Featured A Father and Son Duo

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Magnus Maximus, Aug 19, 2016.

  1. Magnus Maximus

    Magnus Maximus Dulce et Decorum est....

    Rome has fallen, the glory days of the Antonines are a distant memory fit for the history books, and the Empire is beset on all sides by enemies that wish to extinguish the last light of Nova Roma. This was the world that John II Komenenos was born into.

    John was the son of the great Emperor Alexius I Komenenos; it was Alexius who single handedly saved the Eastern Roman Empire from nearly 40 years of neglect and military disasters. This was good news for John as he inherited a secure Empire. Though secure, the Turks still held large swaths of the Anatolian country side. This was unacceptable to John and one of the first things he did was to make war against them. John's go to guy and commander of the field armies that was to lead the attack was confusingly named John. Though this John was a Turkman who had been captured as a child in the early stages of the first crusade. Ironically enough they were best of friends and Emperor John intrusted John the Turk with running the army and civil bureaucracy.
    Both Johns personally led the armies and managed to make substantial gains against the Seljuk Turks and recovered a large chunk of Anatolia that had been lost decades before. Emperor John also retook Tarsus and numerous other cities from the crusader states. The remaining principalities swore to become vassals of the Roman Empire in fear of being attacked.

    In the west Emperor John made war with the Venetians and Hungarians, the results were mixed, but they did stabilize the Western boarders. The most successful war undertaken in the west was against a group of nomadic barbarians called the Pechenegs. The war went well for the Romans and at the battle of Beroia the pechenegs were destroyed as an ethic unit. At Beroia John personally led 480 Varangian guardsmen against the pechenegs wagon train and hacked through all that stood in their way. Clearly Nova Roma wasn't going anywhere anytime soon.
    John died from an infection due to a wound he had sustained from a hunting trip, he was 55 years old. He deservingly ranks as one of the greatest Eastern Roman Emperors and certainly the best leader from the time period he lived in. At the time of his death he left the treasury full and the army well garrisoned, which is impressive if you consider that his father had inherited a bankrupt and armyless Empire.

    Emperor John was succeeded by his youngest son, Manuel Komenenos.
    Manuel continued his father's policy of military expansion and for the most part he was successful. He continued to expand into Anatolia and hold the conquered territory there despite a defeat by the Turks in the final years of his reign.
    Manuel is considered to be the last capable Emperor with the military and economic means to exert Roman influence across the Mediterranean. After his death the Empire would begin its slow and painful decline. Part of this was because the man who came after him, had Manuel's son killed and seemed like the reincarnation of Caligula.

    Due to the fact that the next two Siliquae I plan to purcahse will set me back a lot, I have decided to put a temporary hiatus on expensive Siliquae for the rest of the year. To fill this void I think I will collect these little cup coins(Trachies). They have a ton of history behind them and were the last decent looking coins the Romans would ever make. And they are cheap! :)

    So with out further interruption:

    Emperor John II Komenenos Billon Aspron Trachy.
    Constantinople mint
    1137-1143 CE
    Obverse: Facing bust of Christ, raising hand in benediction, holding Gospels

    Reverse: Facing bust of John, wearing loros and crown with pendilia, holding scepter and globus cruciger
    SB: 1944
    Size: 26mm, 2.61g
    One of the best silvered ones I have seen!

    The Virgin seated on a throne, facing. She holds a nimbate head of the infant Christ facing "MP ThV"

    Manuel standing facing, wearing a crown. Holding a labarum and globus surmounted by a cross "MANVHL DECPOTHC
    SB 1964

    What John looked like

    And his son Manuel

    The Empire by the end of Manuel's reign.
    What the soldiers of the Komenenian army looked like.
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2016
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  3. Mat

    Mat Ancient Coincoholic

    Nice addition, I need him and a few others.

    I have a few cup coins on my watch list that I hope to add by years end. I am just pretty selective, especially with their weight. Being what they are, I much rather have a 4+g coin then 2g or less.
    arizonarobin likes this.
  4. Magnus Maximus

    Magnus Maximus Dulce et Decorum est....

    The variations in weight are surprising. I guess because these were pretty low value coins they didn't care how much they weighed.
    arizonarobin likes this.
  5. Mat

    Mat Ancient Coincoholic

    These things I actually store in paper envelopes, I didn't care how they were in plastic flips, so the OCD in me kicks in due to not having them in my binder with the rest of my ancients, but I don't want to risk them cracking or worse.

    Still, like them better then the little AE Tetarterons.
    arizonarobin likes this.
  6. Magnus Maximus

    Magnus Maximus Dulce et Decorum est....

    I hear you!
    I would love to get the electrum Trachies but I am not made of money. Though I do have wine for blood!:smuggrin:
    arizonarobin and Mat like this.
  7. ValiantKnight

    ValiantKnight I AM the Senate!

    Saw the second coin while browsing a few days ago so I had put it onto my list. I know a lot of us buy from the same sources but still feels like a small world when someone I know from here buys the same coin I was looking at. Price definitely wasn't bad at all.

    I only have two traches. Last year I was sort of looking for a nice one to buy and fortunately someone had gifted me one for Secret Santa.
    arizonarobin likes this.
  8. arnoldoe

    arnoldoe Well-Known Member

    I think your John II might be actually be an Alexius I sear 1918 like mine


    Sear 1944 is like this one without the full enthroned Jesus on the obverse

    I also have this one of Manuel
  9. David@PCC

    David@PCC allcoinage.com

    I don't have a John II yet:shifty:, but yes trachies are plentiful.
    Isaac II
    1185 to 1195 AD
    Electrum aspron trachy
    Obvs: The Virgin enthroned facing, nimbate and wearing pallium and maphorium; she holds infant Christ.
    Revs: Archangel Michael, beardless and nimbate on right and Issac on left. Michael holds jeweled scepter and crowns emperor.
    26x30mm, 3.2g
    Constantinople mint
    Hendy 31 #4

    Alexius III
    Billon Aspron Trachy
    1195 to 1203 AD
    Obvs: IC XC + KЄ ROHΘЄI, Christ wearing nimbus.
    Revs: AΛЄЭIω, Alexius and St. Constantine holding globus.
    25mm, 3.1g.
    Constantinople mint
    Sear 2012
  10. Magnus Maximus

    Magnus Maximus Dulce et Decorum est....

    @arnoldoe Interesting. I will have to look into that.
    I believe that you are correct, the coin looks like it was from Alexius I. Fortunately I bought a John II Trachy a few minutes ago!
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2016
    arizonarobin likes this.
  11. Magnus Maximus

    Magnus Maximus Dulce et Decorum est....

    I know this one is definitely Emperor John II Komenenos!
    John II, 1118-1143.
    30-28 mm. Scyphate trachy. Cup-shaped
    Sear 1944 Bust of Christ, bust of emperor. Hendy p. 105 plate 10.10
  12. icerain

    icerain Mastir spellyr

    Magnus, nice trachy. I've been looking into getting a few of these, some are relatively cheap, and of course some are not. I'm also itching to pick up a gold one later on too.

    +1 on what @Mat said. I have seen some of these with cracked flans, especially the gold ones.
    arizonarobin likes this.
  13. chrsmat71

    chrsmat71 I LIKE TURTLES!

    nice write up and coins MM! and nice to see some byzantine trachy coins..the rodney dangerfield of ancients...


    well, they are pretty ugly, and hard to ID (for me at least), so i kind of get why people aren't into them.

    here's one i picked up months ago i MAY have figured out.

    WARNING: very ugly coin...if you have small children, have them leave the room before you scroll down.


    i have no idea if the obverse is oriented correctly. based on the tight flan, i'd guess this was a trachy of michael viii and andronicus ii. it's 19x21 mm and 1.4 g. anyone know if i'm right or not?
  14. Magnus Maximus

    Magnus Maximus Dulce et Decorum est....

    So true Chris, these poor things(Trachies) are often neglected by collectors.:(:oops::shifty:
    chrsmat71 likes this.
  15. BenSi

    BenSi Supporter! Supporter

    Very nice write up, I just stumbled on this old thread while researching Alexius III.
    Your coin is cool but it is Alexius I SBCV-1918 , very similar to his sons coin SBCV-1944 , The quickest way to tell in this case is the emperors garments and Christ seated upon a throne.
    Here is a John II, not as silvered as your Alexius.
    and another not as nice but heavily silvered.
    IC XC Bust of Christ bearded and nimbate wearing tunic and kolobion holds gospel in l. hand , pellets in the limbs of the nimbate cross.

    REV Bust of emperor wearing stemma divitision, collar piece, and paneled loros of the simplified type holds in r. hand sceptre cruciger. Note Var A has transverse stroke on shaft shaft and 5 jewel collar piece.28mm

    Your Alexius is harder to find.
  16. cmezner

    cmezner do ut des Supporter

    I have a John II Comnenus, but my dad had it set in a brooch for my mom, and she never wore it, what can I say... :rolleyes: He said it could always be taken out, which I have not done yet.

    AU Hyperpyron, Constantinople, first coinage, ca. 1118 - 1122
    30.6 mm, aprox. 4.23 g
    Ref.: Nomisma DOC IV-1 1a; SBCV 1938
    Ob.: Christ seated facing on backless throne with 3 pellets on each arm, wearing nimbus cruciger, pallium and colobium, raising right hand in benediction, book of Gospels with five pellets on cover cradled on left arm; IC-XC (Jesus Christ), flanking head; double border
    Rev.: half-length figures of Virgin on right and John II Comnenus with beard on left, together holding a patriarchal cross. Virgin nimbate with pallium and maphorium, and John wearing crown, loros and akakia, Manus Dei above emerging from cloud; around +IΩ ∆EXΠOTH − Θς at right MP
    upload_2019-5-3_16-52-56.png upload_2019-5-3_16-53-8.png
    also have a Isaacus II Angelus Electrum Aspron Trachy, thankfully not mounted:
    Constantinople, 12 Sep 1185 - 8 Apr 1195
    Ref.: Sear 2002; DOC 2a; Ratto 2178-2179
    Ob.: MP-ΘV, the Virgin enthroned facing, nimbate, wears pallium and maphorium, holding nimbate head of infant Christ
    Rev.: ICAAKIOC ∆, Θ (between heads), X/AP/X/M (on r.), Archangel Michael, standing nimbate on right in military attire, scepter in left, crowing Isaac with right; Isaac standing on left wearing divitsion and chlamys; cruciform scepter in left, akakia in right
    upload_2019-5-3_16-59-41.png upload_2019-5-3_17-0-1.png
  17. Magnus Maximus

    Magnus Maximus Dulce et Decorum est....

    Only a year and a quarter late responding to your correction to my post from four years ago!:D:p

    I bought the original coins when I was a starving college kid struggling to afford ramen and miller light. I would really like to upgrade my Komenenos era coins in the near future to ones that don't look like they were dug up from a battlefield.
    BenSi and Roman Collector like this.
  18. Alegandron

    Alegandron "ΤΩΙ ΚΡΑΤΙΣΤΩΙ..." ΜΕΓΑΣ ΑΛΕΞΑΝΔΡΟΣ, June 323 BCE Supporter

    Here’s my Trachy, or a Mouse Wok

    Manuel I Comnenus,
    CE 1143-1180
    Aspron trachy, 35mm, 4.6g, 6h;
    Constantinople mint.
    Obv.: Nimbate Christ, bearded, seated on backless throne facing, wearing pallium and colobium; book of Gospels in his left hand; IC (overlined) and XC (overlined) on either side, no stars in fields.
    Rev.: MANVHL DECPOT; Manuel, standing facing wearing crown, divitision, and loros, holding globus cruciger in his left hand and labarum in his right hand, is crowned by the nimbate Virgin standing facing, wearing pallium and maphorium..
    Reference: SB 1966
    Ex: @John Anthony
    BenSi, Andres2, gogili1977 and 2 others like this.
  19. gogili1977

    gogili1977 Well-Known Member

    John II Comnenus
    73.01 John II Comnenus.jpg
    Manuel I Comnenus
    holding cruciform sceptre and globus cruciger
    facing bust of Manuel, holding labarum and globus cruciger
    holding labarum and globus cruciger, being crowned by the Theotokos
    globus with patriarchal cross
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2020
    Magnus Maximus and BenSi like this.
  20. dougsmit

    dougsmit Member Supporter

    I have no John II. Perhaps this is due to my aversion to coins with poor details on the Christ side and most of his are weak. I have been luckier with Manuel:

    rz0600bb0616.jpg rz0605bb2809.jpg rz0610bb0617.jpg
    This is a flat tetarteron of Thessalonika which I bought for the reverse legends. In this period, every letter counts. rz0613fd0853.jpg
    BenSi and Andres2 like this.
  21. dougsmit

    dougsmit Member Supporter

    This also came with a decent Manuel but the Virgin side suffered greatly from the doublestrike necessary to make these coins.
    BenSi and Andres2 like this.
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