Theodore I Lascaris - The Coin I recently acquired a dream coin of mine: Sear 2064 Theodore I Lascaris Electrum Trachy! Theodore I Comnenus-Lascaris. Emperor of Nicaea, 1208-1222. EL Aspron Trachy Nicaea mint. Struck 1208-1212. Christ Pantokrator enthroned facing; ornament on each side of throne / Theodore and St. Theodore standing facing, each holding sheathed sword and supporting between them a staff topped by eight-pointed star. DOC 2.3-4; SB 2064. Superb EF. Sharply struck from fresh dies. 36mm!! 4.21 grams This coin has really lovely details. It is well struck and barely worn if at all. I have had particular trouble photographing this electrum coin. I have never seen one coin change so much under different lighting.... Darker lighting: Harsh White Lighting: The purity of this coin is probably around 4 carats of gold (0.8g), making the coin 81% silver and 19% gold. In reality, the coin looks silvery-yellowish. Here is a comparison with a pure AR coin showing the real color difference: Keep this in mind as I take some detailed macro pictures...for some reason my lighting set up washes out the gold hues For this next picture, I took two individual macro shots and merged them together so the center of the coin might be a bit off...Charming portraits of Theodore and St Theodore: The obverse: Theodore I Lascaris - The History Theodore I Lascaris was born into a minor noble family who held estates in modern day Turkey. After the fourth crusade, Theodore fled there and started to rally resistance against the Latin invaders (in 1205). He was hailed as military leader of the area and used his authority to take over tax revenue. As Theodore built up his fiefdom, he was still in precarious straits. The Latins could invade at any time and crush him. Fortunately for him, later that year the main Latin army was crushed by the Bulgarians and the Latin emperor Baldwin was captured alive. This freed Theodore from any fears about Latin encroachment for the time being. Theodore was also able to put down other Byzantine claimants in the area and consolidate their lands. Theodore crowned himself Byzantine emperor is late 1205, a direct challenge the Latin emperor in Constantinople (now a prisoner at the Bulgarian court). Many Byzantines fled to Theodore during this time, seeking refuge. Controversially, Theodore was not crowned as emperor by the Patriarch, delegitimatizing himself in the eyes of many. Upon the death of the old Patriarch, however, Theodore called a church council (technically in violation of Church Law) in 1208 where a new Patriarch was elected under Theodore's watchful eye...who promptly crowned Theodore as Emperor of the Romans. In 1211, Theodore faced a Seljuk Turk invasion. He met their army heavily outnumbered at the battlefield of Antioch on the Maeander. In one of the cooler ancient combat tales, Seljuks troops were winning the battle until Theodore rode out to personally challenge the Sultan Kaykhusraw in combat. Kaykhusraw charged Theodore and struck him with a mace, knocking Theodore from his saddle. Theodore lay stunned on the ground and Kaykhusraw gave orders for those Seljuks around him to carry the emperor as prisoner off of the battle field. As Seljuk troops moved in, however, Theodore regained his composure and cut the front legs off of Kaykhusraw's mount, causing the Sultan to fall down. Theodore beheaded the Sultan in front of the Seljuk troops and proceeded to mount it on a lance causing the Seljuks to flee, leaving Theodore as victor on the battle field. Theodore boasted of his great victory to the Latins but had lost his best soldiers in the fighting. When the Latins invaded later that same year, Theodore was defeated and fled. He quickly recovered, however, and as the Latins were tied up in the Balkans Theodore conquered even more land. Theodore was not strong enough to retake Constantinople but placed his capital at the city of Nicaea, a strategic location which would help with reconquest down the road. Theodore was a staunch defender of Orthodox Christianity and did much to protect the Church from Catholicism during this period. Theodore, aristocrat turned warlord did much to preserve Byzantium and left behind the empire of Nicaea, the Byzantine fragmentary state which would ultimately reconquer Constantinople and re establish itself as the true Byzantine empire.