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Alexius III, Angelus-Comnenus, 8 April 1195 - 17 July 1203
Alexius III was a corrupt and ineffective leader. He seemed more interested in plundering his empire for taxes and advancing his (and his wife's) social standing than protecting and defending the disintegrating Byzantine Empire. The armies of the fourth Crusade laid siege to Constantinople for several weeks in 1203, after which Constantinople surrendered. Alexius, true to his nature, fled the city with considerable gold. He ended up a hostage of the Seljuqs of Rum. When Theodore I Lascaris defeated Kaykhusraw I in the spring of 1211, Alexius was sent to a monastery where he died.
According to the Golden Legend, a plague-bearing dragon lived in a lake near a city called Silene, in Libya. To appease the dragon, the people fed it two sheep every day. When the sheep failed, they fed it their children, chosen by lottery. It happened that the lot fell on the king's daughter, Sabra. Sabra was sent out to the lake, dressed as a bride, to be fed to the dragon. Saint George was ridding past when dragon reared out of the lake. He fortified himself with the Sign of the Cross charged it on horseback with his lance, and gave it a grievous wound. He then called to the princess to throw him her girdle. After he put it around its neck, the dragon followed the girl like a meek beast on a leash. The princess and Saint George led the dragon back to the city of Silene. It terrified the people at its approach, but Saint George called out to them, saying that if they consented to become Christians and be baptized, he would slay the dragon. The king and the people converted to Christianity and George slew the dragon. On the site where the dragon died, the king built a church to the Blessed Virgin Mary and Saint George, and from its altar a spring arose whose waters cured all disease.BZ95143. Bronze tetarteron, CLBC I 8.4.3; DOC IV-1 5a; Hendy p. 152 and pl. 23, 9-10; Grierson 1138; SBCV 2015; Sommer 66.6, gVF, well centered on a typical tight flan, porosity, some light corrosion, weight 3.720 g, maximum diameter 18.2 mm, die axis 180o, Thessalonica (Salonika, Greece) mint, 8 Apr 1195 - 17 Jul 1203; obverse O/ΓE/WP ΓI/OC, Half-length facing bust of St. George, beardless and nimbate, in military attire, spear in right hand and hilt of sword in left; reverse AΛEΣIOC ∆ECΠOTHC, Alexius standing facing, labarum in right hand, globus cruciger in left hand; $215.00 (€197.80)
Alexius III, corrupt and ineffective, was more interested in plundering than defending his empire. The 4th Crusade laid siege to Constantinople for several weeks before it surrendered. Alexius, true to his nature, fled with considerable gold. He was a hostage of the Seljuqs of Rum when Theodore I Lascaris defeated Kaykhusraw I in 1211. Alexius was sent to a monastery where he died.SH81912. Gold hyperpyron, DOC IV 1b; SBCV 2008; Hendy pl. 22, 3; Wroth BMC 3-6, Ratto 2199; Morrisson BnF 2, gVF, scyphate, but areas of flatness in the strike, weight 4.439 g, maximum diameter 27.1 mm, die axis 180o, Constantinople (Istanbul, Turkey) mint, 8 Apr 1195 - 17 Jul 1203; obverse KE RO HΘEI (the lord God), Christ Pantokrator standing facing on dais, with crossed nimbus, wearing pallium and colobium, raising right hand in benediction, Gospels in left, IC - XC flanking head; reverse AΛEZIW ∆ECΠO−TW KOMNHNW, Alexius, on left, and St. Constantine, on right, both stand facing, holding patriarchal cross between them, Constantine nimbate and wearing loros, Alexius wearing crown with pendilia, divitision and chlamys, akakia in right; ex Glenn Woods; SOLD
Saint Constantine was Roman emperor from 306 until his death in 337. Best known for being the first Christian Roman emperor, Constantine reversed the persecutions of his predecessor, Diocletian, and issued (with his co-emperor Licinius) the Edict of Milan in 313, which proclaimed religious toleration throughout the empire. The Byzantine liturgical calendar, observed by the Eastern Orthodox Church and Eastern Catholic Churches of Byzantine rite, lists both Constantine and his mother Helena as saints. Although he is not included in the Latin Church's list of saints, which does recognize several other Constantines as saints, he is revered under the title "The Great" for his contributions to Christianity.BZ36598. Billon aspron trachy nomisma, CLBC I 8.3.1.B; Hendy p. 151 & pl. 22, 9 - 12; DOC IV-1 3; Grierson 1136; SBCV 2012, choice gVF, scyphate, weight 2.833 g, maximum diameter 26.5 mm, die axis 180o, Constantinople (Istanbul, Turkey) mint, 8 Apr 1195 - 17 Jul 1203; obverse + KERO HΘEI, beardless nimbate bust of Christ facing, wearing pallium and colobium, raising right hand in benediction, scroll in left hand, IC - XC (Greek abbreviation: Ihsoús Xristós - Jesus Christ) flanking across field above shoulders; reverse AΛEΣIW ∆EC Θ KWNCTANTI (or similar), Alexius on left, St. Constantine bearded and nimbate on right, standing facing, each wears crown, divitision and loros; each holding labarum in outer hand, together holding globus cruciger between them; Saint Constantine the Great on the reverse!; SOLD
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