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samaria_caesarea_maritima.jpg
(0222) SEVERUS ALEXANDER?--SAMARIA, CAESAREA MARITIMA32 views222-235 AD
AE 21.5 mm; 10.96 g
O: Laureate bust right
R: Eagle with wreath held in wings, [SPQR] within
Samaria, Caesarea Maritime mint
laney
Aigina_turtle.jpg
002a, Aigina, Islands off Attica, Greece, c. 510 - 490 B.C.86 viewsSilver stater, S 1849, SNG Cop 503, F, 12.231g, 22.3mm, Aigina (Aegina) mint, c. 510 - 490 B.C.; Obverse: sea turtle (with row of dots down the middle); Reverse: incuse square of “Union Jack” pattern; banker's mark obverse. Ex FORVM.


Greek Turtles, by Gary T. Anderson

Turtles, the archaic currency of Aegina, are among the most sought after of all ancient coins. Their early history is somewhat of a mystery. At one time historians debated whether they or the issuances of Lydia were the world's earliest coins. The source of this idea comes indirectly from the writings of Heracleides of Pontus, a fourth century BC Greek scholar. In the treatise Etymologicum, Orion quotes Heracleides as claiming that King Pheidon of Argos, who died no later than 650 BC, was the first to strike coins at Aegina. However, archeological investigations date the earliest turtles to about 550 BC, and historians now believe that this is when the first of these intriguing coins were stamped.

Aegina is a small, mountainous island in the Saronikon Gulf, about midway between Attica and the Peloponnese. In the sixth century BC it was perhaps the foremost of the Greek maritime powers, with trade routes throughout the eastern half of the Mediterranean. It is through contacts with Greeks in Asia Minor that the idea of coinage was probably introduced to Aegina. Either the Lydians or Greeks along the coast of present day Turkey were most likely the first to produce coins, back in the late seventh century. These consisted of lumps of a metal called electrum (a mixture of gold and silver) stamped with an official impression to guarantee the coin was of a certain weight. Aegina picked up on this idea and improved upon it by stamping coins of (relatively) pure silver instead electrum, which contained varying proportions of gold and silver. The image stamped on the coin of the mighty sea power was that of a sea turtle, an animal that was plentiful in the Aegean Sea. While rival cities of Athens and Corinth would soon begin limited manufacture of coins, it is the turtle that became the dominant currency of southern Greece. The reason for this is the shear number of coins produced, estimated to be ten thousand yearly for nearly seventy years. The source for the metal came from the rich silver mines of Siphnos, an island in the Aegean. Although Aegina was a formidable trading nation, the coins seemed to have meant for local use, as few have been found outside the Cyclades and Crete. So powerful was their lure, however, that an old proverb states, "Courage and wisdom are overcome by Turtles."

The Aeginean turtle bore a close likeness to that of its live counterpart, with a series of dots running down the center of its shell. The reverse of the coin bore the imprint of the punch used to force the face of the coin into the obverse turtle die. Originally this consisted of an eight-pronged punch that produced a pattern of eight triangles. Later, other variations on this were tried. In 480 BC, the coin received its first major redesign. Two extra pellets were added to the shell near the head of the turtle, a design not seen in nature. Also, the reverse punch mark was given a lopsided design.

Although turtles were produced in great quantities from 550 - 480 BC, after this time production dramatically declines. This may be due to the exhaustion of the silver mines on Siphnos, or it may be related to another historical event. In 480 BC, Aegina's archrival Athens defeated Xerxes and his Persian armies at Marathon. After this, it was Athens that became the predominant power in the region. Aegina and Athens fought a series of wars until 457 BC, when Aegina was conquered by its foe and stripped of its maritime rights. At this time the coin of Aegina changed its image from that of the sea turtle to that of the land tortoise, symbolizing its change in fortunes.

The Turtle was an object of desire in ancient times and has become so once again. It was the first coin produced in Europe, and was produced in such great quantities that thousands of Turtles still exist today. Their historical importance and ready availability make them one of the most desirable items in any ancient coin enthusiast's collection.

(Greek Turtles, by Gary T. Anderson .
1 commentsCleisthenes
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06 - Nice, Alpes-Maritimes, France10 views5 francs, aluminium, 25 mm
A/ FRUITS6PRIMEURS // NICE // Fçois VIALE
R/ 5 F
Réfs : Elie 203.1
Gabalor
Thrace,_Byzantion,__AR_Siglos_340-320_BC~0.jpg
1. Thrace, Byzantion, 340-320 BC, AR Siglos38 viewsHeifer standing left above dolphin, VΠΥ above.
Incuse square of mill-sail pattern.

SNG BM Black Sea 21; SNG Copenhagen 476; Sear GCV 1579.

(17 mm, 5.36 g)
Classical Numismatic Group electronic Auction 146, 23 August 2006, 34.

Standing on the European side of the Bosporos, Byzantion with its twin city Kalchedon on the Asia Minor side of the Bosporos was the ancient gateway between the two continents, a role that continues to the present.

The symbolism of the bull and the heifer on the obverse of the coins of twin cities of Kalchedon (Asia Minor) and Byzantion (Europe) respectively is striking and points to a shared identity. They stood astride the southern entrance to the Bosporus. Both were 7th century BC foundations of Megara and jointly they controlled the vital grain trade from the Black Sea into the Mediterranean.

The grain ear upon which the bull of Kalchedon stands alludes to this fact. That of the dolphin beneath the Heifer of Byzantion is a reflection of the maritime orientation of the city and the bountiful pods of dolphins that even to this day frolic in swift flowing waters of the Bosporus beneath the old city walls of Constantinople which succeded Byzantion and was in turn succeded by Istanbul.
1 commentsn.igma
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1488 - 1513, James IV, Billon Plack (Groat), Struck 1488 - 1513 at Edinburgh, Scotland24 viewsObverse: + IACOBVS ★ 4 : DEI ★ GRACIA ★ REX ★ SCOTTO. Crowned shield bearing lion rampant within a tressure of four arcs, crown on each side of the shield and fleur-de-lis in all the spandrels. Star stops and old English lettering in legend.
Reverse: + VILLA ★ DE EDINBVRG. Floriate cross fourchée with a saltire in the centre. Crown in each quarter of the cross. Star stops and old English lettering in legend.
Type IV issue. Scarce
Diameter: 25mm | Weight: 2.4gm | Die Axis: 3
SPINK: 5352

James IV was the King of Scotland from June 1488 until his death in battle at the age of 40 on the 9th September, 1513.
James IV's mother, Margaret of Denmark, was more popular than his father, James III, and though somewhat estranged from her husband she raised their sons at Stirling Castle until she died in 1486. Two years later, a rebellion broke out, where the rebels set up the 15-year-old Prince James as their nominal leader. The rebels fought James III at the Battle of Sauchieburn where, on 11th June 1488, the king was killed. Prince James assumed the throne as James IV and was crowned at Scone on 24th of June. However he continued to bear an intense guilt for the indirect role which he had played in the death of his father.
James maintained Scotland's traditional good relations with France, and this occasionally created diplomatic problems with England, but James recognised nonetheless that peace between Scotland and England was in the interest of both countries, and established good diplomatic relations with England as well. First he ratified the Treaty of Ayton in 1497, then, in 1502 James signed the Treaty of Perpetual Peace with Henry VII which was sealed by his marriage to Henry's daughter Margaret Tudor the next year. Anglo-Scottish relations generally remained stable until the death of Henry VII in 1509.
James saw the importance of building a fleet that could provide Scotland with a strong maritime presence, he founded two new dockyards and acquired a total of 38 ships for the Royal Scots Navy. These including the “Great Michael” which, built at great expense, was launched in 1511 and was at that time the largest ship in the world.
When war broke out between England and France, James found himself in a difficult position as an ally by treaty to both countries. But relations with England had worsened since the accession of Henry VIII, and when Henry invaded France, James reacted by declaring war on England.
James sent the Scottish navy, including the “Great Michael”, to join the ships of Louis XII of France and, hoping to take advantage of Henry's absence at the siege of Thérouanne, he himself led an invading army southward into Northumberland. However, on 9th September 1513 at the disastrous Battle of Flodden James IV was killed, he was the last monarch in Great Britain to be killed in battle. His death, along with many of his nobles including his son the archbishop of St Andrews, was one of the worst military defeats in Scotland's history and the loss of such a large portion of the political community was a major blow to the realm. James IV's corpse was identified after the battle and taken to Berwick, where it was embalmed and placed in a lead coffin before being transported to London. Catherine of Aragon, wife of Henry VIII, sent the dead king's slashed, blood-stained surcoat to Henry, who was fighting in France, with the recommendation that he use it as a war banner.
James IV's son, James V, was crowned three weeks after the disaster at Flodden, but he was not yet two years old, and his minority was to be fraught with political upheaval.
2 comments*Alex
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17 - La Rochelle, Charente-Maritime, France.9 viewsSociété du Commerce, la Rochelle, Charente-Maritime
Fer nickelé, 23 mm
A/ Ste DU COMMERCE LA ROCHELLE / 5 Ces 1917
R/ - - -
Réfs : Elie 10.1
Gabalor
Bithynia_Kalchedon,_AR_Drachm_4th_Cent__BC.jpg
2. Bithynia, Kalchedon, 340-320 BC, AR Siglos 17 viewsBull standing left on grain ear, KAΛX above.
Granulated mill-sail incuse square.

SNG BM Black Sea 112; SNG von Aulock 482; Sear 3738.

(18 mm, 5.31 g).
Ephesus Numismatics.

The symbolism of the bull and the heifer on the obverse of the coins of twin cities of Kalchedon (Asia Minor) and Byzantion (Europe) respectively is striking and points to a shared identity. They stood astride the southern entrance to the Bosporus. Both were 7th century BC foundations of Megara and jointly they controlled the vital grain trade from the Black Sea into the Mediterranean.

The grain ear upon which the bull of Kalchedon stands alludes to this fact. That of the dolphin beneath the Heifer of Byzantion is a reflection of the maritime orientation of the city and the bountiful pods of dolphins that even to this day frolic in swift flowing waters of the Bosporus beneath the old city walls of Constantinople which succeded Byzantion and was in turn succeded by Istanbul.

The twin cities merged in the modern era to become the great and fascinating metropolis of Istanbul. Ancient Kalchedon dominated the Asian side of the Bosporus. The remains of the ancient city lie be
n.igma
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403. Carausius37 viewsMarcus Aurelius Mausaeus Carausius (d. 293) was a Roman usurper in Britain and northern Gaul (286–293, Carausian Revolt).

Carausius was a man of humble origin, a Menapian from Belgic Gaul who distinguished himself during Maximian's campaign against the Bagaudae rebels in Gaul in 286. As a result, he was appointed to command the Classis Britannica, a fleet based in the English Channel, with the responsibility of eliminating Frankish and Saxon pirates who had been raiding the coast. However, he was suspected of keeping captured treasure for himself, and even of allowing the pirates to carry out raids and enrich themselves before taking action against them, and Maximian ordered his execution. In late 286 or early 287 Carausius learned of this sentence and responded by declaring himself Emperor of Britain and northern Gaul.

He could count on the alliegance of the three legions based in Britain, as well as one in northern Gaul. How he was able to win support from the army when his command had been sea-based is uncertain. The emperor briefly assumed the title Britannicus Maximus in 285, and the British towns of Wroxeter and Caistor by Norwich towns show signs of destruction around this time, so it is possible Carausius won the army's support during military action in Britain shortly before his rebellion. Alternatively, if the accusations of larceny are true, he could perhaps afford to buy their loyalty. He also appears to have appealed to native British dissatisfaction with Roman rule: he issued coins with legends such as Restitutor Britanniae (Restorer of Britain) and Genius Britanniae (Spirit of Britain).

Maximian, busy with wars on the Rhine, was unable to challenge him immediately, but in the Autumn of 288 he began massing troops and ships for an invasion. In 289 an invasion of Britain intended to dislodge him failed badly due to storms, although a naval defeat is also possible. An uneasy peace continued until 293, during which Rome prepared for a second effort to retake the province, while Carausius began to entertain visions of legitimacy and official recognition. He minted his own coins and brought their value in to line with Roman issues as well as acknowledging and honouring Maximian and then Diocletian. Coinage is the main source of information about the rogue emperor; his issues were initially crude but soon became more elaborate and were issued from mints in Londinium, Rotomagnus and a third site, possibly Colonia Claudia Victricensis. A milestone from Carlisle with his name on it suggests that the whole of Roman Britain was in Carausius' grasp.

It has been speculated (namely, by the historian Sheppard Frere) that the rebellion of Carausius endangered Diocletian's vision of a strong, centralized government based on his tetrarchy. In any case, by early 293 Constantius Chlorus had gained control of northern Gaul, including the rebel's stronghold and port of Bononia, on which Carausius was heavily dependent. Constantius built a mole across the harbour mouth to ensure it did not receive maritime aid.

Constantius also regained the allegiance of the rebellious Gallic legion and defeated the Franks of the Rhine mouth who seem to have been working in league with Carausius. Weakened by these setbacks, Carausius was assassinated, possibly at York, by his treasurer, Allectus.

aVF/aVF Carausius Antoninianus / Pax / Green Patina and Nice Style

Attribution: RIC 895
Date: 287-293 AD
Obverse: IMP CARAVSIVS P F AVG, radiate and draped bust right
Reverse: PAX AVG, Pax standing left, holding branch and transverse sceptre.
Size: 20.91 mm
Weight: 3 grams
ecoli
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76 - Elbeuf, Seine-Maritime, France12 viewsChambre de Commerce, Elbeuf, Seine-Maritime
Aluminium, 25 mm
A/ CHAMBRE DE COMMERCE D'ELBEUF 1921
R/ 10 C
Réfs : Elie 10.2
Gabalor
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76 - Gournay-en-Bray, Seine-Maritime, France12 viewsUnion Commerciale, Gournay-en-Bray, Seine-Maritime
Aluminium, 19 mm
A/ UNION COMMERCIALE / GOURNAY-EN-BRAY
R/ 5 c
Réfs : Elie 10.1
Gabalor
18804_Ake_Ptolemais,_Galilee,_c__2nd_century_B_C_.jpg
Ake Ptolemais, Galilee, c. 2nd century B.C. AE 11, Dioskouroi heads/ cornucopia53 viewsAke Ptolemais, Galilee, c. 2nd century B.C. Bronze AE 11, L. Kadman, The Coins of Akko Ptolemais, CNP I / IV (1961), 94, 19; SGICV 6046, aF, Ptolemais (as Antiochia) mint, 1.589g, 11.1mm, 0o, obverse jugate heads of the Dioskouroi right; reverse “ANTIOCEWN TWN / EN PTOLEMAIDI” or similar, cornucopia. Ptolemais was a a maritime city of Galilee (Acts 21:7). It was originally Accho, but was renamed Ptolemais under the rule of Ptolemy Soter. Ex FORVM, photo credit FORVMPodiceps
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Alexandria11 viewsAlexandria was one of the most famous cities in the world. It was founded around a small pharaonic town c. 331 BC by Alexander the Great. It remained Egypt's capital for nearly a thousand years, until the Muslim conquest of Egypt in AD 641, when a new capital was founded at Fustat (Fustat was later absorbed into Cairo). Alexandria was known because of its Lighthouse of Alexandria (Pharos), one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World; its library (the largest library in the ancient world); and the Catacombs of Kom el Shoqafa, one of the Seven Wonders of the Middle Ages. Ongoing maritime archaeology in the harbor of Alexandria, which began in 1994, is revealing details of Alexandria both before the arrival of Alexander, when a city named Rhacotis existed there, and during the Ptolemaic dynasty.ancientone
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Alpha Bank15 viewsThis is an exact copy of a stater from Aegina in the Alpha Bank numismatic collection.During the 6th century BC Aegina became a great maritime and commercial power.It is considerd as the first city in Greece which struk coins.The reverse of these first Greek coins has become since 1972 the Alpha Bank logo.Grant H
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Andrew Johnson, 1865 Indian Peace Medal40 viewsObv: ANDREW JOHNSON, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES, bust of Andrew Johnson (17th President) facing right, 1865 below.

Rev: Columbia, holding an American flag, clasping hands with an Indian Chief, before a tomb surmounted by a bust of George Washington. At the feet of the Indian are the attributes of native life, and behind him is a buffalo hunt; at the feet of Columbia and behind her are the emblems of maritime and industrial progress.

Engraver: Anthony Paquet

Mint: Philadelphia, Date: 1865 (20th Century restrike), Bronze, Diameter: 76 mm
Matt Inglima
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Antiochos IV, Epiphanes, 175 - 164 B.C. AE 12; Dioskouroi heads/ cornucopia17 viewsAke Ptolemais, Galilee, c. 2nd century B.C. (Time of Antiochos IV, Epiphanes, 175 - 164 B.C.) Bronze AE 12, SGCV 6046, F, Ptolemais mint, 2.472g, 13.5mm, 0o, obverse jugate heads of the Dioskouroi right; reverse “ΑΝΤΙΟΧΕΩΝ ΤΩΝ / ΕΝ ΠΤΟΛΕΜΑΙΔΙ” or similar, cornucopia. Ptolemais was a maritime city of Galilee (Acts 21:7). It was originally Accho, but was renamed Ptolemais under the rule of Ptolemy Soter. Ex FORVMPodiceps
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Apollonia Pontica, Thrace31 viewsAncient Greek City Issue
Apollonia Pontica, Thrace


Obverse: Gorgon (Medusa?) or Apollo head facing with tongue sticking out


Reverse: Upturned anchor with crayfish and A on sides


Silver Drachm (16mm, 2.5g)
Minted in Apollonia Pontica 450-400BC

Reference: SNG Black Sea 155


Translations and explanations:

Apollonia Pontica (Apollonia on the Black Sea) is modern day Sozopol, Bulgaria.

While the city was clearly named after Greek god Apollo, the earlier coins feature a snake-haired gorgon face that over time seems to transition to a more Apollo like image.

The anchor on the reverse was the symbol of the city denoting its important maritime trade status.

Sphinx357
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AR Drachm of Sinope in Paphlagonia ca. 425-410 BC14 viewsOBVERSE: Head of sea eagle facing left with dolphin below.
REVERSE: Double-Incuse punch with pellets in center

Sinope was originally founded by Greek colonists from Miletus ca 725 BC. Bithynia, Paphlagonia and Pontus bordered the southern shore of the Black Sea. It remained an important port, as indicated by the maritime themes on its coinage, for many centuries. Recently near- perfectly preserved remains of Byzantine-era vessels, probably bound for Sinope, have been found at the bottom of these anoxic waters.

SNG BMC 1367 Black Sea (ref. Wildwinds), wt 5.99 gm (ex-Forvm coins)
daverino
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Aspendos, Pamphylia, 370 - 333 B.C.225 viewsWith the influence of the Olympics games.

Obverse : two wrestlers, the left one holds the wrist of his opponent with his right and right forearm with his left hand, KI between their legs.

Reverse : EΣTΦE∆IIYΣ on left, slinger, wearing short chiton, discharging sling to right, triskeles on right with feet clockwise,


Extremely fine Silver Stater . Weight: 10.62 g. Max Diameter: 23 mm. Mint : Aspendos (in our days , Antalya province of Turkey)
SNG France 104. Struck from fresh , artistic and well executed dies.

Historical and Numismatic Note:

Pamphylia (/pæmˈfɪliə/) was the region in the south of Asia Minor, between Lycia and Cilicia, extending from the Mediterranean to Mount Taurus (modern-day Antalya province, Turkey).

Aspendos or Aspendus (Greek: Ἄσπενδος) was an ancient Greco-Roman city in Antalya province of Turkey. Aspendos is about 40 km east of Antalya, Turkey about 16 km inland on the Eurymedon River. In 546 B.C. it fell to Persia. After a Persian defeat in 467, the city joined the Attic-Delos Maritime League. Persia took it again in 411 B.C., Alexander in 333 B.C., and Rome in 190 B.C. Although often subject to powerful empires, the city usually retained substantial autonomy.


The Sam Mansourati Collection. NO. AGAP 3121.

2 commentsSam
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Athens Emergency Issue Plated Tetradrachm Circa 406-404 BC949 viewsQuote from David Sear:

"Athens was the greatest power in the Greek world throughout most of the 5th century BC. Its famous 'owl' coinage, principally of silver tetradrachms, possibly commenced in 510 BC on the occasion of the downfall of the tyrant Hippias. On these celebrated coins the helmeted head of the goddess Athena was accompanied by her attendant owl and the first three letters of the ethnic 'AQE'. Later, a diadem of olive leaves was added to Athena's helmet and a cresent moon was placed in the reverse field, though the precise chronological significance of these changes remains uncertain. To the intense chagrin of the Spartans Athens became the leader of the Greek states, including those of Ionia, in the epic struggle against the expansionist policies of the Achaemenid Persian Empire. The victories at Salamis (480 BC) and the Eurymedon (circa 467) clearly established the Athenian supremacy in the Aegean world. Initially, the Delian League (founded in 477) was an alliance of independent states sharing a common cause under the leadership of Athens. It gradually developed into an Athenian maritime empire with the member cities obliged to pay an annual tribute into the League's treasury on Delos. In 454 this treasury, amounting to 5,000 talents of silver, was actually removed to Athens and the vast wealth was openly employed for the aggrandizement of the city, now under the leadership of the great statesman Pericles. Vast building projecdts, such as the monumental edifices on the Acropolis, were financed in this way. From 431, however, Athens became embroiled in the protracted Peloponnesian War and increasingly the wealth of the state was dissipated in this futile cause. This attractive tetradrachm belongs to the exceptionally large ouput of Athenian 'owls' made during the second half of the 5th century. In contrast to the artistic development taking place at mints in other parts of the Mediterranean world, the late archaic style of the earlier 5th century became 'frozen' on these issues which represent the first truly imperial coinage of the Greek world. As Athens restricted or forbade the issue of independent currency at many of the cities within her sphere of influence the 'owls' came to circulate over an increasingly wide area. But this all came to an end with the defeat of Athens by Sparta in 404 BC and during the period immediately preceding this catastrophe the Athenians were reduced to the desperate expedient of issuing bronze tetradrachms and drachms with a thin surface coating of silver. This specimen is an excellent example of this emergency coinage the production of which drew contemporary comment from Aristophanes who, in his play Frogs (717ff), compares the decline in the quality of the leading citizens with the recent debasement of the Athenian coinage."
3 commentsGunner
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Athlit Bronze War Galley Ram70 viewsThe Athlit ram, found in 1980 off the coast of Israel near at Athlit Bay (just south of Haifa), is the one of a few surviving ancient war galley rams. Carbon 14 dating of timber remnants date it to between 530 BC and 270 BC. It was once fit on the prow of an ancient oared warship. This would be driven into the hull of an enemy ship in order to puncture it and thus sink, or at least disable, the ship. It is made of a single casting of bronze weighing 465kg and measures about 2.10m long. The ram is thus one of the largest bronze objects to survive from the ancient world and is currently on display in the National Maritime Museum, Haifa, Israel. Captured rams were once used to ornament Octavian's battle monument at Actium, Greece. Only the sockets that held them remain. The valuable bronze was melted long ago.

Sources:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Naval_ram
http://www.learningsites.com/Athlit/AthlitRam_home.php

For other recovered galley rams see:
https://archaeologynewsnetwork.blogspot.com/2013/04/rare-bronze-rams-found-at-site-of-final.html
https://www.historytoday.com/ann-natanson/roman-naval-power-raising-ram
1 commentsJoe Sermarini
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Carian Islands, Rhodes17 viewsSear 5074 var., SNG Copenhagen 750-751 & 858-9, SNG Helsinki 384-392 var., SNG Keckman 384-421, SNG von Aulock 2796-2797 var., BMC Caria pg. 238-239, 74ff var., Laffaille 503 var.

AE 10, circa 350-300 B.C.

Obv: Diademed head of Rhodos right, hair rolled.

Rev: P-O in lower field, rose with bud to the right, H to the left.

In 408 B.C., the cities on the island of Rhodes united to form one territory and built the city of Rhodes, as their new capital on the northern end of the island. The Peloponnesian War had so weakened the entire Greek culture that it lay open to invasion. In 357 B.C., the island was conquered by the king Mausolus of Caria, then it fell to the Persians in 340 B.C., and in 332 B.C. became part of the empire of Alexander the Great. Following the death of Alexander, his generals vied for control of his empire. Rhodes formed strong commercial and cultural ties with the Ptolemies of Egypt, and together formed the Rhodo-Egyptian alliance that controlled trade throughout the Aegean in the 3rd century B.C. The city developed into a maritime, commercial and cultural center, and its coins circulated nearly everywhere in the Mediterranean. In 305 B.C, Antigonus directed his son, Demetrius, to besiege Rhodes in an attempt to break its alliance with Egypt. Demetrius created huge siege engines, but despite this engagement, in 304 B.C., he relented and signed a peace agreement, leaving behind a huge store of military equipment. The Rhodians sold the equipment and used the money to erect a statue of their sun god, Helios, which became known as the Colossus of Rhodes.

In Greek mythology, Rhodos was the goddess of the island of Rhodes and wife of Helios. She was the daughter of Aphrodite and Poseidon.
Stkp
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Emmett 0935 - Hadrian Drachm, 2 Canopi of Osirus, facing each other31 viewsEGYPT, Alexandria. Hadrian. AD 117-138. Æ Drachm (32mm, 22.6 g). Dated RY 18 (AD 133/4). Laureate, draped and cuirassed bust right / Canopi of Isis and Osiris under canopic canopy; date across fields. Köln 1141-1142; D.1949-1951, Milne 1430; Emmett 935.18. K.32.605.
The canopic jar gets its name for the port city of Canopus in the Delta. Kanopus was also the name of the pilot of Menelaos’s ship in The Iliad, and it is uncertain whether the city’s demotic name was hellenized to Canopus to reflect the Homeric myth, or whether Homer adopted the maritime name from the city. In any case the Egyptian god Osiris was worshiped in Canopus in the specific form of a jar or reliquary, and the name became attached by Egyptologists to the four jars used to hold the viscera of the mummified dead, as well as the cult objects associated with Osiris and Isis.
mattpat
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Great Britain, Captain James Cook Medal (Æ) by Lewis Pingo for the Royal Society 178411 viewsLeft-facing bust of Captain James Cook (1728-1779) in his naval uniform. IAC. COOK OCEANI INVESTIGATOR ACERRIMVS (James Cook the most intrepid investigator of the seas) around the border. REG. SOC.LOND. / SOCIO. SVO (The Royal Society London, to its Fellow) below; signed L.P.F. (Lewis Pingo fecit) beneath the truncation of the shoulder.

The personified figure of Fortune leaning against a rostral column, holding a rudder resting on a globe; shield bearing Union Jack leaning against rostra column. NIL INTENTATVM NOSTRI LIQUERE (Our men have left nothing unattempted) around the border. In exergue AUSPICIIS / GEORGII / III (Under the auspices of George III).

MH 374; BHM 258; Betts 553; Eimar 780.

(43 mm, 12h).

On 14 February 1779, the world’s greatest navigator and maritime explorer, Captain James Cook (1728-1779), was killed in a skirmish with the Hawaiian inhabitants at Kealakekua Bay, on the big island. News of his death took almost a year to reach England. On receiving the news, the Chairman of the Royal Society, Sir Joseph Banks, sought designs for a medal to celebrate Cook’s achievements. Many artisans submitted ideas for consideration. However, it was the design of the chief engraver of the London Mint, Lewis Pingo (1743-1830) that won the sanction of the Royal Society. Work on the dies commenced on 15 June 1780 although it was to be more than three years before Sir Joseph Banks announced that the engraving was complete in November 1783. The medal was struck the following year in gold (22 copies), silver (322 copies) and bronze (577 copies). The bronze strikes were distributed free to the Fellows of the Royal Society, while gold and silver were by subscription only, with several of the gold medals reserved for dignitaries, including the King George III and James Cook’s widow Elizabeth.

The portrayal of Cook on the medal is derived from the famous portrait by Nathaniel Dance. The accompanying Latin legend translates to ‘James Cook the most intrepid explorer of the seas.' The reverse celebrates Cook's journeys, with the image of Fortune holding a rudder over the globe and a motto in Latin, which translated reads 'Our men have left nothing unattempted'.
n.igma
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Greece, Delos - Maritime Quarter Streetscape249 viewsLloyd T
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Greece, Delos - Mosaic Floor in the Maritime Quarter246 viewsInterestingly this mosaic floor features the symbol of Tanit a Carthaginian goddess.Lloyd T
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Greece, Delos - Wall in the Maritime Quarter297 viewsRemnant plasterwork and painting illustrates how the coarse stone walls were finished in the residential area that is the Maritime Quarter.1 commentsLloyd T
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Island off Attica. AEGINA AR Stater.83 viewsCirca 456/45-431 B.C. (12.23gm, 21mm). Obverse: land tortoise with segmented shell. Reverse: large incuse square of heavy skew pattern. Milbank pl.2, 12; SNG Copenhagen 516; Dewing 1683; BMC Attica p. 137, 146; HGC 6, 437. Near EF, attractive light cabinet tone. Very desirable example of the type.

Ex Roma Numismatics (featured as a cover for e-Auction 57). Ex Shanna Schmidt Numismatics. Ex Munzenhandlung Harald Moller, Auction 72, 1 November 2018, lot 20.

Early commerce within the Aegean area include metal ingots used in trade. They had a distinctive plano-convex shape and were colloquially called "turtles" especially in Aegina. With the development of the concept of money, it is natural for the maritime island-state to design their coins with an image of a turtle since they had already been accustomed by the earlier ingots whose shape resembled the animal. Aegina was considered the first state to introduce money to the West that was first invented in either Ionia or Lydia. As maritime power, it rivaled Athens. Early obverse designs always feature a sea turtle. Why the inclusion of a land tortoise (testudo graeca) beginning in the middle of the 5th century B.C. is still unresolved. Few theories had been put forward: the most common was Aegina's defeat from its rival Athens, and the land tortoise symbolized sovereignty of Athens over Aegina.
6 commentsJason T
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Italy – Genoa – 1139 – 133910 viewsSilver Grosso, Biaggi-838

Before 1100, Genoa emerged as an independent city-state, one of a number of Italian city-states during this period. Nominally, the Holy Roman Emperor was overlord and the Bishop of Genoa was president of the city; however, actual power was wielded by a number of "consuls" annually elected by popular assembly. Genoa was one of the so-called "Maritime Republics" (Repubbliche Marinare), along with Venice, Pisa, and Amalfi and trade, shipbuilding and banking helped support one of the largest and most powerful navies in the Mediterranean. Through Genoese participation on the Crusades, colonies were established in the Middle East, in the Aegean, in Sicily and Northern Africa.

The collapse of the Crusader States was offset by Genoa’s alliance with the Byzantine Empire, which opened opportunities of expansion into the Black Sea and Crimea. When I purchased this coin it was identified as as an annonomous issue from Genoa’s trading post at Caffa. The Black Death was imported into Europe in 1347 from the Genoese trading post at Caffa (Theodosia) in Crimea, on the Black Sea.

I purchased this coin at least 30 years ago at a coin show outside Baltimore. The dealer had a small box full of these coins. “Your Choice” for $10. This coin seemed to just jumped out at me screaming buy me, so I did.

NGC MS-62

Cost $10
Richard M10
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MEDIEVAL, Italy, Genoa, 1139 – 133947 viewsSilver Grosso, Biaggi-838

Before 1100, Genoa emerged as an independent city-state, one of a number of Italian city-states during this period. Nominally, the Holy Roman Emperor was overlord and the Bishop of Genoa was president of the city; however, actual power was wielded by a number of "consuls" annually elected by popular assembly. Genoa was one of the so-called "Maritime Republics" (Repubbliche Marinare), along with Venice, Pisa, and Amalfi and trade, shipbuilding and banking helped support one of the largest and most powerful navies in the Mediterranean. Through Genoese participation on the Crusades, colonies were established in the Middle East, in the Aegean, in Sicily and Northern Africa.

The collapse of the Crusader States was offset by Genoa’s alliance with the Byzantine Empire, which opened opportunities of expansion into the Black Sea and Crimea. When I purchased this coin it was identified as as an annonomous issue from Genoa’s trading post at Caffa. The Black Death was imported into Europe in 1347 from the Genoese trading post at Caffa (Theodosia) in Crimea, on the Black Sea.
Richard M10
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NEAPOLITAN REPUBLIC - Henry de Guise58 viewsNEAPOLITAN REPUBLIC - Henry de Guise (1647-1648) AE 3 Tornesi, 1648. Obv.: Crowned shield with letters SPQN. Legend: HEN DE LOR DUX REIP N. Rev.: Bound wheat and olives, legend PAX ET UBERTAS 1648. Reference: KM #55. Ex Ardatirion collection.
These are always poorly struck, usually not this nice. The design quality of this piece is rather crude, and the SPQN is NOT aligned properly... letters are sideways. Usually they are straight. Probably made toward the end of the siege of the Republic by Spain.
From Wikepedia: The Neapolitan Republic was a Republic created in Naples, which lasted from 22 October 1647 to 5 April 1648. It began after the revolt led by Masaniello and Giulio Genoino against the Spanish viceroys.
The leader of the Republic was Henry II of Lorraine, duke of Guise, descendant of the former king of Naples Rene I of Anjou. The Republic had the following official names: Serenissima Repubblica di questo regno di Napoli ("Most Serene Republic of this Kingdom of Naples"), Reale Repubblica ("Royal Republic"), and Serenissima Monarchia repubblicana di Napoli ("Most Serene Republican Monarchy of Naples"). All indicated the double nature of the Republic, both republican and monarchical, and "Serenissima" was a purposeful comparison with the famous Italian maritime republic with the same title, Venice. The coat of arms was a red shield with the motto S.P.Q.N., in imitation of the well-known S.P.Q.R., the initialism of the Latin phrase, Senatus Populusque Romanus ("The Senate and the People of Rome"), Thus, the Neapolitan phrase meant "The Senate and People of Naples." The coat of arms contained the crest of the duke of Guise.
dpaul7
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Pagus Catuslugi23 viewsBronze VIIRICIVS
Type IV
50-40 BC
Shrine "Bois l'Abbé" in Eu (Seine-maritime, France)
frederic
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Philip III or Kassander; Salamis; Shield with Gorgoneion/ B-A, Helmet, caduceus, NK monogram15 viewsMacedonian Kingdom, Philip III or Kassander, c. 323 - 315 B.C. Bronze AE 1/2 unit, Price 3162, Salamis mint, 3.754g, 15.6mm, 0o, c. 323 - 315 B.C.; obverse Macedonian shield with five crescents around, Gorgoneion at center; reverse , B - A either side of crested Macedonian helmet, caduceus lower left, NK monogram lower right. Salamis was a maritime town on the east coast of Cyprus, at the end of a fertile plain between two mountains, near the River Pediaeus. Ex FORVM, photo credit FORVMPodiceps
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Seleucid Kingdom, Antiochus IV Epiphanes, 175 - 164 B.C., Ake, Galilee44 viewsBronze serrated AE 14, SNG Spaer 1130, S 6994, F, obverse 1/2 off center, Ake mint, 2.650g, 14.6mm, 0o, obverse radiate head right; reverse BASILEWS ANTIOCOU, veiled and draped goddess (Hera ?) standing facing, holding long sceptre or torch;
Accho or Ake was a a maritime city of Galilee (Acts 21:7). It was renamed Ptolemais under the rule of Ptolemy Soter. Today it is Acre, Israel. It was at Ptolemais that the Jews met Petronius, sent to set up statues of the emperor in the Temple, and persuaded him to turn back. St Paul spent a day in Ptolemais (Acts 21:7).
cwonsidler
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Sidon; Late 1st century A.D. Æ 24; Tyche/ Galley19 viewsPhoenicia, Sidon. Pseudo-autonomous issue. Late 1st century A.D. Æ 24 mm (12.79 g, 12 h). Civic year 191 (A.D. 80/1). Turreted and draped bust of Tyche right; behind, date (EIP) / Galley sailing right; legend includes NAYAPXI?OS. RPC 2047; BMC 193; Lindgren III 1436; Rouvier 1293. Near VF, coppery dark brown surfaces, some roughness on reverse. Rare. The legend on this coin describes Sidon as Nauarchis or "Mistress of the Fleet." This title was assumed by the Phoenician maritime city as part of the ongoing intercity rivalry of southern Syria and Phoenicia in the Roman period with cities like Tyre, Tripolis, and Laodicea ad Mare attempting to claim pre-eminent status on the coast. Ex Frank L. Kovacs (Vauctions)Podiceps
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Thrace, Apollonia Pontika8 viewsSear 1655 var., SNG BM Black Sea 160-61; SNG Cop. 457, Topanov p. 347-8

AR drachm, 13-15 mm. Mid-late 4th century B.C.

Obv: Facing gorgoneion, spiral ornament [snakes?] below

Rev: Upright anchor; A and crawfish to left and right.

Around 610 B.C., Ionian Greeks from Miletos established an outpost on the western Black Sea coast called Antheia. The city prospered, and in the late 5th century B.C. it commissioned the Greek sculptor Kalamis of Boeotia to cast a 13 ton, 10 meter high, bronze statue of Apollo for its new temple of Apollo. The temple was so popular that the city was renamed Apollonia in its honor.

The gorgoneion (severed head of the gorgon Medusa) was a popular apotropaic device, seen as warding off evil. The anchor and the crayfish attest to the city’s reliance on maritime commerce for its economy.

In 342/1 BC, Philip II attacked and conquered Apollonia as well as other towns in Thrace, incorporating them into the Macedonian realm. The Gorgoneion/Anchor silver drachms were struck in the period preceding this event, when the city needed to produce coinage to finance its defense against the impending Macedonian invasion. Philip’s conquest ended the city’s autonomous silver coinage.
Stkp
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Thrace, Byzantion, 340-320 BC, AR Siglos 20 viewsHeifer standing left above dolphin, VΠΥ above.
Incuse square of mill-sail pattern.

SNG BM Black Sea 21; SNG Copenhagen 476; Sear GCV 1579.

(17 mm, 5.36 g)
Classical Numismatic Group electronic Auction 146, 23 August 2006, 34.

This coin originates from Byzantion, which together with its twin city of Kalchedon, was founded astride the southern entrance to the Bosporus by 7th century Greek colonists from Megara. The cities controlled the entrance to the Bosporus, the demarcation between Europe and Asia and the access route to the Black Sea. Both cities played a major role in many of the historical events involving the interaction of west and east. They eventually merged into one metropolis astride the Bosporus, modern day Istanbul.

On this coin the first letter of the ethnic above the heifer is an archaic form of the letter Beta used by Byzantion. The latter was situated on the European (western) side of the entrance to the Bosporus and came to control the vital grain trade from the Black Sea region. The dolphin on the obverse of this coin of Byzantion may be an allusion to the maritime significance of the city in the grain trade, or may reflect that the association of the city with the dolphins that today can be seen in large numbers feeding in the rapidly flowing currents of the Bosporus, immediately adjacent to the shore of old Constantinople.
n.igma
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USA, Seated Liberty dime love token, 184217 viewsOld English "A" within wreath. Part of a matched pair with the 1855 coin in this set (maybe once made into a pair of earrings?) Ex-"zebiak-maritime.intl" (eBay). Total number of 1842 dimes struck at all mints = 3,907,500.
lordmarcovan
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USA, Seated Liberty dime love token, 185515 viewsOld English "A" within wreath. Part of a matched pair with the 1842 coin in this set (maybe once made into a pair of earrings?). Ex-"zebiak-maritime.intl" (eBay). Total number of 1855 dimes struck at all mints = 2,075,000.lordmarcovan
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[1663a] Byzantine Empire: Manuel I Comnenus Megas (1143-1180)---NOT TO BE CONFUSED WITH---[1685a] Empire of Trebizond: Manuel I Komnenos Megas (1218-1263 AD)155 viewsManuel I Comnenus Megas (1143-1180). AE billon trachy; Sear 1964; 30mm, 3.91g.; Constantinople mint; aF. Obverse: MP-OV-The Virgin enthroned. Nimbate and wearing pallium and maphorium; Reverse: Maueil standing facing, wearing crown, holding labarum and globe surmounted by Patriachal cross. Ex SPQR.


De Imperatoribus Romanis: An Online Encyclopedia of Roman Rulers and their Families

MANUEL I COMNENUS (A.D. 1143-1180)

Andrew Stone
University of Western Australia

Introduction: Sources
The reign of the emperor Manuel I Comnenus (5 April 1143- 24 September 1180) could well be regarded as a high-water mark of Byzantine civilization. It was the apogee of the so-called "Comnenian Restoration". Politically, the emperor undertook an ambitious foreign policy which has been seen by some, particularly in the light of many ultimate failures, as "misguided imperialism", recent scholarship has come to question this traditional judgment and suggests instead that the the Comnenian foreign policy was rather an energetic seizing of the different opportunities that presented themselves in the rapidly changing constellations of powers of the time. Such measures were made possible by the internal security of the empire under this, its third, Comnenian incumbent, although there were a few other aspirants to the throne, not least among them the emperor's cousin Andronicus. Manuel and other key members of the "Comnenian system", as it has been called, were patrons of rhetoric and other forms of learning and literature, and Manuel himself became keenly interested in ecclesiastical affairs, even if here his imperialistic agenda was a factor as he tried to bring Constantinopolitan theology in line with that of the west in a bid to unite the Church under his crown.

In terms of volume of contemporary material, Manuel is the most eulogised of all Byzantine emperors, and the panegyric addressed to him supplements the two major Byzantine historians of the reign, the more critical Nicetas Choniates and the laudatory John Cinnamus, as primary sources for the student of the period to study. The Crusader historian William of Tyre met Manuel personally, and such was the scope of Manuel's diplomacy that he is mentioned incidentally in western sources, such as Romuald of Salerno. Among authors of the encomia (panegyrics) we have mentioned are Theodore Prodromus and the so-called "Manganeios" Prodromus, who wrote in verse, and the prose encomiasts Michael the Rhetor, Eustathius of Thessalonica and Euthymius Malaces, to name the most important. Manuel, with his penchant for the Latins and their ways, left a legacy of Byzantine resentment against these outsiders, which was to be ruthlessly exploited by Andronicus in the end.

Manuel as sebastokrator
Manuel was born in the imperial porphyry birthchamber on 28 November 1118. He was the fourth of John II's sons, so it seemed very unlikely that he would succeed. As a youth, Manuel evidently accompanied John on campaign, for in the Anatolian expedition of 1139-41 we find Manuel rashly charging a small group of the Turkish enemy, an action for which he was castigated by his father, even though John, we are told, was inwardly impressed (mention of the incident is made in John's deathbed speech in both John Cinnamus and Nicetas Choniates). John negotiated a marriage contract for Manuel with Conrad III of Germany; he was to marry Bertha of Sulzbach. It seems to have been John's plan to carve out a client principality for Manuel from Cilicia, Cyprus and Coele Syria. In the event, it was Manuel who succeeded him.

The Securing of the Succession 1143
In the article on John II it is related how the dying John chose his youngest son Manuel to succeed him in preference to his other surviving son Isaac. Manuel was acclaimed emperor by the armies on 5 April 1143. Manuel stayed in Cilicia, where the army was stationed, for thirty days, to complete the funeral rites for his father. He sent his father's right-hand man John Axuch, however, to Constantinople to confine Isaac to the Pantokrator Monastery and to effect a donation of two hundredweight of silver coin to the clergy of the Great Church. The surviving encomium of Michael Italicus, Teacher of the Gospel, for the new emperor can be regarded as a return gift for this largesse. In the meantime the Caesar John Roger, husband of Manuel's eldest sister Maria, had been plotting to seize the throne; the plot was, however, given away by his wife before it could take effect. Manuel marched home to enter Constantinople c. July 1143. He secured the good-will of the people by commanding that every household should be granted two gold coins. Isaac the younger (Manuel's brother) and Isaac the elder (Manuel's paternal uncle), were both released from captivity and reconciled with him. Manuel chose Michael Oxeites as the new patriarch and was crowned either in August or November 1143.

Manuel confirmed John Axuch in the office of Grand Domestic, that is, commander of the army, appointed John of Poutze as procurator of public taxes, grand commissioner and inspector of accounts and John Hagiotheodorites as chancellor. John of Poutze proved to be an oppressive tax collector, but was also unsusceptible to bribery. However, this John diverted monies levied for the navy into the treasury, which would, as we shall see, further Byzantine dependence on the maritime Italian city-states of Venice, Genoa and Pisa.

Early Campaigns: 1144-1146
Manuel's first concern was to consolidate the work of his father in securing the eastern frontier. He sent a force under the brothers Andronicus and John Contostephanus against the recalcitrant Crusader prince Raymond of Antioch, which consisted of both an army and a navy, the latter commanded by Demetrius Branas. Raymond's army was routed, and the naval force inflicted no small damage on the coastal regions of the principality. In the meantime the Crusader city of Edessa fell to the Turkish atabeg Zengi. Raymond therefore travelled to Constantinople as a suppliant to Manuel. It was subsequently decided, in the light of Manuel's imperial status, that the terms under which he would marry Bertha of Sulzbach should be improved. Manuel asked for 500 knights, and Conrad happily granted them, being prepared to supply 2000 or 3000 if need be all for the sake of this alliance. Bertha took the Greek name Irene.

The Seljuk sultanate of Rum under Masud had become the ascendant Turkish power in Anatolia. Manuel himself supervised the rebuilding of the fortress of Melangeia on the Sangarius river in Bithynia (1145 or 1146). In the most daring campaign of these early years, after building the new fort of Pithecas in Bithynia, Manuel advanced as far into Turkish territory as Konya (Iconium), the Seljuk capital. He had been wounded in the foot by an arrow at a mighty battle at Philomelium (which had been Masud's headquarters), and the city had been rased; once at Konya, he allowed his troops to despoil the graves outside the city walls, before taking the road home.

Cinnamus relates that the gratutitous heroics which Manuel displayed on this campaign were calculated to impress Manuel's new bride. Manuel and his army were harried by Turks on the journey home. Manuel erected the fort of Pylae before leaving Anatolia.

[For a detailed and interesting discussion of the reign of Manuel I Comnenus please see http://www.roman-emperors.org/mannycom.htm]

Frederick Barbarossa and the "two-emperor problem"
Frederick Barbarossa, who was to become a constant menace to Manuel's designs, had succeeded his uncle Conrad III in 1152, but unlike him proved in the end unprepared to make any territorial concessions in Italy. The origins of this "cold war" between the two empires cannot be dated with any certainty, but there may have been a tendency to date it too early. One school of thought would not date the outbreak of this rivalry to any earlier than 1159-60, the death of Manuel's German wife, Bertha-Irene. About this time there was a scare at Constantinople that Frederick Barbarossa would march on Byzantium, perhaps reflecting a desire on Frederick's part to crusade (which he eventually did, in the reign of Isaac II Angelus). The new Pope, Alexander III, by, as it would seem, offering to grant Manuel the imperial crown, used it as a bargaining chip to play off the emperors of west and east against one another. Manuel may have supported Alexander during the papal schism of 1160-1177 because he was the preferred candidate of Hungary and the Crusader states, both of which he hoped would recognise him as their feudal overlord. By this means he could claim sovereign rights over the crusading movement, and thereby turn it to his advantage. The playing off of Manuel against Frederick continued right up until 1177, the Peace of Venice, whereby Frederick agreed to recognise Pope Alexander, the autonomy of Sicily and of the northern Italian communes. But this result was not a foregone conclusion in the 1160s and early 1170s, and Manuel used Byzantine gold to win supporters in Italy and thereby keep Frederick occupied.

Marriage to Maria of Antioch 1161
Bertha-Irene died in late 1159/early 1160. Manuel sought to strengthen his ties with the Crusader principalities by selecting an eastern Latin princess for his wife. The exceedingly beautiful Maria of Antioch, daughter of Raymond of Antioch, was chosen, and the nuptials celebrated at Christmas, 1161.


Dynastic considerations 1169-1172
Manuel's wife Maria of Antioch gave birth to a baby boy 14 September 1169 in the porphyry marble birthchamber, the cause of great festivities. The infant was crowned emperor in 1171. With the death of Stephen III of Hungary in 1172, Stephen's brother Béla was sent out from Constantinople to assume the throne (though without Sirmium and Dalmatia being surrendered to the Hungarian crown). A husband for Maria Porphyrogenita was therefore required. At first it was proposed that she marry William II of Sicily, who was outraged when she failed to show up at Taranto on the appointed day, the emperor having had second thoughts.


The final months 1180
Manuel took ill in the month of March 1180. During this period of terminal illness the last major religious controversies took place. We are told that Manuel directed that the anathema pronounced against the god of Muhammad be removed from the abjuration against the Islamic faith declared by converts to Christianity. Manuel was opposed by the last patriarch of his reign, Theodosius Boradiotes (1179-1183), as well as, notably, by Eustathius of Thessalonica. Both parties were satisfied in the end upon a reading of the emperor's proposed amendments to the abjuration. This controversy would seem to be a different one from the one alluded to in Eustathius' funeral oration for Manuel, since Manuel is praised by Eustathius for his stance in it, which seems to have revolved around a book written by a convert from Islam that magnified the Father at the expense of the Son (and therefore had Arian overtones). It became apparent that the emperor was dying, and, on the advice of Theodosius, he renounced astrology. As his end approached, he assumed the monastic habit and the name Matthew, demanding that his wife Maria become a nun. Manuel's son Alexius was but eleven, and the minority would prove to be disastrous for Byzantium. Manuel died thirty-seven years and nine months from the beginning of his reign.

General strategies in Manuel's foreign policy
The funeral oration for Manuel by Eustathius of Thessalonica is an interesting document in that it discusses some of the general policies pursued over Manuel's reign. It endorses his policy of dividing his enemies, the Petchenegs, the Sicilian Normans and the Turks, among themselves by using Byzantine gold, a policy of "divide and rule". We have seen how this was applied especially in Italy. Another general policy was to create friendly buffer states on the frontiers of the empire, most notably Hungary (and Serbia) and the Crusader States. Manuel would deliberately underpin the most powerful potentate in each region (the king of Hungary, the king of Jerusalem, the sultan of Konya) and thereby emphasise his own absolute sovereignty. In the funeral oration this granting of autonomy is justified as the reward for good service, as in the parable of the talents. We also see in the panegyric of the 1170s the downplaying of the idea of world rule which was so prevalent in the reign of John. Although Manuel claimed sovereign rights over many of his neighbours, his territorial claims were limited: coastal southern Italy, Dalmatia and Sirmium, coastal Egypt. The Byzantines seem to have come to terms with the reality of nation states and it is in Manuel's reign that they begin to refer to themselves not only as "Romans", but as "Hellenes", in order to demarcate themselves from the barbarians surrounding them.

Manuel's taxation, government and army
Nicetas Choniates roundly criticises Manuel in his history for increasing taxes and lavishing money on his family and retainers, particularly his Latin favourites. We have also seen how money was spent in Manuel's ambitious foreign policy. Mention is made of two towers, one at Damalis, and one next to the monastery of the Mangana, between which a chain could be stretched to block the Bosphorus. Then there was the work done at both the Great Palace and the Palace of the Blachernae, galleries, a pavilion alla Turca and numerous mosaics. He also founded a monastery at Kataskepe at the mouth of the Black Sea, which was endowed from the imperial treasury.

Choniates further criticizes the continuation and spread of the granting of pronoiai, parcels of land, the income from each of which supported a soldier. Many of these were granted to foreigners, for example, Turks captured in the Meander campaigns were settled around Thessalonica. The pronoia would pay not only for a soldier's upkeep, but his expensive equipment, for in Manuel's reign the bow and arrow and circular shield had been replaced by a heavier western-style panoply of armour, large triangular shield and lance. Choniates laments how fashionable a practice it had become in Manuel's reign to forsake the land or one's trade and become enlisted in the army.

Manuel and the "Comnenian system"
Throughout Manuel's reign, as under his father John, the top tier of the aristocracy was formed by the emperor's family, the Comneni, and the families into which they married. The extended family was, however, by now becoming unwieldy, and beginning to lose its cohesion, as the example of Manuel's cousin Andronicus shows. Under Manuel it was degree of kinship to the emperor which determined one's rank, as synodal listings show. So it was that very quickly after Manuel's death the upper tier of the aristocracy splintered into separate groups, each with its own identity and interests.

Literature
The various aristocratic courts, that of the emperor and other key members of the extended family, most notably the sebastokrator Isaac Comnenus the elder and the sebastokratorissa Irene, widow of Manuel's brother Andronicus, attracted literati who would seek to serve under them. Such figures would not only turn their hands to literature, encomia in prose or poetry, expositions on mythology, commentaries on Homer or the philosophers, historical chronicles and even, in this period, romances - the twelfth century is a high point of literary production at Constantinople, so much so that some have even talked of a "Comnenian renaissance" - but they would seek to perform more menial, such as administrative, duties to support themselves. Such men would often come from noble families whose prestige had been eclipsed by the Comnenian upper tier of the aristocracy. Serving under a lord was one way of advancing oneself, entering the Church was another.

The patriarchal church and education
The deacons of the church of St Sophia were a powerful group, the chartophylax being second only to the patriarch. These deacons would either go on to become bishops in the provinces, or possibly first hold one of the professorial chairs associated with the patriarchal church. First there were the "teachers", didaskaloi of the Gospels, Epistles and Psalter. Then there was the maistor ton rhetoron, "master of the rhetors", responsible for delivering speeches in praise of the emperor on January 6 each year and of the patriarch on the Saturday prior to Palm Sunday, as well as for other state occasions. And there was the hypatos ton philosophon, "consul of the philosophers", an office which had lapsed but was revived under Manuel.

Character and Legacy
Was Byzantium of the middle to late twelfth century living on borrowed time? Until recently this was the verdict of many scholars. Yet John II and Manuel had, if there is any kernel of truth in their encomia, at least temporarily reversed the overrunning of Anatolia by the Turks, and Manuel had won Dalmatia and Sirmium from Hungary. But Byzantine collapse was rapid, which is the reason why scholars have searched in the reigns of John and Manuel for the beginnings of the disintegration that occurred under the last Comneni and the Angeli. The history and comments of Nicetas Choniates have been adduced as vindicating this view. The victory of the military aristocracy that the establishment of the Comnenian dynasty represents has been seen as both the reason for the temporary reversal of Byzantine fortunes - government by three very capable autocrats - and of ultimate failure, because of the splintering into factions that oligarchy, such as was present in the Comnenian system, foments. A Marxist interpretation is that the feudalisation of the Byzantine Empire, the depletion of the free peasantry, that began to take place in the middle period was the reason for its ultimate failure. But to the Byzantines at the time Byzantium seemed to be holding its own; the "nations" around were being kept at bay, and even though the panegyric of renovation is less evident than in the reign of John II, the emperor remains despotes, "master" of the oikoumene, "world". Indeed, Manuel would be remembered in France, Genoa and the Crusader States as the most powerful sovereign in the world.

We have mentioned the funeral oration for Manuel by Eustathius of Thessalonica. This contains a series of vignettes of the personal aspects of Manuel. There are commonplaces: the emperor is able to endure hunger, thirst, heat and cold, lack of sleep and so on, and sweats copiously in his endeavours on the empire's part. Although these ideas have been recycled from earlier reigns, notably that of John II, the contemporary historians agree that Manuel was an indefatigable and daring warrior. However, there are more specifically individual touches in the Eustathian oration. Manuel had a manly suntan and was tall in stature. The emperor was capable of clever talk, but could also talk to others on a man-to-man basis. Eustathius makes much of the emperor's book-learning (Cinnamus claims to have discussed Aristotle with the emperor). The restoration of churches was a major concern for Manuel. He also had some expertise in medicine (he had tended Conrad III of Germany and Baldwin III of Jerusalem personally). Manuel showed temperance in eating and drinking, with a certain liking for beer as well as wine, the latter being mixed sour after the manner of ascetics. Likewise, he would not slumber long. He would generally choose walking over riding. The oration closes on the widow and orphan Manuel has left behind. The situation resulting for the Byzantine Empire at this stage, with the vacuum created by Manuel would result in no less than implosion.

Copyright (C) 2003, Andrew Stone.
Published: De Imperatoribus Romanis: An Online Encyclopedia of Roman Rulers and their Families http://www.roman-emperors.org/startup.htm. Used by permission.

Edited by J. P. Fitzgerald, Jr.

Cleisthenes
ManuelStGeorge.jpg
[1663a] Byzantine Empire: Manuel I Comnenus Megas (1143-1180)---NOT TO BE CONFUSED WITH---[1685a] Empire of Trebizond: Manuel I Komnenos Megas (1218-1263 AD)131 viewsMANUEL I COMNENUS AE tetarteron. 1143-1180 AD. 19mm, 2.8g. Obverse: Bust of St. George facing, beardless, wearing nimbus, tunic, cuirass and sagion, and holding spear. Reverse: MANVHL-DECPOT, bust of Manuel facing, wearing crown and loros, holding labarum & globe-cross. Simply wonderful style, very sharp for the issue. A gorgeous late Byzantine coin! Ex Incitatus.


De Imperatoribus Romanis: An Online Encyclopedia of Roman Rulers and their Families

MANUEL I COMNENUS (A.D. 1143-1180)

Andrew Stone
University of Western Australia

Introduction: Sources
The reign of the emperor Manuel I Comnenus (5 April 1143- 24 September 1180) could well be regarded as a high-water mark of Byzantine civilization. It was the apogee of the so-called "Comnenian Restoration". Politically, the emperor undertook an ambitious foreign policy which has been seen by some, particularly in the light of many ultimate failures, as "misguided imperialism", recent scholarship has come to question this traditional judgment and suggests instead that the the Comnenian foreign policy was rather an energetic seizing of the different opportunities that presented themselves in the rapidly changing constellations of powers of the time. Such measures were made possible by the internal security of the empire under this, its third, Comnenian incumbent, although there were a few other aspirants to the throne, not least among them the emperor's cousin Andronicus. Manuel and other key members of the "Comnenian system", as it has been called, were patrons of rhetoric and other forms of learning and literature, and Manuel himself became keenly interested in ecclesiastical affairs, even if here his imperialistic agenda was a factor as he tried to bring Constantinopolitan theology in line with that of the west in a bid to unite the Church under his crown.

In terms of volume of contemporary material, Manuel is the most eulogised of all Byzantine emperors, and the panegyric addressed to him supplements the two major Byzantine historians of the reign, the more critical Nicetas Choniates and the laudatory John Cinnamus, as primary sources for the student of the period to study. The Crusader historian William of Tyre met Manuel personally, and such was the scope of Manuel's diplomacy that he is mentioned incidentally in western sources, such as Romuald of Salerno. Among authors of the encomia (panegyrics) we have mentioned are Theodore Prodromus and the so-called "Manganeios" Prodromus, who wrote in verse, and the prose encomiasts Michael the Rhetor, Eustathius of Thessalonica and Euthymius Malaces, to name the most important. Manuel, with his penchant for the Latins and their ways, left a legacy of Byzantine resentment against these outsiders, which was to be ruthlessly exploited by Andronicus in the end.

Manuel as sebastokrator
Manuel was born in the imperial porphyry birthchamber on 28 November 1118. He was the fourth of John II's sons, so it seemed very unlikely that he would succeed. As a youth, Manuel evidently accompanied John on campaign, for in the Anatolian expedition of 1139-41 we find Manuel rashly charging a small group of the Turkish enemy, an action for which he was castigated by his father, even though John, we are told, was inwardly impressed (mention of the incident is made in John's deathbed speech in both John Cinnamus and Nicetas Choniates). John negotiated a marriage contract for Manuel with Conrad III of Germany; he was to marry Bertha of Sulzbach. It seems to have been John's plan to carve out a client principality for Manuel from Cilicia, Cyprus and Coele Syria. In the event, it was Manuel who succeeded him.

The Securing of the Succession 1143
In the article on John II it is related how the dying John chose his youngest son Manuel to succeed him in preference to his other surviving son Isaac. Manuel was acclaimed emperor by the armies on 5 April 1143. Manuel stayed in Cilicia, where the army was stationed, for thirty days, to complete the funeral rites for his father. He sent his father's right-hand man John Axuch, however, to Constantinople to confine Isaac to the Pantokrator Monastery and to effect a donation of two hundredweight of silver coin to the clergy of the Great Church. The surviving encomium of Michael Italicus, Teacher of the Gospel, for the new emperor can be regarded as a return gift for this largesse. In the meantime the Caesar John Roger, husband of Manuel's eldest sister Maria, had been plotting to seize the throne; the plot was, however, given away by his wife before it could take effect. Manuel marched home to enter Constantinople c. July 1143. He secured the good-will of the people by commanding that every household should be granted two gold coins. Isaac the younger (Manuel's brother) and Isaac the elder (Manuel's paternal uncle), were both released from captivity and reconciled with him. Manuel chose Michael Oxeites as the new patriarch and was crowned either in August or November 1143.

Manuel confirmed John Axuch in the office of Grand Domestic, that is, commander of the army, appointed John of Poutze as procurator of public taxes, grand commissioner and inspector of accounts and John Hagiotheodorites as chancellor. John of Poutze proved to be an oppressive tax collector, but was also unsusceptible to bribery. However, this John diverted monies levied for the navy into the treasury, which would, as we shall see, further Byzantine dependence on the maritime Italian city-states of Venice, Genoa and Pisa.

Early Campaigns: 1144-1146
Manuel's first concern was to consolidate the work of his father in securing the eastern frontier. He sent a force under the brothers Andronicus and John Contostephanus against the recalcitrant Crusader prince Raymond of Antioch, which consisted of both an army and a navy, the latter commanded by Demetrius Branas. Raymond's army was routed, and the naval force inflicted no small damage on the coastal regions of the principality. In the meantime the Crusader city of Edessa fell to the Turkish atabeg Zengi. Raymond therefore travelled to Constantinople as a suppliant to Manuel. It was subsequently decided, in the light of Manuel's imperial status, that the terms under which he would marry Bertha of Sulzbach should be improved. Manuel asked for 500 knights, and Conrad happily granted them, being prepared to supply 2000 or 3000 if need be all for the sake of this alliance. Bertha took the Greek name Irene.

The Seljuk sultanate of Rum under Masud had become the ascendant Turkish power in Anatolia. Manuel himself supervised the rebuilding of the fortress of Melangeia on the Sangarius river in Bithynia (1145 or 1146). In the most daring campaign of these early years, after building the new fort of Pithecas in Bithynia, Manuel advanced as far into Turkish territory as Konya (Iconium), the Seljuk capital. He had been wounded in the foot by an arrow at a mighty battle at Philomelium (which had been Masud's headquarters), and the city had been rased; once at Konya, he allowed his troops to despoil the graves outside the city walls, before taking the road home.

Cinnamus relates that the gratutitous heroics which Manuel displayed on this campaign were calculated to impress Manuel's new bride. Manuel and his army were harried by Turks on the journey home. Manuel erected the fort of Pylae before leaving Anatolia.

[For a detailed and interesting discussion of the reign of Manuel I Comnenus please see http://www.roman-emperors.org/mannycom.htm]

Frederick Barbarossa and the "two-emperor problem"
Frederick Barbarossa, who was to become a constant menace to Manuel's designs, had succeeded his uncle Conrad III in 1152, but unlike him proved in the end unprepared to make any territorial concessions in Italy. The origins of this "cold war" between the two empires cannot be dated with any certainty, but there may have been a tendency to date it too early. One school of thought would not date the outbreak of this rivalry to any earlier than 1159-60, the death of Manuel's German wife, Bertha-Irene. About this time there was a scare at Constantinople that Frederick Barbarossa would march on Byzantium, perhaps reflecting a desire on Frederick's part to crusade (which he eventually did, in the reign of Isaac II Angelus). The new Pope, Alexander III, by, as it would seem, offering to grant Manuel the imperial crown, used it as a bargaining chip to play off the emperors of west and east against one another. Manuel may have supported Alexander during the papal schism of 1160-1177 because he was the preferred candidate of Hungary and the Crusader states, both of which he hoped would recognise him as their feudal overlord. By this means he could claim sovereign rights over the crusading movement, and thereby turn it to his advantage. The playing off of Manuel against Frederick continued right up until 1177, the Peace of Venice, whereby Frederick agreed to recognise Pope Alexander, the autonomy of Sicily and of the northern Italian communes. But this result was not a foregone conclusion in the 1160s and early 1170s, and Manuel used Byzantine gold to win supporters in Italy and thereby keep Frederick occupied.

Marriage to Maria of Antioch 1161
Bertha-Irene died in late 1159/early 1160. Manuel sought to strengthen his ties with the Crusader principalities by selecting an eastern Latin princess for his wife. The exceedingly beautiful Maria of Antioch, daughter of Raymond of Antioch, was chosen, and the nuptials celebrated at Christmas, 1161.


Dynastic considerations 1169-1172
Manuel's wife Maria of Antioch gave birth to a baby boy 14 September 1169 in the porphyry marble birthchamber, the cause of great festivities. The infant was crowned emperor in 1171. With the death of Stephen III of Hungary in 1172, Stephen's brother Béla was sent out from Constantinople to assume the throne (though without Sirmium and Dalmatia being surrendered to the Hungarian crown). A husband for Maria Porphyrogenita was therefore required. At first it was proposed that she marry William II of Sicily, who was outraged when she failed to show up at Taranto on the appointed day, the emperor having had second thoughts.


The final months 1180
Manuel took ill in the month of March 1180. During this period of terminal illness the last major religious controversies took place. We are told that Manuel directed that the anathema pronounced against the god of Muhammad be removed from the abjuration against the Islamic faith declared by converts to Christianity. Manuel was opposed by the last patriarch of his reign, Theodosius Boradiotes (1179-1183), as well as, notably, by Eustathius of Thessalonica. Both parties were satisfied in the end upon a reading of the emperor's proposed amendments to the abjuration. This controversy would seem to be a different one from the one alluded to in Eustathius' funeral oration for Manuel, since Manuel is praised by Eustathius for his stance in it, which seems to have revolved around a book written by a convert from Islam that magnified the Father at the expense of the Son (and therefore had Arian overtones). It became apparent that the emperor was dying, and, on the advice of Theodosius, he renounced astrology. As his end approached, he assumed the monastic habit and the name Matthew, demanding that his wife Maria become a nun. Manuel's son Alexius was but eleven, and the minority would prove to be disastrous for Byzantium. Manuel died thirty-seven years and nine months from the beginning of his reign.

General strategies in Manuel's foreign policy
The funeral oration for Manuel by Eustathius of Thessalonica is an interesting document in that it discusses some of the general policies pursued over Manuel's reign. It endorses his policy of dividing his enemies, the Petchenegs, the Sicilian Normans and the Turks, among themselves by using Byzantine gold, a policy of "divide and rule". We have seen how this was applied especially in Italy. Another general policy was to create friendly buffer states on the frontiers of the empire, most notably Hungary (and Serbia) and the Crusader States. Manuel would deliberately underpin the most powerful potentate in each region (the king of Hungary, the king of Jerusalem, the sultan of Konya) and thereby emphasise his own absolute sovereignty. In the funeral oration this granting of autonomy is justified as the reward for good service, as in the parable of the talents. We also see in the panegyric of the 1170s the downplaying of the idea of world rule which was so prevalent in the reign of John. Although Manuel claimed sovereign rights over many of his neighbours, his territorial claims were limited: coastal southern Italy, Dalmatia and Sirmium, coastal Egypt. The Byzantines seem to have come to terms with the reality of nation states and it is in Manuel's reign that they begin to refer to themselves not only as "Romans", but as "Hellenes", in order to demarcate themselves from the barbarians surrounding them.

Manuel's taxation, government and army
Nicetas Choniates roundly criticises Manuel in his history for increasing taxes and lavishing money on his family and retainers, particularly his Latin favourites. We have also seen how money was spent in Manuel's ambitious foreign policy. Mention is made of two towers, one at Damalis, and one next to the monastery of the Mangana, between which a chain could be stretched to block the Bosphorus. Then there was the work done at both the Great Palace and the Palace of the Blachernae, galleries, a pavilion alla Turca and numerous mosaics. He also founded a monastery at Kataskepe at the mouth of the Black Sea, which was endowed from the imperial treasury.

Choniates further criticizes the continuation and spread of the granting of pronoiai, parcels of land, the income from each of which supported a soldier. Many of these were granted to foreigners, for example, Turks captured in the Meander campaigns were settled around Thessalonica. The pronoia would pay not only for a soldier's upkeep, but his expensive equipment, for in Manuel's reign the bow and arrow and circular shield had been replaced by a heavier western-style panoply of armour, large triangular shield and lance. Choniates laments how fashionable a practice it had become in Manuel's reign to forsake the land or one's trade and become enlisted in the army.

Manuel and the "Comnenian system"
Throughout Manuel's reign, as under his father John, the top tier of the aristocracy was formed by the emperor's family, the Comneni, and the families into which they married. The extended family was, however, by now becoming unwieldy, and beginning to lose its cohesion, as the example of Manuel's cousin Andronicus shows. Under Manuel it was degree of kinship to the emperor which determined one's rank, as synodal listings show. So it was that very quickly after Manuel's death the upper tier of the aristocracy splintered into separate groups, each with its own identity and interests.

Literature
The various aristocratic courts, that of the emperor and other key members of the extended family, most notably the sebastokrator Isaac Comnenus the elder and the sebastokratorissa Irene, widow of Manuel's brother Andronicus, attracted literati who would seek to serve under them. Such figures would not only turn their hands to literature, encomia in prose or poetry, expositions on mythology, commentaries on Homer or the philosophers, historical chronicles and even, in this period, romances - the twelfth century is a high point of literary production at Constantinople, so much so that some have even talked of a "Comnenian renaissance" - but they would seek to perform more menial, such as administrative, duties to support themselves. Such men would often come from noble families whose prestige had been eclipsed by the Comnenian upper tier of the aristocracy. Serving under a lord was one way of advancing oneself, entering the Church was another.

The patriarchal church and education
The deacons of the church of St Sophia were a powerful group, the chartophylax being second only to the patriarch. These deacons would either go on to become bishops in the provinces, or possibly first hold one of the professorial chairs associated with the patriarchal church. First there were the "teachers", didaskaloi of the Gospels, Epistles and Psalter. Then there was the maistor ton rhetoron, "master of the rhetors", responsible for delivering speeches in praise of the emperor on January 6 each year and of the patriarch on the Saturday prior to Palm Sunday, as well as for other state occasions. And there was the hypatos ton philosophon, "consul of the philosophers", an office which had lapsed but was revived under Manuel.

Character and Legacy
Was Byzantium of the middle to late twelfth century living on borrowed time? Until recently this was the verdict of many scholars. Yet John II and Manuel had, if there is any kernel of truth in their encomia, at least temporarily reversed the overrunning of Anatolia by the Turks, and Manuel had won Dalmatia and Sirmium from Hungary. But Byzantine collapse was rapid, which is the reason why scholars have searched in the reigns of John and Manuel for the beginnings of the disintegration that occurred under the last Comneni and the Angeli. The history and comments of Nicetas Choniates have been adduced as vindicating this view. The victory of the military aristocracy that the establishment of the Comnenian dynasty represents has been seen as both the reason for the temporary reversal of Byzantine fortunes - government by three very capable autocrats - and of ultimate failure, because of the splintering into factions that oligarchy, such as was present in the Comnenian system, foments. A Marxist interpretation is that the feudalisation of the Byzantine Empire, the depletion of the free peasantry, that began to take place in the middle period was the reason for its ultimate failure. But to the Byzantines at the time Byzantium seemed to be holding its own; the "nations" around were being kept at bay, and even though the panegyric of renovation is less evident than in the reign of John II, the emperor remains despotes, "master" of the oikoumene, "world". Indeed, Manuel would be remembered in France, Genoa and the Crusader States as the most powerful sovereign in the world.

We have mentioned the funeral oration for Manuel by Eustathius of Thessalonica. This contains a series of vignettes of the personal aspects of Manuel. There are commonplaces: the emperor is able to endure hunger, thirst, heat and cold, lack of sleep and so on, and sweats copiously in his endeavours on the empire's part. Although these ideas have been recycled from earlier reigns, notably that of John II, the contemporary historians agree that Manuel was an indefatigable and daring warrior. However, there are more specifically individual touches in the Eustathian oration. Manuel had a manly suntan and was tall in stature. The emperor was capable of clever talk, but could also talk to others on a man-to-man basis. Eustathius makes much of the emperor's book-learning (Cinnamus claims to have discussed Aristotle with the emperor). The restoration of churches was a major concern for Manuel. He also had some expertise in medicine (he had tended Conrad III of Germany and Baldwin III of Jerusalem personally). Manuel showed temperance in eating and drinking, with a certain liking for beer as well as wine, the latter being mixed sour after the manner of ascetics. Likewise, he would not slumber long. He would generally choose walking over riding. The oration closes on the widow and orphan Manuel has left behind. The situation resulting for the Byzantine Empire at this stage, with the vacuum created by Manuel would result in no less than implosion.

Copyright (C) 2003, Andrew Stone.
Published: De Imperatoribus Romanis: An Online Encyclopedia of Roman Rulers and their Families http://www.roman-emperors.org/startup.htm. Used by permission.

Edited by J. P. Fitzgerald, Jr.
Cleisthenes
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