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Author Topic: Help reading legend of Andronicus II Palaeologus, AV Hyperpyron Nomisma  (Read 542 times)

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Offline Kevin D

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I am looking for help with reading the reverse legend of this coin. All information and opinions welcome:

Andronicus II Palaeologus. 1282-1328. AV Hyperpyron Nomisma (24mm, 4.10g, 6h). Constantinople mint. First sole reign, struck circa 1282-1294. Half-length figure of the Theotokos, orans, within city walls with six towers; obverse sigla: pellet C N / Nimbate Andronicus kneeling right before Christ Pantokrator. DOC Class Ia, 225 variation: obv. Sigla, (same rev. die); PCPC 91B (sigla: obv. 41, rev. unlisted); SB 2326.


on the left of this coin, in characters that appear to exhibit elements of classical Greek, Byzantine Greek, and possibly Cyrillic:
(some letters are seen on DOC 225, a reverse die match to this coin)
                                  _    
+  ANΔPIИ  ..ЄNKIBC  IXωIЄ  ∏ΛOЄI  ΔI∏THC  (intended: uncertain)
    =
+  ANΔPONIKOC  BACIΛЄYC  en Christo Theo Palaeologos Despotes  (idle postulating, guessing)

Offline Gert

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The expected legend is Andronikos en Christo despotes ho Palaiologos.

That letter B is really weird. I see you completed it 'Basileus', but that imperial title is out of use at this time, so I don't think that's very likely.

It does seem to me that the legend reads KEBO, not KIBC or KOBC as DOC reads it, which normally abbreviates 'kyrie boethei'. But problems here as well, as the phrase should start the legend, not appear in the middle of it - Also, it was not as popular a phrase by the 13th century.

Perhaps the legend is so garbled that there is nothing to make sense of... Especially if you consider that the abbreviation bar is over I, not X.

Best regards
Gert




Offline Kevin D

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Gert,

Thanks for taking the time to post, it is much appreciated.

‘Andronikos en Christo despotes ho Palaiologos’

I believe that this is the expected legend for these coins, but that there are some that appear to not conform to this. I am wondering if the coin here is one that has a different legend.

I agree that the legend is so garbled on this coin in question that reading it from what is visually present might not be possible.

I have KIBC instead of KEBO because of the DOC 225 image (same reverse die), where it looks like C rather than an O to me (the DOC coin seems to clearly be a C). However, I agree that it looks more like an O on the coin here, at least in the photo. I still feel somewhat confident in my KIBC reading of these characters (the I seemed reasonably clear with the coin in hand), but with KEBO being normally an abbreviation for ‘kyrie boethei’, this could be what is intended. I was speculating ANDRONIKI BC (BACIΛЄYC).

Grierson has Basileus still in use during this time:

Philip Grierson  ‘Byzantine Coinage’  (1999)
Page 12, coin number 18, variation: sigla. “The obverse shows the Virgin Blachernitissa inside the walls of Constantinople, and the reverse, the emperor kneeling before Christ in the position of proskynesis. The long, garbled inscription reads ‘Andronikos en Christo despotes ho Palaiologos’, but other inscriptions are known with the full imperial title, ‘Andronikos en Christo to Theo pistos basileus kai autokrator Komnenos ho Palaiologos’, individual words being abbreviated as necessary.

Philip Grierson   ‘Catalogue of the Byzantine Coins in the Dumbarton Oaks Collection and in the Whittemore Collection’  Volume 5  (1999)
Part 1
Pages 95-97, Inscriptions.
Page 96, “The full titulature in documents would usually be the emperor’s name continued by the phrase en Cristw tw Θew pistos Basileus kai autokratwr Rwmaiwn, ‘in Christ the Godhead faithful sovereign and emperor of the Romans’. The main elements of this do sometimes occur on Palaeologan coins, for example, on hyperpyra of Andronicus II, ANDRONIKOC ЄN Xw Θw PICTOC BACILЄVC O PAL (AIOLOGOC) or varied as ЄN Xw DЄCPOTIC O PAL (ЄOLOGOC). More usually, especially under Andronicus III, John V, and John VI, we find ЄN Xw Θw, or ЄN X only, without anything to follow, however incongruous this may seem. It must be remembered that the letters were often minute in size and very roughly formed, and that most users would have had better things to do with their time than attempting to decipher them.”

Offline Kevin D

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Below is an image of the DOC 225 coin.

The two coins together also help shine more light on the lower right sigla.

Offline Gert

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Thanks for the interesting mention of that coin with the full imperial title; I found it mentioned in the introduction in the DO catalogue as well. And however rare it is, it is found on another coin of Andronicus II. Still, the placing of the title does not fit your hypothesis: it should not follow Andronikos but after "en Christo etc." in the imperial titular order.

Regards
Gert

Offline Kevin D

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The expected legend is Andronikos en Christo despotes ho Palaiologos.

Gert,

Thanks again for looking into this.

I have decided to abandon my attempt at reading what is seen on this coin for the time being.

I will adopt the expected inscription given for this coin in DOC. That is, the same inscription given for DOC 225, which is from the same reverse die (DOC 5 pt 2, page 596).

ANΔPONIKOC  ЄN  Xω  ΔЄC∏OTHC  O  ∏AIOΛOΓO’

Andronikos en Christo despotes ho Palaiologos

In DOC, coin numbers 220-234 are all assigned this inscription, regardless of what is seen on the coins, where the inscriptions often appear to be blundered.

Best regards,
KD

 

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