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Ruler: Heraclius overstruck on Follis of Phocas
Reigned: 5th October 610 - 11th January 641 A.D.
Denomination: AE Follis
Mint: Nicomedia
Date of Issue: 612-613 A.D.
Obverse: Heraclius on left and Heraclius Constantine on right, facing, wearing crown & chlamys etc. "ON. FOC--"
Reverse: Large "M" with cross above, "ANNO" to left, "III" to right (=Regnal year 3) and "B" (officina) below. In exergue: "NIKO"
Reference: BCV 834, DOC 158b
Weight: 18.2 gms
Diameter: 27.9 mm


Heraclius was the son of the governor of Carthage. He seized the throne by overthrowing the emperor Phocas (reigned 602-610). Early in his reign the empire was invaded by the Mongolian Avars and by the Persians. In 622 he launched a great counterattack against the Persians, driving them from Asia Minor, Egypt, and Syria and pushing into the heart of Persian territory by 628. In 630 he recovered the revered Christian relic of the True Cross, which the Persians had captured, returning it in triumph to Jerusalem. In the west, the Avars were forced back into central Europe. In religious affairs, he tried unsuccessfully to win the Monophysite Christians back to the Byzantine church by offering them a doctrinal compromise known as Monothelitism. Heraclius is often credited with initiating the theme system, in which army commanders were given civil authority over newly organized provinces (themes). His military victories and administrative reforms probably strengthened the empire in the long run, but the constant wars and religious dissension left it unable to resist the new Muslim threat from Arabia. Before the end of Heraclius's reign, Syria, Palestine, and Egypt had fallen to the conquering Arabs.

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