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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ Byzantine Coins ▸ Comnen Dynasty ▸ Nicephorus BasilaciusView Options:  |  |  | 

Nicephorus Basilacius, Usurper, Summer 1078 A.D.

After Michael VII was dethroned, General Nikephoros Basilakes waited at Thessalonica for Nikephoros III and Nikephoros Bryennios to battle for the throne, after which he intended to crush the exhausted victor and take the throne himself. General Alexios Komnenos, however, surprised and defeated Basilakes in a night attack eighteen miles from the city. Basilakes fled back to Thessalonica where he attempted to defend the city, but he was seized by his own soldiers and delivered to Nikephoros III who ordered that Basilakes be blinded.


Byzantine Empire, Nicephorus Basilacius, Usurper, Summer 1078 A.D. (Anonymous Class N Follis)

Click for a larger photo
Until 1976 this type was regarded as anonymous (Class N) because neither of the two known specimens had a visible legend. In 1976, Grierson published a new specimen with a legend naming the ruler, Nicephorus (Grierson, P. "Nicephorus Bryennius or Nicephorus Basilacius?" in NumCirc LXXXIV.1 (January 1976), type a). There were two candidates, Nicephorus Bryennius and Nicephorus Basilacius, both usurpers, Bryennius in 1077 - 1078, and Basilacius in Thessalonica for a few months during 1078. In 1992, Roger Bland published an example with the legend on the obverse right side reading POCBAC, which has been accepted as proving this type was struck by Basilacius (Bland, R. "A Follis of Nicephorus Basilacius?" NC 1992, p. 175 ff. and pl. 36, B). Our coin has a nearly complete inscription, among the best of all the specimens known to Forum.
SH87639. Bronze follis, DOC III part 2, p. 706, N.1 (anonymous class N follis); Grierson 1976, type a; Bland Basilacius pl. 36, B; SBCV 1903A; Sommer 58.1, VF, near complete inscription with at least part of each letter visible, crude, overstruck with severe undertype effects, bumps, scratches, corrosion, weight 5.607 g, maximum diameter 29.6 mm, die axis 180o, Thessalonica (Salonika, Greece) mint, summer 1078 A.D.; obverse +NIKHΦO-POC BACΛE, facing bust of Christ, nimbus cross with plain arms, wearing tunic and himation, right hand raised in blessing, Gospels in left, IC-XC flanking across field; reverse patriarchal cross on base; barred IC - XC / NI-KA (Jesus Christ conquers) in the quarters; among the best examples known to Forum of this extremely rare and always crude overstruck type!; extremely rare; $1500.00 (€1275.00)
 


Click for a larger photo
After Michael VII was dethroned, General Nikephoros Basilakes waited at Thessalonica for Nikephoros III and Nikephoros Bryennios to battle for the throne, after which he intended to crush the exhausted victor and take the throne himself. General Alexios Komnenos, however, surprised and defeated Basilakes in a night attack eighteen miles from the city. Basilakes fled back to Thessalonica where he attempted to defend the city, but he was seized by his own soldiers and delivered to Nikephoros III who ordered that Basilakes be blinded.
SH60637. Bronze follis, DOC III part 2, 2c (Nicephorus Bryennius); SBCV 1890, VF, green patina with nice earthen highlighting, overstruck, weight 3.498 g, maximum diameter 23.9 mm, die axis 0o, Thessalonica (Salonika, Greece) mint, 1078 A.D.; obverse IC - XC (Greek abbreviation: Jesus Christ), facing bust of Christ, nimbus with cross ornamented with five pellets in each limb, wearing tunic and himation, right hand raised in blessing, scroll in left; reverse jeweled patriarchal cross set on base, each arm ends in three pellets, X at lower intersection, C - B / N - B (Σταυρε Bοηθει Nικηφορω Bασιλακη - May this cross aid victory for Basilacius) in quarters; extremely rare; SOLD


Byzantine Empire, Nicephorus Basilacius, Usurper, Summer 1078 A.D. (Anonymous Class N Follis)

Click for a larger photo
Until 1976 this type was regarded as anonymous (Class N) because neither of the two known specimens had a visible legend. In 1976, Grierson published a new specimen with a legend naming the ruler, Nicephorus (Grierson, P. "Nicephorus Bryennius or Nicephorus Basilacius?" in NumCirc LXXXIV.1 (January 1976), type a). There were two candidates, Nicephorus Bryennius and Nicephorus Basilacius, both usurpers, Bryennius in 1077 - 1078, and Basilacius in Thessalonica for a few months during 1078. In 1992, Roger Bland published an example with the legend on the obverse right side reading POCBAC, which has been accepted as proving this type was struck by Basilacius (Bland, R. "A Follis of Nicephorus Basilacius?" NC 1992, p. 175 ff. and pl. 36, B). Our coin has a different more complete but blundered and obscure inscription on the obverse right side.
SH76553. Bronze follis, DOC III part 2, p. 706, N.1 (anonymous class N follis); Grierson 1976, type a; Bland Basilacius pl. 36, B; SBCV 1903A; Sommer 58.1, VF, uneven strike as always for the type, overstruck (some of the type are overstruck on class D and E anonymous folles), weight 5.047 g, maximum diameter 26.8 mm, die axis 180o, Thessalonica (Salonika, Greece) mint, summer 1078 A.D.; obverse [+NIKHΦW-PO]C BACI(ΛK?)E (a new legend variation!), facing bust of Christ, nimbus cross with plain arms, wearing tunic and himation, right hand raised in blessing, Gospels in left, IC-XC flanking across field; reverse patriarchal cross on base; IC-XC / NI-KA (Jesus Christ conquers) in the quarters; extremely rare; SOLD







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REFERENCES

Berk, H. Eastern Roman Successors of the Sestertius. (Chicago, 1987).
Berk, H. Roman Gold Coins of the Medieval World, 383 - 1453 A.D. (Joliet, IL, 1986).
Grierson, P. Byzantine Coins. (London, 1982).
Grierson, P. Catalogue of the Byzantine Coins in the Dumbarton Oaks Collection and in the Whittemore Collection, Vol III, Part 2: Basil I to Nicephorus III, 867-1081. (Washington D.C., 1973).
Morrisson, C. Catalogue des Monnaies Byzantines de la Bibliothèque Nationale II, 711 - 1204. (Paris, 1970).
Ratto, R. Monnaies Byzantines et d'autre Pays contemporaines à l'époque byzantine. (Lugano, 1930).
Sabatier, J. Description générale des monnaies Byzantines. (Paris, 1863).
Sear, D. Byzantine Coins and Their Values. (London, 1987).
Sommer, A. Die Münzen des Byzantinischen Reiches 491-1453. Mit einem Anhang: Die Münzen des Kaiserreichs von Trapezunt. (Regenstauf, 2010).
Tolstoi, I. Monnaies byzantines. (St. Petersburg, 1913 - 14).
Wroth, W. Catalogue of the Imperial Byzantine Coins in the British Museum. (London, 1908).

Catalog current as of Thursday, April 18, 2019.
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Byzantine Coins of Nicephorus Basilacius