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After Zeno died without designating a successor, the Empress Ariadne was called upon to select a new emperor. Her choice was an obscure but successful finance civil servant, Anastasius. She made a wise choice. Anastasius ruled successfully for 27 years. His financial expertise resulted in the accumulation of 320,000 pounds of gold! He also restructured the currency system, creating the nummus unit of account and the follis of 40 nummi. Because of the dramatic changes, Anastasius' reform is often seen by numismatists as the end of Roman coinage and the beginning of Byzantine coinage. The people of the empire didn't see it that way and continued to call themselves Romans until the fall of Constantinople on 29 May 1453.
The Origins of The Anastasian Currency Reform
BL20293. Book The Origins of The Anastasian Currency Reform by D. M. Metcalf, hardcover, 105 pages, 12 plates, ex University of Chicago library; $80.00 (€70.40)
In 492, the Isaurians begin a revolt in southern Central Anatolia. The rebels were defeated in the Battle of Cotyaeum and retreated to their mountain fortresses They continued guerrilla warfare against the Roman forces until 497.SH90890. Gold solidus, DOC I 3e, Morrisson BnF I 1/Cp/AE/2, Ratto 310, Hahn MIB I 4, Sommer 1.2, SBCV 3, Tolstoi -, Wroth BMC -, EF, a few small marks, unusually attractive Victory, weight 4.457 g, maximum diameter 20.2 mm, die axis 180o, 5th officina, Constantinople (Istanbul, Turkey) mint, c. 492 - 498 A.D.; obverse D N ANASTASIVS P P AVC, helmeted and cuirassed facing bust, cross on helmet, spear in right over shoulder, shield on left, trefoil ornament on helmet; reverse VICTORIA AVCCC E (victory of the three emperors, 5th officina), Victory standing slightly left, head left, long jeweled cross resting on ground in her right, star on right, CONOB in exergue; ex Harlan J. Berk, sale 165 (June 2009), lot 32; SOLD
In 498, Anastasius abolished the tax known as the chrysargyron. The tax applied to all merchants, money-lenders, craftsmen, and others who received fees for their work, including prostitutes. The only exemptions were physicians, teachers, and farmers selling their own produce. Because it was collected in one lump sum only once every four years, the tax caused great hardships. Parents were sometimes forced to sell their children into slavery or prostitution to meet the levy. The city of Edessa, which was relieved of a tax of 140 pounds of gold every four years (2,520 solidi annually), celebrated with a week of festivities.SH62360. Gold solidus, DOC I 7e, Wroth BMC 4, Tolstoi 5, Ratto 316, Hahn MIB I 7, SBCV 5, aEF, weak centers, weight 4.468 g, maximum diameter 21.2 mm, die axis 180o, 5th officina, Constantinople (Istanbul, Turkey) mint, 498 - 518 A.D.; obverse D N ANASTASIVS P P AVG, helmeted and cuirassed facing bust, holding spear and shield decorated with horseman; reverse VICTORIA AVGGG E (victory of the three emperors, 5th officina), Victory standing left holding cross topped with inverted P, star left, CONOB in exergue; SOLD
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