be a tribune of the plebs. Around the year 175 he married Paccia Marciana, who seems also to have been of African origin. The childless marriage lasted a decade or so until her death.

Severus' career continued to flourish as the empire passed from Marcus to Commodus. The young senator held a praetorship, then served in Spain, commanded a legion in Syria and held the governorships of Gallia Lugdunensis (central France), Sicily and Upper Pannonia (easternmost Austria and western Hungary). While in Gallia Lugdunensis in 187, the now-widowed future emperor married Julia Domna, a woman from a prominent family of the Syrian city of Emesa. Two sons quickly arrived, eleven months apart: Bassianus (known to history as Caracalla) in April of the year 188, and Geta in March 189.

News of Pertinax's assassination 28 March 193 in an uprising by the praetorian guard quickly reached Pannonia, and only twelve days later on 9 April 193, Severus was proclaimed emperor. Septimius Severus had the strong support of the armies along the Rhine and Danube, but the loyalty of the governor of Britain, Clodius Albinus, was in doubt. Severus' envoys from Pannonia offered Albinus the title of Caesar, which he accepted.

The Civil Wars with Albinus, Niger, and Didius Julianus
In the city of Rome, Didius Julianus gained the support of the praetorian troops and was promoted as the successor to Pertinax. Although Julianus' authority did not extend much beyond Italy, Severus understood that legitimacy for a Roman emperor meant having one's authority accepted in Rome. He and his army began a swift march to the city. They met practically no resistance on their advance from Pannonia into northern Italy, as Julianus' supporters defected. By the beginning of June when Severus reached Interamna, 50 miles north of Rome, even the praetorian guard stationed in the capital switched sides. Didius Julianus was declared a public enemy and killed. Septimius Severus entered Rome without a fight.

Civil war was not yet over. Another provincial governor also had his eyes on the throne. In Syria, Pescennius Niger had been proclaimed emperor on news of Pertinax's death, and the eastern provinces quickly went under his authority. Byzantium became Niger's base of operations as he prepared to fight the armies of the west loyal to Severus.

Niger was unable to maintain further advances into Europe. The fighting moved to the Asian shore of the Propontis, and in late December 193 or early January 194, Niger was defeated in a battle near Nicaea and fled south. Asia and Bithynia fell under Severus' control, and Egypt soon recognized Severus' authority. By late spring, Niger was defeated near Issus and the remainder of his support collapsed. Syria was pacified. Niger was killed fleeing Antioch. Byzantium, however, refused to surrender to Severan forces. Niger's head was sent to the city to persuade the besieged citizens to give up, but to no avail. The Byzantines held out for another year before surrender. As punishment for their stubbornness, the walls of their city were destroyed.

Severus' Eastern Campaigns
During the fighting, two of the peoples of upper Mesopotamia -- the Osrhoeni and the Adiabeni -- captured some Roman garrisons and made an unsuccessful attack on the Roman-allied city of Nisibis. After the defeat of Niger, these peoples offered to return Roman captives and what remained of the seized treasures if the remaining Roman garrisons were removed from the region. Severus refused the offer and prepared for war against the two peoples, as well as against an Arabian tribe that had aided Niger. In the spring of 195, Severus marched an army through the desert into upper Mesopotamia. The native peoples quickly surrendered, and Severus added to his name the victorious titles Arabicus and Adiabenicus. Much of the upper third of Mesopotamia was organized as a Roman province, though the king of Osrhoene was allowed to retain control of a diminished realm.

The tottering Parthian empire was less and less able to control those peoples living in the border regions with Rome. Rome's eastern frontier was entering a period of instability, and Severus responded with an interventionist policy of attack and annexation. Some senators feared that increased involvement in Mesopotamia would only embroil Rome in local squabbles at great expense. The emperor, however, would remain consistent in his active eastern policy.

Legitimization of the Severan Dynasty
Severus also took steps to cement his legitimacy as emperor by connecting himself to the Antonine dynasty. Severus now proclaimed himself the son of Marcus Aurelius, which allowed him to trace his authority, through adoption, back to the emperor Nerva. Julia Domna was awarded the title "Mother of the Camp" (mater castrorum), a title only previously given to the empress Faustina the Younger, Marcus' wife. Bassianus, the emperor's elder son, was renamed Marcus Aurelius Antoninus and given the title Caesar. It was this last step that marked a decisive break with Albinus.

Albinus had remained in Britain as governor during the struggles between Severus and Niger. Although Albinus had not attempted open revolt against the emperor, he seems to have been in communication with senators about future moves. By the end of 195, Albinus was declared a public enemy by Severus. The governor of Britain responded by proclaiming himself emperor and invading Gaul.

A weary Roman populace used the anonymity of the crowd at the chariot races to complain about renewed civil war, but it was Gaul that bore the brunt of the fighting. Albinus and his supporters were able to inflict losses on the occasion of the initial attacks, but disorder was so great that opportunistic soldiers could easily operate on their own within the lands under Albinus' nominal control.

The tide began to turn early in 197, and after a Severan victory at Tournus, Albinus found himself and his army trapped near Lyon. A battle broke out 19 February 197. In the initial fighting, Albinus' troops forced the Severans into retreat, during which Severus fell off his horse. When the Severan cavalry appeared, however, Albinus' army was routed. Lyon was sacked and Albinus, who was trapped in a house along the river Rhône, committed suicide. Severus ordered Albinus' head to be cut off and sent to Rome for display. Many of Albinus' supporters were killed, including a large number of Spanish and Gallic aristocrats. Albinus' wife and children were killed, as were many of the wives of his supporters. Tradition also told of the mutilation of bodies and denial of proper burial. The emperor revealed a penchant for cruelty that troubled even his fervent supporters. A purge of the senate soon followed. Included among the victims was Pertinax's father-in-law, Sulpicianus.

Severus and the Roman Military
Severus brought many changes to the Roman military. Soldiers' pay was increased by half, they were allowed to be married while in service, and greater opportunities were provided for promotion into officer ranks and the civil service. The entire praetorian guard, discredited by the murder of Pertinax and the auctioning of their support to Julianus, was dismissed. The emperor created a new, larger praetorian guard out of provincial soldiers from the legions. Increases were also made to the two other security forces based in Rome: the urban cohorts, who maintained order; and the night watch, who fought fires and dealt with overnight disturbances, break-ins and other petty crime. These military reforms proved expensive, but the measures may well have increased soldiers' performance and morale in an increasingly unsettled age.

One location that remained unsettled was the eastern frontier. In 197 Nisibis had again been under siege, and the emperor prepared for another eastern campaign. Three new legions were raised, though one was left behind in central Italy to maintain order. The Roman armies easily swept through upper Mesopotamia, traveling down the Euphrates to sack Seleucia, Babylon and Ctesiphon, which had been abandoned by the Parthian king Vologaeses V. On 28 January 198 -- the centenary of Trajan's accession -- Severus took the victorious title Parthicus Maximus and promoted both of his sons: Caracalla to the rank of Augustus and Geta to the rank of Caesar.

Before embarking on the eastern campaign, the emperor had named Gaius Fulvius Plautianus as a praetorian prefect. Plautianus came from the emperor's home town of Lepcis, and the prefect may even have been a relative of the emperor. The victories in Mesopotamia were followed by tours of eastern provinces, including Egypt. Plautianus accompanied Severus throughout the travels, and by the year 201 Plautianus was the emperor's closest confidant and advisor. Plautianus was also praetorian prefect without peer after having arranged the murder of his last colleague in the post.

Upon the return to Rome in 202, the influence of Plautianus was at its height. Comparisons were made with Sejanus, the powerful praetorian prefect under the emperor Tiberius. Plautianus, who earlier had been adlected into the senate, was now awarded consular rank, and his daughter Plautilla was married to Caracalla. The wealth Plautianus had acquired from his close connection with the emperor enabled him to provide a dowry said to have been worthy of fifty princesses. Celebrations and games also marked the decennalia, the beginning of the tenth year of Severus' reign. Later in the year the enlarged imperial family traveled to Lepcis, where native sons Severus and Plautianus could display their prestige and power.

The following year the imperial family returned to Rome, where an arch, still standing today, was dedicated to the emperor at the western end of the Forum. Preparations were also being made for the Secular Games, which were thought to have originated in earliest Rome and were to be held every 110 years. Augustus celebrated the Secular Games in 17 B.C., and Domitian in A.D. 88, six years too early. (Claudius used the excuse of Rome's 800th year to hold the games in A.D. 47.) In 204 Severus would preside over ten days of ceremonies and spectacles.

By the end of 204, Plautianus was finding his influence with the emperor on the wane. Caracalla was not happy to be the husband of Plautilla. Julia Domna resented Plautianus' criticisms and investigations against her. Severus was tiring of his praetorian prefect's ostentation, which at times seemed to surpass that of the emperor himself. The emperor's ailing brother, Geta, also denounced Plautianus, and after Geta's death the praetorian prefect found himself being bypassed by the emperor. In January 205 a soldier named Saturninus revealed to the emperor a plot by Plautianus to have Severus and Caracalla killed. Plautianus was summoned to the imperial palace and executed. His children were exiled, and Caracalla divorced Plautilla. Some observers suspected the story of a plot was merely a ruse to cover up long-term plans for Plautianus' removal.

Severus and Roman Law
Two new praetorian prefects were named to replace Plautianus, one of whom was the eminent jurist Papinian. The emperor's position as ultimate appeals judge had brought an ever-increasing legal workload to his office. During the second century, a career path for legal experts was established, and an emperor came to rely heavily upon his consilium, an advisory panel of experienced jurists, in rendering decisions. Severus brought these jurists to even greater prominence. A diligent administrator and conscientious judge, the emperor appreciated legal reasoning and nurtured its development. His reign ushered in the golden age of Roman jurisprudence, and his court employed the talents of the three greatest Roman lawyers: Papinian, Paul and Ulpian.

The order Severus was able to impose on the empire through both the force of arms and the force of law failed to extend to his own family. His now teenaged sons, Caracalla and Geta, displayed a reckless sibling rivalry that sometimes resulted in physical injury. The emperor believed the lack of responsibilities in Rome contributed to the ill-will between his sons and decided that the family would travel to Britain to oversee military operations there. Caracalla was involved in directing the army's campaigns, while Geta was given civilian authority and a promotion to joint emperor with his father and brother.

Severus was now into his 60s. Chronic gout limited his activities and sapped his strength. The emperor's health continued to deteriorate in Britain, and he became ever more intent on trying to improve the bitter relationship between his two sons. He is reported to have given his sons three pieces of advice: "Get along; pay off the soldiers; and disregard everyone else." The first piece of advice would not be heeded.

Severus died in York on 4 February 211 at the age of 65. His reign lasted nearly 18 years, a duration that would not be matched until Diocletian. Culturally and ideologically Septimius Severus connected his reign to the earlier Antonine era, but the reforms he enacted would eventually alter the very character of Roman government. By creating a larger and more expensive army and increasing the influence of lawyers in administration, Severus planted the seeds that would develop into the highly militaristic and bureaucratic government of the later empire.

Copyright (C) 1998, Michael L. Meckler. Published on De Imperatoribus Romanis, An Online Encyclopedia of Roman Emperors; http://www.roman-emperors.org/sepsev.htm. Used by permission.

Edited by J. P. Fitzgerald, Jr.
Cleisthenes
Object_Q-001_0h_30x30mm_13,69g-s.jpg
Religius Object, Byzantium ???,142 viewsReligius Object, Byzantium ???,
avers:- Religius picture,
revers:- ,
exe:-/-//--, Size: 30x30mm, weight: 13,69g, axis: 0h,
mint: , date: A.D., ref: ,
Q-001
quadrans
AURELIAN_BYZANTIUM_MINT.jpg
ROMAN EMPIRE - Aurelian27 viewsROMAN EMPIRE - Aurelian (270-275 A.D.) AE Antoninianus. IMP AVRELIANVS AVG, radiate bust right, cuirassed / RESTITVTORI GENTIS, Woman standing right, presenting wreath to Aurelian, standing left, holding sceptre. Mintmark: Dolphin left. References: RIC-410 - Unedited mintmark. RIC lists unattributed mint; Gobl #279-Byzantium mint. Rare.dpaul7
Severus_legion.jpg
Septimus Severus, Legionary Denarius83 viewsObverse: IMP CAE L SEP SEV PERT AVG Laureate head right
Reverse: TR P COS LEG XI C-L, legionary aquila between two standards
Date : 193 AD
Reference : RIC IV12; RSC 268
Grade : VF
Weight : 3.56 g
Denom: Denarius
Metal : Silver

Comment: PERT on the obverse is for avenger of Pertinax. Legion XI Claudia was stationed on the lower Danube in Moesia. Reverse is without small Capricorns. When the governor of Pannonia Superior, Lucius Septimius Severus, was proclaimed emperor in April 193, the Eleventh immediately joined his cause. In a lightning campaign he marched on Rome, but XI did not take part, because Durostorum, Moesia Inferior where the legion was garrisoned was too far from Italy. However, it played a role in Severus' next campaign, against his eastern rival Pescennius Niger. The soldiers of I Italica and XI Claudia besieged Byzantium, forced the Cilician gate, and fought at Issus. It is likely that they also took part in Severus' campaigns against the Parthian.
Bolayi
Shapur2.jpg
Shapur II (A.D. 310–379)29 viewsHead of a king, probably Shapur II, Sasanian; A.D. 310–379
Iran
Silver, mercury gilding; H. 40 cm
Fletcher Fund, 1965 (65.126)

Description
The Sasanian dynasty of Iran ruled an area from the Euphrates River to Bactria from the third century A.D. until the Islamic conquest in the seventh century, controlling for much of that time the Silk Route from Byzantium to China.

Dating from the fourth century A.D., this silver head of a Sasanian king is an exquisite example of Sasanian metalwork. It is raised from a single piece of silver with chased and repoussé details. The king wears simple ovoid earrings and a beaded necklace of Sasanian fashion. His powerful stare and characteristic arched nose seem to suggest that the artist was attempting to convey a sense of majesty rather than an individual likeness. The identity of the subject of such representations, in relief or in the round, can often be determined by comparison of facial features and details of the crown with those of kings portrayed on Sasanian coins of the period. In this case, however, the crescent that decorates the crenellated crown and the striated orb that rises above it have no exact parallel. A combination of stylistic details suggests that it was made sometime in the fourth century, perhaps during the reign of Shapur II (A.D. 310–379). The lower section of this head has been cut away, so there is no way of knowing whether it was originally part of a larger sculpture composed of several pieces or a decorative bust intended to be seen alone.

Copyright © 2000–2007 The Metropolitan Museum of Art. All rights reserved. www.metmuseum.org. Used by permission.
Cleisthenes
CONSTANTINOPOL_SMTSDelta.JPG
Struck A.D.330 - 333 under Constantine I. AE3 "CONSTANTINOPOLIS" COMMEMORATIVE ISSUE of Thessalonika4 viewsObverse: CONSTANTINOPOLIS. Laureate and helmeted bust of Constantinopolis wearing imperial mantle facing left and holding sceptre over left shoulder. Two dots in crest of helmet.
Reverse: No legend. Victory standing facing left, right foot on prow, holding sceptre and shield with ring in centre; in exergue, SMTSΔ (Δ = fourth officina).
Diameter: 18mm | Weight: 2.29gms
RIC VII : 188

The victory on a prow type alludes to the naval victory of Crispus and his subsequent capture of Byzantium (which Constantine I re-named Constantinople).
*Alex
CONSTANTINOPOL_BSIS.JPG
Struck A.D.330 - 333 under Constantine I. AE3 "CONSTANTINOPOLIS" COMMEMORATIVE ISSUE of Siscia3 viewsObverse: CONSTANTINOPOLIS. Laureate and helmeted bust of Constantinopolis wearing imperial mantle facing left and holding sceptre over left shoulder. Crescent in crest of helmet.
Reverse: No legend. Victory standing facing left, right foot on prow, holding sceptre and shield with dot in centre; in exergue, BSIS.
RIC VII : 224

The victory on a prow type alludes to the naval victory of Crispus and his subsequent capture of Byzantium (which Constantine I re-named Constantinople).
*Alex
CONSTANTINOPOL_SMNA.JPG
Struck A.D.330 - 335 under Constantine I. AE3 "CONSTANTINOPOLIS" COMMEMORATIVE ISSUE of Nicomedia6 viewsObverse: CONSTANTINOPOLI. Laureate and helmeted bust of Constantinopolis wearing imperial mantle facing left and holding sceptre over left shoulder.
Reverse: No legend. Victory standing facing left, right foot on prow, holding sceptre and shield with dot in centre; in exergue, SMNA (A = First officina).
Weight: 2.31gms
RIC VII : 196
SCARCE

The victory on a prow type alludes to the naval victory of Crispus and his subsequent capture of Byzantium (which Constantine I re-named Constantinople).
*Alex
CONSTANTINOPOL_TRP.JPG
Struck A.D.332 - 333 under Constantine I. AE3 "CONSTANTINOPOLIS" COMMEMORATIVE ISSUE of Treveri4 viewsObverse: CONSTANTINOPOLIS. Laureate and helmeted bust of Constantinopolis wearing imperial mantle facing left and holding sceptre over left shoulder.
Reverse: No legend. Victory standing facing left, right foot on prow, holding sceptre and plain shield; in exergue, TR•P.
RIC VII : 543

The victory on a prow type alludes to the naval victory of Crispus and his subsequent capture of Byzantium (which Constantine I re-named Constantinople).
*Alex
CONSTANTINOPOL_CONSZ.JPG
Struck A.D.333 - 335 under Constantine I. AE3 "CONSTANTINOPOLIS" COMMEMORATIVE ISSUE of Constantinopolis5 viewsObverse: CONSTANTINOPOLI. Laureate and helmeted bust of Constantinopolis wearing imperial mantle facing left and holding sceptre over left shoulder.
Reverse: No legend. Victory standing facing left, right foot on prow, holding sceptre and shield with dot in centre; in exergue, •CONSZ•.
Diameter: 18mm | Weight: 2.5gms
RIC VII : 86
EXTREMELY RARE

The victory on a prow type alludes to the naval victory of Crispus and his subsequent capture of Byzantium (which Constantine I re-named Constantinople).
*Alex
CONSTANTINOPOL_SMALA.JPG
Struck A.D.333 - 335 under Constantine I. AE3 "CONSTANTINOPOLIS" COMMEMORATIVE ISSUE of Alexandria7 viewsObverse: CONSTANTINOPOLIS. Laureate and helmeted bust of Constantinopolis wearing imperial mantle facing left and holding sceptre over left shoulder. Dot in crest of helmet.
Reverse: No legend. Victory standing facing left, right foot on prow, holding sceptre and shield with dot in centre; in exergue, SMALA.
RIC VII : 64

The victory on a prow type alludes to the naval victory of Crispus and his subsequent capture of Byzantium (which Constantine I re-named Constantinople).
*Alex
CONSTANTINOPOL_SMKE.JPG
Struck A.D.335 - 336 under Constantine I. AE3 "CONSTANTINOPOLIS" COMMEMORATIVE ISSUE of Cyzicus7 viewsObverse: CONSTANTINOPOLI. Laureate and helmeted bust of Constantinopolis wearing imperial mantle facing left and holding sceptre over left shoulder.
Reverse: No legend. Victory standing facing left, right foot on prow, holding sceptre and shield with circle in the centre; in exergue, •SMKE.
Diameter: 17mm
RIC VII : 107
EXTREMELY RARE

The victory on a prow type alludes to the naval victory of Crispus and his subsequent capture of Byzantium (which Constantine I re-named Constantinople).
*Alex
CONSTANTINOPOL_PLG.JPG
Struck A.D.335 under Constantine I. AE3 "CONSTANTINOPOLIS" COMMEMORATIVE ISSUE of Lugdunum5 viewsObverse: CONSTANTINOPOLIS. Laureate and helmeted bust of Constantinopolis wearing imperial mantle facing left and holding sceptre over left shoulder.
Reverse: No legend. Victory standing facing left, right foot on prow, holding sceptre and shield with circle in the centre; in exergue, PLG.
Weight: 2.4gms
RIC VII : 241
RARE

The victory on a prow type alludes to the naval victory of Crispus and his subsequent capture of Byzantium (which Constantine I re-named Constantinople).
*Alex
CONSTANTINOPOL_Rome.JPG
Struck A.D.336 under Constantine I. AE3 "CONSTANTINOPOLIS" COMMEMORATIVE ISSUE of Rome5 viewsObverse: CONSTANTINOPOLIS. Laureate and helmeted bust of Constantinopolis wearing imperial mantle facing left and holding sceptre over left shoulder.
Reverse: No legend. Victory standing facing left, loop or circle at her waist, right foot on prow, holding sceptre and plain shield; in exergue, R wreath E.
Diameter: 16.58mm | Weight: 2.72gms
RIC VII : 387

The victory on a prow type alludes to the naval victory of Crispus and his subsequent capture of Byzantium (which Constantine I re-named Constantinople).
*Alex
caracalla_coin.JPG
THRACE, Bizya. Caracalla31 viewsTHRACE, Bizya. Caracalla. Caesar, AD 196-198. Æ (18mm, 2.87 g, 6h). Bareheaded, draped, and cuirassed bust right / Hermes standing left, holding purse and caduceus. Jurukova, Bizye -; Varbanov 1470. Very rare.

Bizya, near the sources of the Agrianes, about eighty miles north-west of Byzantium. Quasi-autonomous and Imperial. Hadrian to Philip Jun. Inscr., ΒΙΖVΗΝΩΝ Magistrate under Hadrian, Presbeutes and Antistra- tegos; under S. Sev. ΗΓΕ[μονευοντος] (Berl. Cat., I. 139). Chief types— Head of young Dionysos, Rev. Seilenos with kantharos and askos; View of city enclosed by walls and turrets (Z. f. N., xxi. Pl. VIII. 5); Kapa- neus with shield, spear, and scaling ladder (Ephem. Arch., 1889, Pl. II. 15); Apollo (Iatros) between Asklepios and Hygieia; Banquet of God and Goddess (θεοξενιον) (Pick, in Jahr. Arch. Inst., XIII. 145); Hera seated with peacock on her knees; River-god, &c. Alliance coins with Byzantium.
ecoli
coin1~1.JPG
Thrace, Byzantium, Caracalla; 46 viewsThe origins of Byzantium are shrouded in legend. The traditional legend has it that Byzas from Megara (a town near Athens) founded Byzantium in 657 BC when he sailed northeast across the Aegean Sea. Byzas had consulted the Oracle at Delphi to ask where to make his new city. The Oracle told him to find it "opposite the blind". At the time, he did not know what this meant, but when he came upon the Bosporus he understood: on the opposite eastern shore was a Greek city, Chalcedon, whose founders were said to have overlooked the superior location only 3 kilometres (1.9 mi) away. Byzas founded his city there on the European coast and named it Byzantium after himself. It was mainly a trading city due to its location at the Black Sea's only entrance. Byzantion later conquered Chalcedon, across the Bosporus on the Asiatic side.

After siding with Pescennius Niger against the victorious Septimius Severus, the city was besieged by Roman forces and suffered extensive damage in 196 AD.[4] Byzantium was rebuilt by Septimius Severus, now emperor, and quickly regained its previous prosperity. It was bound to Perinthos during the period of Septimius Severus. The location of Byzantium attracted Roman Emperor Constantine I who, in 330 AD, refounded it as an imperial residence inspired by Rome itself. (See Nova Roma.) After his death the city was called Constantinople (Greek Κωνσταντινούπολις or Konstantinoupolis) ("city of Constantine"). It remained the capital of the Eastern Roman Empire, which is called the Byzantine Empire by modern historians.
ecoli
Thrace,_Byzantium,_Under_the_Roman_rule,_AE-16,_Yung_maile_r_,_Bull_r_,_BYZANTION,_BMC_48,_Q-001,_0h,_16mm,_3,87g-s.jpg
Thrace, Byzantium, Under the Roman rule, (??? ), BMC (Thrace, Byzantium) 48, AE-16, BYZANTIΩN, Bull advancing right, Rare!47 viewsThrace, Byzantium, Under the Roman rule, (??? ), BMC (Thrace, Byzantium) 48, AE-16, BYZANTIΩN, Bull advancing right, Rare!
avers: Young male bust right, with flowing hair, shoulder draped, border of dots.
reverse: BYZANTI ΩN, Bull advancing right, border of dots.
exergue: -/-//--, diameter: 16,0mm, weight: 3,87g, axes: 0h,
mint: Thrace, Byzantium, date: Under the Roman rule,
ref: BMC (Thrace, Byzantium) 48. p-97,
Q-001
quadrans
e~4.jpg
Thrace, Byzantium. Julia Mamaea Ae1811 viewsObv: MAMAIA AYΓ / Draped bust right.
Rev: BYZANTIΩN / Star within crescent.
ancientone
byzantiumherc2.jpg
Thrace, Byzantium. Pseudo-autonomous AE17. Hercules/Club of Hercules76 viewsObv: Hercules bust r.
Rev: Club of Hercules. BYZANTIWN.
E. Schönert-Geiss. Griechisches Münzwerk: Die Münzprägung von Byzantion dates this coin to the second century AD.
Rare.
ancientone
IMG_0440.JPG
Thrace, Byzantium; Caligula 12 viewsCaligula, 37-41 Thrace, Byzantion.
Æ Bronze .
Laureate head left, C/M Laureate head right / Two tunny fish.
RPC 1780; For countermark GIC 53: 2-5.20 mm., 3,90 g.
good fine
ecoli
byzantium_sev_alexander_SchönertGeissV281(av)_neu.jpg
Thracia, Byzantium, Severus Alexander, Schönert-Geiss V218 (obv.), unpublished29 viewsSeverus Alexander, AD 222-235
AE 25, 7.68g
obv. AVT KM AVR CEV ALEZA[NDROC] AVG
Bust, draped and cuirassed, laureate, r.
rev. BYZAZ
Head of Byzas, bearded, helmeted, r
F+/about VF, dark-green patina

The bust of Byzas was previously known only as an obv. type on pseudo-autonomous coins of Byzantium, which fall into five issues datable to [..] AD dates [...], since the same magistrates are named on their reverses as on portrait coins of the emperors. On [this] coin [...] the head of Byzas appears for the first time as a rev. type, on a coin of Sev. Alex. The obv. die of Sev. Alex. in question is Schönert-Geiss' V 218, also attested with four rev. types naming the magistrate Fronto. (Curtis Clay)
Jochen
DSCF8492.JPG
Turkey, Istanbul, Boukoleon Palace47 views9-6-2015
This section was built in the reign of Emperor Theophilus (829-42 AD).
The brick walls would have been clad in Marble.
The three doorways led to a balcony.
The Sea reached up to the walls in those days.
After being ransacked by the "4th Crusade" in 1204 AD, it remained abandoned, even after Michael VIII retook the city in 1261 AD.
The Ottomans never took this section over.
In 1873 AD it was partially destroyed to make way for the railway line that began at Sirkeci Station.
Masis
DSCF8396.jpg
Turkey, Istanbul, Column of Constantine52 views9-6-2015
Known locally as "Çemberlitaş" which translates as "hooped Stone" due to the Iron hoops added in 1779 AD after an earthquake and fire. The base was also reinforced at this date.
The column was inaugurated in 330 AD and originally had three more sections with a large Capital upon which was a gilded statue of Constantine in the guise of his favourite deity, Sol.
At the base of the column was said to have been a sanctuary with ancient relics stored.
A hurricane blew down the statue, Capital and upper three sections of column in 1106 AD.
In the reign of Manuel I (1143-1180 AD) a new Capital was installed with a dedicatory inscription around it which translates as "Faithful Manuel invigorated this holy work of art, which has been damaged by time."
A Cross was also placed on top of this, removed after the Ottoman conquest in 1453 AD. Bronze Wreaths are said to have covered the joints of the column, where the stone ones are today, said to have been looted by the Franks in 1204 AD.
Masis
IMG_2523.JPG
Turkey, Istanbul, Maiden's Tower50 views2-6-2015
The first recorded structure on this islet dates from 1110 AD when Emperor Alexius had a tower constructed on it.
This tower was linked to another tower on the European side (the Mangana district) by an iron chain.
This tower was connected to the nearby Asian coast by a causeway upon which was built a wall.

A number of additions and uses have happened to the tower since then, the last of which were steel supports after the devastating earthquake of 17 August 1999.
Masis
IMG_2658.JPG
Turkey, Istanbul, Monastery of the Mother of God at the Spring52 views7-6-2015
The full name of this ancient complex is "Monastery of the Mother of God at the Spring" but it is often known as "Zoödochos Pege" (Life-giving spring).
The Turkish name of it and the area is "Balıklı" which translates as "place where there are fishes" due to the presence of fish in this spring.
The era of the first Church complex around this spring is given either from the time of Emperor Leo I (457-74 AD) or Justinian I (527-65 AD).
Earthquakes and enemy invasions saw numerous rebuilding of this complex through the centuries.
The last was after the Pogroms of the 1950's.
Masis
DSCF8428.JPG
Turkey, Istanbul, Mosaic Museum54 views9-6-2015
The south-western section of the Great Palace (dated to the reign of Emperor Justinian, 527-65 AD) was excavated in the years 1935-38 and 1951-54 by the University of St. Andrews.
This section comprised a Peristyle courtyard, decorated in Mosaics.
The Austrian Academy of Sciences undertook preservation work on the Mosaics in the years 1983-97.
In the photo above, you can also see the pipes inside the walls that would have water and heating.
Masis
DSCF8471.JPG
Turkey, Istanbul, Mosaic Museum51 viewsOutside the Museum is an array of columns, capitals, entablature and even marble Lions.Masis
IMG_2857.jpg
Turkey, Istanbul, Princes Islands, Proti54 views10-6-2015
The Monastery of the Transfiguration, on the island of Kınalıada (Proti).
A place of exile and burial of many members of the Byzantine aristocracy, including Emperors.
The earliest of which is said to have been Leo V (813-20 AD) but the most famous was Romanus IV (1068-71 AD).
Note the Corinthian capital in the foreground.
Like many ethnic Greek Church complexes in Turkey, this is often closed.
Masis
Master_Set_Piece_2c.jpg
Vespasian * Victory, Byzantium, 70-74 AD. * AR Denarius155 views
Vespasian * Victory, Eastern Mint - Byzantium, Silver Denarius
PACI AVGVSTAE * ‘To the Augustan Peace.’

Obv: IMP CAESAR VESPAS AVG COS II TR P P P * Vespasian, laureate, head right facing.
Rev: PACI AVGVSTAE * Victory standing left, holding wreath in right hand, arm raised and extended, holding palm frond vertical in left hand and crossing left-shoulder, arm straight down to side. Thighs together, left knee slightly bent in classical pose. Mint mark in lower left field - ligate BY.

Exergue: (Blank)

Mint: Byzantium
Struck: 70-74 AD.

Size: 17.51 x 17.26 mm.
Weight: ca. 3.0 grams
Die axis: 355°

Condition: Utterly superb & beautiful, notwithstanding the notable wear to the Victory reverse. Gorgeous, bright, clear and gleaming luster. Nicely struck, and superb relief over-all, to images and extant legends.

Refs:*
RSC, 278
BMCRE, 446
RIC II, 323, pg. 53

4 commentsTiathena
Vesp BY Concordia.jpg
Vespasian-RIC-1416133 viewsAR Denarius, 2.90g
Ephesus Mint, 70 AD
Obv: IMP CAESAR VESPAS AVG COS II TR P P P; Head of Vespasian, laureate, r.
Rev: CONCORDIA AVG; Ceres, Veiled, draped, seated l. holding two corn-ears and poppy in r. hand and cornucopiae in l.; in exergue, BY
RIC 1416 (R2). BMC p. 93. RSC 66a. RPC 823 (1 spec.). BNC -.
Ex Old Roman Coins, eBay, June 2004.

This denarius has a mint mark that the BMCRE attributes to Byzantium, however, modern scholarship is inclined to assign this mark and the other mint marked denarii of Asia Minor to the city of Ephesus.

The reverse type depicts Ceres seated on a throne holding the abundance of harvest. Issued soon after the Civil War, it may be a local expression of the 'fruits of harmony.' (BMCRE lxvi)

A coin which suffers from a touch of porosity due to it's state of preservation. Like many of the coins of Asian Minor, the artistic quality is very high.
Vespasian70
SeptSeverus.jpg
[1001a] Septimius Severus, 9 April 193 - 4 February 211 A.D.63 viewsSilver denarius, RIC 32, RSC 301, VF, 2.966g, 16.8mm, 180o, Rome mint, 194 A.D.; obverse L SEPT SEV PERT AVG IMP III, laureate head right; reverse LIBERO PATRI, Liber (Bacchus) standing left, in right ocnochoe over panther, thysus in left; excellent portrait; scarce. Ex FORVM.

De Imperatoribus Romanis
An Online Encyclopedia of Roman Emperors

Septimius Severus (193-211 A.D.)

Michael L. Meckler
Ohio State University

Introduction
Lucius Septimius Severus restored stability to the Roman empire after the tumultuous reign of the emperor Commodus and the civil wars that erupted in the wake of Commodus' murder. However, by giving greater pay and benefits to soldiers and annexing the troublesome lands of northern Mesopotamia into the Roman empire, Septimius Severus brought increasing financial and military burdens to Rome's government. His prudent administration allowed these burdens to be met during his eighteen years on the throne, but his reign was not entirely sunny. The bloodiness with which Severus gained and maintained control of the empire tarnished his generally positive reputation.

Severus' Early Life and Acclamation
Severus was born 11 April 145 in the African city of Lepcis Magna, whose magnificent ruins are located in modern Libya, 130 miles east of Tripoli. Septimius Severus came from a distinguished local family with cousins who received suffect consulships in Rome under Antoninus Pius. The future emperor's father seems not to have held any major offices, but the grandfather may have been the wealthy equestrian Septimius Severus commemorated by the Flavian-era poet Statius.

The future emperor was helped in his early career by one of his consular cousins, who arranged entry into the senate and the favor of the emperor Marcus Aurelius. Life as a senator meant a life of travel from one government posting to another. Moorish attacks on his intended post of Baetica (southern Spain) forced Severus to serve his quaestorship in Sardinia. He then traveled to Africa as a legate and returned to Rome to be a tribune of the plebs. Around the year 175 he married Paccia Marciana, who seems also to have been of African origin. The childless marriage lasted a decade or so until her death.

Severus' career continued to flourish as the empire passed from Marcus to Commodus. The young senator held a praetorship, then served in Spain, commanded a legion in Syria and held the governorships of Gallia Lugdunensis (central France), Sicily and Upper Pannonia (easternmost Austria and western Hungary). While in Gallia Lugdunensis in 187, the now-widowed future emperor married Julia Domna, a woman from a prominent family of the Syrian city of Emesa. Two sons quickly arrived, eleven months apart: Bassianus (known to history as Caracalla) in April of the year 188, and Geta in March 189.

News of Pertinax's assassination 28 March 193 in an uprising by the praetorian guard quickly reached Pannonia, and only twelve days later on 9 April 193, Severus was proclaimed emperor. Septimius Severus had the strong support of the armies along the Rhine and Danube, but the loyalty of the governor of Britain, Clodius Albinus, was in doubt. Severus' envoys from Pannonia offered Albinus the title of Caesar, which he accepted.

The Civil Wars with Albinus, Niger, and Didius Julianus
In the city of Rome, Didius Julianus gained the support of the praetorian troops and was promoted as the successor to Pertinax. Although Julianus' authority did not extend much beyond Italy, Severus understood that legitimacy for a Roman emperor meant having one's authority accepted in Rome. He and his army began a swift march to the city. They met practically no resistance on their advance from Pannonia into northern Italy, as Julianus' supporters defected. By the beginning of June when Severus reached Interamna, 50 miles north of Rome, even the praetorian guard stationed in the capital switched sides. Didius Julianus was declared a public enemy and killed. Septimius Severus entered Rome without a fight.

Civil war was not yet over. Another provincial governor also had his eyes on the throne. In Syria, Pescennius Niger had been proclaimed emperor on news of Pertinax's death, and the eastern provinces quickly went under his authority. Byzantium became Niger's base of operations as he prepared to fight the armies of the west loyal to Severus.

Niger was unable to maintain further advances into Europe. The fighting moved to the Asian shore of the Propontis, and in late December 193 or early January 194, Niger was defeated in a battle near Nicaea and fled south. Asia and Bithynia fell under Severus' control, and Egypt soon recognized Severus' authority. By late spring, Niger was defeated near Issus and the remainder of his support collapsed. Syria was pacified. Niger was killed fleeing Antioch. Byzantium, however, refused to surrender to Severan forces. Niger's head was sent to the city to persuade the besieged citizens to give up, but to no avail. The Byzantines held out for another year before surrender. As punishment for their stubbornness, the walls of their city were destroyed.

Severus' Eastern Campaigns
During the fighting, two of the peoples of upper Mesopotamia -- the Osrhoeni and the Adiabeni -- captured some Roman garrisons and made an unsuccessful attack on the Roman-allied city of Nisibis. After the defeat of Niger, these peoples offered to return Roman captives and what remained of the seized treasures if the remaining Roman garrisons were removed from the region. Severus refused the offer and prepared for war against the two peoples, as well as against an Arabian tribe that had aided Niger. In the spring of 195, Severus marched an army through the desert into upper Mesopotamia. The native peoples quickly surrendered, and Severus added to his name the victorious titles Arabicus and Adiabenicus. Much of the upper third of Mesopotamia was organized as a Roman province, though the king of Osrhoene was allowed to retain control of a diminished realm.

The tottering Parthian empire was less and less able to control those peoples living in the border regions with Rome. Rome's eastern frontier was entering a period of instability, and Severus responded with an interventionist policy of attack and annexation. Some senators feared that increased involvement in Mesopotamia would only embroil Rome in local squabbles at great expense. The emperor, however, would remain consistent in his active eastern policy.

Legitimization of the Severan Dynasty
Severus also took steps to cement his legitimacy as emperor by connecting himself to the Antonine dynasty. Severus now proclaimed himself the son of Marcus Aurelius, which allowed him to trace his authority, through adoption, back to the emperor Nerva. Julia Domna was awarded the title "Mother of the Camp" (mater castrorum), a title only previously given to the empress Faustina the Younger, Marcus' wife. Bassianus, the emperor's elder son, was renamed Marcus Aurelius Antoninus and given the title Caesar. It was this last step that marked a decisive break with Albinus.

Albinus had remained in Britain as governor during the struggles between Severus and Niger. Although Albinus had not attempted open revolt against the emperor, he seems to have been in communication with senators about future moves. By the end of 195, Albinus was declared a public enemy by Severus. The governor of Britain responded by proclaiming himself emperor and invading Gaul.

A weary Roman populace used the anonymity of the crowd at the chariot races to complain about renewed civil war, but it was Gaul that bore the brunt of the fighting. Albinus and his supporters were able to inflict losses on the occasion of the initial attacks, but disorder was so great that opportunistic soldiers could easily operate on their own within the lands under Albinus' nominal control.

The tide began to turn early in 197, and after a Severan victory at Tournus, Albinus found himself and his army trapped near Lyon. A battle broke out 19 February 197. In the initial fighting, Albinus' troops forced the Severans into retreat, during which Severus fell off his horse. When the Severan cavalry appeared, however, Albinus' army was routed. Lyon was sacked and Albinus, who was trapped in a house along the river Rhône, committed suicide. Severus ordered Albinus' head to be cut off and sent to Rome for display. Many of Albinus' supporters were killed, including a large number of Spanish and Gallic aristocrats. Albinus' wife and children were killed, as were many of the wives of his supporters. Tradition also told of the mutilation of bodies and denial of proper burial. The emperor revealed a penchant for cruelty that troubled even his fervent supporters. A purge of the senate soon followed. Included among the victims was Pertinax's father-in-law, Sulpicianus.

Severus and the Roman Military
Severus brought many changes to the Roman military. Soldiers' pay was increased by half, they were allowed to be married while in service, and greater opportunities were provided for promotion into officer ranks and the civil service. The entire praetorian guard, discredited by the murder of Pertinax and the auctioning of their support to Julianus, was dismissed. The emperor created a new, larger praetorian guard out of provincial soldiers from the legions. Increases were also made to the two other security forces based in Rome: the urban cohorts, who maintained order; and the night watch, who fought fires and dealt with overnight disturbances, break-ins and other petty crime. These military reforms proved expensive, but the measures may well have increased soldiers' performance and morale in an increasingly unsettled age.

One location that remained unsettled was the eastern frontier. In 197 Nisibis had again been under siege, and the emperor prepared for another eastern campaign. Three new legions were raised, though one was left behind in central Italy to maintain order. The Roman armies easily swept through upper Mesopotamia, traveling down the Euphrates to sack Seleucia, Babylon and Ctesiphon, which had been abandoned by the Parthian king Vologaeses V. On 28 January 198 -- the centenary of Trajan's accession -- Severus took the victorious title Parthicus Maximus and promoted both of his sons: Caracalla to the rank of Augustus and Geta to the rank of Caesar.

Before embarking on the eastern campaign, the emperor had named Gaius Fulvius Plautianus as a praetorian prefect. Plautianus came from the emperor's home town of Lepcis, and the prefect may even have been a relative of the emperor. The victories in Mesopotamia were followed by tours of eastern provinces, including Egypt. Plautianus accompanied Severus throughout the travels, and by the year 201 Plautianus was the emperor's closest confidant and advisor. Plautianus was also praetorian prefect without peer after having arranged the murder of his last colleague in the post.

Upon the return to Rome in 202, the influence of Plautianus was at its height. Comparisons were made with Sejanus, the powerful praetorian prefect under the emperor Tiberius. Plautianus, who earlier had been adlected into the senate, was now awarded consular rank, and his daughter Plautilla was married to Caracalla. The wealth Plautianus had acquired from his close connection with the emperor enabled him to provide a dowry said to have been worthy of fifty princesses. Celebrations and games also marked the decennalia, the beginning of the tenth year of Severus' reign. Later in the year the enlarged imperial family traveled to Lepcis, where native sons Severus and Plautianus could display their prestige and power.

The following year the imperial family returned to Rome, where an arch, still standing today, was dedicated to the emperor at the western end of the Forum. Preparations were also being made for the Secular Games, which were thought to have originated in earliest Rome and were to be held every 110 years. Augustus celebrated the Secular Games in 17 B.C., and Domitian in A.D. 88, six years too early. (Claudius used the excuse of Rome's 800th year to hold the games in A.D. 47.) In 204 Severus would preside over ten days of ceremonies and spectacles.

By the end of 204, Plautianus was finding his influence with the emperor on the wane. Caracalla was not happy to be the husband of Plautilla. Julia Domna resented Plautianus' criticisms and investigations against her. Severus was tiring of his praetorian prefect's ostentation, which at times seemed to surpass that of the emperor himself. The emperor's ailing brother, Geta, also denounced Plautianus, and after Geta's death the praetorian prefect found himself being bypassed by the emperor. In January 205 a soldier named Saturninus revealed to the emperor a plot by Plautianus to have Severus and Caracalla killed. Plautianus was summoned to the imperial palace and executed. His children were exiled, and Caracalla divorced Plautilla. Some observers suspected the story of a plot was merely a ruse to cover up long-term plans for Plautianus' removal.

Severus and Roman Law
Two new praetorian prefects were named to replace Plautianus, one of whom was the eminent jurist Papinian. The emperor's position as ultimate appeals judge had brought an ever-increasing legal workload to his office. During the second century, a career path for legal experts was established, and an emperor came to rely heavily upon his consilium, an advisory panel of experienced jurists, in rendering decisions. Severus brought these jurists to even greater prominence. A diligent administrator and conscientious judge, the emperor appreciated legal reasoning and nurtured its development. His reign ushered in the golden age of Roman jurisprudence, and his court employed the talents of the three greatest Roman lawyers: Papinian, Paul and Ulpian.

The order Severus was able to impose on the empire through both the force of arms and the force of law failed to extend to his own family. His now teenaged sons, Caracalla and Geta, displayed a reckless sibling rivalry that sometimes resulted in physical injury. The emperor believed the lack of responsibilities in Rome contributed to the ill-will between his sons and decided that the family would travel to Britain to oversee military operations there. Caracalla was involved in directing the army's campaigns, while Geta was given civilian authority and a promotion to joint emperor with his father and brother.

Severus was now into his 60s. Chronic gout limited his activities and sapped his strength. The emperor's health continued to deteriorate in Britain, and he became ever more intent on trying to improve the bitter relationship between his two sons. He is reported to have given his sons three pieces of advice: "Get along; pay off the soldiers; and disregard everyone else." The first piece of advice would not be heeded.

Severus died in York on 4 February 211 at the age of 65. His reign lasted nearly 18 years, a duration that would not be matched until Diocletian. Culturally and ideologically Septimius Severus connected his reign to the earlier Antonine era, but the reforms he enacted would eventually alter the very character of Roman government. By creating a larger and more expensive army and increasing the influence of lawyers in administration, Severus planted the seeds that would develop into the highly militaristic and bureaucratic government of the later empire.

Copyright (C) 1998, Michael L. Meckler. Published on De Imperatoribus Romanis, An Online Encyclopedia of Roman Emperors; http://www.roman-emperors.org/sepsev.htm. Used by permission.

Edited by J. P. Fitzgerald, Jr.
1 commentsCleisthenes
SeptSevArDen.jpg
[1001b] Septimius Severus, 9 April 193 - 4 February 211 A.D.45 viewsSeptimius Severus, 9 April 193 - 4 February 211 A.D., Silver denarius, RIC 119A. aF. Rome. Obverse: L. SEP. SEVERVS PER. AVG. P. M. IMP. XI, His bearded and laureated head right. Reverse: SALVTI AVGG. Salus seated left feeding serpent arising from altar(?). Scarce. Ex FORVM.


De Imperatoribus Romanis
An Online Encyclopedia of Roman Emperors

Septimius Severus (193-211 A.D.)

Michael L. Meckler
Ohio State University

Introduction
Lucius Septimius Severus restored stability to the Roman empire after the tumultuous reign of the emperor Commodus and the civil wars that erupted in the wake of Commodus' murder. However, by giving greater pay and benefits to soldiers and annexing the troublesome lands of northern Mesopotamia into the Roman empire, Septimius Severus brought increasing financial and military burdens to Rome's government. His prudent administration allowed these burdens to be met during his eighteen years on the throne, but his reign was not entirely sunny. The bloodiness with which Severus gained and maintained control of the empire tarnished his generally positive reputation.

Severus' Early Life and Acclamation
Severus was born 11 April 145 in the African city of Lepcis Magna, whose magnificent ruins are located in modern Libya, 130 miles east of Tripoli. Septimius Severus came from a distinguished local family with cousins who received suffect consulships in Rome under Antoninus Pius. The future emperor's father seems not to have held any major offices, but the grandfather may have been the wealthy equestrian Septimius Severus commemorated by the Flavian-era poet Statius.

The future emperor was helped in his early career by one of his consular cousins, who arranged entry into the senate and the favor of the emperor Marcus Aurelius. Life as a senator meant a life of travel from one government posting to another. Moorish attacks on his intended post of Baetica (southern Spain) forced Severus to serve his quaestorship in Sardinia. He then traveled to Africa as a legate and returned to Rome to be a tribune of the plebs. Around the year 175 he married Paccia Marciana, who seems also to have been of African origin. The childless marriage lasted a decade or so until her death.

Severus' career continued to flourish as the empire passed from Marcus to Commodus. The young senator held a praetorship, then served in Spain, commanded a legion in Syria and held the governorships of Gallia Lugdunensis (central France), Sicily and Upper Pannonia (easternmost Austria and western Hungary). While in Gallia Lugdunensis in 187, the now-widowed future emperor married Julia Domna, a woman from a prominent family of the Syrian city of Emesa. Two sons quickly arrived, eleven months apart: Bassianus (known to history as Caracalla) in April of the year 188, and Geta in March 189.

News of Pertinax's assassination 28 March 193 in an uprising by the praetorian guard quickly reached Pannonia, and only twelve days later on 9 April 193, Severus was proclaimed emperor. Septimius Severus had the strong support of the armies along the Rhine and Danube, but the loyalty of the governor of Britain, Clodius Albinus, was in doubt. Severus' envoys from Pannonia offered Albinus the title of Caesar, which he accepted.

The Civil Wars with Albinus, Niger, and Didius Julianus
In the city of Rome, Didius Julianus gained the support of the praetorian troops and was promoted as the successor to Pertinax. Although Julianus' authority did not extend much beyond Italy, Severus understood that legitimacy for a Roman emperor meant having one's authority accepted in Rome. He and his army began a swift march to the city. They met practically no resistance on their advance from Pannonia into northern Italy, as Julianus' supporters defected. By the beginning of June when Severus reached Interamna, 50 miles north of Rome, even the praetorian guard stationed in the capital switched sides. Didius Julianus was declared a public enemy and killed. Septimius Severus entered Rome without a fight.

Civil war was not yet over. Another provincial governor also had his eyes on the throne. In Syria, Pescennius Niger had been proclaimed emperor on news of Pertinax's death, and the eastern provinces quickly went under his authority. Byzantium became Niger's base of operations as he prepared to fight the armies of the west loyal to Severus.

Niger was unable to maintain further advances into Europe. The fighting moved to the Asian shore of the Propontis, and in late December 193 or early January 194, Niger was defeated in a battle near Nicaea and fled south. Asia and Bithynia fell under Severus' control, and Egypt soon recognized Severus' authority. By late spring, Niger was defeated near Issus and the remainder of his support collapsed. Syria was pacified. Niger was killed fleeing Antioch. Byzantium, however, refused to surrender to Severan forces. Niger's head was sent to the city to persuade the besieged citizens to give up, but to no avail. The Byzantines held out for another year before surrender. As punishment for their stubbornness, the walls of their city were destroyed.

Severus' Eastern Campaigns
During the fighting, two of the peoples of upper Mesopotamia -- the Osrhoeni and the Adiabeni -- captured some Roman garrisons and made an unsuccessful attack on the Roman-allied city of Nisibis. After the defeat of Niger, these peoples offered to return Roman captives and what remained of the seized treasures if the remaining Roman garrisons were removed from the region. Severus refused the offer and prepared for war against the two peoples, as well as against an Arabian tribe that had aided Niger. In the spring of 195, Severus marched an army through the desert into upper Mesopotamia. The native peoples quickly surrendered, and Severus added to his name the victorious titles Arabicus and Adiabenicus. Much of the upper third of Mesopotamia was organized as a Roman province, though the king of Osrhoene was allowed to retain control of a diminished realm.

The tottering Parthian empire was less and less able to control those peoples living in the border regions with Rome. Rome's eastern frontier was entering a period of instability, and Severus responded with an interventionist policy of attack and annexation. Some senators feared that increased involvement in Mesopotamia would only embroil Rome in local squabbles at great expense. The emperor, however, would remain consistent in his active eastern policy.

Legitimization of the Severan Dynasty
Severus also took steps to cement his legitimacy as emperor by connecting himself to the Antonine dynasty. Severus now proclaimed himself the son of Marcus Aurelius, which allowed him to trace his authority, through adoption, back to the emperor Nerva. Julia Domna was awarded the title "Mother of the Camp" (mater castrorum), a title only previously given to the empress Faustina the Younger, Marcus' wife. Bassianus, the emperor's elder son, was renamed Marcus Aurelius Antoninus and given the title Caesar. It was this last step that marked a decisive break with Albinus.

Albinus had remained in Britain as governor during the struggles between Severus and Niger. Although Albinus had not attempted open revolt against the emperor, he seems to have been in communication with senators about future moves.[[3]] By the end of 195, Albinus was declared a public enemy by Severus. The governor of Britain responded by proclaiming himself emperor and invading Gaul.

A weary Roman populace used the anonymity of the crowd at the chariot races to complain about renewed civil war, but it was Gaul that bore the brunt of the fighting. Albinus and his supporters were able to inflict losses on the occasion of the initial attacks, but disorder was so great that opportunistic soldiers could easily operate on their own within the lands under Albinus' nominal control.

The tide began to turn early in 197, and after a Severan victory at Tournus, Albinus found himself and his army trapped near Lyon. A battle broke out 19 February 197. In the initial fighting, Albinus' troops forced the Severans into retreat, during which Severus fell off his horse. When the Severan cavalry appeared, however, Albinus' army was routed. Lyon was sacked and Albinus, who was trapped in a house along the river Rhône, committed suicide. Severus ordered Albinus' head to be cut off and sent to Rome for display. Many of Albinus' supporters were killed, including a large number of Spanish and Gallic aristocrats. Albinus' wife and children were killed, as were many of the wives of his supporters. Tradition also told of the mutilation of bodies and denial of proper burial. The emperor revealed a penchant for cruelty that troubled even his fervent supporters. A purge of the senate soon followed. Included among the victims was Pertinax's father-in-law, Sulpicianus.

Severus and the Roman Military
Severus brought many changes to the Roman military. Soldiers' pay was increased by half, they were allowed to be married while in service, and greater opportunities were provided for promotion into officer ranks and the civil service. The entire praetorian guard, discredited by the murder of Pertinax and the auctioning of their support to Julianus, was dismissed. The emperor created a new, larger praetorian guard out of provincial soldiers from the legions. Increases were also made to the two other security forces based in Rome: the urban cohorts, who maintained order; and the night watch, who fought fires and dealt with overnight disturbances, break-ins and other petty crime. These military reforms proved expensive, but the measures may well have increased soldiers' performance and morale in an increasingly unsettled age.

One location that remained unsettled was the eastern frontier. In 197 Nisibis had again been under siege, and the emperor prepared for another eastern campaign. Three new legions were raised, though one was left behind in central Italy to maintain order. The Roman armies easily swept through upper Mesopotamia, traveling down the Euphrates to sack Seleucia, Babylon and Ctesiphon, which had been abandoned by the Parthian king Vologaeses V. On 28 January 198 -- the centenary of Trajan's accession -- Severus took the victorious title Parthicus Maximus and promoted both of his sons: Caracalla to the rank of Augustus and Geta to the rank of Caesar.

Before embarking on the eastern campaign, the emperor had named Gaius Fulvius Plautianus as a praetorian prefect. Plautianus came from the emperor's home town of Lepcis, and the prefect may even have been a relative of the emperor. The victories in Mesopotamia were followed by tours of eastern provinces, including Egypt. Plautianus accompanied Severus throughout the travels, and by the year 201 Plautianus was the emperor's closest confidant and advisor. Plautianus was also praetorian prefect without peer after having arranged the murder of his last colleague in the post.

Upon the return to Rome in 202, the influence of Plautianus was at its height. Comparisons were made with Sejanus, the powerful praetorian prefect under the emperor Tiberius. Plautianus, who earlier had been adlected into the senate, was now awarded consular rank, and his daughter Plautilla was married to Caracalla. The wealth Plautianus had acquired from his close connection with the emperor enabled him to provide a dowry said to have been worthy of fifty princesses. Celebrations and games also marked the decennalia, the beginning of the tenth year of Severus' reign. Later in the year the enlarged imperial family traveled to Lepcis, where native sons Severus and Plautianus could display their prestige and power.

The following year the imperial family returned to Rome, where an arch, still standing today, was dedicated to the emperor at the western end of the Forum. Preparations were also being made for the Secular Games, which were thought to have originated in earliest Rome and were to be held every 110 years. Augustus celebrated the Secular Games in 17 B.C., and Domitian in A.D. 88, six years too early. (Claudius used the excuse of Rome's 800th year to hold the games in A.D. 47.) In 204 Severus would preside over ten days of ceremonies and spectacles.

By the end of 204, Plautianus was finding his influence with the emperor on the wane. Caracalla was not happy to be the husband of Plautilla. Julia Domna resented Plautianus' criticisms and investigations against her. Severus was tiring of his praetorian prefect's ostentation, which at times seemed to surpass that of the emperor himself. The emperor's ailing brother, Geta, also denounced Plautianus, and after Geta's death the praetorian prefect found himself being bypassed by the emperor. In January 205 a soldier named Saturninus revealed to the emperor a plot by Plautianus to have Severus and Caracalla killed. Plautianus was summoned to the imperial palace and executed. His children were exiled, and Caracalla divorced Plautilla. Some observers suspected the story of a plot was merely a ruse to cover up long-term plans for Plautianus' removal.

Severus and Roman Law
Two new praetorian prefects were named to replace Plautianus, one of whom was the eminent jurist Papinian. The emperor's position as ultimate appeals judge had brought an ever-increasing legal workload to his office. During the second century, a career path for legal experts was established, and an emperor came to rely heavily upon his consilium, an advisory panel of experienced jurists, in rendering decisions. Severus brought these jurists to even greater prominence. A diligent administrator and conscientious judge, the emperor appreciated legal reasoning and nurtured its development. His reign ushered in the golden age of Roman jurisprudence, and his court employed the talents of the three greatest Roman lawyers: Papinian, Paul and Ulpian.

The order Severus was able to impose on the empire through both the force of arms and the force of law failed to extend to his own family. His now teenaged sons, Caracalla and Geta, displayed a reckless sibling rivalry that sometimes resulted in physical injury. The emperor believed the lack of responsibilities in Rome contributed to the ill-will between his sons and decided that the family would travel to Britain to oversee military operations there. Caracalla was involved in directing the army's campaigns, while Geta was given civilian authority and a promotion to joint emperor with his father and brother.

Severus was now into his 60s. Chronic gout limited his activities and sapped his strength. The emperor's health continued to deteriorate in Britain, and he became ever more intent on trying to improve the bitter relationship between his two sons. He is reported to have given his sons three pieces of advice: "Get along; pay off the soldiers; and disregard everyone else." The first piece of advice would not be heeded.

Severus died in York on 4 February 211 at the age of 65. His reign lasted nearly 18 years, a duration that would not be matched until Diocletian. Culturally and ideologically Septimius Severus connected his reign to the earlier Antonine era, but the reforms he enacted would eventually alter the very character of Roman government. By creating a larger and more expensive army and increasing the influence of lawyers in administration, Severus planted the seeds that would develop into the highly militaristic and bureaucratic government of the later empire.

Copyright (C) 1998, Michael L. Meckler. Published on De Imperatoribus Romanis, An Online Encyclopedia of Roman Emperors; http://www.roman-emperors.org/sepsev.htm. Used by permission.

Edited by J. P. Fitzgerald, Jr.

Cleisthenes
Phil2AE21.jpeg
[103b] Macedonian Kingdom, Philip II, 359 - 336 B.C.54 viewsMacedonian Kingdom, Philip II, 359 - 336 B.C. Bronze AE 21, Heavy or Double Unit, SNG ANS 833, aVF, 8.40g, 21.2mm, 0o, lifetime issue. Obverse: head Apollo right, wearing tania; Reverse: FILIPPOU, young male rider right, right hand raised, E right.
Ex FORVM.

Philip II expanded the size and influence of the Macedonian Kingdom, but is perhaps best known as the father of Alexander the Great. He personally selected the design of his coins.

Struck in commemoration of Philip's Olympic victory. This is one of his earliest issues in bronze.

Philip II of Macedon (382 BC–336 BC; in Greek Φίλιππος = φίλος (friend) + ίππος (horse), transliterated Philippos) was the King of Macedon from 359 BC until his assassination. He was the father of Alexander the Great, Phillip III Arrhidaeus, and possibly Ptolemy I Soter, founder of the Ptolemaic dynasty.

Born in Pella, Philip was the youngest son of King Amyntas III and Eurydice. In his youth, (ca. 368 BC–365 BC) Philip was a hostage in Thebes, which was the leading city of Greece during the Theban hegemony. While a captive there, Philip received a military and diplomatic education from Epaminondas, was involved in a pederastic relationship with Pelopidas and lived with Pammenes, who was an enthusiastic advocate of the Sacred Band of Thebes. In 364 BC, Philip returned to Macedonia. The deaths of Philip's elder brothers, King Alexander II and Perdiccas III, allowed him to take the throne in 359 BC. Originally appointed regent for his infant nephew Amyntas IV, who was the son of Perdiccas III, Philip managed to take the kingdom for himself that same year.

Philip's military skills and expansionist vision of Macedonian greatness brought him early success. The hill tribes were broken by a single battle in 358 BC, and Philip established his authority inland as far as Lake Ohrid. He used the Social War as an opportunity for expansion. In 357 BC, he took the Athenian colony of Amphipolis, which commanded the gold mines of Mount Pangaion. That same year Philip married the Epirote princess Olympias, who was the daughter of the king of the Molossians. In 356 BC, Philip conquered the town of Crenides and changed its name to Philippi. Philip also attacked Abdera and Maronea, on the Thracian sea-board. Also in 356 Alexander was born and his race horse won in the Olympics in He took Methone in 354 BC, a town which had belonged to Athens. During the siege of Methone, Philip lost an eye.

Not until his armies were opposed by Athens at Thermopylae in 352 BC did Philip face any serious resistance. Philip did not attempt to advance into central Greece because the Athenians had occupied Thermopylae. Also in 352 BC, the Macedonian army won a complete victory over the Phocians at the Battle of Crocus Field. This battle made Philip tagus of Thessaly, and he claimed as his own Magnesia, with the important harbour of Pagasae.
Hostilities with Athens did not yet take place, but Athens was threatened by the Macedonian party which Philip's gold created in Euboea. From 352 to 346 BC, Philip did not again come south. He was active in completing the subjugation of the Balkan hill-country to the west and north, and in reducing the Greek cities of the coast as far as the Hebrus (Maritza). For the chief of these coastal cities, Olynthus, Philip continued to profess friendship until its neighboring cities were in his hands.

In 349 BC, Philip started the siege of Olynthus. Olynthus at first allied itself with Philip, but later shifted its allegiance to Athens. The Athenians did nothing to help Olynthus. Philip finally took Olynthus in 348 BC and razed the city to the ground. In 346 BC, he intervened effectively in the war between Thebes and the Phocians, but his wars with Athens continued intermittently.

Macedonia and the regions adjoining it having now been securely consolidated, Philip celebrated his Olympic games at Dium. In 347 BC, Philip advanced to the conquest of the eastern districts about the Hebrus, and compelled the submission of the Thracian prince Cersobleptes. Meanwhile, Athens had made overtures for peace, and when Philip, in 346 BC, again moved south, peace was sworn in Thessaly. With key Greek city-states in submission, Philip turned to Sparta; he sent them a message, "You are advised to submit without further delay, for if I bring my army into your land, I will destroy your farms, slay your people, and raze your city." Their reply was "If." Philip and Alexander would both leave them alone. Later, the Macedonian arms were carried across Epirus to the Adriatic Sea. In 342 BC, Philip led a great military expedition north against the Scythians, conquering the Thracian fortified settlement Eumolpia to give it his name, Philippoupolis (modern Plovdiv).

In 340 BC, Philip started the siege of Perinthus. Philip began another siege in 339 BC of the city of Byzantium. After unsuccessful sieges of both cities, Philip's influence all over Greece was compromised. However, Philip successfully reasserted his authority in the Aegean by defeating an alliance of Thebans and Athenians at the Battle of Chaeronea in 338 BC. He erected a memorial of a marble lion to the Sacred Band of Thebes for their bravery that still stands today. Philip created and led the League of Corinth in 337 BC. Members of the League agreed never to wage war against each other, unless it was to suppress revolution. Philip was elected as leader (hegemon) of the army of invasion against the Persian Empire. In 336 BC, when the invasion of Persia was in its very early stage, Philip was assassinated, and was succeeded on the throne of Macedon by his son Alexander the Great.

Philip’s Assassination

The murder happened in October of 336 BC, at Aegae, the ancient capital of the kingdom of Macedon. The court had gathered there for the celebration of the marriage between Alexander of Epirus and Philip's daughter. While the king was entering unprotected into the town's theatre (highlighting his approachability to the Greek diplomats present), he was killed by Pausanias of Orestis, one of Philip's seven bodyguards. The assassin immediately tried to escape and reach his associates who were waiting for him with horses at the entrance of Aegae. He was pursued by three of Philip's bodyguards and died by their hands.
The reasons for Pausanias' assassination of Phillip are difficult to fully expound, since there was controversy already among ancient historians. The only contemporary account in our possession is that of Aristotle, who states rather tersely that Philip was killed because Pausanias had been offended by the followers of Attalus, the king's father-in-law.

Whatever else that may be written about Philip II it must be recognized that he was responsible for making Macedon the ascendant Greek power. He reorganized the Macedonian army. It was this army that Alexander the Great inherited. Phillip II trained some of his Alexander’s best generals: Antigonus Cyclops, Antipater, Nearchus, Parmenion, and Perdiccas.

While Alexander was a bold and charismatic leader, he owes much of his success to his father.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philip_II_of_Macedon
J. P. Fitzgerald, Jr.


Cleisthenes
Phillip2Ae.jpg
[103c] Macedonian Kingdom, Philip II, 359 - 336 B.C.43 viewsBronze AE Unit, SNG ANS 896, SNG Cop 589, F, 5.554g, 16.8mm, 0o, Macedonian mint, c. 359 - 336 B.C.; lifetime issue. Obverse: head Apollo right wearing tania; Reverse: FILIPPOU, young male riding horse prancing to right, AI below. Ex FORVM.


Philip II expanded the size and influence of the Macedonian Kingdom, but is perhaps best known as the father of Alexander the Great. He personally selected the design of his coins.

Philip II of Macedon (382 BC–336 BC; in Greek Φίλιππος = φίλος (friend) + ίππος (horse), transliterated Philippos) was the King of Macedon from 359 BC until his assassination. He was the father of Alexander the Great, Phillip III Arrhidaeus, and possibly Ptolemy I Soter, founder of the Ptolemaic dynasty.

Born in Pella, Philip was the youngest son of King Amyntas III and Eurydice. In his youth, (ca. 368 BC–365 BC) Philip was a hostage in Thebes, which was the leading city of Greece during the Theban hegemony. While a captive there, Philip received a military and diplomatic education from Epaminondas, was involved in a pederastic relationship with Pelopidas and lived with Pammenes, who was an enthusiastic advocate of the Sacred Band of Thebes. In 364 BC, Philip returned to Macedonia. The deaths of Philip's elder brothers, King Alexander II and Perdiccas III, allowed him to take the throne in 359 BC. Originally appointed regent for his infant nephew Amyntas IV, who was the son of Perdiccas III, Philip managed to take the kingdom for himself that same year.

Philip's military skills and expansionist vision of Macedonian greatness brought him early success. The hill tribes were broken by a single battle in 358 BC, and Philip established his authority inland as far as Lake Ohrid. He used the Social War as an opportunity for expansion. In 357 BC, he took the Athenian colony of Amphipolis, which commanded the gold mines of Mount Pangaion. That same year Philip married the Epirote princess Olympias, who was the daughter of the king of the Molossians. In 356 BC, Philip conquered the town of Crenides and changed its name to Philippi. Philip also attacked Abdera and Maronea, on the Thracian sea-board. Also in 356 Alexander was born and his race horse won in the Olympics in He took Methone in 354 BC, a town which had belonged to Athens. During the siege of Methone, Philip lost an eye.

Not until his armies were opposed by Athens at Thermopylae in 352 BC did Philip face any serious resistance. Philip did not attempt to advance into central Greece because the Athenians had occupied Thermopylae. Also in 352 BC, the Macedonian army won a complete victory over the Phocians at the Battle of Crocus Field. This battle made Philip tagus of Thessaly, and he claimed as his own Magnesia, with the important harbour of Pagasae.
Hostilities with Athens did not yet take place, but Athens was threatened by the Macedonian party which Philip's gold created in Euboea. From 352 to 346 BC, Philip did not again come south. He was active in completing the subjugation of the Balkan hill-country to the west and north, and in reducing the Greek cities of the coast as far as the Hebrus (Maritza). For the chief of these coastal cities, Olynthus, Philip continued to profess friendship until its neighboring cities were in his hands.

In 349 BC, Philip started the siege of Olynthus. Olynthus at first allied itself with Philip, but later shifted its allegiance to Athens. The Athenians did nothing to help Olynthus. Philip finally took Olynthus in 348 BC and razed the city to the ground. In 346 BC, he intervened effectively in the war between Thebes and the Phocians, but his wars with Athens continued intermittently.

Macedonia and the regions adjoining it having now been securely consolidated, Philip celebrated his Olympic games at Dium. In 347 BC, Philip advanced to the conquest of the eastern districts about the Hebrus, and compelled the submission of the Thracian prince Cersobleptes. Meanwhile, Athens had made overtures for peace, and when Philip, in 346 BC, again moved south, peace was sworn in Thessaly. With key Greek city-states in submission, Philip turned to Sparta; he sent them a message, "You are advised to submit without further delay, for if I bring my army into your land, I will destroy your farms, slay your people, and raze your city." Their reply was "If." Philip and Alexander would both leave them alone. Later, the Macedonian arms were carried across Epirus to the Adriatic Sea. In 342 BC, Philip led a great military expedition north against the Scythians, conquering the Thracian fortified settlement Eumolpia to give it his name, Philippoupolis (modern Plovdiv).

In 340 BC, Philip started the siege of Perinthus. Philip began another siege in 339 BC of the city of Byzantium. After unsuccessful sieges of both cities, Philip's influence all over Greece was compromised. However, Philip successfully reasserted his authority in the Aegean by defeating an alliance of Thebans and Athenians at the Battle of Chaeronea in 338 BC. He erected a memorial of a marble lion to the Sacred Band of Thebes for their bravery that still stands today. Philip created and led the League of Corinth in 337 BC. Members of the League agreed never to wage war against each other, unless it was to suppress revolution. Philip was elected as leader (hegemon) of the army of invasion against the Persian Empire. In 336 BC, when the invasion of Persia was in its very early stage, Philip was assassinated, and was succeeded on the throne of Macedon by his son Alexander the Great.

Philip’s Assassination

The murder happened in October of 336 BC, at Aegae, the ancient capital of the kingdom of Macedon. The court had gathered there for the celebration of the marriage between Alexander of Epirus and Philip's daughter. While the king was entering unprotected into the town's theatre (highlighting his approachability to the Greek diplomats present), he was killed by Pausanias of Orestis, one of Philip's seven bodyguards. The assassin immediately tried to escape and reach his associates who were waiting for him with horses at the entrance of Aegae. He was pursued by three of Philip's bodyguards and died by their hands.
The reasons for Pausanias' assassination of Phillip are difficult to fully expound, since there was controversy already among ancient historians. The only contemporary account in our possession is that of Aristotle, who states rather tersely that Philip was killed because Pausanias had been offended by the followers of Attalus, the king's father-in-law.

Whatever else that may be written about Philip II it must be recognized that he was responsible for making Macedon the ascendant Greek power. He reorganized the Macedonian army. It was this army that Alexander the Great inherited. Phillip II trained some of his Alexander’s best generals: Antigonus Cyclops, Antipater, Nearchus, Parmenion, and Perdiccas.

While Alexander was a bold and charismatic leader, he owes much of his success to his father.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philip_II_of_Macedon
J. P. Fitzgerald, Jr.
Cleisthenes
Valerian1RIC232.jpg
[1112a] Valerian I, October 253 - c. June 260 A.D.70 viewsSilver antoninianus, RIC 232, RSC 10, VF, worn die reverse, Mediolanum mint, 3.909g, 22.2mm, 180o, 257 A.D.; Obverse: IMP VALERIANVS P AVG, radiate, draped and cuirassed bust right; Reverse: AETERNITATI AVGG, Sol standing left, raising right, globe in left; nice portrait, good silver for the reign. Ex FORVM.


De Imperatoribus Romanis,
An Online Encyclopedia of Roman Emperors and their Families

Valerian (A.D. 253-260) and Gallienus (A.D. 253-268)

Richard D. Weigel
Western Kentucky University


P. Licinius Valerianus, or Valerian, was unusual for his time period in that he was an emperor who came from an old Roman senatorial family. He was likely born shortly before 200 A.D., but little is known of his early life. Valerian married Egnatia Mariniana and had two sons, Gallienus and Valerian Junior. Gallienus was born around 218. Valerian makes his first appearance in the sources in 238 A.D. as an ex-consul and princeps senatus negotiating with (more likely than serving on) the embassy sent to Rome by Gordian I's African legions to secure senatorial approval of Gordian's rebellion against and replacement of Maximinus Thrax as emperor. The Scriptores Historiae Augustae probably report accurately that Trajan Decius, on the recommendation of the Senate, offered Valerian the censorship in 251. Although the senatus consultum cited and the specific office are of doubtful authenticity, the high reputation Valerian possessed in the Senate and his association with the government under Decius probably are truthful aspects of the story. In 253 Valerian was apparently commanding in Raetia and Noricum when Trebonianus Gallus sent him to bring legions from Gaul and Germany to Italy for the struggle with the forces of Aemilianus. After Gallus' troops killed him and his son and joined Aemilianus, Valerian's men proclaimed their general emperor and their arrival in Italy caused Aemilianus' soldiers to desert and kill their commander and join Valerian's forces in acclaiming Valerian as emperor.

The Senate presumably was pleased to ratify the position of Valerian, one of their own, as emperor and they also accepted his son and colleague, P. Licinius Egnatius Gallienus, as Augustus, rather than just as Caesar. Valerian apparently realized the necessity of sharing power equally with his son and of dividing their efforts geographically, with Gallienus responsible for the West and Valerian himself concentrating on the East. The biographies of Valerian and Gallienus in the Scriptores Historiae Augustae, attributed to Trebellius Pollio, are not especially helpful in putting together an account of their joint reign. The life of Valerian is fragmentary and that of Gallienus projects an extremely biased negative interpretation of his career.

Gallienus in the early years of the joint reign concentrated, with some success, on protecting Gaul and the Rhine frontier by driving back Germanic tribes and fortifying cities such as Cologne and Trier. In a move which would characterize later diplomacy with Germans, Gallienus concluded an alliance with one of their chieftains, presumably to assist the Romans in protecting the empire from other Germanic tribes. The invasions increased in number around 257-258 as the Franks entered Gaul and Spain, destroying Tarraco (Tarragona), and the Alamanni invaded Italy. Gallienus defeated the Alamanni at Milan, but soon was faced with the revolts in Pannonia and Moesia led first by his general there, Ingenuus, and then by Regalianus, commander in Illyricum. Gallienus put down these rebellions by 260 and secured stability in the region by concluding an alliance with the Marcomannic king, whose daughter Pipa the emperor apparently accepted as his concubine although he was still married to Cornelia Salonina.

In the East, Valerian had succeeded by A.D. 257 in rescuing Antioch in Syria from Persian control, at least temporarily, but was soon faced with a major invasion of the Goths in Asia Minor. The Scriptores Historiae Augustae biography of Aurelian has Valerian appear to speak in the Baths at Byzantium to publicly commend Aurelian for his success in driving back the Goths and reward him with the consulship and even with adoption as imperial successor. However, it is not clear that Valerian even reached Byzantium because he sent Felix to that city while he remained to protect the eastern section of Asia Minor and then returned to Antioch to guard it against renewed Persian attacks. It was at this point, around 259, that Valerian moved to defend Edessa and his troops lost significant numbers to the plague. Valerian tried to negotiate a peace with the Persian king, Sapor, but was captured by treachery and taken into captivity. The ultimate humiliation of a Roman emperor by a foreign leader was enacted through Sapor's use of Valerian as a human stepping-stool to assist the Persian king in mounting his horse and Valerian's body was later skinned to produce a lasting trophy of Roman submission.

Eusebius discusses the policy of Valerian toward the Christians and says that, after initially treating them most positively, Valerian was persuaded by Macrianus to lead another persecution against them. Valerian in fact after his brutal imprisonment and death in Persia would serve as a negative moral exemplum for some Latin Christian writers who gleefully pointed out that those who oppose the true God receive their just desserts.

Eusebius also credits Gallienus with reversing his father's policy and establishing peace with the Church, citing imperial edicts which established freedom of worship and even restored some lost property. Paul Keresztes claims that Gallienus in fact established a peace with Christians that lasted for forty-three years, from A.D. 260 until 303, and gave the community a kind of legal status which they had previously lacked.

Andreas Alföldi details a growing separation between Gallienus and his father which goes well beyond the geographical one which had developed out of military necessity. In addition to the strikingly different policies, just described, which they pursued toward the Christians, Gallienus began to make his military independence clear through changes in coin inscriptions and by 258 he had created his central cavalry unit and stationed it at Milan. This independent force, which was under the command of a man of equestrian rank and soon stood on a level at least equal to that of the Praetorian Guard, would play a significant role in Gallienus' upcoming battles and, of course, was a foretoken of a new trend for military organization in the future. Alföldi cites as evidence of the increasing separation between the joint emperors the statement that Gallienus did not even seek his father's return from captivity, which Lactantius of course interpreted as part of Valerian's divine punishment, but one wonders what indeed Gallienus might have done and his "indifference" may have been instead his attempt to reassert confidence in his armies and not dwell on the depressing and humiliating servitude and ultimate death of Valerian. Another reform which Alföldi discusses as part of Gallienus' independent stand is his exclusion of the senatorial class from major military commands. H.M.D. Parker credits Gallienus with beginning to separate the civil and military functions of Rome's provincial governors, thus making senatorial governors purely civil administrators and starting to replace them even in this reduced role by equestrians. The disappearance in this period of the S.C. stamp of senatorial authority on bronze coins was probably also seen as an attack on the prestige of the order, although the debasement of the silver coinage had by this time practically reached the point where the "silver" coins were themselves essentially bronze and the change may have been more for economic than for political reasons. Gallienus' exclusion of senators from military command further broke down class distinctions because sons of centurions were by this time regularly given equestrian rank and the move further accelerated the alienation of Rome as center of the Empire. In addition, the bitterness of the senatorial class over Gallienus' policy most likely explains the hatred of Latin writers toward this particular emperor.

Although Gallienus' military innovations may have made his forces more effective, he still had to face numerous challenges to his authority.In addition to systemic invasions and revolts, the plague wreaked havoc in Rome and Italy and probably in several provinces as well. It must have seemed that every commander he entrusted to solve a problem later used that authority to create another threat. When Gallienus was involved in putting down the revolt of Ingenuus in Pannonia, he put Postumus in charge of the armies guarding the Rhine and Gaul. There is some doubt about which of Gallienus' sons, Cornelius Valerianus or P. Cornelius Licinius Saloninus, was left in Cologne under the care of the Praetorian Prefect Silvanus and perhaps also Postumus. In any case, when Postumus revolted and proclaimed his independent Gallic Empire, Silvanus and one of the emperor's sons were killed. Gallienus probably restricted Postumus' expansion, but he never gained the personal revenge that, according to one source, drove him to challenge Postumus to single combat. While Gallienus was thus engaged, and after Valerian's capture by the Persians, Macrianus had his soldiers proclaim his sons, Macrianus and Quietus, emperors in Syria, Asia Minor, and Egypt. Gallienus sent Aureolus to defeat Macrianus and one son in the area of Illyria and Thrace; Odenathus of Palmyra defeated the other son and restored stability in Syria and, with Gallienus' approval, followed that up with a victory over the Persians. After Odenathus' assassination ca. 267, his wife Zenobia continued to rule the independent Palmyrene section of the Empire.

In A.D. 262 Gallienus concluded his tenth year in office by celebrating in Rome his Decennalia with a spectacular procession involving senators, equestrians, gladiators, soldiers, representatives of foreign peoples, and many other groups. This festival included feasts, games, entertainment, and spectacle which probably reminded Romans of the millennial Secular Games celebrations of Philip I and likely were intended to secure popular support at home for Gallienus. Over the next five years little is known about specific activities of the emperor and he presumably spent more time in Rome and less along the frontiers.

Gallienus and Salonina as rulers patronized a cultural movement which collectively is known as the Gallienic Renaissance. The imperial patrons are most directly connected with the philosophical aspects of this movement because Porphyry testifies to their friendship for the Neoplatonic philosopher Plotinus. Porphyry goes on to say that Plotinus asked Gallienus to rebuild an abandoned former city of philosophers in Campania, rename it Platonopolis, and govern it as a kind of Platonic Republic, but that the jealousy and spite of others at court scuttled the plan. In addition to Neoplatonic philosophy, according to Gervase Matthew, the Gallienic Renaissance included the "upward glance" and other stylistic changes in imperial sculpture and religious beliefs that were characterized by "an overwhelming sense of the transcendent and immutable." Matthew points out both the return to artistic models of Augustus, Hadrian, and even Severus Alexander and also "a new Romantic tension" which breaks with the past and points toward a new and very different world. The Hellenic character of much of the Gallienic Renaissance is also stressed in the emperor's trip to Athens where he, likely in imitation of Hadrian, became eponymous archon and received initiation into the Eleusinian cult of Demeter.
Late in his reign, Gallienus issued a series of coins in Rome which honored nine deities as Conservator Augusti or protector of the emperor by pairing his portrait with reverses picturing an animal or animals symbolic of each deity. Included in this group of celestial guardians are Apollo, Diana, Hercules, Jupiter, Juno, Liber Pater, Mercury, Neptune, and Sol. For example, Apollo's coin-types portray a centaur, a gryphon, or Pegasus; Hercules is represented by either the lion or the boar. It appears that Gallienus was issuing the "animal series" coins both to secure, through some religious festival, the aid of Rome's protective gods against continuing invasions, revolts, and plague and to entertain the Roman populace with pageantry and circus games, thus to divert their attention away from the same problems and maintain the security of the regime in power.

In A.D. 268, Gallienus saw his third son, Marinianus, become consul, but in the spring another Gothic invasion brought the emperor back to Greece. He defeated the invaders at Naissus in Moesia , but was deterred from pursuing them further by a revolt of the commander of his elite cavalry, Aureolus. He besieged this last rebel emperor in Milan, but a plot involving his Praetorian Prefect and two future emperors, Claudius and Aurelian, all three men Illyrians popular with many of the soldiers, lured Gallienus away from the city on a false pretext and assassinated him.The emperor's brother Valerian and young son Marinianus were also murdered. In spite of the bitter resentment which many of the senators must have felt toward the dead emperor and his reform policies, Claudius II, perhaps only to legitimize his own reign, persuaded the Senate to deify Gallienus.

Copyright Richard D. Weigel, 2007. Published on De Imperatoribus Romanis,
An Online Encyclopedia of Roman Emperors and their Families

Valerian I was proclaimed emperor after the death of Trajan Decius. He successfully repulsed many barbarian incursions but the standard of living declined and would never recover. In 260 A.D., after four years of war during which Roman forces suffered great losses in battle and to plague, he arranged for peace talks. He set off with a small group to discuss terms with the Sassinian emperor Sapor and was never seen again. The date of his death is unknown, but in Rome it was rumored that he had been murdered and that Sapor was using his stuffed body as a footstool. Joseph Sermarini, FORVM.

Edited by J. P. Fitzgerald, Jr.
Cleisthenes
GalllienusRIC163.jpg
[1113a] Gallienus, August 253 - 24 March 268 A.D.72 viewsBronze antoninianus, RIC 163, RSC 72, choice EF, Rome mint, 3.716g, 21.6mm, 180o, 268 A.D.; Obverse: GALLIENVS AVG, radiate head right; Reverse: APOLLINI CONS AVG, centaur walking right drawing bow, Z in exergue; struck on a full and round flan, rare this nice. Commemorates vows to Apollo invoking his protection against the revolt of Aureolus. Ex FORVM.


De Imperatoribus Romanis,
An Online Encyclopedia of Roman Emperors and their Families

Valerian (A.D. 253-260) and Gallienus (A.D. 253-268)

Richard D. Weigel
Western Kentucky University


P. Licinius Valerianus, or Valerian, was unusual for his time period in that he was an emperor who came from an old Roman senatorial family. He was likely born shortly before 200 A.D., but little is known of his early life. Valerian married Egnatia Mariniana and had two sons, Gallienus and Valerian Junior. Gallienus was born around 218. Valerian makes his first appearance in the sources in 238 A.D. as an ex-consul and princeps senatus negotiating with (more likely than serving on) the embassy sent to Rome by Gordian I's African legions to secure senatorial approval of Gordian's rebellion against and replacement of Maximinus Thrax as emperor. The Scriptores Historiae Augustae probably report accurately that Trajan Decius, on the recommendation of the Senate, offered Valerian the censorship in 251. Although the senatus consultum cited and the specific office are of doubtful authenticity, the high reputation Valerian possessed in the Senate and his association with the government under Decius probably are truthful aspects of the story. In 253 Valerian was apparently commanding in Raetia and Noricum when Trebonianus Gallus sent him to bring legions from Gaul and Germany to Italy for the struggle with the forces of Aemilianus. After Gallus' troops killed him and his son and joined Aemilianus, Valerian's men proclaimed their general emperor and their arrival in Italy caused Aemilianus' soldiers to desert and kill their commander and join Valerian's forces in acclaiming Valerian as emperor.

The Senate presumably was pleased to ratify the position of Valerian, one of their own, as emperor and they also accepted his son and colleague, P. Licinius Egnatius Gallienus, as Augustus, rather than just as Caesar. Valerian apparently realized the necessity of sharing power equally with his son and of dividing their efforts geographically, with Gallienus responsible for the West and Valerian himself concentrating on the East. The biographies of Valerian and Gallienus in the Scriptores Historiae Augustae, attributed to Trebellius Pollio, are not especially helpful in putting together an account of their joint reign. The life of Valerian is fragmentary and that of Gallienus projects an extremely biased negative interpretation of his career.

Gallienus in the early years of the joint reign concentrated, with some success, on protecting Gaul and the Rhine frontier by driving back Germanic tribes and fortifying cities such as Cologne and Trier. In a move which would characterize later diplomacy with Germans, Gallienus concluded an alliance with one of their chieftains, presumably to assist the Romans in protecting the empire from other Germanic tribes. The invasions increased in number around 257-258 as the Franks entered Gaul and Spain, destroying Tarraco (Tarragona), and the Alamanni invaded Italy. Gallienus defeated the Alamanni at Milan, but soon was faced with the revolts in Pannonia and Moesia led first by his general there, Ingenuus, and then by Regalianus, commander in Illyricum. Gallienus put down these rebellions by 260 and secured stability in the region by concluding an alliance with the Marcomannic king, whose daughter Pipa the emperor apparently accepted as his concubine although he was still married to Cornelia Salonina.

In the East, Valerian had succeeded by A.D. 257 in rescuing Antioch in Syria from Persian control, at least temporarily, but was soon faced with a major invasion of the Goths in Asia Minor. The Scriptores Historiae Augustae biography of Aurelian has Valerian appear to speak in the Baths at Byzantium to publicly commend Aurelian for his success in driving back the Goths and reward him with the consulship and even with adoption as imperial successor. However, it is not clear that Valerian even reached Byzantium because he sent Felix to that city while he remained to protect the eastern section of Asia Minor and then returned to Antioch to guard it against renewed Persian attacks. It was at this point, around 259, that Valerian moved to defend Edessa and his troops lost significant numbers to the plague. Valerian tried to negotiate a peace with the Persian king, Sapor, but was captured by treachery and taken into captivity. The ultimate humiliation of a Roman emperor by a foreign leader was enacted through Sapor's use of Valerian as a human stepping-stool to assist the Persian king in mounting his horse and Valerian's body was later skinned to produce a lasting trophy of Roman submission.

Eusebius discusses the policy of Valerian toward the Christians and says that, after initially treating them most positively, Valerian was persuaded by Macrianus to lead another persecution against them. Valerian in fact after his brutal imprisonment and death in Persia would serve as a negative moral exemplum for some Latin Christian writers who gleefully pointed out that those who oppose the true God receive their just desserts.

Eusebius also credits Gallienus with reversing his father's policy and establishing peace with the Church, citing imperial edicts which established freedom of worship and even restored some lost property. Paul Keresztes claims that Gallienus in fact established a peace with Christians that lasted for forty-three years, from A.D. 260 until 303, and gave the community a kind of legal status which they had previously lacked.

Andreas Alföldi details a growing separation between Gallienus and his father which goes well beyond the geographical one which had developed out of military necessity. In addition to the strikingly different policies, just described, which they pursued toward the Christians, Gallienus began to make his military independence clear through changes in coin inscriptions and by 258 he had created his central cavalry unit and stationed it at Milan. This independent force, which was under the command of a man of equestrian rank and soon stood on a level at least equal to that of the Praetorian Guard, would play a significant role in Gallienus' upcoming battles and, of course, was a foretoken of a new trend for military organization in the future. Alföldi cites as evidence of the increasing separation between the joint emperors the statement that Gallienus did not even seek his father's return from captivity, which Lactantius of course interpreted as part of Valerian's divine punishment, but one wonders what indeed Gallienus might have done and his "indifference" may have been instead his attempt to reassert confidence in his armies and not dwell on the depressing and humiliating servitude and ultimate death of Valerian. Another reform which Alföldi discusses as part of Gallienus' independent stand is his exclusion of the senatorial class from major military commands. H.M.D. Parker credits Gallienus with beginning to separate the civil and military functions of Rome's provincial governors, thus making senatorial governors purely civil administrators and starting to replace them even in this reduced role by equestrians. The disappearance in this period of the S.C. stamp of senatorial authority on bronze coins was probably also seen as an attack on the prestige of the order, although the debasement of the silver coinage had by this time practically reached the point where the "silver" coins were themselves essentially bronze and the change may have been more for economic than for political reasons. Gallienus' exclusion of senators from military command further broke down class distinctions because sons of centurions were by this time regularly given equestrian rank and the move further accelerated the alienation of Rome as center of the Empire. In addition, the bitterness of the senatorial class over Gallienus' policy most likely explains the hatred of Latin writers toward this particular emperor.

Although Gallienus' military innovations may have made his forces more effective, he still had to face numerous challenges to his authority.In addition to systemic invasions and revolts, the plague wreaked havoc in Rome and Italy and probably in several provinces as well. It must have seemed that every commander he entrusted to solve a problem later used that authority to create another threat. When Gallienus was involved in putting down the revolt of Ingenuus in Pannonia, he put Postumus in charge of the armies guarding the Rhine and Gaul. There is some doubt about which of Gallienus' sons, Cornelius Valerianus or P. Cornelius Licinius Saloninus, was left in Cologne under the care of the Praetorian Prefect Silvanus and perhaps also Postumus. In any case, when Postumus revolted and proclaimed his independent Gallic Empire, Silvanus and one of the emperor's sons were killed. Gallienus probably restricted Postumus' expansion, but he never gained the personal revenge that, according to one source, drove him to challenge Postumus to single combat. While Gallienus was thus engaged, and after Valerian's capture by the Persians, Macrianus had his soldiers proclaim his sons, Macrianus and Quietus, emperors in Syria, Asia Minor, and Egypt. Gallienus sent Aureolus to defeat Macrianus and one son in the area of Illyria and Thrace; Odenathus of Palmyra defeated the other son and restored stability in Syria and, with Gallienus' approval, followed that up with a victory over the Persians. After Odenathus' assassination ca. 267, his wife Zenobia continued to rule the independent Palmyrene section of the Empire.

In A.D. 262 Gallienus concluded his tenth year in office by celebrating in Rome his Decennalia with a spectacular procession involving senators, equestrians, gladiators, soldiers, representatives of foreign peoples, and many other groups. This festival included feasts, games, entertainment, and spectacle which probably reminded Romans of the millennial Secular Games celebrations of Philip I and likely were intended to secure popular support at home for Gallienus. Over the next five years little is known about specific activities of the emperor and he presumably spent more time in Rome and less along the frontiers.

Gallienus and Salonina as rulers patronized a cultural movement which collectively is known as the Gallienic Renaissance. The imperial patrons are most directly connected with the philosophical aspects of this movement because Porphyry testifies to their friendship for the Neoplatonic philosopher Plotinus. Porphyry goes on to say that Plotinus asked Gallienus to rebuild an abandoned former city of philosophers in Campania, rename it Platonopolis, and govern it as a kind of Platonic Republic, but that the jealousy and spite of others at court scuttled the plan. In addition to Neoplatonic philosophy, according to Gervase Matthew, the Gallienic Renaissance included the "upward glance" and other stylistic changes in imperial sculpture and religious beliefs that were characterized by "an overwhelming sense of the transcendent and immutable." Matthew points out both the return to artistic models of Augustus, Hadrian, and even Severus Alexander and also "a new Romantic tension" which breaks with the past and points toward a new and very different world. The Hellenic character of much of the Gallienic Renaissance is also stressed in the emperor's trip to Athens where he, likely in imitation of Hadrian, became eponymous archon and received initiation into the Eleusinian cult of Demeter.

Late in his reign, Gallienus issued a series of coins in Rome which honored nine deities as Conservator Augusti or protector of the emperor by pairing his portrait with reverses picturing an animal or animals symbolic of each deity. Included in this group of celestial guardians are Apollo, Diana, Hercules, Jupiter, Juno, Liber Pater, Mercury, Neptune, and Sol. For example, Apollo's coin-types portray a centaur, a gryphon, or Pegasus; Hercules is represented by either the lion or the boar. It appears that Gallienus was issuing the "animal series" coins both to secure, through some religious festival, the aid of Rome's protective gods against continuing invasions, revolts, and plague and to entertain the Roman populace with pageantry and circus games, thus to divert their attention away from the same problems and maintain the security of the regime in power.

In A.D. 268, Gallienus saw his third son, Marinianus, become consul, but in the spring another Gothic invasion brought the emperor back to Greece. He defeated the invaders at Naissus in Moesia , but was deterred from pursuing them further by a revolt of the commander of his elite cavalry, Aureolus. He besieged this last rebel emperor in Milan, but a plot involving his Praetorian Prefect and two future emperors, Claudius and Aurelian, all three men Illyrians popular with many of the soldiers, lured Gallienus away from the city on a false pretext and assassinated him.The emperor's brother Valerian and young son Marinianus were also murdered. In spite of the bitter resentment which many of the senators must have felt toward the dead emperor and his reform policies, Claudius II, perhaps only to legitimize his own reign, persuaded the Senate to deify Gallienus.

Copyright (C) 1998, Richard D. Weigel. Published on De Imperatoribus Romanis,
An Online Encyclopedia of Roman Emperors and their Families http://www.roman-emperors.org/gallval.htm. Used by permission.


Publius Licinius Egnatius Gallienus was born in about AD 213. This means that he was about 40 years old when his father Valerian, in AD 253, was hailed emperor by his troops in Raetia. Gallienus was made Caesar immediately by his father. But within a month, when Valerian got to Rome, Gallienus received the rank of Augustus.

Compared to other Roman emperors of the age, Gallienus was an exception, as far as he was not a soldier-emperor. He was rather a thoughtful, intellectual ruler, possessing sophisticated Greek tastes. However, this made him deeply unpopular with the gritty Danubian generals, who very much understood it as their right to choose a leader among their own ranks to rule the empire.

If the Danubian military elite didn't like Gallienus, then he certainly soon proved that he was a capable military leader. Between AD 254 to AD 256 he campaigned along the Danube, securing this troubled frontier against the barbarians. In AD 256 he then moved west to fight the Germans along the Rhine.

Then by autumn AD 260 the message of Valerian's capture by the Persians reached Gallienus. If Gallienus had always been unpopular among the military leaders, then now with his father gone and Roman authority crumbling, rebellion was in the air.

On a night in September, AD 268, at the siege of Mediolanum (Milan), an alarm was suddenly raised in the camp of the emperor. In the brief moment of confusion, Gallienus was struck down in the dark as he emerged from his tent.

During his reign, Gallienus began numerous reforms and military campaigns to defend the empire, as much from usurpers as from barbarians. In doing so, he perhaps saved the empire from oblivion. At the same time he presided over perhaps the last flowering of classical Roman culture, patronizing poets, artists and philosophers.

As a last gesture of disrespect to this, most unfortunate of emperors, the Romans should lay Gallienus to rest not in one of the great mausoleums in Rome, but in a tomb nine miles south of the capital, along the Via Appia.

Ironically, he was deified by the senate at the request of Claudius II Gothicus, one of the men who must be held accountable for the assassination of Gallienus.
See: http://www.roman-empire.net/decline/gallienus.html


Gallienus was the son of Valerian I and was named Caesar at his father's accession to the throne in 253 A.D. Upon his father's capture by the Parthians he assumed the rank of Augustus and began numerous reforms and military campaigns to defend the empire, as much from usurpers as from barbarians. At the same time he presided over perhaps the last flowering of classical Roman culture, patronizing poets, artists and philosophers. Gallienus was assassinated while besieging Milan. Joseph Sermarini, FORVM.

Edited by J. P. Fitzgerald, Jr.
Cleisthenes
TheodosiusRIC83b.jpg
[1601a] Theodosius I, 19 January 379 - 17 January 395 A.D. 67 viewsBronze AE 2, RIC 83(b), EF, Constantinople mint, 4.389g, 22.1mm, 180o, 25 Aug 383 - 28 Aug 388 A.D.; Obverse: D N THEODO-SIVS P F AVG, pearl-diademed, draped and cuirassed bust right; Reverse: VIRTVS E-XERCITI, Emperor standing right holding standard and globe, foot on captive, cross in left field, CONSA in exergue. Ex FORVM.


De Imperatoribus Romanis: An Online Encyclopedia of Roman Rulers and their Families

THEODOSIUS I (379-395 A.D.)
David Woods
University College of Cork


Origin and Early Career
Flavius Theodosius was born at Cauca in Spain in about 346 to Thermantia and Theodosius the Elder (so-called to distinguish him from his son). Theodosius the Elder was a senior military officer serving in the Western empire and rose to become the magister equitum praesentalis under the emperor Valentinian I from late 368 until his execution in early 375. As the son of a soldier, Theodosius was legally obliged to enter upon a military career. He seems to have served under his father during his expedition to Britain in 367/8, and was the dux Moesiae Primae by late 374. Unfortunately, great controversy surrounds the rest of his career until Gratian had him hailed as his imperial colleague in succession to the emperor Valens at Sirmium on 19 January 379. It is clear that he was forced to retire home to Spain only to be recalled to active service shortly thereafter, but the circumstances of his forced retirement are shrouded in mystery. His father was executed at roughly the same time, and much speculation has centred on the relationship between these events.

[For a very detailed and interesting discussion of the Foreign Policy of Theodosius and the Civil Wars that plagued his reign, please see http://www.roman-emperors.org/theo1.htm]

Family and Succession
Theodosius married twice. His first wife was the Spanish Aelia Flavia Flaccilla. She bore him Arcadius ca. 377, Honorius on 9 September 384, and Pulcheria ca. 385. Theodosius honoured her with the title of Augusta shortly after his accession, but she died in 386. In late 387 he married Galla, daughter of Valentinian I and full-sister of Valentinian II. She bore him Gratian ca. 388, Galla Placidia ca. 388/390, and died in childbirth in 394, together with her new-born son John. Of his two sons who survived infancy, he appointed Arcadius as Augustus on 19 January 383 and Honorius as Augustus on 23 January 393. His promotion of Arcadius as a full Augustus at an unusually young age points to his determination right from the start that one of his own sons should succeed him. He sought to strengthen Arcadius' position in particular by means of a series of strategic marriages whose purpose was to tie his leading "generals" irrevocably to his dynasty. Hence he married his niece and adoptive daughter Serena to his magister militum per Orientem Stilicho in 387, her elder sister Thermantia to a "general" whose name has not been preserved, and ca. 387 his nephew-in-law Nebridius to Salvina, daughter of the comes Africae Gildo. By the time of his death by illness on 17 January 395, Theodosius had promoted Stilicho from his position as one of the two comites domesticorum under his own eastern administration to that of magister peditum praesentalis in a western administration, in an entirely traditional manner, under his younger son Honorius. Although Stilicho managed to increase the power of the magister peditum praesentalis to the disadvantage of his colleague the magister equitum praesentalis and claimed that Theodosius had appointed him as guardian for both his sons, this tells us more about his cunning and ambition than it does about Theodosius' constitutional arrangements.

Theodosius' importance rests on the fact that he founded a dynasty which continued in power until the death of his grandson Theodosius II in 450. This ensured a continuity of policy which saw the emergence of Nicene Christianity as the orthodox belief of the vast majority of Christians throughout the middle ages. It also ensured the essential destruction of paganism and the emergence of Christianity as the religion of the state, even if the individual steps in this process can be difficult to identify. On the negative side, however, he allowed his dynastic interests and ambitions to lead him into two unnecessary and bloody civil wars which severely weakened the empire's ability to defend itself in the face of continued barbarian pressure upon its frontiers. In this manner, he put the interests of his family before those of the wider Roman population and was responsible, in many ways, for the phenomenon to which we now refer as the fall of the western Roman empire.


Copyright (C) 1998, David Woods.
Published: De Imperatoribus Romanis: An Online Encyclopedia of Roman Rulers and their Families http://www.roman-emperors.org/startup.htm. Used by permission.

There is a nice segue here, as we pick-up John Julius Norwich's summation of the reign of Theodosius, "Readers of this brief account of his career may well find themselves wondering, not so much whether he deserved the title of 'the Great' as how he ever came to acquire it in the first place. If so, however, they may also like to ask themselves another question: what would have been the fate of the Empire if, at that critical moment in its history after the battle of Adrianople, young Gratian had not called him from his Spanish estates and put the future of the East into his hands? . . . the probability is that the whole Empire of the East would have been lost, swallowed up in a revived Gothic kingdom, with effects on world history that defy speculation.

In his civil legislation he showed, again and again, a consideration for the humblest of his subjects that was rare indeed among rulers of the fourth century. What other prince would have decreed that any criminal, sentenced to execution, imprisonment or exile, must first be allowed thirty days' grace to put his affairs in order? Or that a specified part of his worldly goods must go to his children, upon whom their father's crimes must on no account be visited? Or that no farmer should be obliged to sell his produce to the State at a price lower than he would receive on the open market?

Had he earned his title? Not, perhaps, in the way that Constantine had done or as Justinian was to do. But, if not ultimately great himself, he had surely come very close to greatness; and had he reigned as long as they did his achievements might well have equalled theirs. He might even have saved the Western Empire. One thing only is certain: it would be nearly a century and a half before the Romans would look upon his like again" (Norwich, John Julius. Byzantium, the Early Centuries. London: Penguin Group, 1990. 116-7;118).

Edited by J. P. Fitzgerald, Jr.
Cleisthenes
Justinan1Nikomedia.jpg
[1611a] Justinian I, 4 April 527 - 14 November 565 A.D.68 viewsBronze follis, S 201, choice VF, 22.147g, 43.8mm, 180o, 2nd officina, Nikomedia mint, 541 - 542 A.D.; Obverse: D N IVSTINIANVS PP AVG, helmeted and cuirassed bust facing, globus cruciger in right, shield decorated with a horseman brandishing a spear, cross right; Reverse: large M, cross above, ANNO left, Xu (= year 15) right, B below, NIKO in ex; full circle strike on a huge flan. Ex FORVM.



De Imperatoribus Romanis
An Online Encyclopedia of Roman Emperors

Justinian (527-565 A.D.).

James Allan Evans
University of British Columbia

Introduction
The reign of Justinian was a turning-point in Late Antiquity. It is the period when paganism finally lost its long struggle to survive, and when the schism in Christianity between the Monophysite east and the Chalcedonian west became insurmountable. From a military viewpoint, it marked the last time that the Roman Empire could go on the offensive with hope of success. Africa and Italy were recovered, and a foothold was established in Spain. When Justinian died, the frontiers were still intact although the Balkans had been devastated by a series of raids and the Italian economy was in ruins. His extensive building program has left us the most celebrated example of Byzantine ecclesiastical architecture that still survives: Hagia Sophia in modern Istanbul. His reign was a period when classical culture was in sharp decline and yet it had a last flowering, with historians such as Procopius and Agathias working within the tradition inherited from Herodotus and Thucydides, and poets such as Paul the Silentiary who wrote some of the most sensuous poems that the classical tradition has ever produced. The Codex Justinianus, the Institutes and the Digest of Roman jurisprudence, all commissioned by Justinian, are monuments to the past achievements of Roman legal heritage. Justinian's reign sums up the past. It also provides a matrix for the future. In particular, there was the bubonic plague, which appeared in Constantinople in 542, for the first time in Europe, and then travelled round the empire in search of victims, returning to the capital for a new crop in 558. The plague ended a period of economic growth and initiated one of overstrained resources.

The 'Nika' Revolt
The 'Nika' Revolt which broke out in January, 532, in Constantinople, was an outburst of street violence which went far beyond the norms even in a society where a great deal of street violence was accepted. Every city worth notice had its chariot-racing factions which took their names from their racing colors: Reds, Whites, Blues and Greens. These were professional organizations initially responsible for fielding chariot-racing teams in the hippodromes, though by Justinian's time they were in charge of other shows as well. The Blues and the Greens were dominant, but the Reds and Whites attracted some supporters: the emperor Anastasius was a fan of the Reds. The aficionados of the factions were assigned their own blocs of seats in the Hippodrome in Constantinople, opposite the imperial loge, and the Blue and Green "demes" provided an outlet for the energies of the city's young males. G. M. Manojlovic in an influential article originally published in Serbo-Croat in 1904, argued that the "demes" were organized divisions of a city militia, and thus played an important role in the imperial defense structure. His thesis is now generally disregarded and the dominant view is that of Alan Cameron, that demos, whether used in the singular or plural, means simply "people" and the rioting of the "demes", the "fury of the Hippodrome", as Edward Gibbon called it, was hooliganism, which was also Gibbon's view. Efforts to make the Greens into supporters of Monophysitism and the Blues of Orthodoxy founder on lack of evidence. However, in support of Manojlovic's thesis, it must be said that, although we cannot show that the Blue and Green "demes" were an organized city militia, we hear of "Young Greens" both in Constantinople and Alexandria who bore arms, and in 540, when Antioch fell to the Persians, Blue and Green street-fighters continued to defend the city after the regular troops had fled.

Justinian and Theodora were known Blue supporters, and when street violence escalated under Justin I, Procopius claims that they encouraged it. But since Justinian became emperor he had taken a firmer, more even-handed stand. On Saturday, January 10, 532, the city prefect Eudaemon who had arrested some hooligans and found seven guilty of murder, had them hanged outside the city at Sycae, across the Golden Horn, but the scaffold broke and saved two of them from death, a Blue and a Green. Some monks from St. Conon's monastery nearby took the two men to sanctuary at the church of St Lawrence where the prefect set troops to watch. The following Tuesday while the two malefactors were still trapped in the church, the Blues and Greens begged Justinian to show mercy. He ignored the plea and made no reply. The Blues and Green continued their appeals until the twenty-second race (out of twenty-four) when they suddenly united and raised the watchword 'Nika'. Riots started and the court took refuge in the palace. That evening the mob burned the city prefect's praetorium.

Justinian tried to continue the games next day but only provoked more riot and arson. The rioting and destruction continued throughout the week; even the arrival of loyal troops from Thrace failed to restore order. On Sunday before sunrise, Justinian appeared in the Hippodrome where he repented publicly and promised an amnesty. The mob turned hostile, and Justinian retreated. The evening before Justinian had dismissed two nephews of the old emperor Anastasius, Hypatius and Pompey, against their will, from the palace and sent them home, and now the mob found Hypatius and proclaimed him emperor in the Hippodrome. Justinian was now ready to flee, and perhaps would have done so except for Theodora, who did not frighten easily. Instead Justinian decided to strike ruthlessly. Belisarius and Mundo made their separate ways into the Hippodrome where they fell on Hypatius' supporters who were crowded there, and the 'Nika' riot ended with a bloodbath.

A recent study of the riot by Geoffrey Greatrex has made the point that what was unique about it was not the actions of the mob so much as Justinian's attempts to deal with it. His first reaction was to placate: when the mob demanded that three of his ministers must go, the praetorian prefect of the East, John the Cappadocian, the Quaestor of the Sacred Palace Tribonian and the urban prefect Eudaemon, Justinian replaced them immediately. He hesitated when he should have been firm and aggravated the situation. It may well have been Theodora who emboldened him for the final act of repression. Procopius imagines Theodora on the last day engaging in formal debate about what should be done, and misquoting a famous maxim that was once offered the tyrant of Syracuse, Dionysius the Elder "Tyranny is a good shroud." Theodora emends it to "Kingship is a good shroud" and readers of Procopius may have thought wryly that the emendation was unnecessary. The formal debate, and Theodora's great scene, was probably a creation of Procopius' imagination, but a splendid one.

The 'Nika' revolt left Justinian firmly in charge. The mob was cowed and the senatorial opposition that surfaced during the revolt was forced underground. The damage to Constantinople was great, but it cleared the way for Justinian's own building program. Work in his new church of Hagia Sophia to replace the old Hagia Sophia that was destroyed in the rioting, started only forty-five days after the revolt was crushed. The two leaders of the Hippodrome massacre, Mundo and Belisarius, went on to new appointments: Mundo back to Illyricum as magister militum and Belisarius to make his reputation as the conqueror of the Vandals in Africa. The 530s were a decade of confidence and the 'Nika' riot was only a momentary crisis.

(for a detailed account of the reign of Justinian I, see: http://www.roman-emperors.org/justinia.htm)

Last Years
Misfortune crowded into the final years of Justinian's reign. There was another Samaritan revolt in midsummer, 556. Next year, in December, a great earthquake shook Constantinople and in May of the following year, the dome of Justinian's new Hagia Sophia collapsed, and had to be rebuilt with a new design. About the same time, the plague returned to the capital. Then in early 559 a horde of Kutrigur 'Huns' (proto-Bulgars) crossed the frozen Danube and advanced into the Balkans. It split into three columns: one pushed into Greece but got no further than Thermopylae, another advanced into the Gallipoli peninsula but got no further than the Long Wall, which was defended by a young officer from Justinian's native city, while the third, most dangerous spearhead led by the 'Hun' khan, Zabergan himself, made for Constantinople. Faced with this attack and without any forces for defense, Justinian called Belisarius out of retirement, and Belisarius, using a scratch force, the core of which was 300 of his veterans, ambushed the Kutrigur horde and routed it. Once the immediate danger was over, however, Justinian recalled Belisarius and took charge himself. The news that Justinian was reinforcing his Danube fleet made the Kutrigurs anxious and they agreed to a treaty which gave them a subsidy and safe passage back across the river. But as soon as they were north of the Danube, they were attacked by their rivals the Utigurs who were incited by Justinian to relieve them of their booty. The Kutrigurs raided Thrace again in 562, but they and the Utigurs were soon to fall prey to the Avars who swept out of the Asian steppes in the early 560s.

There was discontent in the capital. Street violence was on the increase again. There were bread shortages and water shortages. In late 562, there was a conspiracy which almost succeeded in killing the emperor. The chief conspirator was Marcellus, an argyroprates, a goldsmith and banker, and the conspiracy probably reflected the dissatisfaction of the business community. But Justinian was too old to learn to be frugal. He resorted to forced loans and requisitions and his successor found the treasury deeply in debt.

What remained of the great emperor's achievement? His successor Justin II, out of a combination of necessity and foolhardiness, denied the 'barbarians' the subsidies which had played a major role in Justinian's defense of the frontiers, and, to be fair, which had also been provided by emperors before him. Subsidies had been part of Anastasius' policy as well, but that was before the plague, while the imperial economy was still expanding. The result of Justin II's change of policy was renewed hostility with Persia and a shift of power in the Balkans. In 567 the Avars and Lombards joined forces against the Gepids and destroyed them. But the Lombards distrusted their allies and next year they migrated into Italy where Narses had just been removed from command and recalled, though he disobeyed orders and stayed in Rome until his death. By the end of the century only a third of Italy was in Byzantine hands. On the eastern frontier, Justin alienated the Ghassanid allies and lost the fortress of Daras, a reverse which overwhelmed his frangible sanity. For this Justinian can hardly be blamed. No one can deny his greatness; a recent study by Asterios Gerostergios even lionizes him. But if we look at his reign with the unforgiving eye of hindsight, it appears to be a brilliant effort to stem the tide of history, and in the end, it was more a failure than a moderate success.

Copyright (C) 1998, James Allan Evans. Published: De Imperatoribus Romanis: An Online Encyclopedia of Roman Rulers and their Families http://www.roman-emperors.org/startup.htm. Used by permission.

The Church we know today as Hagia Sophia - or Divine Wisdom, its true name - was dedicated by the Emperor Justinian in 537AD. Through many visitudes Justinian's cathedral church of Constantinople still stands, its soring vaults and amazing dome testiments to the human spirit, the engineering talents of its builders and Divine inspiration. In the same fashion that Vespasian's Collesium (the Flavian Amphitheatre) is symbolic of Rome, Justinian's Hagia Sophia is a symbol of Byzantium.

Edited by J. P. Fitzgerald, Jr.
Cleisthenes
LeoVI_SBCV1729.jpg
[1640aii] Leo VI, the Wise, 6 January 870 - 11 May 912 A.D.54 viewsBronze follis, SBCV 1729, DO 8.6, nice VF, 5.122g, 25.3mm, 180o, Constantinople mint, c. 886 - 912 A.D.; Obverse: LEON bASILVS ROm, bust facing, with short beard, wearing crown and chlamys and holding akakia in left hand; Reverse: + LEON/En QEO bA/SILVS R/OMEOn, legend in four lines. Ex FORVM.

Leo VI "the Wise" or "the Philosopher" (Greek: Λέων ΣΤ΄, Leōn VI), (September 19, 866 – May 11, 912) was Byzantine emperor from 886 to 912 during one of the most brilliant periods of the state's history.

Background
Leo was born to Eudokia Ingerina who was at the time mistress of Emperor Michael III and wife of his Caesar Basil. Which of the two men was his father is uncertain. He was officially acknowledged by Basil as his son, but he apparently regarded Leo as Michael's son and favored his undisputedly biological son Constantine.

On the night of September 23-September 24, 867, Michael was assassinated by Basil who succeeded him as Emperor Basil I. As the second eldest son of the Emperor, Leo was associated on the throne in 870 and became the direct heir on the death of his older half-brother Constantine in 879. However, he and his father hated each other and Basil almost had Leo blinded as a teenager. On August 29, 886, Basil died in a hunting accident, though he claimed on his deathbed that there was an assassination attempt in which Leo was possibly involved.

Domestic Policy
One of the first actions of Leo VI after his succession was the reburial of Michael III in Constantinople, which may have contributed to the suspicion that he was Michael's son. Seeking political reconciliation, the new emperor secured the support of the officials in the capital, and surrounded himself with bureaucrats like Stylianos Zoutzes and the eunuch Samonas. His attempts to control the great aristocratic families (e.g., the Phokadai and the Doukai) occasionally led to serious conflicts. Leo also attempted to control the church through his appointments to the patriarchate. He dismissed the Patriarch Photios of Constantinople, who had been his tutor, and replaced him with his own 19-year old brother Stephen in December 886. On Stephen's death in 893, Leo replaced him with Zaoutzes' nominee, Antony II Kaleuas, who died in 901. Leo then promoted his own imperial secretary (mystikos) Nicholas, but replaced him with his spiritual father Euthymios in 907.

Leo completed work on the Basilica, the Greek translation and update of the law code issued by Justinian I, which had been started during the reign of Basil.

Foreign Policy
Leo VI was not as successful in battle as Basil had been. In indulging his chief counselor Stylianos Zaoutzes, Leo provoked a war with Simeon I of Bulgaria in 894, but was defeated. Bribing the Magyars to attack the Bulgarians from the north, Leo scored an indirect success in 895. However, deprived of his new allies, he lost the major Battle of Boulgarophygon in 896 and had to make the required commercial concessions and to pay annual tribute.

The Emirate of Sicily took Taormina, the last Byzantine outpost on the island of Sicily, in 902. In 904 the renegade Leo of Tripolis sacked Thessalonica with his Muslim pirates (an event described in The Capture of Thessalonica, by John Kameniates). In 907 Constantinople was attacked by the Kievan Rus' under Oleg of Novgorod, who was seeking favourable trading rights with the empire. Leo paid them off, but they attacked again in 911, and a trade treaty was finally signed. The admiral Himerios, a relative of Leo's last wife, Zoe Karbonopsina scored some successes against the Muslim fleets in 908 and raided Cyprus in 910, but in 912 a fleet of 112 dromons and 75 pamphyloi was soundly defeated in its attempt to conquer Crete.

Fourth Marriage Dispute
Leo VI caused a major scandal with his numerous marriages which failed to produce a legitimate heir to the throne. His first wife, whom Basil had forced him to marry, died in 897, and he married Zoe Zaoutzaina, the daughter of his adviser Stylianos Zaoutzes, though she died as well in 899. Upon this marriage Leo created the title of basileopatōr ("father of the emperor") for his father-in-law.

After Zoe's death a third marriage was technically illegal, but he married again, only to have his third wife die in 901. Instead of marrying a fourth time, which would have been an even greater sin than a third marriage (according to the Patriarch Nicholas Mystikos) Leo took as mistress, Zoe Karbonopsina. He married her only after she had given birth to a son in 905, but incurred the opposition of the patriarch. Replacing Nicholas Mystikos with Euthymios, Leo got his marriage recognized by the church, but opened up a conflict within it and allowed new grounds for papal intervention into Byzantine affairs when he sought and obtained papal consent.

Succession
The future Constantine VII was the illegitimate son born before Leo's uncanonical fourth marriage to Zoe Karbonopsina. To strengthen his son's position as heir, Leo had him crowned as co-emperor on May 15, 908, when he was only two years old. Leo VI died on May 2, 912. He was succeeded by his younger brother Alexander, who had reigned as emperor alongside his father and brother since 879.

Legends
According to Bishop Liutprand of Cremona, and probably inspired by stories about the caliph Harun al-Rashid, Leo would sometimes disguise himself and look for injustice or corruption. On one account, he was even captured by the city guards during one of his investigations. He wanted to know if the city patrol was doing its job appropriately. He was walking alone, disguised, late in the evening without any documentation. He bribed two patrols for 12 nomismata, and moved on. However, the third city patrol arrested him. When a terrified guardian recognized the jailed ruler in the morning, the arresting officer was rewarded for doing his duty, while the other patrols were dismissed and punished severely.

As John Julius Norwich notes in his book A Short History of Byzantium, "He [Leo VI] had proved himself, if not a great Emperor, at any rate an outstandingly good one . . . In his lifetime Leo was genuinely loved by his people, and after his death they had good cause to be grateful" (Norwich, John Julius. A Short History of Byzantium. New York: Vintage Books, 1997. 165).

References
The Oxford Dictionary of Byzantium, Oxford University Press, 1991.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leo_VI_the_Wise

Edited by J. P. Fitzgerald, Jr.
Cleisthenes
C7R2auSolidus.jpg
[1642c] Constantine VII and Romanus II, 6 Apr 945 - 9 Nov 959 A.D.62 viewsGold solidus, SBCV 1751; DOC III part 2, 15, gVF, Constantinople mint, weight 4.332g, maximum diameter 20.8mm, die axis 180o. Obverse: Ihs XPS REX REGNANTIUM, bust of Christ facing wearing nimbus cruciger, pallium and colobium, raising right in benediction, Gospels in left; Reverse: COnSTAnT, crowned facing busts of Constantine VII, in a loros on left, and his son Romanus II, in a chlamys, they hold a long patriarchal cross; small "finder's scrape" on reverse, obverse die slightly rusted.

Constantine VII Porphyrogenitus, 945-959 A.D.

Constantine VII (Greek: Κωνσταντίνος Ζ΄ Πορφυρογέννητος, Kōnstantinos VII Porphyrogennētos) Porphyrogenitus is a nickname that alludes to the Purple Room of the imperial palace, decorated with the stone porphyry, where legitimate children of reigning emperors were normally born.

In his book, A Short History of Byzantium, John Julius Norwich refers to Constantine VII as "The Scholar Emperor" (180). Norwich states, “He was, we are told, a passionate collector--not only of books and manuscripts but works of art of every kind; more remarkable still for a man of his class, he seems to have been an excellent painter. He was the most generous of patrons--to writers and scholars, artists and craftsmen. Finally, he was an excellent Emperor: a competent, conscientious and hard-working administrator and an inspired picker of men, whose appointments to military, naval, ecclesiastical, civil and academic posts were both imaginative and successful. He did much to develop higher education and took a special interest in the administration of justice" (181). In 947, Constantine VII, Porphyrogenitus ordered "the immediate restitution, without compensation, of all peasant lands thus, by the end of [his] reign, the condition of the landed peasantry—which formed the foundation of the whole economic and military strength of the Empire—was better off than it had been for a century . . . on 9 November 959, he died aged fifty-four, surrounded by his sorrowing family: his wife Helena, his five daughters and his twenty-year old son Romanus, now Emperor of Byzantium (182-3).

Works cited:
Norwich, John Julius, A Short History of Byzantium. London: Viking, 1997.

Edited by J.P.Fitzgerald, Jr.
1 commentsCleisthenes
C7R1AE_Follis.jpg
[1642d] Constantine VII and Romanus I, Æ Follis, 945-950, Constantinople 60 viewsConstantine VII and Romanus I, Æ Follis, 7.59g, 25mm x 27mm, SB 1761; DO 26; VF, Constantinopleb; Obverse: Facing bust of Constantine VII with short beard, wearing crown and vertical loros, akakia in right hand, globus cruciger in left; Reverse: Legend in four lines: +COnST / En QEO bA / SILEVS R / OmEOn. Ex Beast Coins.


Constantine VII Porphyrogenitus, 945-959 A.D.

Constantine VII (Greek: Κωνσταντίνος Ζ΄ Πορφυρογέννητος, Kōnstantinos VII Porphyrogennētos) Porphyrogenitus is a nickname that alludes to the Purple Room of the imperial palace, decorated with the stone porphyry, where legitimate children of reigning emperors were normally born.

In his book, A Short History of Byzantium, John Julius Norwich refers to Constantine VII as "The Scholar Emperor" (180). Norwich states, “He was, we are told, a passionate collector--not only of books and manuscripts but works of art of every kind; more remarkable still for a man of his class, he seems to have been an excellent painter. He was the most generous of patrons--to writers and scholars, artists and craftsmen. Finally, he was an excellent Emperor: a competent, conscientious and hard-working administrator and an inspired picker of men, whose appointments to military, naval, ecclesiastical, civil and academic posts were both imaginative and successful. He did much to develop higher education and took a special interest in the administration of justice" (181). In 947, Constantine VII, Porphyrogenitus ordered "the immediate restitution, without compensation, of all peasant lands thus, by the end of [his] reign, the condition of the landed peasantry—which formed the foundation of the whole economic and military strength of the Empire—was better off than it had been for a century . . . on 9 November 959, he died aged fifty-four, surrounded by his sorrowing family: his wife Helena, his five daughters and his twenty-year old son Romanus, now Emperor of Byzantium (182-3).

Works cited:
Norwich, John Julius, A Short History of Byzantium. London: Viking, 1997.

Edited by J.P.Fitzgerald, Jr.


Cleisthenes
man1pano.jpg
[1663a] Byzantine Empire: Manuel I Comnenus Megas (1143-1180)---NOT TO BE CONFUSED WITH---[1685a] Empire of Trebizond: Manuel I Komnenos Megas (1218-1263 AD)155 viewsManuel I Comnenus Megas (1143-1180). AE billon trachy; Sear 1964; 30mm, 3.91g.; Constantinople mint; aF. Obverse: MP-OV-The Virgin enthroned. Nimbate and wearing pallium and maphorium; Reverse: Maueil standing facing, wearing crown, holding labarum and globe surmounted by Patriachal cross. Ex SPQR.


De Imperatoribus Romanis: An Online Encyclopedia of Roman Rulers and their Families

MANUEL I COMNENUS (A.D. 1143-1180)

Andrew Stone
University of Western Australia

Introduction: Sources
The reign of the emperor Manuel I Comnenus (5 April 1143- 24 September 1180) could well be regarded as a high-water mark of Byzantine civilization. It was the apogee of the so-called "Comnenian Restoration". Politically, the emperor undertook an ambitious foreign policy which has been seen by some, particularly in the light of many ultimate failures, as "misguided imperialism", recent scholarship has come to question this traditional judgment and suggests instead that the the Comnenian foreign policy was rather an energetic seizing of the different opportunities that presented themselves in the rapidly changing constellations of powers of the time. Such measures were made possible by the internal security of the empire under this, its third, Comnenian incumbent, although there were a few other aspirants to the throne, not least among them the emperor's cousin Andronicus. Manuel and other key members of the "Comnenian system", as it has been called, were patrons of rhetoric and other forms of learning and literature, and Manuel himself became keenly interested in ecclesiastical affairs, even if here his imperialistic agenda was a factor as he tried to bring Constantinopolitan theology in line with that of the west in a bid to unite the Church under his crown.

In terms of volume of contemporary material, Manuel is the most eulogised of all Byzantine emperors, and the panegyric addressed to him supplements the two major Byzantine historians of the reign, the more critical Nicetas Choniates and the laudatory John Cinnamus, as primary sources for the student of the period to study. The Crusader historian William of Tyre met Manuel personally, and such was the scope of Manuel's diplomacy that he is mentioned incidentally in western sources, such as Romuald of Salerno. Among authors of the encomia (panegyrics) we have mentioned are Theodore Prodromus and the so-called "Manganeios" Prodromus, who wrote in verse, and the prose encomiasts Michael the Rhetor, Eustathius of Thessalonica and Euthymius Malaces, to name the most important. Manuel, with his penchant for the Latins and their ways, left a legacy of Byzantine resentment against these outsiders, which was to be ruthlessly exploited by Andronicus in the end.

Manuel as sebastokrator
Manuel was born in the imperial porphyry birthchamber on 28 November 1118. He was the fourth of John II's sons, so it seemed very unlikely that he would succeed. As a youth, Manuel evidently accompanied John on campaign, for in the Anatolian expedition of 1139-41 we find Manuel rashly charging a small group of the Turkish enemy, an action for which he was castigated by his father, even though John, we are told, was inwardly impressed (mention of the incident is made in John's deathbed speech in both John Cinnamus and Nicetas Choniates). John negotiated a marriage contract for Manuel with Conrad III of Germany; he was to marry Bertha of Sulzbach. It seems to have been John's plan to carve out a client principality for Manuel from Cilicia, Cyprus and Coele Syria. In the event, it was Manuel who succeeded him.

The Securing of the Succession 1143
In the article on John II it is related how the dying John chose his youngest son Manuel to succeed him in preference to his other surviving son Isaac. Manuel was acclaimed emperor by the armies on 5 April 1143. Manuel stayed in Cilicia, where the army was stationed, for thirty days, to complete the funeral rites for his father. He sent his father's right-hand man John Axuch, however, to Constantinople to confine Isaac to the Pantokrator Monastery and to effect a donation of two hundredweight of silver coin to the clergy of the Great Church. The surviving encomium of Michael Italicus, Teacher of the Gospel, for the new emperor can be regarded as a return gift for this largesse. In the meantime the Caesar John Roger, husband of Manuel's eldest sister Maria, had been plotting to seize the throne; the plot was, however, given away by his wife before it could take effect. Manuel marched home to enter Constantinople c. July 1143. He secured the good-will of the people by commanding that every household should be granted two gold coins. Isaac the younger (Manuel's brother) and Isaac the elder (Manuel's paternal uncle), were both released from captivity and reconciled with him. Manuel chose Michael Oxeites as the new patriarch and was crowned either in August or November 1143.

Manuel confirmed John Axuch in the office of Grand Domestic, that is, commander of the army, appointed John of Poutze as procurator of public taxes, grand commissioner and inspector of accounts and John Hagiotheodorites as chancellor. John of Poutze proved to be an oppressive tax collector, but was also unsusceptible to bribery. However, this John diverted monies levied for the navy into the treasury, which would, as we shall see, further Byzantine dependence on the maritime Italian city-states of Venice, Genoa and Pisa.

Early Campaigns: 1144-1146
Manuel's first concern was to consolidate the work of his father in securing the eastern frontier. He sent a force under the brothers Andronicus and John Contostephanus against the recalcitrant Crusader prince Raymond of Antioch, which consisted of both an army and a navy, the latter commanded by Demetrius Branas. Raymond's army was routed, and the naval force inflicted no small damage on the coastal regions of the principality. In the meantime the Crusader city of Edessa fell to the Turkish atabeg Zengi. Raymond therefore travelled to Constantinople as a suppliant to Manuel. It was subsequently decided, in the light of Manuel's imperial status, that the terms under which he would marry Bertha of Sulzbach should be improved. Manuel asked for 500 knights, and Conrad happily granted them, being prepared to supply 2000 or 3000 if need be all for the sake of this alliance. Bertha took the Greek name Irene.

The Seljuk sultanate of Rum under Masud had become the ascendant Turkish power in Anatolia. Manuel himself supervised the rebuilding of the fortress of Melangeia on the Sangarius river in Bithynia (1145 or 1146). In the most daring campaign of these early years, after building the new fort of Pithecas in Bithynia, Manuel advanced as far into Turkish territory as Konya (Iconium), the Seljuk capital. He had been wounded in the foot by an arrow at a mighty battle at Philomelium (which had been Masud's headquarters), and the city had been rased; once at Konya, he allowed his troops to despoil the graves outside the city walls, before taking the road home.

Cinnamus relates that the gratutitous heroics which Manuel displayed on this campaign were calculated to impress Manuel's new bride. Manuel and his army were harried by Turks on the journey home. Manuel erected the fort of Pylae before leaving Anatolia.

[For a detailed and interesting discussion of the reign of Manuel I Comnenus please see http://www.roman-emperors.org/mannycom.htm]

Frederick Barbarossa and the "two-emperor problem"
Frederick Barbarossa, who was to become a constant menace to Manuel's designs, had succeeded his uncle Conrad III in 1152, but unlike him proved in the end unprepared to make any territorial concessions in Italy. The origins of this "cold war" between the two empires cannot be dated with any certainty, but there may have been a tendency to date it too early. One school of thought would not date the outbreak of this rivalry to any earlier than 1159-60, the death of Manuel's German wife, Bertha-Irene. About this time there was a scare at Constantinople that Frederick Barbarossa would march on Byzantium, perhaps reflecting a desire on Frederick's part to crusade (which he eventually did, in the reign of Isaac II Angelus). The new Pope, Alexander III, by, as it would seem, offering to grant Manuel the imperial crown, used it as a bargaining chip to play off the emperors of west and east against one another. Manuel may have supported Alexander during the papal schism of 1160-1177 because he was the preferred candidate of Hungary and the Crusader states, both of which he hoped would recognise him as their feudal overlord. By this means he could claim sovereign rights over the crusading movement, and thereby turn it to his advantage. The playing off of Manuel against Frederick continued right up until 1177, the Peace of Venice, whereby Frederick agreed to recognise Pope Alexander, the autonomy of Sicily and of the northern Italian communes. But this result was not a foregone conclusion in the 1160s and early 1170s, and Manuel used Byzantine gold to win supporters in Italy and thereby keep Frederick occupied.

Marriage to Maria of Antioch 1161
Bertha-Irene died in late 1159/early 1160. Manuel sought to strengthen his ties with the Crusader principalities by selecting an eastern Latin princess for his wife. The exceedingly beautiful Maria of Antioch, daughter of Raymond of Antioch, was chosen, and the nuptials celebrated at Christmas, 1161.


Dynastic considerations 1169-1172
Manuel's wife Maria of Antioch gave birth to a baby boy 14 September 1169 in the porphyry marble birthchamber, the cause of great festivities. The infant was crowned emperor in 1171. With the death of Stephen III of Hungary in 1172, Stephen's brother Béla was sent out from Constantinople to assume the throne (though without Sirmium and Dalmatia being surrendered to the Hungarian crown). A husband for Maria Porphyrogenita was therefore required. At first it was proposed that she marry William II of Sicily, who was outraged when she failed to show up at Taranto on the appointed day, the emperor having had second thoughts.


The final months 1180
Manuel took ill in the month of March 1180. During this period of terminal illness the last major religious controversies took place. We are told that Manuel directed that the anathema pronounced against the god of Muhammad be removed from the abjuration against the Islamic faith declared by converts to Christianity. Manuel was opposed by the last patriarch of his reign, Theodosius Boradiotes (1179-1183), as well as, notably, by Eustathius of Thessalonica. Both parties were satisfied in the end upon a reading of the emperor's proposed amendments to the abjuration. This controversy would seem to be a different one from the one alluded to in Eustathius' funeral oration for Manuel, since Manuel is praised by Eustathius for his stance in it, which seems to have revolved around a book written by a convert from Islam that magnified the Father at the expense of the Son (and therefore had Arian overtones). It became apparent that the emperor was dying, and, on the advice of Theodosius, he renounced astrology. As his end approached, he assumed the monastic habit and the name Matthew, demanding that his wife Maria become a nun. Manuel's son Alexius was but eleven, and the minority would prove to be disastrous for Byzantium. Manuel died thirty-seven years and nine months from the beginning of his reign.

General strategies in Manuel's foreign policy
The funeral oration for Manuel by Eustathius of Thessalonica is an interesting document in that it discusses some of the general policies pursued over Manuel's reign. It endorses his policy of dividing his enemies, the Petchenegs, the Sicilian Normans and the Turks, among themselves by using Byzantine gold, a policy of "divide and rule". We have seen how this was applied especially in Italy. Another general policy was to create friendly buffer states on the frontiers of the empire, most notably Hungary (and Serbia) and the Crusader States. Manuel would deliberately underpin the most powerful potentate in each region (the king of Hungary, the king of Jerusalem, the sultan of Konya) and thereby emphasise his own absolute sovereignty. In the funeral oration this granting of autonomy is justified as the reward for good service, as in the parable of the talents. We also see in the panegyric of the 1170s the downplaying of the idea of world rule which was so prevalent in the reign of John. Although Manuel claimed sovereign rights over many of his neighbours, his territorial claims were limited: coastal southern Italy, Dalmatia and Sirmium, coastal Egypt. The Byzantines seem to have come to terms with the reality of nation states and it is in Manuel's reign that they begin to refer to themselves not only as "Romans", but as "Hellenes", in order to demarcate themselves from the barbarians surrounding them.

Manuel's taxation, government and army
Nicetas Choniates roundly criticises Manuel in his history for increasing taxes and lavishing money on his family and retainers, particularly his Latin favourites. We have also seen how money was spent in Manuel's ambitious foreign policy. Mention is made of two towers, one at Damalis, and one next to the monastery of the Mangana, between which a chain could be stretched to block the Bosphorus. Then there was the work done at both the Great Palace and the Palace of the Blachernae, galleries, a pavilion alla Turca and numerous mosaics. He also founded a monastery at Kataskepe at the mouth of the Black Sea, which was endowed from the imperial treasury.

Choniates further criticizes the continuation and spread of the granting of pronoiai, parcels of land, the income from each of which supported a soldier. Many of these were granted to foreigners, for example, Turks captured in the Meander campaigns were settled around Thessalonica. The pronoia would pay not only for a soldier's upkeep, but his expensive equipment, for in Manuel's reign the bow and arrow and circular shield had been replaced by a heavier western-style panoply of armour, large triangular shield and lance. Choniates laments how fashionable a practice it had become in Manuel's reign to forsake the land or one's trade and become enlisted in the army.

Manuel and the "Comnenian system"
Throughout Manuel's reign, as under his father John, the top tier of the aristocracy was formed by the emperor's family, the Comneni, and the families into which they married. The extended family was, however, by now becoming unwieldy, and beginning to lose its cohesion, as the example of Manuel's cousin Andronicus shows. Under Manuel it was degree of kinship to the emperor which determined one's rank, as synodal listings show. So it was that very quickly after Manuel's death the upper tier of the aristocracy splintered into separate groups, each with its own identity and interests.

Literature
The various aristocratic courts, that of the emperor and other key members of the extended family, most notably the sebastokrator Isaac Comnenus the elder and the sebastokratorissa Irene, widow of Manuel's brother Andronicus, attracted literati who would seek to serve under them. Such figures would not only turn their hands to literature, encomia in prose or poetry, expositions on mythology, commentaries on Homer or the philosophers, historical chronicles and even, in this period, romances - the twelfth century is a high point of literary production at Constantinople, so much so that some have even talked of a "Comnenian renaissance" - but they would seek to perform more menial, such as administrative, duties to support themselves. Such men would often come from noble families whose prestige had been eclipsed by the Comnenian upper tier of the aristocracy. Serving under a lord was one way of advancing oneself, entering the Church was another.

The patriarchal church and education
The deacons of the church of St Sophia were a powerful group, the chartophylax being second only to the patriarch. These deacons would either go on to become bishops in the provinces, or possibly first hold one of the professorial chairs associated with the patriarchal church. First there were the "teachers", didaskaloi of the Gospels, Epistles and Psalter. Then there was the maistor ton rhetoron, "master of the rhetors", responsible for delivering speeches in praise of the emperor on January 6 each year and of the patriarch on the Saturday prior to Palm Sunday, as well as for other state occasions. And there was the hypatos ton philosophon, "consul of the philosophers", an office which had lapsed but was revived under Manuel.

Character and Legacy
Was Byzantium of the middle to late twelfth century living on borrowed time? Until recently this was the verdict of many scholars. Yet John II and Manuel had, if there is any kernel of truth in their encomia, at least temporarily reversed the overrunning of Anatolia by the Turks, and Manuel had won Dalmatia and Sirmium from Hungary. But Byzantine collapse was rapid, which is the reason why scholars have searched in the reigns of John and Manuel for the beginnings of the disintegration that occurred under the last Comneni and the Angeli. The history and comments of Nicetas Choniates have been adduced as vindicating this view. The victory of the military aristocracy that the establishment of the Comnenian dynasty represents has been seen as both the reason for the temporary reversal of Byzantine fortunes - government by three very capable autocrats - and of ultimate failure, because of the splintering into factions that oligarchy, such as was present in the Comnenian system, foments. A Marxist interpretation is that the feudalisation of the Byzantine Empire, the depletion of the free peasantry, that began to take place in the middle period was the reason for its ultimate failure. But to the Byzantines at the time Byzantium seemed to be holding its own; the "nations" around were being kept at bay, and even though the panegyric of renovation is less evident than in the reign of John II, the emperor remains despotes, "master" of the oikoumene, "world". Indeed, Manuel would be remembered in France, Genoa and the Crusader States as the most powerful sovereign in the world.

We have mentioned the funeral oration for Manuel by Eustathius of Thessalonica. This contains a series of vignettes of the personal aspects of Manuel. There are commonplaces: the emperor is able to endure hunger, thirst, heat and cold, lack of sleep and so on, and sweats copiously in his endeavours on the empire's part. Although these ideas have been recycled from earlier reigns, notably that of John II, the contemporary historians agree that Manuel was an indefatigable and daring warrior. However, there are more specifically individual touches in the Eustathian oration. Manuel had a manly suntan and was tall in stature. The emperor was capable of clever talk, but could also talk to others on a man-to-man basis. Eustathius makes much of the emperor's book-learning (Cinnamus claims to have discussed Aristotle with the emperor). The restoration of churches was a major concern for Manuel. He also had some expertise in medicine (he had tended Conrad III of Germany and Baldwin III of Jerusalem personally). Manuel showed temperance in eating and drinking, with a certain liking for beer as well as wine, the latter being mixed sour after the manner of ascetics. Likewise, he would not slumber long. He would generally choose walking over riding. The oration closes on the widow and orphan Manuel has left behind. The situation resulting for the Byzantine Empire at this stage, with the vacuum created by Manuel would result in no less than implosion.

Copyright (C) 2003, Andrew Stone.
Published: De Imperatoribus Romanis: An Online Encyclopedia of Roman Rulers and their Families http://www.roman-emperors.org/startup.htm. Used by permission.

Edited by J. P. Fitzgerald, Jr.

Cleisthenes
ManuelStGeorge.jpg
[1663a] Byzantine Empire: Manuel I Comnenus Megas (1143-1180)---NOT TO BE CONFUSED WITH---[1685a] Empire of Trebizond: Manuel I Komnenos Megas (1218-1263 AD)131 viewsMANUEL I COMNENUS AE tetarteron. 1143-1180 AD. 19mm, 2.8g. Obverse: Bust of St. George facing, beardless, wearing nimbus, tunic, cuirass and sagion, and holding spear. Reverse: MANVHL-DECPOT, bust of Manuel facing, wearing crown and loros, holding labarum & globe-cross. Simply wonderful style, very sharp for the issue. A gorgeous late Byzantine coin! Ex Incitatus.


De Imperatoribus Romanis: An Online Encyclopedia of Roman Rulers and their Families

MANUEL I COMNENUS (A.D. 1143-1180)

Andrew Stone
University of Western Australia

Introduction: Sources
The reign of the emperor Manuel I Comnenus (5 April 1143- 24 September 1180) could well be regarded as a high-water mark of Byzantine civilization. It was the apogee of the so-called "Comnenian Restoration". Politically, the emperor undertook an ambitious foreign policy which has been seen by some, particularly in the light of many ultimate failures, as "misguided imperialism", recent scholarship has come to question this traditional judgment and suggests instead that the the Comnenian foreign policy was rather an energetic seizing of the different opportunities that presented themselves in the rapidly changing constellations of powers of the time. Such measures were made possible by the internal security of the empire under this, its third, Comnenian incumbent, although there were a few other aspirants to the throne, not least among them the emperor's cousin Andronicus. Manuel and other key members of the "Comnenian system", as it has been called, were patrons of rhetoric and other forms of learning and literature, and Manuel himself became keenly interested in ecclesiastical affairs, even if here his imperialistic agenda was a factor as he tried to bring Constantinopolitan theology in line with that of the west in a bid to unite the Church under his crown.

In terms of volume of contemporary material, Manuel is the most eulogised of all Byzantine emperors, and the panegyric addressed to him supplements the two major Byzantine historians of the reign, the more critical Nicetas Choniates and the laudatory John Cinnamus, as primary sources for the student of the period to study. The Crusader historian William of Tyre met Manuel personally, and such was the scope of Manuel's diplomacy that he is mentioned incidentally in western sources, such as Romuald of Salerno. Among authors of the encomia (panegyrics) we have mentioned are Theodore Prodromus and the so-called "Manganeios" Prodromus, who wrote in verse, and the prose encomiasts Michael the Rhetor, Eustathius of Thessalonica and Euthymius Malaces, to name the most important. Manuel, with his penchant for the Latins and their ways, left a legacy of Byzantine resentment against these outsiders, which was to be ruthlessly exploited by Andronicus in the end.

Manuel as sebastokrator
Manuel was born in the imperial porphyry birthchamber on 28 November 1118. He was the fourth of John II's sons, so it seemed very unlikely that he would succeed. As a youth, Manuel evidently accompanied John on campaign, for in the Anatolian expedition of 1139-41 we find Manuel rashly charging a small group of the Turkish enemy, an action for which he was castigated by his father, even though John, we are told, was inwardly impressed (mention of the incident is made in John's deathbed speech in both John Cinnamus and Nicetas Choniates). John negotiated a marriage contract for Manuel with Conrad III of Germany; he was to marry Bertha of Sulzbach. It seems to have been John's plan to carve out a client principality for Manuel from Cilicia, Cyprus and Coele Syria. In the event, it was Manuel who succeeded him.

The Securing of the Succession 1143
In the article on John II it is related how the dying John chose his youngest son Manuel to succeed him in preference to his other surviving son Isaac. Manuel was acclaimed emperor by the armies on 5 April 1143. Manuel stayed in Cilicia, where the army was stationed, for thirty days, to complete the funeral rites for his father. He sent his father's right-hand man John Axuch, however, to Constantinople to confine Isaac to the Pantokrator Monastery and to effect a donation of two hundredweight of silver coin to the clergy of the Great Church. The surviving encomium of Michael Italicus, Teacher of the Gospel, for the new emperor can be regarded as a return gift for this largesse. In the meantime the Caesar John Roger, husband of Manuel's eldest sister Maria, had been plotting to seize the throne; the plot was, however, given away by his wife before it could take effect. Manuel marched home to enter Constantinople c. July 1143. He secured the good-will of the people by commanding that every household should be granted two gold coins. Isaac the younger (Manuel's brother) and Isaac the elder (Manuel's paternal uncle), were both released from captivity and reconciled with him. Manuel chose Michael Oxeites as the new patriarch and was crowned either in August or November 1143.

Manuel confirmed John Axuch in the office of Grand Domestic, that is, commander of the army, appointed John of Poutze as procurator of public taxes, grand commissioner and inspector of accounts and John Hagiotheodorites as chancellor. John of Poutze proved to be an oppressive tax collector, but was also unsusceptible to bribery. However, this John diverted monies levied for the navy into the treasury, which would, as we shall see, further Byzantine dependence on the maritime Italian city-states of Venice, Genoa and Pisa.

Early Campaigns: 1144-1146
Manuel's first concern was to consolidate the work of his father in securing the eastern frontier. He sent a force under the brothers Andronicus and John Contostephanus against the recalcitrant Crusader prince Raymond of Antioch, which consisted of both an army and a navy, the latter commanded by Demetrius Branas. Raymond's army was routed, and the naval force inflicted no small damage on the coastal regions of the principality. In the meantime the Crusader city of Edessa fell to the Turkish atabeg Zengi. Raymond therefore travelled to Constantinople as a suppliant to Manuel. It was subsequently decided, in the light of Manuel's imperial status, that the terms under which he would marry Bertha of Sulzbach should be improved. Manuel asked for 500 knights, and Conrad happily granted them, being prepared to supply 2000 or 3000 if need be all for the sake of this alliance. Bertha took the Greek name Irene.

The Seljuk sultanate of Rum under Masud had become the ascendant Turkish power in Anatolia. Manuel himself supervised the rebuilding of the fortress of Melangeia on the Sangarius river in Bithynia (1145 or 1146). In the most daring campaign of these early years, after building the new fort of Pithecas in Bithynia, Manuel advanced as far into Turkish territory as Konya (Iconium), the Seljuk capital. He had been wounded in the foot by an arrow at a mighty battle at Philomelium (which had been Masud's headquarters), and the city had been rased; once at Konya, he allowed his troops to despoil the graves outside the city walls, before taking the road home.

Cinnamus relates that the gratutitous heroics which Manuel displayed on this campaign were calculated to impress Manuel's new bride. Manuel and his army were harried by Turks on the journey home. Manuel erected the fort of Pylae before leaving Anatolia.

[For a detailed and interesting discussion of the reign of Manuel I Comnenus please see http://www.roman-emperors.org/mannycom.htm]

Frederick Barbarossa and the "two-emperor problem"
Frederick Barbarossa, who was to become a constant menace to Manuel's designs, had succeeded his uncle Conrad III in 1152, but unlike him proved in the end unprepared to make any territorial concessions in Italy. The origins of this "cold war" between the two empires cannot be dated with any certainty, but there may have been a tendency to date it too early. One school of thought would not date the outbreak of this rivalry to any earlier than 1159-60, the death of Manuel's German wife, Bertha-Irene. About this time there was a scare at Constantinople that Frederick Barbarossa would march on Byzantium, perhaps reflecting a desire on Frederick's part to crusade (which he eventually did, in the reign of Isaac II Angelus). The new Pope, Alexander III, by, as it would seem, offering to grant Manuel the imperial crown, used it as a bargaining chip to play off the emperors of west and east against one another. Manuel may have supported Alexander during the papal schism of 1160-1177 because he was the preferred candidate of Hungary and the Crusader states, both of which he hoped would recognise him as their feudal overlord. By this means he could claim sovereign rights over the crusading movement, and thereby turn it to his advantage. The playing off of Manuel against Frederick continued right up until 1177, the Peace of Venice, whereby Frederick agreed to recognise Pope Alexander, the autonomy of Sicily and of the northern Italian communes. But this result was not a foregone conclusion in the 1160s and early 1170s, and Manuel used Byzantine gold to win supporters in Italy and thereby keep Frederick occupied.

Marriage to Maria of Antioch 1161
Bertha-Irene died in late 1159/early 1160. Manuel sought to strengthen his ties with the Crusader principalities by selecting an eastern Latin princess for his wife. The exceedingly beautiful Maria of Antioch, daughter of Raymond of Antioch, was chosen, and the nuptials celebrated at Christmas, 1161.


Dynastic considerations 1169-1172
Manuel's wife Maria of Antioch gave birth to a baby boy 14 September 1169 in the porphyry marble birthchamber, the cause of great festivities. The infant was crowned emperor in 1171. With the death of Stephen III of Hungary in 1172, Stephen's brother Béla was sent out from Constantinople to assume the throne (though without Sirmium and Dalmatia being surrendered to the Hungarian crown). A husband for Maria Porphyrogenita was therefore required. At first it was proposed that she marry William II of Sicily, who was outraged when she failed to show up at Taranto on the appointed day, the emperor having had second thoughts.


The final months 1180
Manuel took ill in the month of March 1180. During this period of terminal illness the last major religious controversies took place. We are told that Manuel directed that the anathema pronounced against the god of Muhammad be removed from the abjuration against the Islamic faith declared by converts to Christianity. Manuel was opposed by the last patriarch of his reign, Theodosius Boradiotes (1179-1183), as well as, notably, by Eustathius of Thessalonica. Both parties were satisfied in the end upon a reading of the emperor's proposed amendments to the abjuration. This controversy would seem to be a different one from the one alluded to in Eustathius' funeral oration for Manuel, since Manuel is praised by Eustathius for his stance in it, which seems to have revolved around a book written by a convert from Islam that magnified the Father at the expense of the Son (and therefore had Arian overtones). It became apparent that the emperor was dying, and, on the advice of Theodosius, he renounced astrology. As his end approached, he assumed the monastic habit and the name Matthew, demanding that his wife Maria become a nun. Manuel's son Alexius was but eleven, and the minority would prove to be disastrous for Byzantium. Manuel died thirty-seven years and nine months from the beginning of his reign.

General strategies in Manuel's foreign policy
The funeral oration for Manuel by Eustathius of Thessalonica is an interesting document in that it discusses some of the general policies pursued over Manuel's reign. It endorses his policy of dividing his enemies, the Petchenegs, the Sicilian Normans and the Turks, among themselves by using Byzantine gold, a policy of "divide and rule". We have seen how this was applied especially in Italy. Another general policy was to create friendly buffer states on the frontiers of the empire, most notably Hungary (and Serbia) and the Crusader States. Manuel would deliberately underpin the most powerful potentate in each region (the king of Hungary, the king of Jerusalem, the sultan of Konya) and thereby emphasise his own absolute sovereignty. In the funeral oration this granting of autonomy is justified as the reward for good service, as in the parable of the talents. We also see in the panegyric of the 1170s the downplaying of the idea of world rule which was so prevalent in the reign of John. Although Manuel claimed sovereign rights over many of his neighbours, his territorial claims were limited: coastal southern Italy, Dalmatia and Sirmium, coastal Egypt. The Byzantines seem to have come to terms with the reality of nation states and it is in Manuel's reign that they begin to refer to themselves not only as "Romans", but as "Hellenes", in order to demarcate themselves from the barbarians surrounding them.

Manuel's taxation, government and army
Nicetas Choniates roundly criticises Manuel in his history for increasing taxes and lavishing money on his family and retainers, particularly his Latin favourites. We have also seen how money was spent in Manuel's ambitious foreign policy. Mention is made of two towers, one at Damalis, and one next to the monastery of the Mangana, between which a chain could be stretched to block the Bosphorus. Then there was the work done at both the Great Palace and the Palace of the Blachernae, galleries, a pavilion alla Turca and numerous mosaics. He also founded a monastery at Kataskepe at the mouth of the Black Sea, which was endowed from the imperial treasury.

Choniates further criticizes the continuation and spread of the granting of pronoiai, parcels of land, the income from each of which supported a soldier. Many of these were granted to foreigners, for example, Turks captured in the Meander campaigns were settled around Thessalonica. The pronoia would pay not only for a soldier's upkeep, but his expensive equipment, for in Manuel's reign the bow and arrow and circular shield had been replaced by a heavier western-style panoply of armour, large triangular shield and lance. Choniates laments how fashionable a practice it had become in Manuel's reign to forsake the land or one's trade and become enlisted in the army.

Manuel and the "Comnenian system"
Throughout Manuel's reign, as under his father John, the top tier of the aristocracy was formed by the emperor's family, the Comneni, and the families into which they married. The extended family was, however, by now becoming unwieldy, and beginning to lose its cohesion, as the example of Manuel's cousin Andronicus shows. Under Manuel it was degree of kinship to the emperor which determined one's rank, as synodal listings show. So it was that very quickly after Manuel's death the upper tier of the aristocracy splintered into separate groups, each with its own identity and interests.

Literature
The various aristocratic courts, that of the emperor and other key members of the extended family, most notably the sebastokrator Isaac Comnenus the elder and the sebastokratorissa Irene, widow of Manuel's brother Andronicus, attracted literati who would seek to serve under them. Such figures would not only turn their hands to literature, encomia in prose or poetry, expositions on mythology, commentaries on Homer or the philosophers, historical chronicles and even, in this period, romances - the twelfth century is a high point of literary production at Constantinople, so much so that some have even talked of a "Comnenian renaissance" - but they would seek to perform more menial, such as administrative, duties to support themselves. Such men would often come from noble families whose prestige had been eclipsed by the Comnenian upper tier of the aristocracy. Serving under a lord was one way of advancing oneself, entering the Church was another.

The patriarchal church and education
The deacons of the church of St Sophia were a powerful group, the chartophylax being second only to the patriarch. These deacons would either go on to become bishops in the provinces, or possibly first hold one of the professorial chairs associated with the patriarchal church. First there were the "teachers", didaskaloi of the Gospels, Epistles and Psalter. Then there was the maistor ton rhetoron, "master of the rhetors", responsible for delivering speeches in praise of the emperor on January 6 each year and of the patriarch on the Saturday prior to Palm Sunday, as well as for other state occasions. And there was the hypatos ton philosophon, "consul of the philosophers", an office which had lapsed but was revived under Manuel.

Character and Legacy
Was Byzantium of the middle to late twelfth century living on borrowed time? Until recently this was the verdict of many scholars. Yet John II and Manuel had, if there is any kernel of truth in their encomia, at least temporarily reversed the overrunning of Anatolia by the Turks, and Manuel had won Dalmatia and Sirmium from Hungary. But Byzantine collapse was rapid, which is the reason why scholars have searched in the reigns of John and Manuel for the beginnings of the disintegration that occurred under the last Comneni and the Angeli. The history and comments of Nicetas Choniates have been adduced as vindicating this view. The victory of the military aristocracy that the establishment of the Comnenian dynasty represents has been seen as both the reason for the temporary reversal of Byzantine fortunes - government by three very capable autocrats - and of ultimate failure, because of the splintering into factions that oligarchy, such as was present in the Comnenian system, foments. A Marxist interpretation is that the feudalisation of the Byzantine Empire, the depletion of the free peasantry, that began to take place in the middle period was the reason for its ultimate failure. But to the Byzantines at the time Byzantium seemed to be holding its own; the "nations" around were being kept at bay, and even though the panegyric of renovation is less evident than in the reign of John II, the emperor remains despotes, "master" of the oikoumene, "world". Indeed, Manuel would be remembered in France, Genoa and the Crusader States as the most powerful sovereign in the world.

We have mentioned the funeral oration for Manuel by Eustathius of Thessalonica. This contains a series of vignettes of the personal aspects of Manuel. There are commonplaces: the emperor is able to endure hunger, thirst, heat and cold, lack of sleep and so on, and sweats copiously in his endeavours on the empire's part. Although these ideas have been recycled from earlier reigns, notably that of John II, the contemporary historians agree that Manuel was an indefatigable and daring warrior. However, there are more specifically individual touches in the Eustathian oration. Manuel had a manly suntan and was tall in stature. The emperor was capable of clever talk, but could also talk to others on a man-to-man basis. Eustathius makes much of the emperor's book-learning (Cinnamus claims to have discussed Aristotle with the emperor). The restoration of churches was a major concern for Manuel. He also had some expertise in medicine (he had tended Conrad III of Germany and Baldwin III of Jerusalem personally). Manuel showed temperance in eating and drinking, with a certain liking for beer as well as wine, the latter being mixed sour after the manner of ascetics. Likewise, he would not slumber long. He would generally choose walking over riding. The oration closes on the widow and orphan Manuel has left behind. The situation resulting for the Byzantine Empire at this stage, with the vacuum created by Manuel would result in no less than implosion.

Copyright (C) 2003, Andrew Stone.
Published: De Imperatoribus Romanis: An Online Encyclopedia of Roman Rulers and their Families http://www.roman-emperors.org/startup.htm. Used by permission.

Edited by J. P. Fitzgerald, Jr.
Cleisthenes
Manuel1ComAR_Sear2601.jpg
[1685a] Empire of Trebizond: Manuel I Komnenos Megas (1218-1263 AD)313 viewsEmpire of Trebizond: Manuel I, Komnenos, Silver Asper, Sear-2601, struck 1238-1263, 2.9 grams, 21.9 mm. Nice VF; Obverse: St. Eugenius standing facing, holding a long cross; Reverse: Manuel standing facing, holding labarum and akakia, Manus Dei in upper right field. Nicely centered with technically 'mint state' surfaces, but a touch of strike unevenness and irregular toning. Ex Glenn Woods.

Manuel I Megas Komnenos (Greek: Μανουήλ Α΄ Μέγας Κομνηνός, Manouēl I Megas Komnēnos), (c. 1218 – March 1263), Emperor of Trebizond from 1238 to 1263, surnamed the "Great Captain", was the second son of Alexios I, the first emperor of Trebizond, and Theodora Axouchina. He succeeded his brother, John I Axouchos. In spite of his alleged military abilities, Trebizond became or remained a vassal to the Seljuk Turks and, after the Battle of Köse Dag in 1243, to the Mongols of Persia. Trapezuntine forces served in the battle as Seljuk tributaries. The Seljuk forces were shattered in the defeat and the Sultanate of Iconium began to decline.

In 1253, Manuel negotiated for a dynastic alliance with King Louis IX of France, by which he hoped to secure the help of the Crusaders against the Seljuks and Laskarids of Nicaea, but Louis advised him to seek a wife from the Latin Empire of Constantinople. Jean de Joinville testifies to Manuel's wealth, saying he sent Louis: "various precious things as a gift; amongst others, bows made of the wood of the service tree, whose arrow-notches screwed into the bow, and when they were released, one saw that they were very sharp and well made."

The destruction of Baghdad by Hulagu Khan in 1258 revived the trade route running north from Armenia and the upper Euphrates valley to Erzerum and then through the Zigana Pass to Trebizond. This trade route caused the beginnings of Trebizond's commercial prosperity, because goods from the Silk Road were now transported to Trebizond and the Black Sea, instead of to the Mediterranean. Although some bronze coins have been attributed to Alexios I, and silver aspers were certainly coined by John I, Manuel struck both bronze coins and a large silver currency. Trapezuntine coins circulated widely outside the empire, especially in Georgia.

Manuel rebuilt the Hagia Sophia monastery in Trebizond between 1250 and 1260. Eastmond describes Manuel's church as 'the finest surviving Byzantine imperial monument of its period.' When Michael VIII Palaiologos recaptured Constantinople from the Latin Empire in 1261 he unsuccessfully demanded that Manuel abandon his claim to the Byzantine succession.

Manuel married three times and left several children, four of whom reigned after him. By his first wife, Anna Xylaloe, a Trapezuntine noblewoman he had:
• Andronikos II, who succeeded as emperor.

By his second wife, the Iberian princess Rusudan, he had:
• Theodora

By his third wife, Irene Syrikaina, another Trapezuntine noblewoman, he had four children:
• George
• Anonymous daughter, who married King Demetre II of Georgia
• Anonymous daughter
• John II.

The Empire of Trebizond (Greek: Βασίλειον τής Τραπεζούντας) was a Byzantine Greek successor state of the Byzantine Empire founded in 1204 as a result of the capture of Constantinople by the Fourth Crusade. Queen Tamar of Georgia provided troops to her nephew Alexios I, who conquered the Pontic Greek city of Trebizond, Sinope and Paphlagonia. It is often known as "the last Greek Empire."

Foundation
When Constantinople fell in the Fourth Crusade in 1204 to the Western European and Venetian Crusaders, the Empire of Trebizond was one of the three smaller Greek states that emerged from the wreckage, along with the Empire of Nicaea and the Despotate of Epirus. Alexios, a grandson of Byzantine emperor Andronikos I Komnenos, son of Rusudan daughter of George III of Georgia, made Trebizond his capital and asserted a claim to be the legitimate successor of the Byzantine Empire.

The Byzantine Emperor Andronikos I had been deposed and killed in 1185. His son Manuel was blinded and may have died of his injuries. The sources agree that Rusudan, the wife of Manuel and the mother of Alexios and David, fled Constantinople with her children, to escape persecution by Isaac II Angelos, Andronikos' successor. It is unclear whether Rusudan fled to Georgia or to the southern coast of the Black Sea where the Komnenos family had its origins. There is some evidence that the Comnenian heirs had set up a semi-independent state centred on Trebizond before 1204.

The rulers of Trebizond called themselves Grand Komnenos (Megas Komnenos) and at first claimed the traditional Byzantine title of "Emperor and Autocrat of the Romans." After reaching an agreement with the Byzantine Empire in 1282, the official title of the ruler of Trebizond was changed to "Emperor and Autocrat of the entire East, of the Iberians and the Transmarine Provinces" and remained such until the empire's end in 1461. The state is sometimes called The Komnenian Empire because the ruling dynasty descended from Alexios I Komnenos.

Trebizond initially controlled a contiguous area on the southern Black Sea coast between Soterioupolis and Sinope, comprising the modern Turkish provinces of Sinop, Ordu, Giresun, Trabzon, Bayburt, Gümüşhane, Rise and Artvin. In the thirteenth century, the empire controlled Perateia which included Cherson and Kerch on the Crimean peninsula. David Komnenos expanded rapidly to the west, occupying first Sinope, then Paphlagonia and Heraclea Pontica until his territory bordered the Empire of Nicaea founded by Theodore I Laskaris. The territories west of Sinope were lost to the Empire of Nicaea by 1206. Sinope itself fell to the Seljuks in 1214.

Prosperity
While Epirus effectively disintegrated in the 14th century, and the Nicaean Empire succeeded in retaking Constantinople and extinguishing the feeble Latin Empire, only to be conquered in 1453 by the Ottoman Empire, Trebizond managed to outlive its competitors in Epirus and Nicaea.

Trebizond was in continual conflict with the Sultanate of Iconium and later with the Ottoman Turks, as well as Byzantium, the Italian republics, and especially the Genoese. It was an empire more in title than in fact, surviving by playing its rivals against each other, and offering the daughters of its rulers for marriage with generous dowries, especially with the Turkmen rulers of interior Anatolia.

The destruction of Baghdad by Hulagu Khan in 1258 made Trebizond the western terminus of the Silk Road. The city grew to tremendous wealth on the Silk Road trade under the protection of the Mongols. Marco Polo returned to Europe by way of Trebizond in 1295. Under the rule of Alexios III (1349–1390) the city was one of the world's leading trade centres and was renowned for its great wealth and artistic accomplishment.

Climax and Civil War
The small Empire of Trebizond had been most successful in asserting itself at its very start, under the leadership of Alexios I (1204–1222) and especially his younger brother David Komnenos, who died in battle in 1214. Alexios' second son Manuel I (1238–1263) had preserved internal security and acquired the reputation of a great commander, but the empire was already losing outlying provinces to the Turkmen, and found itself forced to pay tribute to the Seljuks of Rum and then to the Mongols of Persia, a sign of things to come. The troubled reign of John II (1280–1297) included a reconciliation with the Byzantine Empire and the end of Trapezuntine claims to Constantinople. Trebizond reached its greatest wealth and influence during the long reign of Alexios II (1297–1330). Trebizond suffered a period of repeated imperial depositions and assassinations from the end of Alexios' reign until the first years of Alexios III, ending in 1355. The empire never fully recovered its internal cohesion, commercial supremacy or territory.

Decline and Fall
Manuel III (1390–1417), who succeeded his father Alexios III as emperor, allied himself with Timur, and benefited from Timur's defeat of the Ottoman Turks at the Battle of Ankara in 1402. His son Alexios IV (1417–1429) married two of his daughters to Jihan Shah, khan of the Kara Koyunlu, and to Ali Beg, khan of the Ak Koyunlu; while his eldest daughter Maria became the third wife of the Byzantine Emperor John VIII Palaiologos. Pero Tafur, who visited the city in 1437, reported that Trebizond had less than 4,000 troops.

John IV (1429–1459) could not help but see his Empire would soon share the same fate as Constantinople. The Ottoman Sultan Murad II first attempted to take the capital by sea in 1442, but high surf made the landings difficult and the attempt was repulsed. While Mehmed II was away laying siege to Belgrade in 1456, the Ottoman governor of Amasya attacked Trebizond, and although defeated, took many prisoners and extracted a heavy tribute.

John IV prepared for the eventual assault by forging alliances. He gave his daughter to the son of his brother-in-law, Uzun Hasan, khan of the Ak Koyunlu, in return for his promise to defend Trebizond. He also secured promises of help from the Turkish emirs of Sinope and Karamania, and from the king and princes of Georgia.

After John's death in 1459, his brother David came to power and misused these alliances. David intrigued with various European powers for help against the Ottomans, speaking of wild schemes that included the conquest of Jerusalem. Mehmed II eventually heard of these intrigues, and was further provoked to action by David's demand that Mehmed remit the tribute imposed on his brother.

Mehmed's response came in the summer of 1461. He led a sizeable army from Brusa, first to Sinope whose emir quickly surrendered, then south across Armenia to neutralize Uzun Hasan. Having isolated Trebizond, Mehmed quickly swept down upon it before the inhabitants knew he was coming, and placed it under siege. The city held out for a month before the emperor David surrendered on August 15, 1461.

With the fall of Trebizond, the territory of "the Last Greek Empire" was extinguished.


List of Trapezuntine Emperors

• Alexios I Megas Komnenos (1204–1222)
• Andronikos I Gidos (1222–1235)
• John I Axouchos Megas Komnenos (1235–1238)
• Manuel I Megas Komnenos (1238–1263)
• Andronikos II Megas Komnenos (1263–1266)
• George Megas Komnenos (1266–1280)
• John II Megas Komnenos (1280–1284)
• Theodora Megale Komnene (1284–1285)
• John II Megas Komnenos (restored, 1285–1297)
• Alexios II Megas Komnenos (1297–1330)
• Andronikos III Megas Komnenos (1330–1332)
• Manuel II Megas Komnenos (1332)
• Basil Megas Komnenos (1332–1340)
• Irene Palaiologina (1340–1341)
• Anna Anachoutlou Megale Komnene (1341)
• Michael Megas Komnenos (1341)
• Anna Anachoutlou Megale Komnene (restored, 1341–1342)
• John III Megas Komnenos (1342–1344)
• Michael Megas Komnenos (restored, 1344–1349)
• Alexios III Megas Komnenos (1349–1390)
• Manuel III Megas Komnenos (1390–1416)
• Alexios IV Megas Komnenos (1416–1429)
• John IV Megas Komnenos (1429–1459)
• David Megas Komnenos (1459–1461)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manuel_I_of_Trebizond
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Empire_of_Trebizond


Edited by J. P. Fitzgerald, Jr.
Cleisthenes
Khusro1Gobl_i_2.jpg
[1921a] Sasanian Kingdom. Khusro I. A.D. 531-579. AR drachm. 63 viewsSasanian Kingdom. Khusro I. A.D. 531-579. AR drachm; Göbl I/2; 32 mm, 4.05 g; VF, Nihavand, year 37; Obverse: Crowned bust right; three crescents around single border of dots; Reverse: Fire altar between two attendants.

“The Great King Chosroes I of Persia—known to his subjects as Anushirvan, ‘of Immortal Soul’—had occupied the throne since 531. Of all the great Sassanian Kings, perhaps of all the Persian rulers throughout history, he was the most illustrious and is still the best remembered. As a statesman, he reformed and reorganized every branch of government and completely revised the fiscal system; as a general, he created the first standing army loyal to the King alone and pushed forward his frontiers till they extended from the Black Sea to the Yemen, from the Oxus River to the shores of the Mediterranean; as an intellectual, he had given—even before his accession—an enthusiastic welcome to those pagan Greek scientists and philosophers who had drifted to Persia after Justinian’s closure of the School of Athens in 529. He founded his country’s great medical academy at Gondeshapur, codified the Avesta—the sacred book of Zoroastrianism—compiled the first collection of the myths and legends of his people and introduced from India the game of chess. He was, in short, a worthy match for Justinian, his adversary and rival for over thirty years. The Byzantine Emperor, Justinian I, the Great died in 565 AD; The Sasassinan King, Chosroes I, The Great died in 579 AD” (Norwich, John Julius. Byzantium, The Early Centuries. London: The Penguin Group, 1990. 228)
Cleisthenes
     
101 files on 1 page(s)