September 25th: CONSTANTINOPLE is shaking

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Ocatarinetabellatchitchix, Sep 24, 2021.

  1. Ocatarinetabellatchitchix

    Ocatarinetabellatchitchix Supporter! Supporter

    Located near the largest fault lines in Anatolia, Constantinople (Istanbul) has always been threatened by destructive earthquakes which in the past have destroyed the city more than once. Research over the years has shown that the city has been rocked by more than 1000 major earthquakes between 330-1920 AD. While some of them were earthquakes which occurred due to fault lines around the city and caused heavy damage, many of them were caused by fault lines in areas of Thrace and İzmit-Düzce and caused less destruction.


    Twenty years after the Roman Emperor Constantine I, known as Constantine the Great, founded Constantinople, an earthquake occurred in the east of the city on September 25th 342 AD, but it didn't cause much damage. On August 24, 358, the earthquake that brought İzmit down also affected the ancient city of Constantinople. The earthquakes that hit Constantinople in 402, 412, 417, 423, 437 and 442 caused considerable damage to the city, but not as much as the earthquake of 358. The city continued to be shaken in 450, 477, 487, 525 and
    and 533 also.
    The earthquake that struck the city on August 16, 542 was massive; many houses, ramparts and statues were demolished and thousands of people died. The damage caused by an earthquake on May 7, 558 following the earthquakes of 546 and 557 was substantial. The main earthquake in December was of unprecedented ferocity and "almost completely wiped out" the city. It caused damage to Hagia Sophia that contributed to the collapse of its dome the following year, as well as damaging the walls of Constantinople as the Hun invaders were able to easily penetrate it the following season.
    After the earthquakes of 583 and 611, Constantinople has long been free from earthquakes.
    The Constantinople 740 earthquake occurred on October 26, near Constantinople and the Sea of Marmara. In Constantinople, the earthquake caused the collapse of many public buildings. The walls of Constantinople were also damaged. The victims in Constantinople are said to have included more than 1,000 people. The earthquake is said to have destroyed a number of towns in Thrace. It also damaged the cities of Nicaea (İznik), Nicomedia (İzmit) and Praenetus.


    On March 1, 1202, an earthquake occurred in the city which caused the floor in front of the Byzantine Emperor's bed to crack open and an agha of the House of Felicity died by falling into the hole.

    On June 1, 1296, a big earthquake hit the capital in the night. Historians write that Constantinople was leveled to the ground in this earthquake. Houses, palaces, churches and city walls were demolished. Floods occurred, and aftershocks continued for two months.

    On Sept. 10, 1509, Constantinople was shaken by a big quake at 4 in the morning. Before the people understood what was happening, the whole city was destroyed; 109 mosques and over 1070 state houses disappeared completely. According to experts, the earthquake in 1509 was the biggest one in the Eastern Mediterranean after the year 1000. It was felt in the area from Bolu province to Edirne province. It was called "Little Doomsday."

    On May 22, 1766. The shake, which started half an hour after sunrise on that day, was the third day of Qurban Bayram. Scary noises were heard during the quake, and a two-minute-long shake followed them. Then, a less intense quake hit the city for four minutes. The aftershocks of this quake continued for eight minutes.
    Enough shaky news for now. Let's talk about the monetary workshop in this city:

    The mint

    Around 326 AD the imperial mint started its production. It is possible that the staff and the equipment of the new workshop were imported from Ticinum , whose mint would disappear to give rise to that of Constantinople. The excellent quality of the first Constantinople issues is due definitely to having inherited the knowledge of one of the most virtuous workshops among those established as a result of Diocletian's monetary reform. The production of the Constantinople mint was always very high and coins were struck in gold, silver and bronze. At the beginning, the mint opened with only two officinae, but after the execution of Crispus and Fausta, a third was added. At the New Year, 327 AD, the number of officinae in use was seven.

    Finally, when the GLORIA EXERCITVS coinage began, soon after the Dedication of the city in May 330 A.D., a total of eleven officinae was employed. The eleven officinae for bronze continued for the period 346-360 A.D., when these were reduced to four under Julian the Apostate and Jovian. In the first issue for Valentinian and Valens this was increased to five and in the second issue to seven. For the rest of the century the number fluctuated between seven and four, but from the early fifth century onwards the officinae did not normally sign their products. In the case of some issues between 383 and 392 the officinae were differentiated for the various rulers. The mint will continue emitting coins throughout the long byzantine period, remaining quite high the coinage volume and its variety.
    On the day the city was shaking,please show me your Constantinopolitan coins !

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  3. ValiantKnight

    ValiantKnight I AM the Senate! Supporter

    From around the time of the 542 earthquake:

    Justinian I, Byzantine Empire
    AE follis
    Obv: D N IVSTINIANVS P P AVG, diademed, helmeted, cuirassed bust facing, holding globus cruciger and shield, cross to right
    Rev. Large M, cross above, officina letter B below, ANNO to left, XЧ to right, CON in ex.
    Mint: Constantinople
    Date: 541/2 (year 15)
    Ref: SB 163.
    Size: 23.30g, 39mm

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  4. gsimonel

    gsimonel Supporter! Supporter

    Constantine I ("the Great")
    Caesar, A.D. 306-307/9
    Augustus A.D. 307/9-337

    (Bronze) AE3
    Constantinople mint, A.D. 327-328
    Rev: LIBERT-A-S PVBLICA - Victory on galley, holding wreath in both hands
    CONS in exergue; E in left field
    RIC 25
    19mm, 2.6g

    Rex Regnum, A.D. 335-337
    (Bronze) AE3/4
    Constantinople mint, A.D. 335-336
    Rev: SE-CVRITAS PVBLICA - Euphrates seated right, holding sceptre, overturned urn at his side, from which water flows, reed in background
    CONSS in exergue
    RIC 147
    15mm, 1.4g.

    Constantius Gallus
    Caesar, A.D. 351-354
    (Bronze) AE2
    Constantinople mint, first series
    Rev: FEL TEMP R-EPARATIO - Soldier spearing fallen enemy horseman
    CONSA in exergue; Γ• in left field
    RIC 107
    22mm, 4.7g

    Theodosius I ("the Great")
    Augustus, A,D, 379-395
    (Bronze) AE II
    Constantinople mint, A.D. 383-388
    Rev: GLORIA RO-MANORVM - Emperor, standing on galley, facing right, holding globe; Victory at helm
    CONA in exergue; T in left field
    RIC 79(b)
    21mm, 5.3g

    Theodosius II
    Augustus, A.D. 408-450
    Gold Solidus
    Constantinople mint, A.D. 430-440
    Rev: VOT XXX MVLT XXXX S - Constantinopolis, seated on throne, facing left, holding scepter and globus cruciger (cross on globe)
    CONOB in exergue; ✳ in right field
    RIC 275
    21mm, 4.4g
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  5. gsimonel

    gsimonel Supporter! Supporter

    Here's a couple more of Constantine I that, like the LIBERTAS PVBLICA type that I posted above, were minted only at Constantinople:
    RIC 16
    Rev: GLORIA - EXERCITVS - Soldier standing left, looking right, holding reversed spear and resting hand on shield
    CONS in exergue; Γ in left field
    19 mm, 3.3 g.

    Constantinople mint, A.D. 327-328
    RIC 23
    Rev: GLORIA RO-MANORVM - Roma seated on shield, with scepter, holding Victory on globe
    CONS in exergue; A in left field
    20 mm, 3.0 g.

    Constantinople mint, A.D. 328
    RIC 32
    Rev: CONSTANTINI-ANA DAFNE - Victory on cippus, holding palms; trophy in front; captive at feet
    CONS in exergue; B in left field
    20 mm, 3.1 g.
  6. Ricardo123

    Ricardo123 Well-Known Member

    My mystery from beginning of mint, anonymus but maybe Helena ?

  7. Andres2

    Andres2 Well-Known Member

    Earthquake of 583

    JC 3 Tiberius Constantine 574-582.jpg
  8. Great write up. I don't have any Constantinople coins to show myself.

    The bust style for Constantine on the Constantinople mint is very appealing. The Ticinum inlfuence is apparent on the style, but it appears like a slightly more refined and realistic version.
  9. ambr0zie

    ambr0zie Dacian Taraboste

    Excellent write-up. Living relatively close to Constantinople means that earthquakes are not something I know about just from reading...
    Here are my 2 coins from this city

    Constantius Gallus
    RIC VIII 122
    Date Range: AD 351 - AD 355
    Type: Bust of Constantius Gallus, bareheaded, draped, cuirassed, right
    Reverse Legend: FEL TEMP RE-PARATIO
    Type: Soldier, helmeted, draped, cuirassed, advancing left, spearing fallen horseman with right hand and wearing shield on left arm; shield on ground to right; horseman bearded, facing soldier, extending left arm
    Mintmark CONSH


    (this is not a bad coin but difficult to photo)

    Constantine I, AE follis of Constantinople. AD 330-335. CONSTANTI-NVS MAX AVG, rosette-diademed, draped, cuirassed bust right. / GLOR-IA EXERC-ITVS, two soldiers holding spears and shields with two standards between them. Mintmark: CONSA. RIC VII Constantinople 59.
  10. ambr0zie

    ambr0zie Dacian Taraboste

    I am not an expert in LRBs but I am very happy for getting this one (from Constantinople mint).

    A new empress is always welcome in my collection AND this is a coin related to Christianity (also new for me).

    Aelia Flaccilla
    23 mm, 4,80 g
    RIC IX Constantinople 82
    Date range: AD 383 – AD 388
    Obv: AEL FLAC-CILLA AVG, bust of Aelia Flaccilla, with elaborate head-dress, draped, necklace, and mantle / Rev: SALVS REI-PVBLICAE, Emperor, head right, standing facing, arms folded on breast, Christogram to right. Mintmark CONSϵ
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2021
  11. BenSi

    BenSi Supporter! Supporter

    Alexius III, 1195-1203 AD . An Electrum Aspron Trachy minted during his rule. By his side is Saint Constantine.
    I am sure the earthquake was another bad omen for him, Constantinople fell to the crusade that stopped in Constantinople for aid. The crusaders decided not to leave, it was the real fall of the empire.
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