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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ |Roman Coins| ▸ |The Late Empire| ▸ |Anastasius I||View Options:  |  |  | 

Anastasius I, 11 April 491 - 1 July 518 A.D.

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. Map 500 AD

Anastasius, 11 April 491 - 1 July 518 A.D.

|Anastasius| |I|, |Anastasius,| |11| |April| |491| |-| |1| |July| |518| |A.D.||solidus|NEW
Anastasius converted the government to monetary payments, mandating that taxes be paid with cash rather than with goods, and also paying for goods and services with cash. This practice decreased the potential for embezzlement and the need for transportation and storage of supplies. It also allowed for easier accounting. He eliminated the practice of providing soldiers with their arms and uniforms; instead he allotted each soldier a generous sum of money with which to purchase their own. These changes to imperial policy seem to have worked well; taxpayers often paid smaller tax bills than they had before, while government revenue increased. The increase in revenue allowed the emperor to pay soldiers a higher wage, which attracted native Roman soldiers to the military, as opposed to the barbarian and Isaurian mercenaries which some previous emperors had been forced to rely on.
SL96957. Gold solidus, DOC I 7j, Tolstoi 9, Ratto 321, Morrisson BnF 1/Cp/AV/14, Hahn MIBE 7, Sommer 1.4, SBCV 5, Wroth BMC -, XF, pierced, bent and straightened (4284830-017), 10th officina, Constantinople (Istanbul, Turkey) mint, c. 507 - 518 A.D.; obverse D N ANASTA-SIVS P P AVC, helmeted and cuirassed bust facing slightly right, helmet with plume, trefoil ornament and diadem, pellets on cuirass, spear in right hand and behind head, shield on left arm ornamented with mounted cavalryman right attacking prostrate enemy; reverse VICTORI-A AVCCC I (victory of the three emperors, 10th officina), Victoria standing half left, head left, long staff topped with an inverted staurogram (P) in right hand, star left, CONOB in exergue; NGC| Lookup; $900.00 SALE |PRICE| $810.00
 


Byzantine Empire, Justin I, 10 July 518 - 1 August 527 A.D.

|Anastasius| |I|, |Byzantine| |Empire,| |Justin| |I,| |10| |July| |518| |-| |1| |August| |527| |A.D.||solidus|NEW
They look similar, but there is a significant physical difference between angels and Victory. Angels are all male. Victory (Nike) is female. On Byzantine coinage, the male angel replaced the female Victory after the reunion with Rome was concluded on 28 March 519 A.D.
SL96958. Gold solidus, DOC I 1f, Hahn MIB 2, Sommer 2.1, SBCV 55, Morrisson BnF -, Wroth BMC -, Tolstoi -, Ratto -, Ch XF, wrinkled, clipped (4284830-018), 8th officina, Constantinople (Istanbul, Turkey) mint, 518 - 519 A.D.; obverse D N IVSTI-NVS P P AVI, helmeted and cuirassed bust facing, helmet with plume, diadem and trefoil ornament, spear in right hand over shoulder and behind head, shield on left arm ornamented with mounted cavalryman right attacking prostrate enemy; reverse VICTORI-A AVCCC H (victory of the three emperors, 8th officina), Victoria standing half left, head left, long staff topped with an inverted staurogram (P) in right hand, star left, CONOB in exergue; NGC| Lookup; $900.00 SALE |PRICE| $810.00
 


Byzantine Empire, Anastasius, 11 April 491 - 1 July 518 A.D.

|Anastasius| |I|, |Byzantine| |Empire,| |Anastasius,| |11| |April| |491| |-| |1| |July| |518| |A.D.||solidus|NEW
The complex monetary system of the late Roman Empire, which suffered a partial collapse in the mid-5th century, was reformed by Anastasius in 498. The new system involved three denominations of gold, the solidus and its half and third; and five of copper, the follis, worth 40 nummi, and its fractions down to a nummus. It would seem that the new currency quickly became an important part of trade with other regions. Four solidi from his reign have been recovered as far from the Roman Empire as China. China might seem an unlikely trading partner, but the Romans and the Chinese were probably able to do business via Central Asian merchants travelling along the Silk Roads. Some Roman trading partners attempted to replicate the coins of Anastasius. The currency created by Anastasius stayed in use and circulated widely for long after his reign.
SL96955. Gold solidus, DOC I 7e, Wroth BMC 4, Tolstoi 5, Ratto 318, Sommer 1.4, Hahn MIB I 7, SBCV 5, Morrisson BnF -, NGC Ch VF, wrinkled, clipped, scratches (4284830-019), 5th officina, Constantinople (Istanbul, Turkey) mint, 507 - 518 A.D.; obverse D N ANASTASIVS P P AVG, helmeted and cuirassed bust facing slightly right, helmet with plume, trefoil ornament and diadem, pellets on cuirass, spear in right hand and behind head, shield on left arm ornamented with mounted cavalryman right attacking prostrate enemy; reverse VICTORIA AVGGG E (victory of the three emperors, 5th officina), Victoria standing half left, head left, long staff topped with an inverted staurogram (P) in right hand, star left, CONOB in exergue; NGC| Lookup; $800.00 SALE |PRICE| $720.00
 


The Origins of The Anastasian Currency Reform

|Byzantine| |Books|, |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 SALE |PRICE| $72.00
 







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OBVERSE| LEGENDS|

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REFERENCES|

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Sear, D. Roman Coins and Their Values, Vol. V: The Christian Empire...Constantine II to Zeno, AD 337 - 491. (London, 2014).
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).
Vagi, D. Coinage and History of the Roman Empire. (Sidney, 1999).
Wroth, W. Catalogue of the Coins of the Vandals, Ostrogoths, Lombards and of the Empires of Thessalonica, Nicaea, and Trebizond in the British Museum. (London, 1911).
Wroth, W. Catalogue of the Imperial Byzantine Coins in the British Museum. (London, 1908).

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