BYZANTINE ARMENIAN RULERS AND CIRCULATION OF BYZANTINE COINS IN ARMENIA.


By Levon Vrtanesyan
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Introduction.

Throughout it's existance, the Byzantine Empire was ruled by dozens of rulers of Armenian descent. As a matter of fact, Armenians took a pivotal role throughout the Byzantine Empire. Of numismatic interest to some are coins issued by these rulers. Though they were not of the Armenian faith, and their coins were not in the Armenian language or artisitic tradition, they still represent an important part of Armenian history. Numerous individuals take great interest in these coins simply because of their descent. So here, I will list these coin issuing rulers in chronological order for those who are interested in the topic. They are ordered after Sear's catalogue. If I have missed something or made a mistake please feel free to notify me.

As a complement, I will also provide one here with a brief summary of the types of Byzantine issues that actually circulated in Armenia based on hoards and analysis by Mousheghian.

Rulers of Armenian Descent:

Types of Byzantine Coins That Circulated In Armenia:

Based on hoard finds and other numismatic evidence, several different types of Byzantine coins have been found to be circulating in Armenia in different periods. Some of the earliest Byzantine coins to circulate in Armenia were the gold issues of the V-VI centuries that reached Armenia through trade. Gold coins of Justinian I (527-565), Tiberius (578-582), and Phocas (610-641) are known to have reached Armenian in some numbers.Later in the VII th century, Byzantine silver hexagrams of Heraclius (610-641) and his succesorS were known to have circulated in Armenia, alongside with competitive Sassanid coins, as evidence by hoards. These coins served the Armenian markets till the Arab invasions, which effectively severed ties to Armenia for some time.

However, following the rise of the Bagratids of Armenia, followed by Byzantine expansionist policies brought back Byzantine coins to the Armenian markets in the X-XI centuries. In particular, gold and copper from this period were widespread in Armenia. Further, the empire captured the Bagratid capital of Ani in 1045, and held it till 1064. Mass hoards of Byzantine coppers from Ani suggest that a mint may have been operated in the city in the period of 1045-1064.

BIBLIOGRAPHY AND SUGGESTED READING:

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