A Scarce Snack, along with some history

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by ValiantKnight, Jun 16, 2019.

  1. ValiantKnight

    ValiantKnight I AM the Senate! Supporter

    Recently, one of the things I've been on the lookout for is a coin of Constantine IV, because, for all the years I've been collecting Byzantine, I've never made a serious effort to get a coin of him. Not that I was attracted by anything about him personally; I didn't have him and I have a strong like for scarce/rare late Roman and Byzantine rulers. He is scarce as sole ruler but more common on coins of Constans II, standing alongside his father or brothers. Retail-wise, Constantine IV coins start out at around $35-40 in typical "Byzantine condition", as I like to call it (here's a Vcoins search of his folles).

    I was browsing the bottom recently on eBay as I usually do from time-to-time, and I found the coin shown. It was unidentified by the seller. I'm not an expert on 7th century Byzantine coinage but I knew this couldn't be Constans II since there was no Santa beard, and the bust on this coin has long loose hair (instead of the "swept-back" hairstyle Constans has). Seller's scan photos were pretty bad but it was only $13 shipped and I felt pretty confident that it was Constantine IV, so I went for it. Not often nowadays that I find scarce/rare coins unidentified by the seller, but it certainly feels good when I do.

    Constantine IV, Byzantine Empire
    AE follis
    Obv: Helemeted, cuirassed bust facing, holding cross on globe
    Rev: Large M, Heraclius standing on left holding cross on globe , Tiberius standing on right holding cross on globe, monogram above
    Mint: Syracuse
    Date: 668-685 AD
    Ref: SB 1207


    Facts about Constantine IV:

    - Born in 652 and died in 685.

    - He put down the revolt in Sicily that had killed his father Constans II.

    - The Arab Caliphate began a multi-year campaign against him when they were "invited" by a rebellious commander looking to overthrow Constantine. During this time the Slavs also went to war with the Byzantines.

    - In 674, the Arabs laid siege to Constantinople itself. Just before, Constantine had the city prepared, and had ships outfitted to be able to shoot fire. This made the siege the first time Greek fire was used in combat. After a few years, the Arabs were unable to take the city and so the siege was lifted.

    - During Constantine's reign, a religious controversy was occurring. The Christian church in the Byzantine Empire was divided between support for Orthodoxy and Monothelitism (they differed over the divine and human aspects of Jesus). Constantine convened the Third Council of Constantinople in 681, in which Monothelitism was declared as heretical.

    - In addition to his wars with the Arabs and Slavs, Constantine also fought against the Lombards in Italy and the Bulgars in Moesia. The Lombards held most of Italy, and the Bulgars achieved a decisive victory in 680 that led to the establishment of the first Bulgarian state.

    - In 681, Constantine, feeling threatened by his brothers Heraclius and Tiberius, stripped them of their titles and powers and had them mutilated. A campaign of damnatio memoriae was carried out as well.

    - In 685, Constantine contracted dysentary and died as a result. He was succeeded by his son Justinian II.

    Byzantine Empire and surrounding areas in 700 AD (couldn't find a map that corresponded to Constantine's reign, although the borders of the empire probably didn't change much during this frame of time).


    Constantine IV depicted on a mosaic from Ravenna (photo from Flickr)


    Feel free to share anything relevant and/or your bottom feeder bargains!
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2019
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  3. Severus Alexander

    Severus Alexander Blame my mother. Supporter

    Great catch!! He is a must-have, for sure. I've been blown out of the water on a few of his awesome large folles from Constantinople, but do have a Constantinople decanummium (cute portrait) and a follis from Syracuse. The Syracusan follis has his unfortunate brothers on the reverse.

    Screen Shot 2019-06-16 at 1.25.59 PM.jpg

    Screen Shot 2019-06-16 at 1.26.10 PM.jpg
    chrsmat71, ominus1, Bing and 8 others like this.
  4. TIF

    TIF Always learning. Supporter

    I have a flake of gold from Constantine IV. It was in a large-ish lot of Byzantine coins from a very frustrating G&M auction six years ago. On this coin he looks like Mick Jagger's ancestor :D.

    Constantine IV, 668-685 CE
    AV tremissis, 1.4 gm, 17 mm
    Constantinople mint
    Obv: DN CONSTANTINUS PPAG; Pearl-diademed, draped, and cuirassed bust right
    Rev: VICTORIA AVGUS; cross potent; CONOB
    Ref: SB 1162
    chrsmat71, NLL, Marsyas Mike and 12 others like this.
  5. ValiantKnight

    ValiantKnight I AM the Senate! Supporter

    Love both, especially the follis. There's a decanummium of him I'm looking at right now. Price is about right for it but I'm saving cash for FUN in July, so the temptation to buy it (and a few other coins I'm watching) is very real :drowning:.
    Theodosius and Severus Alexander like this.
  6. ValiantKnight

    ValiantKnight I AM the Senate! Supporter

    Nice one TIF! :) Just curious, what other Byzantines were in the lot?
    Theodosius likes this.
  7. TIF

    TIF Always learning. Supporter

    The majority of my small Byzantine "collection" came from that group lot. All but a couple on my website are from that lot, although I have a few other random Byzantines not on the website (nothing particularly notable). One of the coins now belongs to @BenSi. I haven't updated the site since well before the hurricanes. At this rate, it may be next year before I have the time and energy! :(
    NLL and Theodosius like this.
  8. BenSi

    BenSi Supporter! Supporter

    I happily have that coin in my main collection now. :) As for the others not being notable that's Not so true, you also have a very attractive semi tetarteron from Alexius III, the coin is rarely seen.


    I have only seen two other examples in the last twenty years. the scarcity of the coin is believed to be the result of inflation making it obsolete.
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  9. TIF

    TIF Always learning. Supporter

    Thank you for that information, Ben!
    BenSi likes this.
  10. NLL

    NLL Well-Known Member

    That is a nice group of coins depicted in that lot!
    George McClellan likes this.
  11. George McClellan

    George McClellan Active Member

    Those TIF pitchers are Sooper! Wow!
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