Question about purchasing power of smaller follis

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Herberto, Jan 26, 2022.

  1. Herberto

    Herberto Well-Known Member

    During late 800s and the most of 900s those coins beneath were called follis:

    Basil I the Macedonian.jpg Leo VI the Wise.jpg Constantine VII and  Zoe.jpg Romanus I Lacapenus.jpg Constantine VII.jpg

    Those coins above are very common.

    However, during the reign of Basil II in 976-1025 the follis became bigger and heavier:
    Anonymous follis of Basil II.jpg

    Anyone here who collects Byzantines knows that the follis of 800s and 900s are smaller and leighter in comparision with that annonymous of Basil II.

    I want to ask: Do we know whether the bigger and heavier follis of Basil II had more value or purchasing power than the previous ones from 800s and 900s?

    I can see that for 15 follis you could buy 1 silver miliaresion if my mind serves me right. But does 15 follis of Basil the Macedonian (the first coin) have the same value as 15 follis of Basil II (the last coin)? The latter one is bigger and heavier as you know.

    Thank you for any help you can provide. Peace.
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2022
  2. Avatar

    Guest User Guest

    to hide this ad.
  3. ancient coin hunter

    ancient coin hunter 3rd Century Usurper

    I suppose the common practice was to tariff the smaller coins at fractional amounts of the larger anonymous follis, e.g., one-half, etc. That would be my theory anyway.

    Here is an interesting discussion of anonymous folles struck after 976 A.D.

    At the bottom of the page there is an extensive bibliography which might provide some direction.
    Herberto likes this.
  4. dltsrq

    dltsrq Grumpy Old Man

    I haven't digested it fully but this chapter, 'Money, Coins and the Economy', from Cécile Morrison's The Byzantine World (2010) seems to address the issue in some detail:

    [edit] Morrison suggests that in spite of inflation and tinkering, a fundamental ratio of 1 nomisma = 12 miliaresia = 288 folles held throughout the period in question.
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2022
    Herberto and DonnaML like this.
Draft saved Draft deleted

Share This Page