It is the second appearance of the Virgin Mary on a coin. The first was in a particularly rare gold coin of Leo VI, so I guess this makes it a first appearance in copper and in a mass-circulated coin. Being part of the anonymous series doesn't mean that it wasn't struck by a particular emperor, and in this case the culprit was Romanos IV Diogenes who reigned for a short period between 1068 and 1071 AD. As with most Byzantine emperors, his life was far from boring and his death was unnatural and sad, and he is also associated with a dark chapter of Byzantine history that often gets overlooked. This of course is the battle of Manzikert where the Byzantine defeat established the permanent presence of the Seljuk Turks in Asia Minor. Modern Turkey may not have existed today if the outcome had been different. Romanos wasn't born a prince and he got himself in the throne through marriage to the regent Eudokia Makrembolitissa. She did fancy him, but the marriage was a necessary move in order to secure the regency and use Romanos' proven military abilities to organise the fight against the Turks who by that time had already occupied Cappadocia and the city of Caesarea. He was fairly confident that he would not have much trouble against the Turks who he viewed as nomadic bandits of some sort. The problem is that by that time the Byzantine army wasn't what it used to be and consisted mainly of irregular and poorly trained and undisciplined mercenaries. He had some minor successes in the first year of the campaign, but in 1069 the situation was overturn mainly because of the rebellion and disarray caused by his Frankish mercenaries possibly due to irregularities with their payment. Austerity did not apply only to the army, and Romanos made cuts to every aspect of public financial planning which made him deeply unpopular. Eventually he found it difficult to concentrate to facing the Turks, so Manuel Komnenos was drawn in to assist with the campaign. He in turn managed to get himself captured and had to persuade Romanos to call a truce. This encouraged the Turks to prepare for further and more daring attacks, with the battle at Manzikert being the climax of the hostilities. This battle could have been avoided altogether as the Turkish leader Alp Arslan was prepared to settle for a treaty, but Romanos was over-confident about the abilities of his army and rejected the offer. Needless to say, things didn't go too well for him as he got defeated and captured by the Turks. A famous incident (as described by the Byzantine historian John Skylitzes) was the humiliation of the Byzantine emperor when Arslan put his foot on his neck. After he made his point though, he treated the captured emperor fairly well and they parted as friends with a treaty and a hefty ransom which eventually had to be reduced as Romanos simply couldn't afford to pay it. All this didn't go down very well in Constantinople, where the Doukas family (Romanos' main rivals) forced Eudokia to retreat to a monastery and demanded for Romanos' resignation. There was a brief civil conflict where Romanos was again defeated. Initially he thought that he got off lightly as his life was spared and the usual Byzantine punishment of eye-gouging was chosen instead. Unfortunately the wound got infected and Romanos suffered a slow, painful and undeserving death. Another chapter in the tumultuous Byzantine history had ended... Show me your examples of coins form his reign or other coins with Virgin Mary or Christ on. If I recall correctly he wasn't the first or the last emperor that got mutilated for his actions, so perhaps we can see some coins from them too!