After Byzantine anonymous folles

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Valentinian, May 10, 2021.

  1. Valentinian

    Valentinian Supporter! Supporter

    Byzantine anonymous folles were issued from 970 to c. 1118. There have been many threads about them and this is one web site about them:
    This thread is about the resumption of "named" types. Starting under Constantine X, Ducas, 1059-1067, "named" folles were also issued (Anonymous Classes E and F, both scarce, are attributed to him). Here is the first named follis type after the beginning of anonymous types. It is a very common type.

    Constantine X and Eudocia.
    29-28 mm. 10.58 grams.
    Sear 1853. DO 3.2 Constantine X, 8.

    Most coins of this type are garbled because they are poorly overstruck on earlier issues or badly double struck. It is hard to get one where the legend is legible. I bought this one because almost all the legend is well-struck and clear:
    Obverse: Christ standing. +ЄMMA-NOVHA "God is with us"
    Reverse: Eudocia (on left) and Constantine X (on right) standing, with each with hand holding labarum with cross on its staff. Constantine's hand is higher on the shaft.
    Legend begins at 1:30: +KWN T ΔK ЄVΔK AVΓ
    (Constantine Dukas Eudocia ...)
    (I expect @Voulgaroktonou knows the full translation and I hope he will contribute it below.)

    EDIT: @Voulgaroktonou did. In capital letters it would be
    Constantine, (the) Doukas, Eudocia, Augusti [or, emperors]

    Normally with two rulers the place of honor would be on the left. This one has Eudocia, his wife, on the left. Grierson (DO 3.1, page 110) explains this unusual position by noting that the cross in the middle represents Christ who is in the middle, the correct place of honor when three figures are shown. When three are shown, the second-highest position is on the right, and Constantine is there as he should be. He notes this is the only Byzantine issue with two figures with the higher-ranking on the right.

    Show us some post-anonymous named folles with a legible name!
    Last edited: May 12, 2021
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  3. David@PCC


    Here are 2 that are mostly legible.
  4. furryfrog02

    furryfrog02 Well-Known Member

    Oh man, I just realized that I don't have anything post Basil II/Constantine VIII. All of my anonymous folles shall forever remain anonymous.
    Great examples @Valentinian and @David@PCC .
    I've tried several times to get a Constantine X and Eudocia but keep getting outbid at the last minute.
    Spaniard and +VGO.DVCKS like this.
  5. BenSi

    BenSi Well-Known Member

    Not cleaned yet, but might be very nice with dirt gone.

  6. Severus Alexander

    Severus Alexander Blame my mother. Supporter

    You're right legends are very tough on these... and it seems I haven't prioritized them! :shy:

    Here's my Constantine X and Eudocia, not too bad for the reverse legend:
    follis const x double.jpg

    And here's Constantine X on his own (like the second coin David posted), some legend here:
    follis constantine x.jpg

    And finally, Michael VII (bad old photo, also with obv. & rev. the wrong way around) - only the beginning of his name is visible:
    follis Michael VII.jpg
  7. 7Calbrey

    7Calbrey Well-Known Member

    Struck under Michael IV ( 1034- 1041 AD), the following follis reads EMMA NOVHL to the left and right of Jesus on obverse. SB 1825.

    Jesus 1825 SB  Emmanuel.JPG Jesus 1040 Michael 4.JPG
  8. Voulgaroktonou

    Voulgaroktonou Well-Known Member

    Dear Valentinian, the full inscription would be: Κων[σ]τ[αντινος ο] Δ[ου]κ[ας] Ευδ[ο]κ[ια] Αυγ[ουστοι] = Constantine Doukas, Eudocia, Augusti (or, emperors)
  9. Valentinian

    Valentinian Supporter! Supporter

    Thank you!
  10. Quant.Geek

    Quant.Geek Well-Known Member

    A few in my collection. Sear 1853 has several minor varieties:

    Byzantine Empire: Constantine X Ducas (1059-1067) Æ Follis, Constantinople (Sear 1853; DOC 8)
    Obv: +ЄMMA NOVHA; Christ Emmanuel standing facing on footstool, wearing nimbus, pallium and colobium, holding book of Gospels with both hands; in fields, IC XC
    Rev: +ΚШΝΤΔΚ ЄVΔΚΑVΓΟ; Eudocia and Constantine X standing facing, both crowned and wearing loros, holding between them labarum, with cross on shaft, resting on three steps
    Dim: 27 mm, 7.43 g, 5 h

    Byzantine Empire: Michael VII Ducas (1071-1078) Æ Follis, Constantinople (Sear-1878; DOC-14b)
    Obv: Bust of Christ Pantokrator facing, bearded, with cross behind, wearing tunic and himation; right hand raised before breast in blessing, left hand holds book from beneath. In field, IC and XC above lateral arms of cross; six-pointed stars beneath them to left and right
    Rev: +MIX AHΛ RACIOΔ; Crowned bust of Michael facing, bearded, wearing modified loros with collar-piece and crown with cross and pendilia, holding in right hand labarum, in left globus cruciger
    Dim: 26mm, 7.39 g, 6h

    Byzantine Empire: Michael VII Ducas (1071-1078) Æ Follis, Constantinople (Sear 1879)
    Obv: Bust of Christ Pantokrator facing, bearded, with cross behind, wearing tunic and himation; right hand raised before breast in blessing, left hand holds book from beneath. In field, six-pointed stars above lateral arms of cross; IC XC beneath them to left and right
    Rev: +MIX AHΛ RACIOΔ; Crowned bust of Michael facing, bearded, wearing modified loros with collar-piece and crown with cross and pendilia, holding in right hand labarum, in left globus cruciger
    Dim: 29 mm, 6.34 g
  11. catadc

    catadc Well-Known Member

    SB 1853 is often overstruck on anonymous folles. Here is an SB 1854 overstruck on an SB 1853. Wonder if it was any particular reason for this, or it just happened with this coin.
  12. dougsmit

    dougsmit Member Supporter

    I found it interesting that the placement of the emperor on the right required the legend to start on that side as well to avoid his name being next to her portrait. It also strikes me as odd that the standard position of favor is listed 'on the right hand of God' but that is on the left side since we are looking at the scene from the front so God's right hand would be shown on the left side. This is not the place for this discussion but we might also look at the pre-Christian coins (including Provincials) and see who is on which side.

    My coin of the type adds nothing to the discussion. Legends are nice but I would have preferred one with faces.

    It might be acceptable here to show a coin from this period that I find particularly confusing. Many sellers are as confused as I am but not all realize or admit that point. Sear did us no favor when he renumbered some coins between his editions. This is Sear Byzantine, 1974 edition, number 1865 and that is the only edition of that book that I own. His later edition made the coin SB 1866. The way Sear presented Anonymous folles separated from the same ruler's named coins insures confusion. I have seen more than one translation of the four letters on the reverse of this coin CR/PΔ which seems to include Greek and Latin letters (fashionable in the day) but assigning certain words to the letters. I would be interested in hearing how our Byzantine specialists translate this coin. Which R/P stands for Romanus? Both? Is the delta Diogenes or Despotes? Is C Caesar? Whitting (page 198) gives "May the Cross help Romanus". Most experts dodge the question. Sear offered no translation in 1974; did he in the second edition that I have not seen? Berk omitted the type from his 1986 book showing only the Anonymous type G as SB1866 using the then current 1974 Sear catalog number. I have my opinions on this matter but my opinions mean nothing. I accept the Latin Caesar as parallel to the Greek Despot making the reverse bilingual (top Latin / bottom Greek) but it bothers me that people write books and don't see the need to comment. Is leaving it out better than the Whitting guess (which I have had trouble accepting for years)? This strikes me as, well, very Byzantine.
    Valentinian clarifies the Whitting theory quite effectively explaining the CR as a variant of SB which is quite reasonable. I prefer to leave the matter in the massive pile of things I don't know. When I want to know something about Byzantine coins, I consider Valentinian's site a good place to start. I would like to know if, for example, there are non-coin inscriptions of Romanus that show his appeal to the cross that would cause the man on the street to know the meaning of these letters.
  13. David@PCC


    Left is 54 over 53
    Right is a mule of the two
  14. Valentinian

    Valentinian Supporter! Supporter

    C R (Sear 1866) (The "C" is a lunate "S" (sigma), "R" is an epigraphical form of "B") ΣΤAYΡЄ BOHΘЄI "O Cross, help"
    P Δ "Romanus Despot/emperor" RΩMANΩ ΔЄCΠOTH

    I learned that translation from the pros. It is on my page of translations of Byzantine legends:


    Romanus IV, 1068-1071. Famous for losing the Battle of Manzikert.
    31-29 mm. 5.32 grams.
    Sear 1866. DOC 3.2 Romanus IV, 8.
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2021
  15. Caesar_Augustus

    Caesar_Augustus Well-Known Member

    Constantine X Ducas
    AE Follis
    1059 - 1067 A.D., Constantinople Mint, null Officina
    11.10g, 29.8mm, 6H

    Obverse: [+ЄMMANOVHΛ/IC - XC],
    Christ standing facing on footstool, wearing nimbus and holding Gospels

    Reverse: [+KWNT ΔK] ЄV[ΔK AVΓO],
    Eudocia on left, wearing loros with kite-shaped lower panel and crown with cross and pendilia, Constantine on right, wearing loros and crown with cross and pendilia, both standing facing, holding labarum with cross-piece on shaft between them, standing on base and three steps, each places one hand on heart

    Exergue: -

    Provenance: Ex. Augustus Coins (Valentinian) 2018

    Reference: SBCV 1853
  16. Roman Collector

    Roman Collector Supporter! Supporter

    This is an informative thread. I knew next to nothing about this coin, which I've had for 25 years or more.

    Constantine X and Eudocia, AD 1059-1067.
    Byzantine Æ Follis, 5.58 g, 25.7 mm, 5 h.
    Constantinople, AD 1059-1067.
    Obvs: +ЄMMANOVHΛ IC XC, Christ on footstool holding gospels.
    Revs: ЄVΔK AVΓO +KѠN T ΔK, Eudocia and Constantine holding labarum.
    Ref: Sear 1853; DOC 8.
  17. Valentinian

    Valentinian Supporter! Supporter

    This thread started with Sear 1853 of Constantine X and some people noted examples of Sear 1854, also Constantine X, overstruck on 1853. It is hard to find an example of Sear 1854 which is not a garbled overstrike. I have looked for one. This coin came today and is as close to not garbled as I have found so far:

    SB1866RomanusIV2138.jpg I got it for the legible reverse legend.
    KωΝ RΑCΙ-ΛЄVC O ΔVK (We expect a "B" in "Basileus" but it is formed as an "R". "C" is a lunate sigma = S)
    CONstantine BASILEVS (the) DUKAS. "O", a definite article, precedes proper names in Greek in a way that is not used in English.
  18. Severus Alexander

    Severus Alexander Blame my mother. Supporter

    I got a neat overstrike of this type recently. Undertype is a Class G:
    overstrike on class G.jpg
    The arrangement of heads is rather striking! :D
  19. +VGO.DVCKS

    +VGO.DVCKS Well-Known Member

    Very cool overstrike, @Severus Alexander.
    ...I (really) hope this doesn't verge on the sacrilegious, only starting with highly valued members of this forum, but the St. Mary orans above the face of Christ evokes the ikonography of St. Mary with the face of the infant Jesus over her heart. (You knew this: routinely appearing on coins.) ...But here, He's full-grown.
    ...If you wanted to, you could wax theological about the implications, since, for one, she was present at the Crucifixion. But it has to be time (particularly for Protestants) to shut up.
    Anyway, given that I like an interesting overstrike as much as anyone, this one is a particularly evocative convergence of motifs, ostensibly transcending the merely historical connotations.
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2021
  20. Valentinian

    Valentinian Supporter! Supporter

    This post is intended to point out that two coins in this thread both use the shape "R" for what we normally think of as "B".

    Doug was writing about the a Romanus IV coin like this one

    SB1866RomanusIV20111b.jpg to which I replied
    I leaned that translation and put it on my page of legends
    but, at the time, I found the explanation of "R" in the upper right really being a "B" unsatisfying. So, I looked into it a bit further and noticed another coin in this thread shows the shape "R" can be a form of "B":

    Sear 1854, Constantine X, Ducas, 1059-1067. 27-25 mm. 8.82 grams.
    Bust of Christ/Bust of Constantine X
    Reverse legend: "KωN" for "Constantine" followed (at 10:30) by
    RACILЄVC O ΔVK "Basileus [= emperor] (the) Ducas" with "R" an epigraphic form of "B" and "C" a lunate "S".

    See the "R" at 10:30? It's a "B"! Apparently this is an 11th C. usage.

    I am continually improving my page of legends. If you want to translate the legends on Byzantine coins, visit
    If you have a Byzantine copper coin with a legend that is not addressed on that page, let me know and I will look into it and see if I can help. Actually, pretty often it is my good friend @Voulgaroktonou who knows the answer and he explains it to me!
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