Born April 18th 359 AD, Gratian was the oldest son of Valentinian I, he went along with his father during several campaigns along the borders of the Rhine and the Danube and was elevated to the rank of Augustus in 367 AD at the age of 8 years old. On the death of Valentinian in 375, Gratien took the government of the west while his half - brother Valentinian II was also acclaimed Emperor in the province of Pannonia. Gratien ruled the western provinces of the empire, while his uncle Valens was already the Emperor in the East.
He published in 380 AD the edict of Thessalonica, which ordered all subjects of the Roman Empire to profess the faith of the bishops of Rome and Alexandria, making Nicene Christianity the state religion of the Roman Empire. He also declared that all of the pagan temples and shrines were to be confiscated by the...
The year 1848 marked the last year of the reign of Emperor Ferdinand I & V due to his abdication, as well as the first year of the Hungarian War of Independence (1848-1849). Due to these unusual circumstances, there were three types of ducats struck in Hungary in 1848.
I recently acquired the third and final 1848 ducat example in this tiny sub-set of my ducat collection, so I thought I would share the examples of this interesting year with you all.
Hungary 1848E AU Imperial Ducat
(Austria) KM-2262 (1837-1848)
NGC MS60 TRANSYLVANIA
This first example is of the last year of the Imperial Austrian ducat type of Ferdinand I & V. This type was struck from 1837-1848. While it is classified as an Austrian Imperial type, in 1848 this coin was struck at the Hungarian mints of Körmöcbánya (B) and Gyulafehérvár (E) in Transylvania.
This example is prooflike, though difficult to photograph. While it is an MS60, I have declined to upgrade this example a...
In 1092 the Emperor Alexius I Comnenus reformed Byzantine coinage.
The main coin used was the Hyperpyron, a trachy shaped coin that weighed in theory 4.45gm . The size was around 30mm
The coin was minted in two locations, Constantinople, the empires capital and in Thessalonica. The difference between the mints was the style used. The coins minted in Constantinople were thinner and Thessalonica they were thicker, visually the same but in hand the difference becomes apparent.
The coin was not used in everyday transactions, that is why the are normally found in nice condition. The way the system worked was simplistic, Taxes were paid in gold.
The common citizen was not paid in gold but in the lesser denominations of Billion trachea, Billion tetartera and AE tetartera. So pay tax they had to take their lesser denominations and bring them to the money changer, he for a profit would change the coin into gold coinage. So if their was change due for the tax, the state would pay in...
If the Romans taught me anything about one man rule it's that almost all the times that men were "born into the purple" they were unfit to rule. Absolute power corrupts absolutely and all that. And IF we were lucky an Augustus, a Vespasian, a Trajan, or later down the line a Aurelian comes along.
But some folks either have bad timing, make bad decisions or are just too strong to rule.
Pertinax belongs in this category.
Pertinax was OLD school back when it meant something
The man was a very successful soldier, prefect, Provincial governor and popular senator. All this while being the son of a freed man.
Pertinax being a wonderfully able and dashing leader, however, drawing the lucky lot of having a predecessor who was MURDERED for being NUTS.
... though, his predecessor's affinity for Herakles comes off as bizarre, it did make for a pretty saweet coin:
John Comnenus Ducas was ruler of the Empire/subsidiary of Thessalonica from 1237-1244. His father, Theodore I Comnenus Ducas, was emperor of a wide swath of territory. Theodore started with the small kingdom of Epirus but quickly conquered Thessaly, Thessalonica, Macedonia, and parts of Thrace. Theodore was the leading Byzantine figure of the era, only rivaled by the alternative claimant to the Byzantine throne, Nicaean Emperor John III.
Theodore was highly capable and seen by most as the man who would retake Constantinople from the Latins after the fourth crusade. Theodore was preparing to do just this in 1230 when he amassed an army to march on Constantinople. At the last minute, however, Theodore diverted his army for unknown reasons to Bulgaria where he suffered a crushing defeat. Captured along with his son John Comnenus Ducas, both were imprisoned for 7 years by the Bulgarian emperor John II Asen. At some point in...
The Tribunicia potestas
The function of tribune of the people dates back to the Roman republic. The people's tribune had the duty to defend the interests of the common people. It was an important function because it represented something of a counterpower. The person who held this position had a number of important power resources. The entirety of these means of power was called the Tribunicia potestas (tribunician power).
The tribunicia potestas consisted of the following elements:
- inviolability during function
- right of veto on decisions of the senate and magistrates
- Right to convene the Senate.
- The right to make legislative proposals
- Publishing edicts
I recently received a couple of choice Mongol dangs, which aren’t insults but coins from the Golden Horde. Little is said in ‘the West’ of this huge empire or even the much larger empire of which it was part, aside from Genghis Khan and the vastness of his progeny. But I find it fascinating, not least because of how far west these unsophisticated nomads got. I remember asking an elderly Muscovite why Moscow’s Kitai Gorod (‘China Town’) isn’t anything like China Town in London or Vancouver. He told me it was because the Mongols left 500 years ago. The Mongols? A few feet from Red Square?
Their coins are fascinating too, despite some of them looking like they’ve been run over by a Soviet tractor. It doesn’t help that they adhere to Islamic aniconism, even though many Mongol rulers weren’t Muslim. But there’s little you can find on a coin as curious as a tamga – an abstract emblem of a tribe, used by Eurasian nomads to brand animals and identify their clans on coins and seals. I’ve...
In 1938, Felix Schlag won a $1,000 award for his Jefferson Nickel design. Schlag won the award in a competition that involved 390 or over 400 other artists, depending upon your source of information.
Schlag’s victory continued a policy that Theodore Roosevelt had initiated in 1907 when he asked Augustus St. Gaudens to redesign American coinage. St. Gaudens work was ultimately limited to the $10 and $20 gold coins, but it set the trend. From 1907 until 1938, outside artists created all of the new designs for regular issue coins. That string would not be broken until Mint Director, Nellie Tayloe Ross, pushed hard to give John Sinnock the opportunity to design the Roosevelt Dime in 1945-6.
One aspect of Schlag’s success was different. In the past, only one or a small number of artists had been asked to submit designs. In 1907, 1908 and 1909, only one artist was asked submit his proposal (St. Gaudens, Bela Pratt and Victor D. Brenner respectively). In 1916, three artist submitted...
I admit this coin is not very pretty, but it is scarce and of historical interest:
Sasanian Persia. AE Unit (2.44 g, 18 mm). Vahram V (420-438 AD). Obverse: King's bust right, name in Pahlavi script before. Reverse: Zoroastrian fire-altar and two attendants. This coin: Pars Coins Auction 10 (November 16, 2020), lot 145.
Vahram (also spelled Vahrahan or Bahram) V was born around 400 AD to the Sasanian king Yazdegard I (399-420) and his wife Shushandukht, the daughter of the Jewish exilarch (leader of the Jewish community in Mesopotamia). As his mother was Jewish, Vahram would therefore be considered Jewish under Jewish tradition, even though there is no evidence that he ever practiced the Jewish religion. Young Vahram was sent off to be raised at the court of the Lakhmids, an Arab dynasty that ruled part of southern Iraq and northern Arabia. In 420 AD, a conspiracy of nobles and Zoroastrian priests murdered Yazdegard and placed one of his sons...
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