The far-reaching historical implications of the late Roman and Byzantine gold coinage, from the fifth century through the eighth, have made this period the focus of a great deal of research in recent decades. A great wealth of material awaits collection and interpretation, and it is not yet possible to produce a synthetic monograph on all aspects of the subject. This volume brings together contributions on various topics in the hope of demonstrating how current progress has been made possible by new or refined methods as well as by the evidence of new finds. The following introductory remarks are intended to provide a summary of the current state of scholarship and a rough sketch of the problems that remain to be solved.
Numismatic considerations, which are closely related to the political history of the period, define the termini of this volume. The permanent division of the empire between Arcadius and Honorius was reflected by different developments in the coinages of the East and the West. Various attempts to assimilate the western half of the empire during the sixth and seventh centuries all failed in the end, but they provide a fertile field for the study of monetary politics. By the end of the eighth century the empire had lost most of its western dependencies—notably the African and Italian exarchates—and with those losses provincial mints virtually ceased to exist.
These centuries have fared unevenly at the hands of numismatists. The period of Anastasius I, in modern times regarded as the beginning of the Byzantine coinage proper, has recently drawn the attention of several scholars, but the fifth century has been poorly served by modern studies, especially as the framework that could be provided by RIC 10 is still lacking. The old studies of Sabatier for the East and Cohen for the West lack photographic documentation and are in any case inadequate, since coins of the eastern and western emperors are listed separately and without regard to the mints that produced them.1 Eastern and western coins are confused, and those of the empresses are ascribed to their husband, with the consequence that (for example) the eastern issues of Galla Placidia and the western ones of Pulcheria are concealed, as is the entire system of mutual recognition pieces so characteristic of fifth century coinage. The distribution of issues of empresses who struck under more than one ruler has also been obscured.2
Tolstoi's work on the eastern emperors is written in much the same tradition and presents a wealth of material, but is confined mainly to coins in his own collection and that in the Hermitage with additional references to Sabatier. For the West Robertson's recent catalogue of a much more limited collection unfortunately follows the same princple.3 Hahn has dealt with the eastern gold and silver coinage of the reign of Theodosius II, and a similar study covering the period through the death of Zeno is in preparation; but for the West the work of Ulrich-Bana stands as a solitary milestone in a field otherwise tilled by amateurs.4
The most urgent desideratum remains the continued accumulation of numismatic material to permit the most detailed possible study of the coinage. The systematic listing of hoards and stray finds will provide a reliable picture of monetary circulation and should confirm mint attributions based on stylistic criteria. Sorting out the attributions of gold coins not distinguished by specific mint marks and allocating them to different mints will yield the outlines of monetary administration.
Moreover, though the studies of W. E. Metcalf, C. Morrisson, and D. M. Metcalf below are virtually unparalleled in the Byzantine series, the compilation of similar die studies for other mints will permit insight into their activities and provide at least a relative idea of output, which is perhaps the most important question for economic historians.
The connection between civil, fiscal, and monetary administration has been set out by J. P. C. Kent and Hendy.5 As we now have a good idea where and when to look for gold mints, the possible attributions have been considerably reduced and are more securely based. The guiding principle is the division of the gold coinage into the regular production of the four praetorian prefectures (Orien, Illyricum, Africa, and Italy) plus some extraordinary cases (the Crimea, Spain, and Sicily) in which the existence of a gold mint is at least a possibility. Under special conditions military mints seem to have been active temporarily in the East during the troubled first quarter of the seventh century.
The overwhelming preponderance of gold coinage was stuck in and for the eastern prefecture, where the metropolitan moneta auri operated continuously with a number of officinae; usually ten were charged with the production of solidi, the main denomination. One must suppose that fractions and ceremonial pieces (in gold and silver) were struck in a single officina, which did not need to mark its coins, although it is uncertain whether this officina (or these officinae, if each denomination came from a separate workshop) is to be identified with one of the ten solidus officinae or is in addition to them. During the fifth and (rarely) the seventh centuries a portion of the Constantinopolitan solidi, in many types, lack an officina number. These unmarked pieces may have been struck at the beginning of every issue, since they are relatively much more numerous in short issues than in longer ones.6 Perhaps this is to be explained on the assumption that special orders were given for the striking of distribution pieces, outside the normal quotas of the officinae, on the occasion of accessions or anniversaries or for other ceremonial purposes connected with the introduction of new types.
Several explanations have been proposed for cases in which solidi of Constantinopolitan fabric display officina numbers higher than ten. In the seventh century the additional letter was probably an issue mark.7 In the rare cases of sixth century solidi with higher numbers, other interpretations may be required: additional officinae detached for use in other regions,8 indictional dates,9 cooperation between two officinae, or reference to a special weight standad.10
Where secret or issue marks are involved, their proper purpose is debatable. Possible explanations include marking of an extraordinary issue with a numeral indicating its date, amount, or occasion, a special destination ordered by one or another department of the state for distribution purposes, or a special metal source. The mark ⊖ is especially frequent.11 It should be noted that the occurrence of these secret marks suddenly increases under Heraclius, when the government had to resort to loans. Dates were twice introduced to the regular solidi of Constantinople, then abandoned: 567/8 and 635-50; while a temporary preponderance of the fifth and tenth officinae over the others (especially around 610) is explained by C. Morrisson, who postulates the connection of different officinae with certain state departments.12 The high standard of weight and fineness (97 to 99 percent) was maintained in Constantinople throughout the period with only a minor decline under Constans II and Constantine IV.13
Stylistically, the Constantinopolitan gold coins display great uniformity: doubtless there were several die engravers working simultaneously with shared punches. This often makes comparison of obverse dies very difficult.14 A broader range of style can be observed when a single type is struck in large quantity or over a long period;15 this is due to changes over the course of time rather than to the existence of different eastern mints. Under normal circumstances there were no mints other than Constantinople in the eastern prefecture. The fanciful attributions of D. Ricotti Prina (Nicomedia, Cyzicus, Antioch)16 are untenable, and the acceptance of Grierson's incorrect attributions of sixth-century solidi to Antioch is unforunate.17
A more serious candidate for a gold coinage in the East is Alexandria, capital of the diocese of Egypt, which had long been isolated economically from the empire and which had its own system of local copper coinage. The irregular use of AΛᵻOB on solidi of Justin II of Constantinopolitan fabric reveals a temporary gold production with dies provided by Constantinople. Although the signature was corrected to the prescribed universal mark for gold, CONOB, production seems to have lasted for some years, since it had to be sustained by locally cut dies of distinct style. These Alexandrian solidi of Justin II, which were differentiated from Constantinopolitan issues by other secret marks, might be connected with the presence of the emperor's nephew Justin as augustalis of Egypt in 566. A similar situation, with a member of the imperial family being in charge of Egypt, occurred under Heraclius, when his cousin Nicetas had to fight the Persians and may have been short of money (616-18).18 The issue of solidi from Alexandria during the revolt of Heraclius (608-10), as proposed by Grierson, is less secure.19
There are two other groups of questionable attribution. One is of Carthaginian style and may belong to the special large-module series there (see below).20 The other shows the peculiar style of an itinerant military mint which also produced copper coins with mint marks, first of Alexandria, then of Cyprus. As Cyprus was the proper base for military campaigns in the eastern Mediterranean basin, it is plausible that it was the home of an extraordinary gold mint to meet military needs.21 The activity of this mint began under Phocas22 and continued with the unusual consular solidi of the two Heraclii, which were supplemented by fractional issues in the name of the deceased emperor Maurice Tiberius. The solidi are marked with immobilized indictional or regnal dates or by a sequence of the letters I, IX, or IΠ, which may refer to a lustral cycle.
After Heraclius' coronation there were further issues, apparently for his Persian campaigns. Their attribution to Cyprus and their dating (up into the 620s) are not universally accepted and other suggestions, such as Alexandria or Jerusalem (from which we know copper coins from the siege of 614) have been made.23 The evidence of provenance is of little help because the finds, which range from Egypt to Turkey, correlate with the extended theater of war.
|5||J. P. C. Kent, "Gold Coinage in the Later Roman Empire," Essays Mattingly, pp. 190-204; M. F. Hendy, pp. 129-54. See also the latter's important new Studies in the Byzantine Monetary Economy, c. 300-1450 (Cambridge, 1986), particularly pp. 386-423.|
|6||See Hahn (above, n. 4), p. 106.|
|7||MIB 3, pp. 84-85.|
|8||Following J. Lafaurie, "Un Solidus in�dit de Justinien I frapp� en Afrique," RN 1962, pp. 167-82. W. Hahn (MIB, p. 51) suggested Justinian I for Carthage, but this is refuted by C. Morrisson, below, p. 52.|
|9||N. Fairhead and W. Hahn, below, pp. 33-38.|
|10||See MIB 1, p. 50, n. 20, for light weight solidi from Justinian I to Maurice.|
|11||Date: MIB 2, p. 32 for Justin II; amount: p. 61 for Maurice; occasion: N for nalalis [dies imperii], p. 61; special distribution: P. Grierson, "Solidi of Phocas and Heraclius: The Chronological Framework" NC 1959, p. 137. With respect to the θ, a reference to a treasury (thesauros) is tempting (MIB 3, p. 129, and Hendy, "Studies" [above, n. 5], pp. 411-12, n. 169) but does not fit in all cases.|
|12||MIB 2, p. 32, for the earlier dates; for the later dates, MIB 3, pp. 86 and 124, and C. Morrisson,"Le trésor byzantin de Nikerta," RBN 118 (1972), pp. 29-91.|
|13||Weight and fineness: C. Morrisson, "L'or monnay� de Rome × Byzance," Comptes-rendus Acad. Inscr. 1982, pp. 203-23; decline: C. Morrisson (above, n. 12), pp. 54-55.|
|14||Occasionally, however, obverse die links have indicated that a reverse die may have moved from one officina to another. See P. Grierson, Coins mon�taires et officines × l'�poque du bas-empire," SM 11 (1961), pp. 1-8; C. Morrisson (above, n. 13), pp. 39-40; W. E. Metcalf, below, p. 25.|
|15||As under Justinian I and Maurice, MIB 2, pp. 60-61.|
|16||D. Ricotti Prina, La monetazione aurea delle zecche minore bizantine . . . (Rome, 1972).|
|17||See DOC 1, p. 133. Grierson now prefers Thessalonica: see Coins, p. 53.|
|18||MIB 2, pp. 45-46, for Justin; MIB 3, p. 95, for Nicetas. The Alexandrian origin of the Justin II solidi was recently doubted by Hendy, Studies (above, n. 5), p. 404, who was not aware of the Egyptian hoard evidence.|
|19||DOC 2, p. 207.|
|20||MIB 3, p. 79.|
|21||MIB 2, pp. 85-86, and MIB 3, p. 89.|
|22||MIB 2, p. 97.|
The second praetorian prefecture, Illyricum, had its small gold mint at Thessalonica. Little can be added to D. M. Metcalf's study in this volume except the hope that uncertainties regarding the fractions and the possible issues of Phocas will be elucidated by further discoveries.24 The fact that the output of this mint is estimated to be small raises the question of the extent to which it was designed to meet the needs of the whole prefecture or whether it had only to serve a small civilian department at Thessalonica (perhaps the idike trapeza of the area praefectoria).25 It is also pertinent to observe that dies provided by Constantinopolitan mint engravers were used from time to time; on the other hand, the mint showed relative independence in maintaining elements of older, out-of-date typology at least until 562, when it was brought into line at the same time that the local copper currency system was abolished.
The beginnings of gold coinage in the African prefecture from its creation in 534 to 578 are dealt with here by Morrisson. Before the Justinianic reconquest Carthage had never struck gold coins.26 It seems that the Vandals possessed enough gold emanating from imperial mints that they could afford to respect the gold prerogative of the emperors. The new Carthaginian gold mint was virtually a solidus mint, from which we know only a few fractional issues, struck for ceremonial purposes, from the time of Heraclius onwards. The coins were normally dated by indictional years and sometimes by regnal years as well (under Tiberius II and Maurice). It is now clear that the numerals on the early solidi of Justinian I are dates, not officina designations. The continuous dating enables us to follow the curve of the output: its fluctuation, as Morrisson has recently shown, can be connected with lustral taxation.27 Technical considerations now explain the puzzling tendency to a globular fabric from the end of the sixth century on: it obviated the need for hammering the blanks and speeded the process of striking, for less effort was required when smaller blanks were used.28 The globular solidi are, however, accompanied by limited issues on larger flans, and their deviation from the usual pattern and their accompaniment by rare fractions demonstrate their special ceremonial character.
It can easily be supposed that the strange looking globular solidi would not easily have entered the circulating medium outside Africa, and in fact the evidence for external finds is scanty.29 The African hoards have been carefully recorded by Morrisson, and to some extent these can be connected with historical events. Especially for the last years of Byzantine domination, the coins provide new evidence: they even pinpoint the date of the first Arab conquest of Carthage at the very end of 695.30 The splitting-off of the Sardinian branch mint antedates this event,31 but the circumstances remain uncertain.32 Another study by Morrisson has shown that there was a slight decrease in the weight of the African gold coins under Constans II (642-68), but that the high fineness was retained until the end.33
|23||For Alexandria, DOC 2, p. 32; for Jerusalem, see Grierson, Coins, p. 93, and Hendy, pp. 415-16. Hendy presumes a transfer of the staff of the Antiochene mint by Phocas' general Bonosus in 608; the style of the portraiture, however, shows no resemblance to the copper of Phocas from Antioch or that of Heraclius from Jerusalem.|
|24||S. Bendall, "A New Mint for Phocas," NCirc 92 (1984), pp. 256-57, has assigned to Thessalonica under Phocas several tremisses hitherto given to Sicily. There remains the difficulty of the contrast with Thessalonican issues of Maurice and with the Thessalonican copper of Phocas himself. Heraclius' solidus MIB 2 should probably be added to Thessalonica. The tremisses of Justinian I almost certainly have to be augmented by specimens of a fabric like MIB 191 as can be seen from comparison with the drawings of the imperial bust and diadem/hair styles on Thessalonican copper, D. M. Metcalf, The Copper Coinage of Thessalonica under Justinan I (Vienna, 1976), p. 22, 3a, and p. 24, 4d. To this group belong the following specimens: BMC Vandals, pl. 16, 16, 1.47; DOC 19.1, 1.49; Mechitarist coll., Vienna = MIB 191; Rauch 36, 20-22 Jan. 1986 = Hahn coll., 1.48; Frankfurter Münzhandlung 90, 2 Mar. 1943, 28; Kress 112, 22 June 1959, 969; Hirsch 68, 1-3 July 1970, 916; Ciani and Vinchon, 6-7 May 1955, 514, 1.51.|
|25||For the subdivisions of the area praefectoria, see J. Karayannopoulos, Das Finanzwesen des fr�hbyzantinischen Staates, S�dosteurop�ische Arbeiten 52 (Munich, 1958), pp. 80-84, and Hendy (above, n. 5), pp. 411-12. J. M. Carrie, Collection de l'école Française de Rome 77 (1986), p. 129, has advanced the idea that the Thessalonican moneta auri was active only in order to check the weight of the solidi paid to the treasury and to recoin the light ones; but, in fact, Thessalonican solidi tend to be somewhat lighter in weight.|
|26||See P. Grierson, Münzen des Mittelatters, trans. A. P. Zeller (Munich, 1976), p. 16, illus. 2-3, his supposed Vandalic solidus from Sardinia is very doubtful. See also C. Morrisson, "La Circulation de la monnaie d'or en Afrique a l'epoque vandale, bilan des trouvailles locales," M�langes de numismatique offerts × Pierre Bastien..., ed. M. Huvelin et al. (Wetteren, 1987), pp. 325-44.|
The gold of the adjacent Italian prefecture has other antecedents. The old central mint of Rome retained its role as an institution of the regular administration from the time of the western empire through the Ostrogothic dominion and into early Byzantine times. The court mint of Mediolanum, first opened as a moneta comitativa or traveling mint, had been moved to heavily fortified Ravenna in 402. Aetius reactivated the Milan mint in ca. 450 for military purposes. Thus the magistri militum of the western empire had their own money supply during the second half of the fifth century. It was only here that Odoacer could maintain a continued coinage in the name of the last western emperor, Julius Nepos, whom Zeno demanded that he recognize in 476.34
Theodoric closed the Milan mint in the late 490s, perhaps as a result of his treaty with Anastasius I, in which imperial prerogatives were newly defined.35 The same fate befell Ravenna, a demonstration that the western court had ceased to exist. A typological caesura in the Italian gold marks a new stage in the gradual assimilation to Constantinople under Theodoric.36 The distribution of fifth-century solidi among the three Italian mints (and a fourth at Arelate) is fairly clear-cut, since most of them bear mint marks, but that of the unsigned fractions is more problematic. Only the Milanese tremisses display a distinctive style.37 The differentiation between Rome and Ravenna must rest on a close comparison of dies with those of the mint marked silver pieces of small module. The lack of a monograph in this field is keenly felt. The reconstruction of the framework of the fifth-century gold issues of Italy will provide important insights into the relationship between the eastern and western courts, inasmuch as the western mints struck a certain number of coins in the name of the eastern emperor at times of mutual recognition.
From about 500 onward the mint of Rome was the only Italian moneta auri until Justinian's Gothic war once more involved Ravenna. While the Ostrogothic kings had to move their mint first to Ravenna (536-40) and then to Ticinum (540-52), the Byzantines reorganized the Rome mint in the newly installed Italian prefecture, dividing it into ten officinae. This corresponds with the Constantinopolitan model.38 The mint soon followed the praetorian prefect to Ravenna as a consequence of the second siege of Rome (545/6). The distinction between the Roman and the early Ravennate solidus issues is problematic. Although the Roman pieces under Byzantine auspices started out with a clearly cut star of six rays—differentiating them from the eastern solidi, which are marked with a star of eight rays—this characteristic disappears later in Ravenna. Again the comparison with the mint marked copper provides a guide. As activity decreased during the later part of Justinian's reign, the indication of officinae became meaning less, and the letters in question seem to have become dates. The date at which this occurred and what kind of dating was employed are still under discussion.39 Even less is understood in the case of Tiberius II, when the western authorities could not decide whether to count his years as Caesar or his years as Augustus.
The contemporary gold coinage of the last three Ostrogothic kings—Hildebad, Totila/Baduila, and Theia—served mainly to pay their Frankish auxiliaries, and therefore evoked Frankish imitations which are not always easily recognizable as such. In the last third of the sixth century the Ravenna attributions need to be purged of similar coins which should be given to Sicily (see below). There are further difficulties in sorting out the early Lombard imitations which also use the Ravenna model. In addition to the royal mint in Ticinum, several smaller workshops of varying quality operated in the centers of the duchies.40
Rome's resumption of the striking of gold seems to coincide with Ravenna's growing isolation. The attributions in the earlier period (from Tiberius II to Heraclius) have hitherto been very hypothetical,41 but from Constans II onward they become more coherent: at this time Rome's issues begin to exceed those of Ravenna in quantity. From Constans II to Justinian II they show small monograms which probably refer to church treasuries or to a magistrate who had something to do with coinage.42 In any case there is no connection with the papal monograms which made their appearance on the small silver coins of Rome from the pontificate of Constantine (708-15) onward.43
In the last three decades of the seventh century a third Italian gold mint emerges at the seat of the Neapolitan dukes. Among a group of more or less imitative coins, its products are at first difficult to identify, but they become intelligible as soon as we can trace a sequence of issues on which style and administrative marks can be seen to correlate.44
In the eighth century the characteristic feature of the Italian coinage is its visible decline in weight and fineness. This has attracted the application of newly developed or refined methods of metallurgical investigation: see the contribution of Oddy to this volume. In general a short age of gold in the Mediterranean world accounts for its limited striking. The fluctuations in the gold content of the Rome coins, which resulted in a temporary token coinage of copper solidi, are extremely puzzling. These coins can be dated precisely on the basis of a continuous sequence of indictional years.45 The end of this old currency came with the Carolingian reform in Italy and with it the end of Byzantine hegemony over Rome. The latest Byzantine issue of copper solidi, as recognized by R. Denk,46 dates from 777/8. The end of gold coinage in Ravenna had come a little earlier. After the Lombard conquest of the city in 751, King Aistwulf continued to strike there in the exarch's mint,47 but under Frankish pressure he lost the city to the Popes and with the departure of the court there was no longer any need to maintain a gold mint. The differentiation between Rome, Ravenna and Naples under Leo III and Constantine V is less difficult, because the very distinct style of Rome is also seen on the small silver coins with papal monograms mentioned above, and also because a mint signature is occasionally used. On the other hand we can observe affinities between coins of Naples and those of Beneventum, where the Lombard dukes are found striking coins with ducal monograms from about 705 onward.48 Naples is the only Byzantine mint in Italy where a limited production has to be reckoned with after 800.49 The remnants of Byzantine territory in southern Italy were by now provided with coinage from Syracuse.
Having dealt with the gold mints under regular administration, there remain attributions to possible mints with special status. Three localities are considered: the Crimea (Cherson), Spain (Cartagena), and Sicily (Syracuse). Of these only the Spanish and the later Sicilian attributions (after 640) are secure; the Chersonese and the earlier Sicilian attributions are affected by various uncertainties.
|27||C. Morrisson, "Estimation du volume des solidi de Tib�re et Maurice × Carthage," PACT 5 (1981), pp. 267-84.|
|28||For hammering, MIB 3, p. 91. For smaller blanks, see F. Delamare, P. Montmitonnet, and C. Morrisson, "A Mechanical Analysis of Coin Striking: Its Application to the Evolution of Byzantine Gold Solidi Minted in Constantinople and Carthage," Journal of Mechanical Working Technology 10 (1986), pp. 253-71.|
|29||There are only a few intruders in later Sicilian hoards, at a time when Sicilian gold coins were struck on flans of similar shape.|
|30||For the sixth century, see C. Morrisson, "Le trésor byzantin de Souassi," BSFN 37 (1982), pp. 214-15, and her contribution in this volume; for the seventh, R. Guery, C. Morrisson, and H. Slim, Rougga, le trésor de monnaies d'or byzantines (Rome, 1982), p. 71. For the last issue see MIB 3, p. 167.|
|31||MIB 3, p. 167.|
|32||C. Morrisson, "Un trésor de solidi de Constantin IV de Carthage," RN 1980, p. 159; contrast MIB 3, p. 153.|
|33||C. Morrisson, J. Barrandon, and P. Poirier, "Nouvelles recherches sur l'histoire mon�taire byzantine: �volution compar�e de la monnaie d'or × Constantinople et dans les provinces d'Afrique et de Sicile," J�B 33 (1983), pp. 267-86, esp. pp. 274-75.|
|34||J. P. C. Kent, "Julius Nepos and the Fall of the Western Empire," Corolla memoriae E. Swoboda dedicata (Graz, 1966), pp. 146-50, and W. Hahn, "Die letzten Jahre der Mediolanenser Münzpr�gung vor der Schliessung der Münzst�tte durch Theoderich," G. Gorini, ed., La zecca di Milano. Atti del convegno internazionale di studio Milano 9-14 maggio 1983 (Milan, 1984), pp. 229-40.|
|35||MIB 3, p. 56, and Hahn (above, n. 34), p. 235.|
|36||MIB 1, pp. 77-78.|
|37||For documentation, see O. Ulrich-Bana, Moneta Mediolanensis 352-498 (Venice, 1949) and W. Hahn, "Die Münzst�tte Rom unter den Kaisern Julius Nepos, Zeno, Romulus Augustus und Basiliscus (474-91)," RIN (forthcoming).|
|38||MIB 1, pp. 53-54.|
|39||MIB 3, pp. 66-67, and the contribution by N. Fairhead and W. Hahn in this volume.|
|40||For Ticinum see E. Bernareggi, Il sistema economico e la monetazione dei Longobardi nell'Italia superiore (Milan, 1960); comparative material for the unattributed pieces is assembled in MIB 3, pl. 55. See also P. Grierson and M. Blackburn, Medieval Coinage, vol. 1 (Cambridge, Eng., 1986), pp. 55-66.|
|41||W. Hahn, "More about the Minor Byzantine Gold Mints from Tiberius II to Heraclius," NCirc 87 (1979), pp. 552-55.|
|42||MIB 3, pp. 131 and 154.|
|43||See M. D. O'Hara and I. Vecchi, "A Find of Byzantine Silver from the Mint of Rome for the Period A. D. 641-752," SNR 64 (1985), pp. 105-40.|
Cherson, a trading outpost under Byzantine hegemony, had long retained some sort of autonomy, as is documented by its anomalous copper coinage. Under Heraclius and Constans II a few solidi of eastern appearance, but differing from the Constantinopolitan fabric and marked by the sign X, have been given tentatively to Cherson.50 The lack of find evidence for them is hardly surprising since almost no gold coins have been recorded as found in the Crimean peninsula.51 Six corresponding issues are attested by single specimens;52 it seems that most of them were dated, although the elucidation of these dates is somewhat problematical.
|44||MIB 3, pp. 155 and 169-70; M. D. O'Hara, "A Curious and Interesting Solidus for the Mint of Naples under Justinian II," NCirc 96 (1988), pp. 43-44.|
|45||DOC 3, pp. 87-88.|
|46||R. Denk, "Zur Datierung der letzten byzantinischen Münzserien aus Rom," LNV 1 (1979), pp. 139-43.|
|47||See P. Grierson (above, n. 26), p. 46, and above (n. 40), p. 65.|
|48||MIB 3, p. 188. For this series see also W. A. Oddy, "Anaysis of the Gold Coinage of Beneventum," NC 1974, pp. 74-109, and P. Grierson and M. Blackburn (above, n. 40), pp. 66-72.|
|49||DOC, 3, pp. 84-85.|
|50||W. Hahn, "The Numismatic History of Cherson in Early Byzantine Times: A Survey," NCirc 86 (1978), pp. 414-15, 471-72, 521-23. The Russian specialists in the coinage of Cherson have not discussed the attribution of this solidus, but see I. V. Sokolova, Moneti i petshati vizantijskogo Chersonesa [Coins and seals of Byzantine Cherson] (Leningrad, 1983), p. 28.|
At the opposite end of the Byzantine world, in the West, there was a military district on the Spanish coast which was loosely attached to the African prefecture. Since this had been Visigothic territory and was surrounded by the Visigothic kingdom, where the tremissis was the only denomination struck, a need for this denomination had to be met. Carthage did not supply them, since it was not a tremissis mint, and was in any case remote. They were therefore manufactured locally from the beginning of the Byzantine presence under Justinian I (554) to its end under Heraclius (615-24). They have a pronounced and peculiar style with reminiscences of Visigothic coins in their lettering and even occasional typological borrowings. The evidence of provenance makes their attribution even more secure. Since the group was first identified by Grierson,53 the whole sequence of emperors from Justinian I to Heraclius is illustrated by a handful of specimens. Those of Justin II and Tiberius II have been discovered only recently.54
By far the most important extraordinary gold mint was that of Sicily, which became the second most active mint in the empire from the later seventh century onward. Until recently not only its beginnings but the entire first hundred years of its supposed existence were more or less obscure. The spectacular Monte Judica hoard, presented in this volume, has shed new light on the early period of Sicilian gold coinage. The position of this island had always been of exceptional importance, so it is hardly surprising to find that for a long time it was not subject to the regular administration but was more directly controlled from Constantinople. Whenever the money supply from the capital was insufficient or its maintenance was considered inadvisable, a local mint had to serve as a substitute. Its products were not, at first, intended to reveal their non-Constantinopolitan origin, and we have the same difficulties contemporaries must have had in distinguishing them. This is, incidentally, also partially true of sixth-century copper from Sicily. Constantinopolitan as well as Ravennate stylistic influences hinder the attributions. While the attribution of Sicilian solidi now seems secure throughout (with minor exceptions under Heraclius),55 the fractions offer serious problems from Maurice into the first half of Heraclius' reign. A distinct group of them, which has been given tentatively to Sicily before 610, has recently been moved to Thessalonica without satisfactorily solving all the problems connected with this transfer.56
The Sicilian style proper and the use of specific administrative marks begins late in the reign of Heraclius. Occasional dating occurs under Heraclius and Justinian II.57 The effect of the temporary stay of Constans II in Syracuse (663-68) on Sicilian coin production is still a matter of dispute: it is connected with the question of a traveling field mint accompanying the emperor and with the supposed coinage of the usurper Mezezius in Sicily, the authenticity of which has been contested.58 The weight was reduced by Justinian II in his first reign (685-95) and again under Philippicus (711-13) following the western tendency toward lower weight standards.59 The fineness fell during the reign of Leontius (695-98) and after, but after some fluctuation it was stabilized by Leo III in the 730s at a level about 15 percent lower than in Constantinople.60 When the Arabs began their piecemeal occupation of the island (a process which extended from 827 to 878) and the Byzantine presence there became more and more isolated, a final debasement in weight and fineness began which led to coins consisting of one half copper. The first metallurgical investigations pioneered by the French team have shown the outlines, but more results are desirable to follow the development in detail.
This brief survey of the history of gold mints should make evident the need for further research. To understand the correlation between monetary circulation and transactions new hoard registers are needed. Regional projects have been initiated to replace Mosser's outdated and cursory bibliography of Byzantine hoards. Aside from the African inventory mentioned above, large scale efforts have been made to begin a regional examination of all fifth to seventh-century hoards from the Balkans,61 with a view toward achieving a better understanding of the Slavic incursions. Another attempt is underway in Italy,62 where smaller museums probably house unknown hoard material. All this work should be undertaken in light of new attributions resulting from recent research. Unfortunately the eastern empire cannot be expected to receive similar coverage. We have to rely on the occasional discovery of recently unearthed hoards, which rarely come from controlled excavations63 but are mainly known through information from the trade. The dawning recognition of the importance of preserving provenances offers a faint ray of hope. Several responsible dealers are to be thanked and encouraged for their efforts in this regard.
A second approach to understanding the coinage is metrology in its broadest sense, which involves investigation not only of weight and fineness, but of the exchange rates between metals — in other words, the price of gold expressed in copper or in kind (adaeratio). Aspects of this question border on the territory of the economic historian, but the numismatic implications are primary, since the coins themselves provide the evidence for monetary reforms or debasements as documented by the introduction of new denominations such as the light weight solidus. Since Adelson's monograph on these peculiar coins of the sixth and seventh centuries, much new material has come to light,64 so that a new corpus of dies might be a promising venture. Meanwhile we have been able to include in this volume a contribution devoted to one aspect of the subject, their distribution. The importance of the light weight solidi for the reckoning of exchange rates has been argued in MIB: they enabled the payment of various sums in carats.
The differentiation between coin units and units of account is a problem which has caused much confusion when related to contemporary texts. Two examples recently discussed in the light of exchange rates (i.e. solidus prices) are the Abydos inscription and the Donori inscription.65 Both give insights into Byzantine taxation policies. Similar problems are encountered when the numerous references to payments recorded in papyri are used for numismatic analysis.66
It has been supposed that the output of the mints was dictated in advance by the authorities of the tax administration, in close connection with taxation policies. This would imply that the volume of an issue was calculated by the expected demands, an idea that has not gone unchallenged.67 Where the solidi are dated by years, we should be able to check the fluctuations in mint activity as soon as we have calculated more reliable estimates of output through die corpora. A comparison with fiscal periods such as taxation cycles and census terms might also provide new insights.68 The financing of the augustaticum, which was to be paid by the emperor to his soldiers on his quinquennial anniversaries, must have been burdensome, since Anastasius I had abolished the collatio lustralis auri argentive in 498.69 Raising of such large sums seems to have been facilitated by monetary measures, such as altering exchange rates from time to time.70 In any case, the economic situation of the empire will be elucidated by better knowledge of the quantities of gold needed in circulation to support taxation on the one hand and, on the other, for the payment of troops, civil servants, subsidies, and tributes. A new compilation of the limited evidence referring to such budget figures would be useful and would facilitate reference to complementary evidence.71
As always, new questions may seem to retard the progress of numismatic research. The authors and editors of this volume have not hesitated to advance their ideas and speculations; nor have they concealed their feelings whenever the assembled numismatic material seemed insufficient to solve inherent problems. Although they differ in their style of presentation, they hope that their comments on the numismatic evidence (of which, it is hoped, some will endure) will be noticed by historians.
|51||I. V. Sokolova, "Nakhodki vizantijskich monet VI-XIvv v Krimu" [Byzantine coin finds of the sixth to twelfth centuries in the Crimea], VV 29 (1969), pp. 254-68.|
|52||Add to the five specimens listed in MIB 3, pp. 218 and 242, a piece which came to light in the Schulten sale of 2-3 Nov. 1983, 990, and reappeared in Schweizerische Kreditanstalt sale, 27 Apr. 1984, 700, with commentary.|
|53||P. Grierson, "Una ceca bizantina en Espa�a," NumHisp 4 (1956), pp. 305-14.|
|54||Justin II, MIB 2, p. 41, 19; and W. J. Tomasini, The Barbaric Tremissis in Spain and Southern France, Anastasius to Leovigild, ANSNNM 152 (1964), p. 171, pl. D, 7; Tiberius II, in the museum of Seville, see F. Percz-Sindreu, Catalogo de monedas y medallas de oro, gabinete numismatico municipal (Seville, 1980), p. 29, 45.|
|55||The group MIB 3, 101-3, has once more been claimed for Carthage by C. Morrisson, "Note de numismatique Byzance × propos de quelquss ouvrages r�cents," RN 1983, p. 218.|
|56||See W. Hahn, "Some Unusual Gold Coins of Heraclius and Their Mint Attribution," NCirc 85 (1977), pp. 536-39, group C, and Hahn (above, n. 41), group C; see also S. Bendall (above, n. 24), pp. 256-57.|
|57||MIB 3, pp. 94, 168, and 193.|
|58||W. Hahn, "Mezezius in peccato suo interiit. Kritische Betrachtungen zu einem Neuling in der Münzreihe der byzantinischen Kaiser," J�B 29 (1980), pp. 61-70; MIB 3, p. 159. The coin in question was taken as genuine by P. Grierson, Coins, p. 139, and C. Morrisson expressed skepticism regarding Hahn's conclusions (at least with respect to the British Museum specimen) in "Note de numismatique byzantine × propos de quelques ouvrages r�centes," RN 1983, p. 215, n. 8. See now P. Grierson, "A semissis of Mezezius," NC 1986, pp. 231-32, where a coin in Dumbarton Oaks from the collection of Hayford Pierce (acquired in 1946), omitted from DOC, is reattributed and taken as suggestive of the authenticity of Mezezius' solidi. Grierson assumes that the coin is of Sicilian fabric, but it shares the Constantinopolitan style with the solidi and therefore cannot resolve the question. The involvement of an older Italian forger (Tardani ? — see RIN 9 , p. 150) cannot be ruled out.|
|59||DOC 2, p. 17.|
|60||See Morrisson (above, n. 33), pp. 275-76.|
|61||Directed by V. Popović, Belgrade.|
|62||The project "Ripostigli monetali in Italia, documentazione dei complessi" was begun in 1980 by the Civiche raccolte numismatiche di Milano and aims to publish hoards of all period, not only the Byzantine.|
|63||There are, fortunately, exceptions, such as the hoards of Nikertai (above, n. 12) and Rougga (above, n. 30), published by C. Morrisson, and of Hajdučka Vodenica in Serba, published by N. Duval and V. Popović, Le Trésor de Hajdučka Vodenica, Collection de l'école Française de Rome 75 (1984), pp. 179-82.|
|64||The 23-carat solidi were not recognized by Adelson, but were identified by E. Leuthold, "Solidi leggieri da XXIII silique degli imperatori Mauricio, Foca ed Eraclio," RIN 1960, pp. 146-54; for the introduction of this denomination see also W. Hahn, "A propos de l'introduction des solidi l�gers de 23 carats sous Maurice," BSFN 36 (1981), pp. 96-97.|
|65||Abydos has recently been discussed by J.-P. Callu, "Le tarif d'Abydos et la r�forme mon�tairee d'Anastase," T. Hackens and R. Weiller, eds., Actes du J congr�s international de numismatique Berne, sept. 1979 (Louvan, 1982), pp. 731-40; W. Hahn, MIB 3, pp. 36-39; and J. Durliat and A. Guillou, "Le tarif d'Abydos (vers 492)," BCH 108 (1984), pp. 581-98. For Donori see J. Durliat, "Taxes sur l'ent�e des marchadiseses dans la cit� de Carales-Cagliari × l'�poque byzantine," DOP 36 (1982), pp. 1-14.|
|66||J.-M. Carr�, "Monnaie d' or et monnaee de bronze dans l'�gypte protobyzantine" Les 'd�valuations' × Rome: �poque r�publicaine et impériale 2 (Rome, 1980), pp. 253-70, and "Comptes et depenses en or," M. Manfredini, ed., Trenta testi greci da papiri letterarie e documentari editi in occasione del XVII congresso internazionaee de papirologia (Florence, 1983), pp. 112-19.|
|67||MIB 1, p. 17; MIB 3, p. 85, n. 5, challenged by D. M. Metcalf, "New Light on the Byzantine Coinage System," NCirc 82 (1974), p. 15.|
|68||C. Morrisson (above, n. 27), and below, pp. 50-51 and 54-55.|
|69||For the practice of collatio lustralis in connecionn with the augustiaccum see RE 4, col. 371 (Seeck, Karayannopoulos (above, n. 25), pp. 129-30, and Hendy, Studies (above, n. 5), p. 647. For the abolition of this special kind of taxation see T. N�ldecke, "Die Aufhebung des Chrysargyron durch Anastasius," BZ 13 (1904), p. 135; for Anastasius' innovations, J. Karayannopoulos, "Die Chrysoteleia der Iuga," BZ 49 (1956), pp. 72-84. Contrast R. Delmaire, "Remarques sur le chrysargyre et sa periodicit�," RN 1985, pp. 120-29.|
|70||See Hahn (above, n. 65), pp. 96-97. Alterations of the exchange rates are denied by Hendy, Studies (above, n. 5), p. 493, and J. Durliat, La valeur relative de l or, de l'argent et du cuivre dans l'empire protobyzantine," RN 1980, pp. 138-54. Contrast W. Hahn, "Das Römerreich der Byzantiner aus numismatischer Sicht. West-�stliche Wahrungspolitk der Byzantiner im 5.-8. Jahrhundet," SNR 65 (1985), pp. 175-86.|
|71||For the eighth and ninth centuries see the detailed study of W. T. Treadgold, The Byzantine State Finances in the Eighth and Ninth Centuries (New York City, 1982). For the earlier period one had to rely on older studies, e.g. E. Stein, "Zur byzantinischen Finanzgeschichte," Studien zur Geschichte des byzantinischen Reiches vornehmlich unter des Kaisers Justinus II. und Tiberius Constantinus (Stuttgart, 1919) and BZ 1924, pp. 337-87, where references to earlier, sometimes controversial studies are to be found. See now Hendy, Studies (above, n. 5), pp. 164-81.|
|1||H. Cohen, Description historique des monnaies frapp�es sous l'empire romain, vol. 8 (Paris, 1892).|
|2||This includss the empresses Pulcheria, Galla Placidia, Eudoxia II, and Ariadne. For the last see W. Hahn, "Die M�zpr�gung für Aelia Ariadne," Festschrift für H. Hunger (Vienna, 1984), pp. 101-6.|
|3||A. S. Robertson, Roman Imperial Coins in the Hunter Coin Cabinet, University of Glasgow 5 (Oxford, 1982).|
|4||W. Hahn, "De �stliche Gold- und Silberpr�gung unter Theodosius II," LNV 1 (1979), pp. 103-28; W. Hahn, "Die Ostpr�gung des R�mischen Reiches im 5.Jahrhundet" (in press). O. Ulrich-Bansa, Moneta Mediolanensis 352-498 (Venice, 1949). For an example of the latter category, see G. Lacam, La fin de l'empire romain el le monnayage d'or en Italie (Lucerne, 1983).|
In the spring of 527, Justin I, who had ruled for nine years, fell ill; on April 1, under pressure from the Senate, he co-opted Justinian, whose career he had been promoting since his own accession. Three days later, on Easter Sunday, Justinian I was crowned by the Patriarch Epiphanios; that this event occured in the Delphax rather than, as usual, in the Hippodrome, bespeaks the gravity of Justin's illness. The old emperor (he was 75 or 77) finally succumbdd on August 1.1
The gold coinage of the brief joint reign of Justin and Justinian has attracted little systematic study despite its obvious allure.2 The elegant presentation of two enthroned emperors on the obverse stands out against the otherwise bleak background of the sixth-century gold: moreover, the very brevity of the reign and the rarity of the coins render them a controllable mass and insure that a high percentage of the population surviving above ground is either preserved in major collections or illustrated in sale catalogues.
Alfred Bellinger, who made no attempt at comprehensiveness, was able to assemble a corpus of 33 specimens in 1966; less than a decade later W. Hahn increased the number of recorded specimens to 40, and to 45 by 1981.3 Neither made a systematic study of the dies, although both attemped to classify the bewildering variety of obverse variants and obverse/reverse combinations in trying to educe a structure for the coinage. The purpose of this essay is to present a fuller listing and an ordered catalogue of the coins incorporating its extensive die linkage. It is not claimed that a rational structure can be perceived, and indeed it is plausible that that system, if any, would elude detection even if all the coinage survived to us. But it is possible to take the evidence somewhat further than either Bellinger or Hahn was able to do and, if one can generalize from the experience of a relatively brief episode in the early history of the solidus, to suggest some flaws in the way we now look at imperial mint organization.
In the catalogue, the major categories follow the presentation of Hahn in MIB 1, with numbers romanized for convenience. For varieties of his groups I and II, the obverse dies are prefixed "O" and numbered serially in order of appearance; reverse dies are prefixed with the officina numeral and, within each officina, numbered serially in order of appearance. In group III, the obverses are prefixed "C" (curved); reverses continue the numbering of groups I and II. Weights are given where known, merely for the sake of completeness, since the weights approach the normative 4.5 g; the dies seem to be oriented at 6:00 without variation. All coins are illustrated except nos. 4, 18, 29-30, 41, and 43.
Ia. No cross, no globe
|1.||O1-B1||London, BMC 1, 4.48.|
|2.||O1-Δ1||London, BMC 2, 4.44.|
|3.||O1-H1||a. Padua, Museo Bottacin 2206; b. Bank Leu 13, 4 May 1976, 446, 4.49.|
|4.||-H||R. N. Bridge, "Some Unpublished Byzantine Gold Coins," NCirc 78 (1970), pp. 246-47, 4, 4.40.|
Ib. No cross, globe
|5.||O2-I1||DOC 2, 4.46.|
Ic. Cross, no globe
|6.||O3-B1||a. Tolstoi 132, 4.45; b. Hess-Leu, 12 Apr. 1962, 549, 4.50; c. Istanbul, Archaeological Museum.|
Id. Cross, globe
|7.||O4-B2||Paris BNC 03/Cp/A//01, 4.46 (pierced).|
|8.||O5-B2||a. ANS 1968.131.12, 3.52 (clipped); b. Christie's, 22 Apr. 1986 (Goodacre), 68, 4.42.|
|9.||O6-ᒥ1||a. London, BMC 4, 4.39; b. Canessa, 28 June 1923 (Caruso), 657 = Hirsch 24, 10 May 1909 (Consul Weber), 3012, 4.48.|
|10.||O5-Δ1||a. Tolstoi 138, 4.4 = Rollin and Feuardent, 20 Apr. 1896 (Montagu), 1096; b. DOC 5b, 4.40.|
|11.||O7-A1||H. J. Berk, Roman Coins of the Medieval World, 383-1453 A.D. (Joliet, Ill., 1986), 41, 4.19.|
|12.||O8-E1||Rollin and Feuardent, 25 Apr. 1887 (Ponton, d'Am�court), 873.|
|13.||O5-S1||London, BMC 5, 4.50.|
|14.||O9-S2||London, BM 1918-5–3-2 ex Dewick = Christie's, 5 May 1885 (Tomassini), 4.39.|
|15.||O10-S3||a. Whitting = Glendining, 16 Nov. 1950 (Hall), 2212 = Naville 3, 16 June 1922 (Evans), 297, 4.25; b. Glendining, 9 Mar. 1931, 424 (plugged;; c. Kyrenia Girdle no. 3, pl. 8.4.|
|16.||O6-S4||NFA 18, 1 Apr. 1987, 658 = Bank Leu 13, 30 Apr. 1975, 574, 4.48.|
|17.||O8-S4||Oxford (Evans coll.) =Schulman, 28 Feb. 1939, 92, 3.99.|
|18.||-S||Photiades cat. 113 see Bellinger [above, n. 2], p. 91, 25, and BMC 5, n.).|
|19.||O6-Z1||ANS 1977.158.1025, 4.33.|
|20.||O11-H1||Hess 249, 13 Nov. 1979, 459, 4.48.|
|21.||O12-H2||Münz. u. Med. 43, 12 Nov. 1970, 541, 4.07.|
|22.||O5-⊖1||NFA 18, 1 Apr. 1987, 659, 4.48 = NFA , 20 Mar. 1975, 427, 4.47 = Numismatic Fine Arts, vol. 3, 2-4 (Autumn 1974), G155.|
|23.||O8-⊖2||a. London, BMC 6, 4.48; b. Berlin 4052, 4.45.|
|24.||O5-I2||a. Stack's, 20 Jan. 1938 (Faelten), 1712 = Canessa, 28 June 1923 (Caruso, 658; b. Hess, 30 Apr. 1917 (Horsky), 4692; c. Münzhandlung Basel FPL 13, Nov. 1938, 74 = Ratto 436; d. Hess-Leu 41, 25 Apr. 1969, 734, 4.47.|
|25.||O5-I1||Münz. u. Med. 52, 19 June 1975, 823.|
|26.||O8-I3||a. Paris, BNC 03/Cp/AJ/02, 4.24; b. Münz. u. Med. 12, 11 June 1953, 909; c. Ratto 437.|
|27.||O13-I1||Oxford, Keble coll, 4.45.|
|28.||O6-I4||Schotten, H�bl 3470 (pierced).|
|30.||-I||Moustier 3959 (see Bellinger [above, n. 2], p. 91, 26, and BMC 6, n.).|
IIa. No cross, no globe, no crossbar on throne, cushions
|31.||O14-Γ1||Kyrenia Girdle no. 2, pl. 8.3.|
|32.||O15-Z2||a. DOC la, 4.35; b. Glendining, 17 June 1964, 265 = Glendining, 27 May 1941, 883 = Glendining, 8 Dec. 1922 ("Foreign Prince" [Cantacuzene]), 40.|
|33.||O16-⊖1||Tolstoi 135, 4.5.|
|35.||O14-I5||a. London, BMC 3, 4.45; b. Kastner 10, 18 May 1976, 320 = Sternbeg, 28 Nov. 1975, 568 4.45.|
IIb. Cross, globe, no crossbar on throne, cushions
|36.||O18-I1||a. DOC 6b.1, 4.48; b. DOC 6b.2, 4.22.|
IIc. Cross, globe, cushions
|37.||O19-A1||Numismatic Fine Arts, vol. 3, 2-4 (Autumn 1974), G154.|
|38.||O20-A2||Kunst u. Münzen 12, May 1974, 845.|
|39.||O21-B2||a. Bellinger coll., 4.37; b. The Hague, 4.47.|
|40.||O22-Γ2||DOC 3, 4.41.|
|41.||-Γ||Vienna = Longuet, pl. 6, 89.|
|42.||O23-S5||a. Paris, BNC 03/Cp/A//03, 4.45; b. Kricheldorf 28, 18 June 1974, 331.|
|44.||O24-Z2||ANS 1962. 170.1, 4.30.|
|45.||O25-H3||a. ANS 1968.131.13, 4.34; b. Slocum coll. 1974, 4.45.|
|46.||O26-H4||Kricheldorf 30, Apr. 1976, 382 = Kastner 6, 26 Nov. 1974, 430. 4.19.|
|47.||O26-H5||Sternbeg, 28 Nov. 1975, 569, 4.45.|
|48.||O ?-H4||Tunis, Bardo (El Djem).|
|49.||O23-⊖3||Ratto, 26 Jan. 1955 (Giorgi), 1207 = Glending, 14 Jan. 1953, 184 = Ratto 438.|
|50.||O24-I6||a. Berlin, Friedbaum, 4.47; b. Hess-Leu 28, 5 May 1965, 564 = Hesperia Art Bulletin 24, , 82 = Münz. u. Med. 25, 17 Nov. 1962, 688.|
|51.||O27-17||Cahn 35, 3 Nov. 1913, 578 = Cahn, FPL 24, Nov. 1912, 1938 (MIB "1338").|
IIIa. No cross, no globe, cushions
|52.||C1-S3||a. Hirsch 31, 6 May 1912, 2095 = Hirsch 26, 23 May 1910, 881, 4.50; b. Bank Leu 10, 29 May 1974, 462, 4.47.|
IIIb. Cross, globe, cushions
|53.||C2-S6||DOC 7a, 4.47 = Grierson, Coins, pl. 2, 19.|
|54.||C3-H6||Tolstoi 141, 4.35 = Rollin and Feuardent, 20 Apr. 1896 (Montagu), 1095.|
|55.||C4-I8||Tolstoi 143, 4.25.|
|56.||C5-I9||a. Kyrenia Girdle no. 4, pl. 8.2; b. NFA 18, 1 Apr. 1987, 660, 4.51.|
|1||Additional abbreviations used are:
|2||The fullest treatment is that of A. R. Bellinger, "Byzantine Notes 3: The Gold of Justin I and Justinian I, ANSMN 12 (1966), pp. 90-92. See also MIB 1, pp. 44-45, and the Materialnachweise, p. 107.|
|3||The material assembled by Hahn is augmented in MIB 2, p. 23, and 3, p. 32.|
Obverse dies show the two emperors (presumably Justin I on the left and Justinian I on the right) nimbate seated facing; the seat may be invisible or partly visible, or may take the form of a rectilinear or "lyre-backed throne. Unless otherwise indicated, the obverse legend is D N IVSTIN ET IVSTINIAN P P AVC. "Globe" indicates that a globe is held in the left hand of the imperial figures, the absence of a notation that the left hand is drawn up to the breast. Notes regarding the knee advanced refer to the figures l. and r. respectively: "r. and l. knees" indicates that the left figure's right knee and the right figure's left knee are advanced, "l. knees" that the left knees of both figures are advanced, and so on.
Ia. No cross, no globe
|O1:||l. and r. knees, Pl. 1: 1-3.|
Ib. No cross, globe
|02:||l. knees, Pl. 1:5.|
Ic. Cross, no globe
|O3:||r. knees, Pl. 1:6.|
Id. Cross, globe
|O4:||cushion on r. of throne, l. knees, Pl. 1: 7.|
|O5:||l. knees, Pl. 1:8, 10, 13; Pl. 2: 22, 24, 25.|
|O6:||cushion, l. knees, Pl. 1:9, 16; Pl. 2: 19, 28.|
|O7:||r. knees, Pl. 1:11.|
|O8:||D N IVSTIN ET IVSTINI P P AVC, I. knees, Pl. 1: 12; Pl. 2: 17, 23, 26.|
|O9:||l. knees, Pl. 1:4.|
|O10:||l. knees, Pl. 1:15.|
|O11:||r. knees, Pl. 2: 20.|
|O12:||I. knees, Pl. 2: 21.|
|O13:||l. knees, Pl. 2: 27.|
IIa. No cross, no globe, no crossbar on throne, cushions
|O14:||l. and r. knees, Pl. 2: 31, 35.|
|O15:||l. and r. knees, Pl. 2: 32.|
|O16:||l. and r. knees, Pl. 2:33.|
|O17:||l. and r. knees, Pl. 2: 34.|
IIb. Cross, globe, no crossbar on throne, cushions
|O18: D N IVSTIN ET IVSTINAN P P AVC,||l. knees, Pl. 3: 36.|
IIc. Cross, globe, cushions
|O19:||l. knees, Pl. 3: 37.|
|O20:||l. knees, Pl. 3: 38.|
|O21:||N always two unconnected vertical strokes, l. knees, Pl. 3: 39.|
|O22:||l. knees, Pl. 3 : 40.|
|O23:||D N IVSTIN ET IVSTINAN P P AVC, l. knees, Pl. 3: 42, 49.|
|O24:||l. knees, Pl. 3: 44, 50.|
|O25:||D N IVSTIN ET IVSTINIANVS P P AVC, I. knees, Pl. 3: 45.|
|O26:||l. knees, Pl. 3: 46, 47.|
|O27:||l. knees, Pl. 4:51.|
IIIa. No cross, no globe, cushions
|C1:||r. knees, Pl. 3: 52.|
IIIb. Cross, globe, cushions, D N IVSTINV ET IVSTINIANVS P P AVC,
|C2:||l. knees, Pl. 3: 53.|
|C3:||r. and l. knees, Pl. 3: 54.|
|C4:||l. knees, Pl. 3: 55.|
|C5:||l. knees, Pl. 3: 56.|
In the catalogue, the obverse dies are presented in increasing order of complexity of the type and within the major headings according to adjuncts. This preserves the essence of Hahn's system, which is based on the shape of the throne, the presence or absence of a cross, and presence or absence of a globe. These are by no means the only diagnostics that might have been chosen. Bellinger, who first drew attention to the varieties of throne type, also noted that the presentation of the imperial figures is not consistent throughout: either may have either knee advanced, and it may be the same as or opposite to that of his partner. Bellinger noticed the differences in obverse legend that are observed here without, apparently, attaching any significance to them; Hahn ignored the legends entirely. The presence or absence of a cross has elicited no detailed comment.4 After a lengthy discussion of such variations in the obverses, Bellinger concluded that they are not the idiosyncrasies of die engravers and that the divergencies are not demonstrably connected. He remarked, "We can only conclude that a number of engravers, working in a hurry, produced dies which conformed in general, to be sure, but which were not strictly controlled as to details."5 The "hurry" factor is often associated with short reigns, but except insofar as we suppose a pressure for immediate coinage at an imperial accession, Grierson is quite right to remark that short reigns are only short in retrospect, and that contemporaries could hardly have foreseen their brief duration.6
Yet within this broad context of supposed haste and consequent jumbling of attributes, some aspects of the types have been thought significant. Bellinger, for example, supported Wroth's distinction between styles 1 and 2, the former characterized by clasped hands, the latter by the left holding a globus. Bellinger remarks, "One hesitates to speak of a sequence of issues in a period of only four months but it may be suggested that the superior majesty of Type 2 was felt to be more appropriate than the superior piety of Type l."7 Hahn's discussion is brief and, in part, derivative from Bellinger's. Like Bellinger he sees chronological significance in the shift from folded arms to globus in left; and for him the variable seating arrangements (no throne/throne/lyre-backed throne) are the hallmarks of three different die engraves..
None of this will withstand examination. Hahn's own observation of the frequent linkage among obverse types, further elaborated here, disposes of any chronological significance they might be supposed to have, since no consistent pattern emerges. Note, for example, the following shared reverses:
B1: groups Ia and Ic
B2: groups Id and IIc
Γ1: groups Id and IIa
Δ1: groups Ia and Id
Z2: groups IIa and IIc
⊖1: groups Id and IIa
I1: groups Ib and Id
Dies paired with obverses of group Id are those most commonly linked with obverses of other groups, but by any measure that is the most common variety in the series and its linkage to the others would be expected to be most frequent. No single attribute or adjunct appears with sufficient consistency among the groups to be taken as a chronological signpost unless we suppose the simultaneous striking of three very different obverse styles; in that case we would be reduced to discussing nothing more than the relationship of the dies inter se, a bootless endeavor. What may be significant—though not necessarily in chronological terms—is the elaboration of the throne.
The most elaborate of the thrones that appear on the coinage of the joint reign is commonly called "lyre-backed," for obvious reasons. Until the study of Cutler in 1975,8 this form had attracted hardly any attention at all, perhaps because its representation is confined to coins. In a study of the appearance of the motif he concluded, largely from overwhelming ex silentio arguments, that there is no evidence for the existence of the lyre-backed throne as a piece of furniture, and that its significance is therefore to be sought in its symbolism. To summarize broadly (and without considering its possible orphic origins and implications), this throne may be seen as the medium by which the Logos, through intermediaries, harmonized the conflicts of the world. It originally had the connotation of wisdom, but this was eventually forgotten and the form degenerated so far as to become virtually unrecognizable.
This interpretation is certainly consistent with the coins of the joint reign, both politically and numismatically. The association of Justinian I in the rule was clearly intended to formalize his succession to the elderly emperor, who was either 75 or 77 years old at the beginning of 527. The coinage, like the events of Holy Week, simply confirmed a longstanding dynastic plan that would be the signal achievement of Justin's rule.
The view that the type is to be read only in such broad terms is reinforced by the casual admixture of other symbolic forms—globe and cross as attributes and adjuncts—as well as inattention to sometimes die-specific variants in legends meant to be perceived as formulaic, quite apart from the information they conveyed.9
|4||The cross which usually appears between the heads of the emperors on the obverse was called by Bellinger a cross potent, but if it is properly potent at all the termini of the cross are attenuated at best. This identification of the cross led A. Cutler, "The Lyre-backed Throne," Transfigurations: Studies in the Dynamics of Byzantine Iconography (Pennsylvania State University Press, University Park, 1975) to observe that the use of the cross potent during the reigns of Justin and Justinian seems to be confined to the coins; but while there are clear examples in the coinage of Justinian alone, the joint reign solidi are not the best evidence for the phenomenon.|
|5||Bellinger (above, n. 2), p. 92.|
|6||P. Grierson, "Coins mon�tairess et officines × l'epoque du Bas-Empire," SM 11 (1961), pp. 1-8, esp. p. 5.|
|7||Bellinger (above, n. 2), p. 91.|
|8||Cutler (above, n. 4), pp. 5-52, esp. 6-11 and 38-40. A. Grabar, L'empereur dans l'art byzantin (Strasbourg, 1936, rpt., London, 1971), pp. 199-200, had already noted the significance of the throne as a cult object dating back to early Roman times.|
|9||The omission of AN from the obverse of O8 is unique, as are the disconnected Ns of O18. It would be easier to take IVSTINAN as a simple misspelling if it did not occur twice (O16, O20). Similarly the form D N IVSTIN ET IVSTINIAN P P AVG, dominant in classes I and II, occurs a single time (C1) in class III, while that class's dominant fuller form occurs once in class II (O22). It should be recognized that such variations, which are often useful and used in cataloguing, may bear no relation to mint organization.|
In contrast to the obverse, which stands out against the sixth century solidi, the reverse type continues that employed on the issues of Justin I, which was later to be carried over into the sole reign of Justinian and later still adapted by varying the ornament surmounting the cross in the angel's right hand. A quick survey of the coins of the flanking reigns of Justin I and of Justinian I seems to suggest that the reverses of the joint reign owe more to their predecessors struck under Justin than the coins of Justinian do to either in terms of style: by comparison, the coins of Justinian show a generally more squat angel whose wings do not rise as high vis × vis his head: the drapery is rendered with less care, and the placement of the feet often suggests a figure in motion rather than static.
It is possible—in fact, likely—that some reverse dies of Justin and Justinian were originally employed during the sole reign of Justin, and that some continued in use when Justinian achieved sole power in August of 527. A careful search would be tedious but would probably repay the effort. It has not been undertaken here because unless such links were to be found in numbers they would not significantly alter the picture of the coinage suggested here. What is needed is a more refined view of the internal chronology of the coinage than is possible in the present state of the evidence.
The careful marking of reverse dies in the Byzantine coinage seems to attest the most rigid subdivision into officinae observed in any ancient coinage. Although the internal structure of the mint is not perfectly understood, it is at least clear that the concept of discrete, independently functioning workshops is to be avoided. This was first observed by Grierson, and has subsequently been reinforced by the occasional occurence of die linked solidi of different officinae in hoards.10
Here the instance of dies shared among officinae must surely be as high as is to be observed in any sample of Byzantine coins. Die O1 is found with reverse dies from B (1) Δ (2), and H (3a-b); O5 with B (8a-b), Δ (10a-b), S (13), ⊖ (22), and I (24a-b, 25); O6 with Γ (9a-b) and S (16); O8 with E, S, ⊖, and I (12, 17, 23a-b, 26a-c), and so on. In the present sample there is no evidence of a systematic association of pairs or triplets of officinae, and it has to be supposed that the distribution of dies among the workshops reflects their drawing upon a common pool of dies (a die box) for the production of reverses. It is of course equally plausible that the obverses, too, came from die boxes, since there is nothing which would suggest their attachment to specific officinae, and indeed the likelihood of this construct grows as obverses begin to appear linked with dies of three or more workshops.
In spite of the small size of the sample, it may be worthy of note that there is no certain instance of recutting of dies to be observed, either within or among officinae and despite the existence of die 3 with the number reversed.11
Heretofore it has never been supposed that these coins were struck anywhere but Constantinople. There is clear evidence for the existence of a mint for gold at Thessalonica for the emperors from Anastasius I onwards—sometimes gold that would on the basis of its markings have been taken to be Constantinopolitan—but no one to date has hinted at the existence of a non-metropolitan mint for the brief joint reign.12
In fact if Cutler's analysis is credited and the throne is stripped of its pictorial literalism, and if this is combined with the discreteness of the lyre-backed group, it is possible, at least for now, to suggest the existence of a mint at Thessalonica. For none of the lyre-backed solidi display reverse die links to throneless or square-backed ones, while within those two groups die linkage is common.
It is dangerous to be dogmatic in enumerating stylistic differences on the basis of as few as seven specimens from five obverse dies but, for what it is worth, the obverses of group III generally display taller, more vertically oriented figures seated on the throne, which is itself rendered with more care and consistency than those shown on the coins with straight back of group II. The angel on the reverse maintains the same posture throughout, and his right wrist leading up to the cross is impossibly long. The star in the field is uniformly large, while some variation in size is to be observed on coins of the other two groups. Against the use of style as a dissociative criterion are certain features which, if not identical, at least display the same kind of variation as has been noted in groups I and II: for example, on obverse die C1 the outside knees of both emperors are advanced, while on all the other dies the right ones are forward; C1 also lacks the cross in field which is present on all other dies. Similarly C1 is without the globe, which is present elsewhere, and it has short form of obverse legend which is characteristic of groups I and II. I have not been able to examine the coins struck from this die, but just possibly the lyre-backed throne has been recut from a rectilinear one. If so, the hypothesis of a second mint is obviously weakened.
|10||P. Grierson (above, n. 6), p. 4. For die links among officinae see W. E. Metcalf, "Three Byzantine Gold Hoards," ANSMN 25 (1980), pp. 87-108, especially hoard 2, nos. 3 and 7, 4 and 6, 26 and 36, 34 and 39, 50 and 54, all pairing coins of different workshops; C. Morrisson, "Le trésor byzantin de Nikertai," RBN 118 (1972), pp. 29-91, esp. 40-43 and fig. 5.|
|11||But see below, p. 26.|
At the very least the picture of the coinage of Justin I and Justinian I is more complicated than expected. Grierson had already pointed to the fairly frequent linkage among officinae, which is more common than the existence of a system for their numeration would imply; his view is confirmed here, with its implications extended into the sixth century. Similarly minor variations in legend and in distribution of attributes and adjuncts cannot be seen here—as they are sometimes seen elsewhere—as the trademarks of engravers or as secret marks that somehow, if decoded, might elucidate the working routine of the metropolitan mint.
Allowance must be made for the "hurry factor"; even if "short reigns are only short in retrospect," the illness of Justin gave more than the usual urgency to a proclamation coinage, and this might be reflected in unusual steps taken to hasten its production. Nonetheless, the coinage presents a surprisingly disorganized aspect which, if it may be generalized to the sixth century coinage at large, reduces the reliability of some time-honored simple solutions to complex problems, and invites the painstaking analysis, die by die, of a forbidding mass of material.
The Approximate Size of the Coinage
A die study of this sort provides the opportunity to estimate the numer of dies used for this coinage from the number represented in the surviving sample. Any number of methods have been devised for this calculation, but the formula applied here is that of Carter,
where n = the number of coins and d = the number of dies observed and n < 2d or
where n = 2 to 3d.13
Six specimens (4, 18, 29-30, 41, and 43) have been omitted from the calculations since no photographs are available, leaving a total of 73 pieces from 37 reverses dies. For the obverses, two calculations must be made because of uncertainty regarding the identity of the obverse of coin 48: the first assumes that it is identical to another known obverse, the second assumes that it is not, so d1 = 32 and d2 = 33 obverses. Carter's formulae yield the following results: 1) projects an estimate of 47 × 4 obverse dies, 2) 50 × 5 obverse dies, while both yield an estimate of 61 × 7 reverse dies. Since these two calculations embrace the whole coinage, including two bodies of material that are immiscible (groups I and II do not and, in the case of the obverses, cannot share dies with group III) it is perhaps sounder methodologically to provide a separate calculation for groups I and II only: thus from 65 coins with 1) 27 or 2) 28 obverse dies, and 32 reverse dies, the results are as follows: 1) 38 × 4, 2) 41 × 4 obverses, and 51 × 6 reverses. Adding these projections to the actual number of dies observed for group III (which is too small to apply the method meaningfully) produces satisfactory consistency. An estimate of the total original die population at ca. 50 obverses and 60 reverses will not be far from the truth.
The joint reign lasted only 17 weeks, and there is no reason to suppose that the coinage began before it or continued after it. Even in this period, which might well have been one of heavy coinage in view of the imperial accession, somewhat less than an obverse a day was used if the work week consisted of five days.
|12||Prof. P. Grierson, who generously made available to me photographs accumulated over many years, had segregated the coins of group III known to him, and marked them with "Antioch (?)."|
|13||See G. F. Carter, "A Simplified Method for Calculating the Original Number of Dies from Die Link Statistics," ANSMN 28 (1983), pp. 195-206, esp. 201-2. The attraction of the Carter method is the simplicity of its application, especially where high precision does not yet seem attainable. For evaluation of this and other methods currently employed in estimating size of coinage, see W. W. Esty, "Estimation of the Size of a Coinage: A Survey and Comparison of Methods," NC 146 (1986), pp. 185-215.|
Some ten years ago on Monte Judica in the province Catania, Sicily, a hoard of sixth-century gold coins appeared. This hoard is essential for understanding the activities of the smaller Byzantine gold mints in the western half of the empire and is comparable only to the 1948 Thessalonica hoard's materials for mint attributions in the East. The coins had been concealed in an unglazed terracotta pot which, regrettably, has since been lost. The hoard was immediately split up, and some of the coins were dispersed in trade via Switzerland.1 We are are indebted to S. Bendali and H. Berk for certain information about the coins which has led to the following reconstruction of the hoard.
Constantinople, MIB 7, 507-18, solidus
|1.||Z||4.49||Munz. u. Med. FPL 434, June 1981, 19|
Constantinople, MIB 5, 527-37, solidus
MIB 6, 537-42, solidus
|26.||⊖||4.49||= Schweizer. Kredit. 2, 27-28 Apr. 1984, 740|
MIB 7, 542-65, solidus
|49. Rev damaged.||H||4.45|
|55.||B or ⊖||4.48|
MIB 19, 527-65, tremissis
Thessalonica, MIB 23, 562-65, solidus
|58.Obv. of Thes. hd. 23.||4.46|
Carthage, MIB 25, 547/8, solidus
|59.||IA||4.43||= Schweizer. Kredit. 2, 27-28 Apr. 1984, 741|
|60. Obv. of DOC 277 a. 1.||IA||4.49|
Rome, MIB 31-32, 540-42, solidus
|61.||4.44||= Schweizer. Kredit. 2, 27-28 Apr. 1984, 742|
MIB, 34, 542-49, solidus
|63. Rev., no star.||A||4.45|
|64.||Γ||4.47||= Schweizer. Kredit. 2, 27-28 Apr. 1984, 743|
|65. Rev. of BM and Birmingham specimens.||Z||4.43|
|66. Rev. of Ratto 1955, 1209||⊖||4.40||= Schweizer. Kredit. 2, 27-28 Apr. 1984, 744|
Ravenna, MIB 37, 549-65, solidus
|67. Dies of Ratto 459||Γ||4.45||= Schweizer. Kredit. 2, 27-28 Apr. 1984, 745|
|69. Rev. legend error||S||4.44||= Schweizer. Kredit. 2, 27-28 Apr. 1984, 746|
|70. Obv. of Ratto 461||г|
Sicily, MIB 37 [Ravenna], 554/5?, solidus
555/6 ?, solidus
|73. Obv. of 72.||Δ|
MIB 41 [Ravenna], 542-65, tremissis
|1||Münz. u. Med.'s FPL 434, June 1981, contained some coins of this hoard (as indicated in the catalogue) and Schweizerische Kreditanstalt 2, April 1984, included others. The references given in the latter were taken from an older version of this article and in the course of refinement, the numbers were changed. The discovery date of the hoard, claimed to be 1981 by some informants, could not be verified.|
Constantinople, MIB 5, 567-78, solidus
MIB 11a, 565-78, tremissis
Thessalonica, MIB 16, ca. 570, solidus
|82.||4.48||= Münz. u. Med. FPL 434, June 1981, 21|
Ravenna, MIB 20c, 567-ca. 570, solidus
|83. Obv. of Thes. hd. 110.||4.44|
MIB 21, ca. 570, solidus
|84.||P||4.47||= Schweizer. Kredit. 2, 27-28 Apr. 1984, 747|
Sicily, MIB 21 [Ravenna], 568/9, solidus
|85. Rev. CNONB.||B||4.50||= Schweizer. Kredit. 2, 27-28 Apr. 1984, 748|
|86. Dies of 85.||B||4.45|
|87.||Γ||= Münz. u. Med. FPL 434, June 1981, 20|
|88. Obv. of 85.||Δ||4.45|
|89. Dies of 88.||Δ||4.45|
|90.||Δ||4.48||= Schweizer. Kredit. 2, 27-28 Apr. 1984, 749|
|91. Obv. of 90.||Δ||4.46|
|92. Dies of 91.||Δ||4.46||= Schweizer. Kredit. 2, 27-28 Apr. 1984, 750|
|93. Obv. of 90.||Є||4.46|
MIB 24 [Ravenna] ca. 570, semissis
|94. Rev. VITC...||2.24|
|95. Rev. Victory facing 1.||1.50||= Schweizer. Kredit. 2, 27-28 Apr. 1984, 751|
|96. Obv. of 95. Rev. Victory facing r.||1.52||= Münz u. Med. FPL 434, June 1981, 22|
|97.||1.51||= Schweizer. Kredit. 2, 27-28 Apr. 1984, 752|
It seems probable that the hoard has been reconstructed as fully as possible. The 98 coins are distributed as follows.
As can be seen from this summary there is a Sicilian gold coinage which can be traced back to Justinian I and indeed (as shall be shown) almost to the time of the reconquest of the island by the imperial forces. During the course of the Ostrogothic war Belisarius captured Sicily after a six month campaign from July to December 535 (Procop. Goth 5.5) and a Byzantine administration was installed in 537 (Novels 104). Sicily was given special status as it was not subject to one of the neighboring prefectures, but was governed by a praetor under the direct control of the quaestor sacri palatii in Constantinople: the province was administered quasi peculiare aliquid commodum imperatoribus. Under these extraordinary circumstances it appears that the monetary supply of the island was provided either directly by Constantinople or by an exceptional branch mint under Constantinople's control, and for the seventh century there is evidence for both practices.2
For the sixth century, however, the identification of Sicilian coins has been slow until now. The only clues have been stylistic comparisons and provenances, since the gold coins in question do not betray their non-Constantinopolitan origin by any kind of signature. Even the Sicilian coppers do not have their own mint marks until the 580s. Before the Monte Judica hoard appeared, the starting point of the Sicilian series was the partly mint marked copper coinage of Maurice. The most recent contributions to the subject sought to establish Sicilian gold attributions for as early as Tiberius II.3 Now we can move back the dating into the reigns of the two preceding emperors, Justinian I and Justin II, by reference to a number of unusual coins in this hoard which are of a fabric previously unrecognized or misattributed. The recognition of this fabric is made more difficult by its similarity to coins of Ravenna fabric of the later sixth century. The Monte Judica hoard, then, provides welcome corrections to the distinctions between Sicilian and Ravenna gold coinage. It has implications also for the copper, for which there are similar difficulties in the earlier part of the period of Byzantine domination.
The composition of the Monte Judica hoard is characteristic of an accumulation in a region where a provincial mint with limited output was operating. Only among the coins of the last years before the hoarding was completed do the local issues outnumber those of Constantinople,4 and die links occur only among the provincial issues of the local mint. The chronological pattern is normal and coins issued in the years not long before the date of deposit are represented in larger numbers in the hoard. In addition to Constantinopolitan coins the hoard contains examples from almost all the provincial mints. Their numbers reflect their proximity to Sicily: Thessalonica and Carthage are represented by only two coins each, whereas the Italian mints, first Rome and later Ravenna, are represented by 12 pieces.
The attribution of the non-Sicilian provincial gold of Justinian I and Justin II has been firmly established by modern numismatic research. Nevertheless one expects new material to bring forward novelties. The Roman solidus 63 is remarkable for its lack of a star in the right reverse field. Possibly this is no more than an engraver's error, but the same omission on a tremissis of approximately the same date, MIB 2, pl. 38, N36, is perhaps no coincidence.
The most important contribution of the Monte Judica hoard is the group of 19 unusual coins of Justinian I, 71-75, and Justin II, 85-98. To show the Sicilian origin of the group one has to argue from the latest part of the hoard, where the local coins have their strongest representation. There are nine solidi of Justin II, 85-93, having a fabric not known before and variously die linked among themselves. Certain features, especially the bulging rim, recall the Ravenna style; but, on closer examination, the emperor's bust is somewhat different from that of the well known Ravenna pieces (compare with 83 and 84). Moreover the terminal letter of the reverse legend, which gives a sequence of B, Γ, Δ, and Є on the new coins, is not otherwise attested on the Ravenna solidi of Justin II, apart from the problematical MIB 3, V20 with Δ, discussed below. There can be little doubt that these letters stand for dates, for the local mint was certainly too small to consist of five officinae. Furthermore the preponderance of Δ coins, the last year but one, is typical of a chronological sequence, while the last year, Є, is less heavily represented. The die links among solidi 85-93 indicate a high survival rate from almost certainly a very small number of dies and an obverse die is carried from one year to the next in two cases, while another skips year three.
The question of what kind of dates are concerned is easily resolved in favor of indictional years, because the solidi of the first two regnal years of Justin II should have had the star of the old indiction which ended in 567. This starred first emission of Justin II, known from Constantinople (MIB 1), is not found in the hoard, and the Constantinople portion drops during the later years (there are only five solidi of Justin II from the metropolitan mint). Using indictional dates, the Sicilian solidi 85-93 can be assigned to years 568-72; the latest coin in the hoard therefore was minted before 1 September 572. The appearence of dated solidi in the early years of the 567-78 indiction has parallels, incidentally, at Carthage, and there were also experiments made with dated solidi in Constantinople.5
In addition to the solidi, the hoard also has fractional coins of Justin II belonging to the local mint. There are four tremisses (95-98) and one semissis (94) of Justin II as well as one tremissis of Justinian I (75), of a fabric that was already known and that had been attributed to Ravenna (Justinian I, MIB 40.1 and 41.1, and Justin II, MIB 24), where two stylistic groups were recognized. This was explained by postulating two engravers. Now the problem is resolved by the recognition of two different mints, Ravenna and Sicily (See "Comparative Material," Plates 7 and 8). The stylistic relation between them is similar to that seen in the solidi: they share the bulging rim, but the obverse bust has some differences in its appearence, especially in the drawing of the folds of the paludamentum on the emperor's chest. Furthermore the Ravenna star is a little larger and often six-rayed; on the semisses it is missing altogether. As well as the coins in the Monte Judica hoard there are several other specimens which also belong to this newly recognized Sicilian fabric: there are four more semisses and one tremissis of Justin II.
|128.||Rev. Δ. MIB 3, pl. 56, 24b = Glendining, 9 Mar. 1931, 419|
|129.||Rev. of 128. Milan Municipal coll.|
|130.||Rev. star 1. Syracuse Archaeological Museum|
|131.||MIB 24 = BMC 290, 2.20|
|132.||Lepczyk, 1-2 Apr. 1980, 1320 = Hess 249, 13 Nov. 1979, 461, 2.22|
The semisses 128-29 are of special interest, because they have the letter Δ at the end of the reverse legend. This could be a date corresponding with that on solidi 88-92; but one wonders whether it is because the semisses of the other years were in fact not marked with a date, and other expected varieties are not in the hoard. It is tempting to dismiss the interpretation of Δ as year 4, and instead to connect the semisses 128-29 with another problematic coin, the solidus MIB 3, pl. 56, V20, which is recorded there together with semissis 128 (MIB 24b) under Ravenna. Of this solidus there are two specimens.
|126.||Rev. star 1., Peus 311, Oct./Nov. 1984, 833 = Lanz 16, Apr. 1979, 692, 4.34|
|127.||Rev. of 126. Viennese private coll., 4.47|
They have the star of the old indiction in the left of the reverse field and can therefore be dated 565-67. Although the Δ is apparently meaningless, it may have been copied (immobilized) from earlier Sicilian solidi, see 72-74 of Justinian I. Stylistically 126 and 127 stand between these and the Sicilian solidi of Justin II, 88-92. A further clue to the Sicilian attribution of the star issue is perhaps to be found in the tremissis 130 which has the star also to the left, as a consequence of which Victory has been shown with the globus cruciger and wreath reversed. This seems not to be an engraver's error, because the head looks left as on tremissis 95 in the Monte Judica hoard. As the obverse of 130 is very similar to that of the Δ semisses 128-29, it probably completes the series of denominations in gold for 565-67.
The reattribution of MIB V20 to Sicily makes the recent suggestions as to the meaning of the terminal letters Z and P on the Ravenna solidi6 untenable, especially since the presence of both in this hoard, 83-84, dates the change from Z to P before 572. The earlier explanation of these letters as pseudo-officinae7 remains preferable for Ravenna.
Returning to Justinian I, the Sicilian group within the hoard is represented by four solidi and one tremissis. Tremissis 76 offers no problems, being closely related in style to its successors under Justin II. More of Justinian's tremisses and semisses of this fabric are known from several sources and need to be removed from the Ravenna series MIB 39, 40.1, and 41.1 leaving only 40.2 and 41.2 for Ravenna.
|104.||Rev. (before 552). MIB 39 = BMCVandals 42, pl. 16, 13, 2.12|
|105.||Rev. . Tolstoi 45, 2.25|
|106.||Rev. (after 552). Basel Münzhdlg. 6, 18 March 1936, 2132; 2.24|
|107.||Rev. . Milan Municipal coll.|
|108.||Rev. . MIB 40.1 = Bucharest Akademy coll.|
|109.||Peus 305, 12-15 Oct. 1982, 340 = Dorotheum 228, 26-29 Jan. 1960, 3, 1.40|
|110.||MIB 41.1 = BMCVandals 43, pl. 16, 14, 1.47|
|111.||Dorotheum, 8-9 June 1956 (Zeno), 2463, 1.45|
|112.||Dorotheum, 8-9 June 1956 (Zeno), 2462, 1.45|
|113.||Vinchon, 25-27 Apr. 1960, 683|
|114.||Dies of 113. Udine Municipal coll.|
|115.||Dies of 113. BNC 4/Cp/A//31, 1.46|
|116.||Obv. of 113. BMCVandals 45, pl. 16, 15, 1.47|
|117.||Bologna Archaeological Museum.|
|118.||Rev. of 111. Birmingham University|
|120.||Dies of 119. ANS|
|121.||Obv. of 119. Glendining, Dec. 1974, 331|
|122.||Tremissis of Justinian I, Tolstoi 536, 1.45; 122a. DOC 19.2, 1.49; 122b. Cambridge = P. Grierson, Medieval European Coinage (Cambridge, Eng., 1986), 294, 1.41|
The normal chrismon on the reverse of 104-5 (MIB 39) enables us to date the beginning of this mintage before 552, when it was reversed to (MIB 40.1 and Justin II, MIB 24b).8
The Sicilian solidi of Justinian I in the Monte Judica hoard (71-74) are not as similar as is the tremissis to the Justin II pieces; we cannot follow the stylistic development so closely, either because the production of solidi was not continuous or because we merely do not know the connecting links. The differences from the Ravenna solidi (see 67-70) are likewise to be found in the detail of the emperor's bust, the heads being somewhat smaller and neater in Sicily. The trifolium on the crown has different forms: in Sicily, in Ravenna. Apart from the Monte Judica hoard we know of only two other solidi in the Sicilian fabric.
|99.||Rev. Δ. Berlin = Restle, pl. 5, Beyer Ak. Pal. 403; 4.279|
|100.||Rev. A⊖. MIB 2, pl. 38, N37 (attributed to Ravenna)|
This second specimen is undoubtedly of the same fabric as 67-70 of the Monte Judica hoard, but it has two terminal letters in the reverse legend, A⊖, where the others have Γ (67) or Δ (68-70), and the star is in the left reverse field instead of its normal position on the right. The sequence and the dating of these three varieties depend on the interpretation of the letters Γ, Δ, and A⊖. The succeeding issue, 126-27 of Justin II, has the Δ as well as the star left of the A⊖ issue. The solution might be sought from the copper coins.
As mentioned before, the newly identified Sicilian gold coinage of Justinian I and Justin II sheds fresh light on the hitherto very uncertain attributions of Sicilian copper. There are some curious folles signed ANNO XXX Δ and CON, but in a different style from that of Constantinople. A Sicilian origin was proposed by Hahn.10 We can now compare them with the Sicilian solidi and recognize the same bust and trifolium. Three specimens of Justinian's ANNO XXX Δ folles are known.
|101.||Rev. wreathed border. Naples National Museum (Santangelo coll.)|
|102.||Dies of 101. Leningrad 510, 14.17|
|103.||Rev. plain border. Leningrad 511, 16.91|
If the year 30 is a real one (which does not seem improbable) the Δ could be an indictional year, as the signature of a fourth officina would be only a pseudo-officina letter to fill the space. A fourth indictional year ended on 31 August 556, and the thirteenth regnal year began on 1 April 556. The Δ on the solidi could refer to the same indictional year; the Γ would then be the year before (554/5), but what is A⊖? It is even uncertain whether we should read ⊖ or a vertical Φ; AΦ makes no obvious sense,11 while ⊖ could be the date, elucidated by A as year 9, or perhaps the date is expressed by the A, equalling 1, and the ⊖ is a separate administrative (secret) mark as occurs so often in the seventh century.12 The first year of this indiction was 552/3, and the ninth year was 560/1. Both are possible and the question cannot be resolved on the basis of current knowledge.
There is another coin in the hoard displaying two letters at the end of the reverse inscription, 54 with IB, well known from a number of other specimens and previously thought to be a product of a twelfth officina in the Constantinople mint.13 This explanation was based on the assumption that the opening of the Carthaginian gold mint in about 540 was done by two newly created officinae of the metropolitan mint which applied the marks IA and IB. These solidi stylistically developed into the locally identifiable Carthaginian issues similar to the standard type struck between 537 and 542 in Constantinople. After a while the twelfth officina was thought to have been returned to Constantinople and to have been active striking solidi of the type introduced in 542 until its dissolution somewhat later. This hypothesis is apparently invalid, as C. Morrisson has argued convincingly that the IA and IB of the Carthaginian solidi are indictional years.14 The IB marked coins of MIB 7 are certainly of Constantinopolitan fabric, and if they belong to a twelfth officina, we have no sign of an eleventh which may have been the silver officina not marking its products.
The situation is complicated even more by the recent appearance of a single solidus marked IЄ at the end of the reverse legend and of undeniably Constantinopolitan style. On this coin the Є was probably added to an already finished die of the tenth officina because there was no space left after the I and the Є, therefore, had to be cut over the exergual line. It is difficult to explain the combinations IB and IЄ in the metropolitan mint. J. P. C. Kent has suggested cooperation between two officinae in the somewhat similar case of the 22 carat, light weight solidi with ⊖S,15 but the question remains, why or under which conditions would they have cooperated. An early experiment to introduce indictional dating on the regular Constantinopolitan solidi is improbable because of the gap between the years 12 and 15. The assumption of indictional years would perhaps be more plausible, if the coins were struck in Constantinople but intended for a western destination, e.g. for Sicily. In this case the IB would stand for 548/9, because IЄ can only be 551/2 (the fifteenth year of the next indiction being later than the end of Justinian's reign). Although there is no further evidence for a Sicilian connection for these coins apart from the single example in the Monte Judica hoard,16 it is tempting to see them as a preliminary stage in the development of Sicilian gold coinage. The years 12 (548/9) and 15 (551/2) would have been provided by Constantinople, whereas the later years 3 (554/5), 4 (555/6), and 9 (560/1) or 1 (552/3) could have been struck in Sicily itself. The use of indictional datings on coins which might have been produced in the Constantinople mint for circulation in the West is also notable on the copper issue of 553/4 (MIB 98).
The wreath border on the reverse of follis 101 leads us to the question of the hitherto very uncertain origin of the numerous western 10- and 5-nummi pieces with the Latin value mark X (MIB 244) and V (MIB 246). Hahn proposed a Sicilian mint for them17 despite the absence of any solid evidence. Their drawing of the emperor's profile bust is often somewhat crude, but there are pieces (123-25) which are stylistically comparable to the fractional gold coins. The comparison seems to strengthen the Sicilian attribution of the coppers, especially the delineation of the hair . The Monte Judica hoard thus offers more evidence for the production of copper coins in Sicily under Justinian I. In its later development, i.e. in the later years of Justinian I and under Justin II, further stylistic comparisions do not help, because the dies of the copper coins tend to become too crude for similarities to be detected. More hoards providing such evidence are needed to solve the remaining problems.
Due to the indictional dates on the Sicilian solidi of Justin II, the concealment of the Monte Judica hoard must have been in 572 or shortly afterward. We know of no threat to Sicily in these years. The last incursion had been made 20 years earlier by the Totilas Goths, while the Lombards had not yet reached the straits of Messina.
The value of the hoard amounts to 93 1/8 solidi, i.e. about 1 1/8 pounds of gold, almost exactly corresponding to that of Thessaloniki hoard of 1948 which amounted to 93 1/8 solidi. Compared with the payments and rents mentioned in the letters of Pope Gregory I (590-604) referring to Sicily18 this was a small fortune. Is it possible that there was a Jewish community there as there were in several other Sicilian cities of this time?19 Such communities were often harrassed by church authorities.20 In addition, 572, the probable year the hoard was closed, was the end of a lustrum, i. e. the end of a taxation period.
The age structure of the hoard shows a range of about 45 years, omitting the isolated specimen of Anastasius I. Divided into applicable periods21 and converted into yearly indices the composition curve has only a slight anomaly due to the overrepresentation of Justinian I's lustral issue for 537-42 (MIB 6, Constantinople). This might be explained by the course of events during the Italian war. The newly appointed praefecius praelorio per Haliam, Maximus, coming from Constantinople in 542 was stuck in Syracuse for a while (Procop. Goth. 7.7.1-3), and it is uncertain whether he reached Rome at all.
There is still only fragmentary understanding of the history of the Sicilian gold mintage in the decades following the burial of the Monte Judica hoard, i.e. after 572 and before the reorganization of the monetary supply under Heraclius and Constans II. What is known from the time of Tiberius II onwards is summarized in two articles by W. R. O. Hahn.22 A single tremissis of Tiberius II has survived (MIB 3, pl. 56, N14). There are five tremisses of Maurice (MIB 26) and, late in his reign, six solidi (MIB 28) and one light weight solidus of 20 carats (M1B 29). Both rulers resumed dating by indictional years. Phocas follows with similar solidi (MIB 97 and 98, three specimens recorded), semisses (three specimens),23 and tremisses (MIB 99 and 100, eleven specimens recorded). Under Heraclius the pattern is completed by a semissis (MIB V99, one specimen recorded) together with solidi (MIB 97 and 98, three specimens recorded) and tremisses (MIB 99 and 100, eleven specimens recorded). Then there seems to have been a break in the coinage, perhaps sometime in the early twenties. When coining resumed in the thirties,24 the coins were of a different fabric which developed into the characteristic Sicilian style well known from the time of Constans II onward.
During the entire period between Justin II and Heraclius Sicilian gold mintage was restricted to a small output apparently meeting only a part of the demands of the administration. This is obvious from the frequent die linkage and the small numbers of surviving specimens as well as from the predominantly Constantinopolitan composition of the few Sicilian gold hoards up to the middle of the seventh century.25 The Monte Judica hoard is somewhat exceptional insofar as it contains a relatively large number of local coins; but it is the only sixth century hoard recorded from Sicily, and only new discoveries can enhance our understanding of this period.
|2||MIB 3, p. 72.|
|3||W. Mahn, "More about the Minor Byzantine Gold Mints from Tiberius II to Heraclius," NCirc 87 (1979), pp. 552-55, and MIB 3, p. 71.|
|4||See the Thessalonica hoard of 1948 as revised by W. Hahn, "New Light on the Thessalonican Moneta Auri in the Second Half of the Sixth Century," NC 141 (1981), pp. 178-82.|
|5||Carthage MIB 3, p. 41; Constantinople MIB 2, p. 38.|
|6||MIB 3, pp. 66-67.|
|7||MIB 2, p. 41.|
|8||For an explanation of the use of the secret mark, see MIB 1, p. 17, and 3, p. 25.|
|9||Marcell Restle, Kunst und Byzantinische Münzpr�gung von Justinian I (Athens, 1964).|
|10||MIB 3, p. 55.|
|11||There is no stylistic resemblance to the exceptional Carthaginian solidus MIB 26 with ΛΦP instead of CONOB.|
|12||See MIB 3, p. 129. The form of the ⊖ with a prolonged horizontal bar occurs also on Roman coins of Justinian I (See MIB 34.8).|
|13||MIB 1, p. 48.|
|14||See her article in this volume.|
|15||J. P. C. Kent, review of Adelson, NC 19 (1959), p. 239.|
|16||Other provenances known are Albania (DOC 278 with incorrect attribution to Carthage) and Peloponnese. C. Morisson (below, p. 46) prefers a tentative attribution of these coins to a provisional mint in the Balkans.|
|17||MIB 1, p. 75, but see MIB 2, p. 49.|
|18||A. Holm, Geschichte Siciliens in Alterthum 3 (Leipzig, 1898), pp. 292-309.|
|19||B. Pace, Arte e civilt� della Sicilia antica 4 (Rome, 1949), pp. 137-38.|
|20||Holm (above, n. 18), pp. 310-11.|
|21||Tremisses 56 and 57 are included with the later solidi of Justinian I because of their flat relief, see MIB 1, p. 50.|
|22||W. Hahn, "Some Unusual Gold Coins of Heraclius and Their Mint Attribution," NCirc 85 (1977), pp. 536-39, and "More about the Minor Byzantine Gold Mints from Tiberius to Heraclius," NCirc 87 (1979), pp. 552-55.|
|23||Peus 308, 19-21 Oct. 1983, 593; NCirc 92 (1984), p. 257, 7-8.|
Additional References for "Comparative Material"
|123.||BMC Vandals, pl. 9,8|
|134.||Rome, National Museum|
|135.||Schweizer. Kredit. FPL, Dec . 1984 , 7|
|141.||Münz. u. Med. 43, 12-13 Nov. 1970, 545|
|24||The earliest coins of this group are dated 631/2.|
|25||W. Hahn (above, n. 22), "More about the Minor...Mints," p. 554.|
As long ago as 1956, J. P. C. Kent 1 analyzed the concentration of the striking of gold, following the Valentinianic reforms of 368,2 in the care of the comitatus and the Palatine officium or, insofar as the East was concerned, essentially at Constantinople. Nonetheless the existence of a number of issues from Theodosius II through Basiliscus,3 doubtless struck at Thessalonica, as well as the Byzantine series known from Ravenna in the sixth century, led him to postulate an association between the mintage of gold and the prefectures of Illyricum and of Italy. It was thus logical to conclude that, like Ravenna, Carthage, as the seat of the prefecture of Africa, would probably have received a Palatine detachment of the officium of the comes sacrum largitionum for that purpose after its reconquest under Justinian.4
The correctness of this hypothesis was confirmed some years later, after the acquisition by the Cabinet des Médailles of a solidus with the mark ΛΦP(ıkη) on the reverse. J. Lafaurie identified, on the basis of this exceptional exergue, a series of specimens of the same style with the normal marks CONOB and IA, IB, or IΓ at the end of the reverse legend, which had previously been confused with issues of Constantinople.5 The North African origin of certain pieces further supported this attribution,6 which was immediately accepted and supplemented in DOC (1966) by the identification, on stylistic grounds, of solidi with Γ7 and ⊖.8
The criteria adduced for this distinction are rarely defined with precision, and for good reason. Under Justinian, contrary to what one observes under Justin II and Tiberius II, there is no particular iconographic difference between the coinage of the province and that of the capital. Most of the solidi have on the obverse three pellets on the pectoral band of the cuirass, a wavy line under it, and an undulation embellishing the left vertical band, while the angel on the reverse is represented in a similar way except for a general elongation more marked in the figure at Constantinople.
The real originality of the African solidi must be sought in their manufacture. As Lafaurie saw, their diameter is slightly smaller; in addition, at Carthage the border of the die generally coincides with that of the flan, while at Constantinople the flan is often larger than the die.9 The line which forms this border is somewhat flatter and larger by some millimeters at Constantinople, while in Africa it is narrower and more pronounced. This is only one aspect of the more heavily accented relief which, together with the design of the eyes (often highlighted by a stroke beneath) constitutes the major characteristic of the gold coinage of Carthage. Nevertheless two distinctive styles must be differentiated within the mint. One, which I would characterize as "Constantinopolitan," is only distinguished from that of the capital by the singular workmanship mentioned above. The other I would call "African," and it is rougher and "stereotyped," so to speak, and of cruder engraving. It displays on the reverse a smaller star and angel10 whose cross (at least on the coins with Γ) encloses in its arms the I of VICTORIA, now reduced to a tiny stroke. On the obverse the last letter of the legend nearly disappears, a C reduced to a line so near to that defining the shield that it might almost be confused with it.
The Constantinopolitan style is heavily predominant. Virtually all the issues with I, IA, and IB share it (with one exception each for the two latter), as do two-thirds of those with Γ. The African style is represented by the remaining third with Γ, the three specimens with ⊖, and the IA/ΛΦP solidus. In its broad outline, this distinction did not escape Hahn, who saw an evolution over time leading from the first solidi, "quite naturally very similar to the Constantinopolitan style," to that group of peculiar style whose development might be attributed either to "comparative isolation from Constantinople or equally to the recruitment of local engravers."11 Yet in spite of the very significant place he assigned throughout his work to dating by regnal year or indiction, he continued, with Lafaurie and Hendy,12 to regard the letters on the reverses as an indication of supplementary officinae (IA and IB) created for this purpose, or of detachments from the third and tenth officinae of Constantinople (Γ and I). Consideration of the piece in Copenhagen with ⊖, however, led him to ask whether such a series of officinae was not too numerous for a provincial mint, only at once to underscore the difficulties of an indictional interpretation.13 We hope here, starting from the analysis of as great a body of documentation as possible (89 examples from Tunisian, American, and European collections and from sale catalogues) to present a solution which at once takes into account the elements of the numismatic documents and the historical events that may have influenced monetary output.
Obv. DNIVSTINI ANVSPPAVI. Bust facing with helmet and cuirass; in 1. shield, in r. globus cruciger.
Rev. VICTORI AAVCCC and letter. Angel standing facing; in r. long cross, in l. globus cruciger; in r. field, cross; in exergue, CONOB.
MIB 26, BNC 01, DOC 279: IA, in exergue ΛФp.
African manner. Two pellets in top of cuirass.
MIB 25, BNC 05, DOC 277: Γ
b) Constantinopolitan manner. Three pellets in central line of cuirass, shield without loop. Rev. field star often small.
c) Constantinopolitan manner. Incipient loop on top of shield; angel face is smaller and more elongated. Rev. field star is small.
MIB 25: ⊖ at end of legend.a
African manner. Central line of cuirass is quite high, has three pellets; shield without loop; last C of legend, more rounded, touches shield. Rev. angel's head rather big in proportion to body height; on 1. I placed under crossbar.
MIB 25, BNC 02-03, DOC 277e: I
Constantinopolitan manner. Three pellets in central line of cuirass. Rev. R in VICTORI lines up with crossbar.
MIB 25, BNC 04, DOC 277a: IA
Constantinopolitan manner. Three pellets in central line of cuirass. Rev. R in VICTORI lines up with crossbar.
a) Simple shield, r. pteryges start beneath shield. Rev. angel's head rather big in propor tion to body height.
b) Loop or incipient loop on top of shield. Rev. angel's face is narrower and longer.
MIB 25, DOC 277b: IB
Coin 90 was acquired from Bank Leu, November 1967, with another solidus of Carthage (above, 51), a Burgundian solidus, and two other Byzantine solidi but had no apparent relationship to them. According to Mrs. S. Hurter, whom we gratefully acknowledge for having searched at our request through her archives, these coins originated from a collection "which had been built up in Portugal." But the fact that 51 is known to have belonged to the Bicklin collection acquired either in North Africa or in Paris throws doubt on the archaeological value of the Portuguese origin of the lot — see the observations of J. P. Callu, in Crise ei redressement dans les provinces europ�ennes de l'Empire, mil. du Ill�-mil. du IV� s. ap. J.C. (Strasbourg 1983), p. 162, n. 38, about a similar origin attributed to an unpublished hoard of the early fourth century. Otherwise, 90 must be considered an intruder in the lot.
This coin differs much in style from the two preceding coins; it recalls the obverses of 33 and 34 (i.e. the same high placing of the central line and the disappearance of the final C in the reverse legend which is entirely confused with the shield border on 33 and 34). The reverse, less rough, recalls those of 2 through 12, as the reverse I is wedged in the angle of the crossbar. It might be an imitation or may simply have been a recurrence of the African manner.
Justinian's IB Issue
Contrary to P. Grierson's advice, A. R. Bellinger in DOC 1 included among the issues of Carthage a solidus (298) with IB and an angel holding a cross with christogram. Despite the corrections in BNC 1, p. 66, n. 5, and MIB 1, p. 48, n. 10, this attribution still causes some confusion. These non-African IB issues of MIB 7 only differ from other Constantinopolitan issues of the same type through the letters at the end of the reverse legend. No specimen has ever been found in Africa and the known provenances point to their circulation (and possible issue by a provisional military mint such as that which operated in Salona for copper?) in the Balkans. There are no die links among the extant specimens. The following short list has been compiled from my own photo file supplemented with information kindly provided by Wolfgang Hahn.
|a||DOC 277d (⊖ engraved on Z) is a Constantinopolitan issue (MIB 6). Cf. the angel's beaded cross, a design never found in Carthage but sometimes seen in the capital (see above, p. 41, n. 8).|
|10||Or gives this impression because of the relatively great importance of the head in relation to the body.|
|11||MIB, p. 51.|
|12||Hendy, pp. 129-54, at p. 143.|
|13||MIB 3, p. 45.|
Obv. DNIVSTI NVSPPAV variously disposed. Bust of Justin II with helmet and cuirass, in 1. shield, in r. globus surmounted by Victory crowning him with wreath.
Rev. VICTORI AAVCCC and a letter; in exergue CONOB. Constantinople seated facing looking r. with helmet, tunic, and mantle; r. leans on spear, in 1. globus cruciger.
MIB l8a, DOC 190a: A
DNIVSTI NVSPPVI, three pellets in central line of cuirass.
MIB 18a: B
MIB 18a, DOC 190b: Γ
DNI VSTI NVSPPAV, three pellets in central line of cuirass.
MIB 18a: Є
DNI VSTI NVSPPAV, three pellets in central line of cuirass.
MIB 18b, DOC 190c: Є
DNIVSTI NVSPPAV, three pellets in central line of cuirass.
MIB 18b, DOC 190d: S
MIB 18b, DOC 190e: Z
DNIVSTI NVSSPAV, three pellets in central line of cuirass; rev. Z overlaps exergual line except on 18 and 22.
MIB 18b: H
DNIVSTI NVSPPAV, three pellets in central line of cuirass.
MIB 18b, BNC 01, DOC 190f: ⊖
DNIVSTI NVSPPAV, three pellets in central line of cuirass.
MIB 18b, BNC 02, DOC 190: I
DNIVSTI NVSSPPAV, three pellets in central line of cuirass.
DNI VSTI NVSPPAVC, three pellets in central line of cuirass.
VICTORI AAVCCCIA (A rather than A)
DNIVSTI NVSPPAVC, three pellets in central line of cuirass.
|b||Médaillier, Musée Calvet 1, les monnaies 1, ed. G. de Lo�e (Avignon, 1987), 184. Thanks are due to the Museum Director, M. Georges de Lo�e, and to J. C. Richard for enabling us to illustrate it here.|
The dating criteria at our disposal are not very numerous. On the one hand, the occurrence of solidi with facing bust, introduced at Constantinople in 537, and on the bronze beginning in year 12 (538) furnishes a terminus ante quern. On the other, comparison with the stylistic development of the folles and other bronzes of Carthage indicates a close relationship between the solidi with Γ of African style and certain half folles of year 13. Both are characterized by the symmetrical pattern of the upper part of the cuirass and its decoration with two pellets which generally replace the three of the horizontal band: (compare DOC 294, BNC 27, Tolstoi 380 in bronze, Plate 9, 2-12).
In Byzantine numismatics, comparison with bronze coinage marked with a mint name has permitted the more or less secure identification of a certain number of provincial gold coinages. This principle is the basis of the pioneering studies of the mints of Italy and Sicily by Laffranchi and Ricotti Prina 14 and was used by Hahn in his MIB. In addition at Carthage the same engravers were responsible for the dies of denominations in all three metals. Even if, in the administrative plan, the moneta palatina, responsible for gold and silver, and the moneta publica, restricted to bronze, were distinct and often housed in different locations (as has been proved at Ravenna),15 most of the time the limited output of the provincial mints did not justify the employment of many artisans or teams of artisans specializing in the preparation of dies.
At Carthage application of this principle can be pressed further, and stylistic comparison can establish a fixed point for chronology. The distinction between the two styles established for the gold is in fact observed on the bronze as well as on the silver. In the latter metal, where the immobilization of the profile bust precludes comparison with the solidus, the general tendency is nonetheless clear. One moves from a first issue (MIB 51, VOT MVLTI MTI) bearing an image closely related to that of Gelimer16 and likewise of Hilderic by the characteristic stiffness and schematism of the diadem and the folds of the chlamys to a series (MIB 52, monogram of Justinian)17 where the quality of the rendering of the hair, for example, is reminiscent of that of coins from the capital. The evolution of the bronze—most interesting in that it is in part dated from 539/40 (Justinian's thirteenth regnal year) and even from 538/9 (the second indiction)—is exactly similar. The undated folles as well as the exceptional follis of the second indiction (MIB N185) show signs of the same stiffness characteristic of the African style. This continues on a part of the bronzes of regnal year 13, and especially on most of the folles and half folles with SO (MIB 194 and 196) which make up the first part of the issue.18 But the Constantinopolitan style dominates exclusively later in the course of the same year, on the folles and half folles marked S (MIB 195 and 197) and on all of the dekanummia (MIB 199) as well as on other later fractions (MIB 201, with circle, bust r.; MIB 203, with wreath and circle, bust r.).19
If we rule out the hypotheses of several separate officinae (Γ, ⊖, I) and of supplementary officinae responsible for the minting of gold at Carthage, which its importance does not justify, we must otherwise explain the letters on the reverse. The only possible solution is an indication of date, but which one? The problem is summarized in Table 1.
|Date||Significant Events a||Indiction||Regnal||Emissions||Emissions|
|Year Sept. 1-Aug. 21||Year Aug. 1-July 31||N||�|
|534/5||Campaigns of Solomon in northwestern Africa and Numidia||13||8||M|
|535/6||Summer 536: Belisarius killed in troop mutiny; departure of Solomon||14||9||K|
|536/7||Reorganization of the army and victory over Stotzas in Numidia; Aug. 31, 537; Novel 47 on the dating of imperial documents||15||10||I|
|Year Sept. 1-Aug. 21||Year Aug. 1-July 31||N||�|
|538/9||2||12||Mind II (M IB N185, African)|
|539/40||Summer 539: return of Solomon, prefect and magister militum;b victory of Bagai; reconquest of Sitifian Mauretania fortifications||3||12||Γ (1/3 African, 2/3 Constan.)||M, K, I VOT XIII|
|540/1||4||14||I, VOT XIIII|
|542/3||6||16||I, VOT XVI|
|543/4||Summer of 543: beginning of plague; revolt of Mauri in Tripolitania. Spring of 544: defeat and death of Solomon at Cillium||7||17|
|544/5||Devastation of northwestern Africa||8||18|
|545/6||Suppression of revolt of Guntarith||9||19||⊖ (African)|
|546/7||End of 546: Johannes Troglita magister militum||10||20||I (Constan.)|
|547/8||Campaigns and victories of Antalas over the Mauri||11||21||IA (Constan.)||VICTORIA*I|
|551||Defeat of Byzantine force sent to Sardinia against the Huns of Totila||14||21|
|552||Recovery of Sardinia||15||25|
|ca. 552||Death and replacement of Johannes Troglita|
|562||Dec: Assassination of Cusinas by John Rogathinus||11||36|
|563||Revolt in Numidia|
|564||Pacification enforced by an army sent from Constantinople. Thomas, prefect||12||37|
|565||Nov.: Death of Justinian||14||39|
The exclusive use of the facing bust on the gold coinage, which does not allow its introduction to be placed before 537, and the existence of solidi with Γ make dating by regnal year impossible. There remains indictional dating, which I favored in 1970 without being able to enter into detailed classification of the issues then known (Γ, ⊖, I, IA).20 The stylistic development of the dated bronze leads to the search for a parallel tendency in the gold coinage and to placing first the issues of African style, i.e. the unique piece in Paris with ΛФP (1) and the first group of solidi with Γ (2-12). The piece in the Bibliothèque Nationale must also be separated from other solidi with IA. But such a distinction is inescapable considering the close relationship between this first piece and the beginning of the issue with Γ (compare 2-5, 6-7) and, by contrast, the complete absence of elements common to pieces with IA CONOB, all Constantinopolitan with the three characteristic pellets on the pectoral band of the cuirass. On these last, the mark IA is that of the eleventh indiction. On the other hand, the Paris solidus bears witness to that liking for ambivalence so common in Byzantine coin inscriptions: here in fact IA simultaneously indicates the eleventh year and the the first indiction (ἰνδιϰτιῶνος πρώτης), a coincidence unique in the course of the reign but one which occurred conveniently as the same moment that Novel 47 was issued to determine the dating of imperial documents, and which obviated for the moneyers a decision for which they lacked instruction.
The first solidus struck in Africa in the name of Justinian is, then, the one that bears the mark of the name of the province, and not CONOB—nor even one of the compounds which combine the name of the mint with OB—which had been de rigueur since the reforms of Valentinian.21 From the reign of Zeno to that of Leo III,22 under whom it disappeared, CONOB was the only mark to appear in the exergue of gold coins, from whatever mint they originated. The only exceptions to this rule, aside from the piece which concerns us here, are the solidus of Justin II with ΛΛЮOB23 and a solidus and a tremissis of Justinian with ROMOB (MIB 28 and 35). These last deserve attention, for they constitute what is in effect the Italian counterpart of the African coinage. Like it, they are rare, and thus may belong to a special issue; second, the more common series which follow them revert to the traditional exergue; and last but not least they are the first gold coins following the reconquest. It therefore seems that the authorities wished to note the return to imperial control of the two most prestigious cities or provinces that had been seized from them. In Italy, the Valentinianic tradition suggested a repetition of the mark ROMOB,24 while at Carthage, where the yellow metal had never been struck, latitude was allowed to celebrate the name of the province rather than that of its capital.25
The autonomy of the African mint is also manifested about the same period in the bronze coinage by the striking of an exceptional follis, also known in only a single example, with the legend FELIX INDICTIO(NIS) II (MIB N185). This was probably a result of the dilemma posed for dating by Novel 47 for all imperial acts. In the absence of precise instructions and as it was impossible to mark the coins by all the methods—regnal year, consulate, and indiction—the mint authorities at Carthage chose the indictional date before conforming the following year (regnal year 13) to the Constantinopolitan pattern on the bronze.26 The local character of the piece is also evident in the obverse legend DOMNIIVSTINIANI PPA, where the expansion DOMNI as well as the use of the genitive in the titulary constitute a hapax legomenon.27 Another eccentricity is the exaggered importance of the cross with alpha and omega above the mark of value. It occupies almost as much space as the latter, whereas at other mints the usual marks (cross, chrismon, etc.) rarely extend more than a little beyond the top of the M.28 Finally, the style remains markedly peculiar, recalling in its rigidity (note especially the linear rendering of the diadem) the style of earlier undated folles like MIB 184b, with the chrismon on the chlamys and the officina mark Γ.29
This second indiction (538/9) does not seem to have had any great effect on the coinage, since in fact no solidus nor any bronze coins bear its mark. But it is very probable that the striking of folles and fractions of the undated series continued and that, the ΛФP issue having constituted only an exceptional series intended for distributions, the provincial authorities contented themselves with the use of gold consigned from Constantinople. A clue is provided by examination of the composition of finds including solidi of Justinian which have come to light in Tunisia.30
In spite of the very imperfect nature of the documentation, the table shows that the Constantinopolitan solidi of Justinian are the most heavily represented in the group, and that they make up an overwhelming preponderance in deposits slightly later than 542, which are probably contemporary with the troubles and devastations of the years 543 to 545 (El-Djem, Dougga, Lemta). In the absence of further information concerning the dispersed portion of the Souassi hoard, buried in or about 548, it is difficult to interpret it as proof of a growing role for the mint of Carthage in supplying the province with cash. But it is certainly no accident that the issue with IA, the most heavily represented in this deposit, is precisely the one that according to estimates (see below) had the greatest output. That the solidi of Justinian and Justin II from the capital eventually give way in favor of local solidi in later finds (Djebibina, post-573, Es-Sermita, post-615) is a phenomenon already discussed elswhere.31 On closer inspection, the distribution of the different issues of Justinian in the Tunisian finds confirms the chronology proposed: the solidi with Γ (MIB 25) are associated with the earliest coins of Constantinople (MIB 5) in the Dougga hoard, around which must be arranged, on the one side, the metropolitan issues of El-Djem prior to 542 and, on the other, the provincial strikings of Souassi dated 546 to 548. Such a pattern, imperfect as the picture may be in the fragmentary state of our knowledge, supports the idea of a relatively late beginning of the striking of gold at Carthage, as well as the distinction made between the IA/ΛΦP issue of 537/8 (1) and the normal IA issues of 547/8 (57-87). It also highlights the relative autonomy of the provincial mint inasmuch as it did not comply with the typological change carried out on the metropolitan and Italian solidi in 542. Carthage, as already underscored by Hahn (MIB, p. 51), never adopted the cross with christo-gram of the last class of Constantinopolitan gold, and kept to the simple cross reverse type down to the latest issue in 548/9.
|Place of Discovery a||Dale of Discovery||Ruler||Mint||Reference||Date||Number of Coins|
|El-Djemb||1904||Leo I c||Constantinople||Tolstoi 7||457-74||1|
|Anastasius||MIB 6, Zd||507-18||1|
|MIB 7, A||1|
|MIB 7, Γ||1|
|Justin I||MIB 2, 1||518-22||1|
|MIB 3, B||522-27||1|
|MIB 3, ⊖||1|
|MIB 3, 1||2|
|Justin and Justinian||MIB 2c, H||527||1|
|Justinian||MIB 5, Δ||527-37||1|
|MIB 5, Є||1|
|MIB 5, 1||2|
|MIB 6, A||538-42||1|
|MIB 6, S||1|
|MIB 3, H||1|
|MIB 6, ⊖||1|
|Justinian||Constantinople||MIB 5, H||527-37||1|
|Carthage||MIB 25, Γ:||539-40||2|
|Lemtag||1909||Justinian||Constantinople||MIB 7, A||542-52||1|
|MIB 7, Δ||1|
|MIB 7, S||1|
|Souassih||1961||Justinian||Carthage||MIB 25, I =47||546-47||1|
|MIB 25, IA=||547-48||3|
|61, 66, 75||4|
|Derhalfla, Djebibinai||1917||Honorius||Ravenna||Robertson j||393-423||1|
|Zeno||Constantinople||Tolstoi 15 var. Δ||476-91||1|
|Justinian||MIB 7. Є||542-52||1|
|Justin II||MIB 3a, I||567-68||1|
|MIB 5a, A||567-78||1|
|Carthage||MIB 18b, Z =||571-72||1|
|MIB 18b, H =||572-73||1|
|Es-Sermita, near||1945||Justinian||MIB 25. Γ = 11||539-40||2|
|Porto-Farinak||Tiberius II||MIB 13||580||1|
|Maurice||MIB 25, Z, S||588||2|
|MIB 25, H||589-90||1|
|MIB 25, IЄ||596-97||1|
|Heraclius||MIB 92al">l, A||612-13||1|
|MIB 92a, Γ||614-15||1|
|a||For the sources and the chronology, see C. Diehl, L'A frique byzantine 1 (Paris, 1896), pp. 15-93, 333-81; D. Pringle, The Defence of Byzantine Africa from the Time of Justinian to the Arab Conquest 1, BAR International Series 99 (Oxford, 1981), pp. 16-39.|
|b||There was not at that time a "reorganization of the prefecture by Solomon," as Hahn suggests. The text cited (Vand. 4.19. 1-4) says only that "the emperor entrusted all the affairs of Libya to Solomon," Βασιλενς Σολόμωνι αύθις απαντα Λιβύης τά πράγματα ένεχείρισε, meaning only that at that time Solomon was magister militum or praetorian prefect, as the inscriptions confirm, J. Durliat, Les D�dicaces d'ouvrages de d�fense dans l'Afrique byzantine, Collection de l'école française de Rome 49 (1981), pp. 1-59. But such a concentration of civil and military forces is already attested during the first prefecture of Solomon in 535-36. Even if the inscriptions cited by Diehl (above, n.a), p. 117, only agree with his second prefecture, as Durliat has shown, it is nonetheless clear that Solomon, as prefect (compare Novels 36-37), was in essence the commander of the Byzantine armies in Africa (Vand. 4.10.1, 4.11, etc.). The same situation exists under Justin II, and it is therefore improper to speak of a reorganization of the prefecture and the return of Solomon to Africa.|
|a||None of these hoards has been preserved and none has been catalogued in its entirety.|
|b||"Cette trouvaille a �t� faite par des ouvriers travaillant × la route ouverte ... entre El-Djem et la Smala des Souassi, × travers les ruines de l'antique Thysdrus. × 300 mètres du village pr�s de la voie romaine qui conduisait aux Thermes Les ouvriers ... avaient mis au jour des mosa�ques.... × quelques mètres de ces mosa�ques, on d�couvrit une citerne antique.... C'est dans cette citerne que les ouvriers trouvaient une urne en poterie refermant des pi�ces d'or.... × la suite d'une enqu�te ... 62 pi�ces d'or furent remises � l'Administration, sur les 200 environ qui auraient, para�t-il, compos� ce petit trésor (Commandant de Bray, "Notes sur cinq trouvailles de monnaies antiques faites en Tunisie," Bulletin Soc. Arch. de Sousse 5 , pp. 102-4, at p. 102).|
|c||There are 20 pieces preserved at the Musée du Bardo with the provenance "El-Djem" and which I take to be part of the 62 pieces
over to the Administration." Following the description of Commandant de Bray, the composition of this lot may be reconstructed
follows (the number of pieces preserved at the Bardo for the relevant reigns is given in parentheses).
|d||The officina is not previously attested for this issue.|
|e||The provenance of these four pieces is attested solely by the label they bear in the cabinet of the Bardo. Neither the museum's registry of acquisitions nor the report of finds for this year in the Bulletin du Comit� makes note of this find.|
|f||The tremissis in question, in the name of Valentinian III, is similar to those published by W. Beinhart in his classic study "Die Münzen des tolosanischen Beiches der Westgoten," DJN 2 (1938), pp. 107-35, at pp. 119-20 and pl. 4, 54. In place of this classical attribution to the Visigoths at Toulouse (during the reign of Theodored, 419-51 ?), Lafaurie has recently proposed a restoration of these pieces, which "undoubtedly circulated in abundance in central and southern Gaul" to the imperial mint at Arles ("Monnaies d'or frapp�es en Gaule dans la seconde moiti� du vc siècle," BSFN 38 (1983), pp. 270-71.|
|g||A. Merlin, BCTH 1909, pp. ccxxxii-ccxxxiii: "Pr�s de Lemta ... entre Salada et Sidi-Abd-es-Salem, des indig�nes ont recueilli, �pars × fleur de terre, un certain nombre de sous d'or — une dizaine, dit-on — provenant sans doute d'un petit d�p�t fait en ces parages. J'ai pu me procurer pour le Musée Alaoui, cinq de ces monnaies.. .."|
|h||C. Morrisson and R. Gu�ry, "Le tresor byzantin de Souassi," BSFN 37 (1982), pp. 214-16.|
|14||L. Laffranchi, "La numismatica di Leonzio II," Numismatica 4 (1938), pp. 73-74; 5 (1939), pp. 7-15, 91–92; D. Ricotti Prina, "La monetazione siciliana nell'epoca bizantina," Numismatica 16 (1950), pp. 26-60.|
|15||Kent (above, n. 1), p. 201. M. F. Hendy, "Aspects of Coin Production and Fiscal Administration in the Late Roman and Early Ryzantine Period," NC 1972, pp. 117-39, esp. 130-35. At Ravenna, as at Constantinople, the moneta auri was naturally located in the imperial palace. Ravenna: "in porticum sacrii palatii," see Marini, I papiri diplomatici raccolti ed illustrati, no. 120; Constantinople: "Chrysoplysia" or "Chryseps�teion," a workshop for the purification and striking of gold and silver located in the great palace, see Niketas Choniates, CSHB, p. 453 = CFHB, p. 347; Nicholas Mesarites, Die Palastrevolution des Johannes Comnenos, A. Heisenberg, ed. (W�rzburg, 1907), p. 25.|
|16||See MIB, pp. 55-56.|
|17||BNC, p. 103, for the interpretation of the monogram as that of Justinian rather than Mastinas (Grierson). The attribution to Carthage is not further discussed there (compare MIB, p. 56, n. 50) for it stands to reason when this reading and the known provenances are considered.|
|18||All the half folles with K/SO are of African manufacture, as well as certain folles; but the Constantinopolitan style is already found on other examples of MIB 194 such as BNC 20, DOC 291, and Tolstoi 298.|
|19||The case of the dekanummia and pentanummia with the legend VICTORIA A (MIB 200 and 201) is more complicated: certain dekanummia in fact bear a "round-head" bust which is very close to that of the later undated bronzes without officina mark or mint mark on the chlamys (MIB 185c and 187). Thus it is not possible to place the issue after 547/8. Possibly it is a question of a series parallel to the current type of dated dekanummion (MIB 199) and the corresponding pentanummion (MIB 203) designated for the distributions in 537 ? Certainly the series is very abundant. This does not exclude the possibility of payments to the troops before or after the successful campaign against Stotzas (Procop., Vand. 4.19.1-4).|
|20||BNC, p. 66.|
|21||Amandry et al. (above, n. 2), pp. 279-95. Outside of Rome and Constantinople the mints associating their names with the sign of purity OB were those of Treveri, Mediolanum, Aquileia, Siscia, Thessalonica, Nicomedia, and Antioch.|
|22||The later solidi with CONOB in the exergue are those of the beginning of the reign of Leo III (717-20) (BNC 1; DOC 1-2). The solidus and the semissis of Artavasdus (742/3, DOC 1 and 4) represent only a temporary and partial return to the old type (the traditional VICTORIA AVGV being replaced by the IhSϤUS XRISTϤS hICA of the miliaresion).|
|23||Represented by two specimens: one in the Leuthold collection, illustrated by Lafaurie (above, n. 5), pl. 7, 7, and a new acquisition in the British Museum (MIB 12, illustrated).|
|24||In the age of Valentinian even the mark ROMOB is an exception (RIc 9, p. 132, 60-61, dated 388-94) inspired by a style in use at that time only at Constantinople (J. W. E. Pearce, RIC 9, p. 113).|
|25||On the importance of the personification of the province, considered as a divinity in all of North Africa in a cult which flourished from the second century A. D., and her iconography in the classical period, see M. Le Glay, LIMC 1.1 (Zurich, 1981), pp. 250-55, s.v. Africa. Possibly the representation was more popular in a general way outside the province itself than that of the Tyche of Carthage.|
|26||MIB3, p. 52. The reverse legend is curious in the disagreement of the nominative Felix and the genitive indictio(nis), if the reading indicated by our British informants is exact (neither Hahn nor I have seen the piece). I know no example of the indiction being so described in the African inscriptions of this period. Denis Feissel has been kind enough to draw to my attention the frequent use of the expression in the papyri of the fourth through the sixth centuries (see W. Preisigke, W�rterbuch der griechischen Papyrusurkunden, [Heidelberg, 19241, e.g. col. 625 τῆς εὐτνχονς ίνδικτιώνος less often εὐτνχεστάτη) and, for an epigraphic example close in chronology, an inscription from Miletus: INΔĀ Ẹ[...]YXS + (H. Gr�goire, Recueil des inscriptions chr�tiennes d'Asie Mineure 1 [Paris, 1922], no. 219). The preference for indictional dating was always greater at Carthage in the sixth century than at other mints where, except for some pre-Justinianic exceptions, it all but disappeared. Apart from the series of gold coins, a certain number of bronzes are also explicity dated in that way (Maurice, MIB 2, 119, 123, 128; Heraclius, MIB 3, 236).|
|27||In the seventh century and beyond, the name of the emperor is almost always in the nominative (DOC 2, pp. 99-100). the only exceptions to this rule are dative legends on some Italian solidi of Constantine IV and Justinian II and especially on coins struck at Carthage under Justin II, Maurice, and Heraclius. Here the genitive may be a borrowing from seals.|
|28||The same unaccustomed equality of the mark of value and other symbol (the date) is observed at Carthage on the folles of Justin II (MIB 74; BNC, pl. 24, 30).|
|29||Compare for example BMC 364 (pl. 9, 16), DOC 286d.3, BNC 11. This close relationship does not necessarily entail a reconsideration of the chronology of the undated bronzes proposed by W. Hahn, who places first (533-37) the folles with officina mark. Nonetheless it its very likely that the same engraver was responsible for MIB N185 and for most of the folles like MIB 184b.|
|30||This table is expanded (below, pp. 54-57) from the summary inventory presented in BSFN 37 (1982), pp. 214-15, in connection with the Souassi hoard.|
|31||C. Morrisson in R. Gu�ry et al., Recherches archéologiques franco-tunisiennes × Rougga 3. Le trésor de monnaies d'or byzantines, Collection de l'école française de Rome 60 (Rome, 1982), pp. 62-65.|
Once this sequence and its proposed dating are accepted, they can be set against the pattern of political events which may have prompted the local issue of gold as well as of copper coins. Striking similarities in fact appear in the chronological evolution of the two metals, except during the first years following the reconquest. The most urgent task for the authorities was to replace the silver and copper currency of the Vandal kings with imperial types; and gold, which even in Vandal times had remained an unchallenged imperial monopoly, was easily provided from the capital, as we have seen above. After Justinian's reform in 538, the issue of a nearly complete series of bronze denominations, from the follis to the nummus, dated regnal year 13, parallels the Γ solidi of the corresponding indiction, while the rare half folles of regnal year 22 (MIB 198) may be the counterpart of the equally rare IB solidi. If we take for granted the attribution of the VICTORIA dekanummia and pentanummia (MIB 200 and 204) to the 547-52 lustrum, as argued by Hahn,32 they could as well parallel the issues of the last IA solidi in 547/8. It would thus not be fortuitous that when the issue of gold ceases in 548/9, no significant bronze is issued except the + I + /CON dekanummium (MIB 201), which the overstrikes clearly place after MIB 200.
Examination of the sequence of gold issues and political events reveals another more important coincidence. If only the major issues are considered, leaving aside the unique AΦP coin and the θ33 and IB strikings known from only three specimens each, two groups appear: one in 539/40 (Γ), the other in 546/48. The former is clearly related to the return of Solomon, praefectus and magister militum during the summer of 539;34 the latter to the appointment and later activity of John Troglita from the end of 546 onward. In both cases, the appointment of a new comman-er-in-cheif takes place after a series of disorders of varying importance in the army. In 538, Procopius mentions a conspiracy partly caused by a protest against long-delayed pay;35 in 545/6 a similar arrearage in pay is the principal reason underlying Guntarith's revolt. No doubt the new nominees managed to restore law and order by paying what was due the soldiers from the state,36 probably with coins newly struck for the occasion.
The above pattern is that shown by the relative rarity of preserved specimens. A more precise though fundamentally similar picture is given by die analysis of the material. Using the various methods devised by I. D. Brown, C. Carcassonne, and J. Möller, the original number of dies for each issue (which can be considered an index of coin production) is estimated (see Figure 1 and Table 3).37
The Γ (539/40) and the I (546/7) issues lie in the same range with a score of estimated obverse dies (23 and 18 respectively), while the IA (547/8) issue is clearly the most plentiful of all with 35 estimated obverse dies. It may well have been related to John Troglita's activity and his building a stronger army against the Levathae.38
|Issue||Die Links||Coins in Sample||Obv. Dies||Pairs of do||Rev. Dies||Pairs of dr||Estimated Number of dies Using 1) C;a 2) B;b 3) M.;c||Estimated Number of dies Using 1) C;a 2) B;b 3) M.;c||Confidence Range||Confidence Range||Percent of Issue Knownd||Percent of Issue Knownd||Ratio of Known Dies to Calculated Dies||Ratio of Known Dies to Calculated Dies|
|I, 546/7||||22||14||10||17||5||1) 22||39||14-22||25-53||0.72||0.43|
The Africa IA issue (537/8) and the ⊖ (545/6) and IB (548/9) issues are too sparsely represented for any estimate to be possible: the number of preserved coins and dies then serves as the lower limit, well below the level for the three main issues. The historical context allows us to consider the Africa type (1) as a small ceremonial issue at a time when the mint practice for gold was still somewhat tentative; the production of coins with ⊖ (32-34) may have been restricted because of the revolt and other difficulties in 545/6, while IB (88-89) just represents the fading out ("queue d'�mission") of the abundant IA issue.
Whatever the exact relationship between local circumstances and gold production at Carthage during the reign of Justinian, there is no doubt that solidi (like bronze) were not issued on a regular annual basis, nor even at fixed intervals. This pattern is much different from that which prevails later at the African mint, and which begins to emerge during the reign of Justin II.
|i||A. Merlin, BCTH 1917, p. ccxxxvii, n.4: "M. Fanet, contr�leur civil de Zaghouan, m'a fait parvenir pour le Musée du Hardo, sept sous byzantins ayant appartenu × un trésor renferm� dans un vase de terre cuite (hauteur 0 m 08, diamètre max. 0 m 055) qui aurait �t� trouv� dans un douar de la r�gion du Djebel Derhafla (r�gion du Djebibina)."|
|j||A. S. Robertson, Roman Imperial Coins in the Hunter Coin Cabinet, University of Glasgow 5 (Oxford, 1982), pl. 88, 17.|
G.-Ch. Picard, BCTH 1943-45, pp. 427-28: "In a vineyard situated at a place called
Es-Sermita, 2km southeast of Rasel-Djebel and 1 km northeast of Si Rou Krima ... workers digging up the earth discovered,
distance from the cisterns, large blocks of rock which they pulled out. Under these blocks there then appeared a small piece
pottery containing 33 Ryzantine gold pieces This hoard, deposited at the Directorate of Antiquities ... includes " Relow is
inventory of the solidi, with Sabatier numbers, the possible identification of the pieces, and an account of the coins now
the Musée du Bardo.
|a||Ch. Carcassonne, "Tables pour l'estimation par la m�thode du maximum de vraisemblance du nombre de coins de droit (ou de revers) ayant servi × frapper une �mission," Table Ronde Numismatique et Statistique, 17-19 Sept. 1979, Paris.|
|b||I. D. Brown: "Some Notes on the Coinage of Elizabeth I with Special Reference to Her Hammered Silver," BNJ 28 (1955-57), pp. 568-603; "On the Use of Statistics in Numismatics," NCirc 77 (1969), pp. 83-84; "Statistical Methods as a Tool in Numismatics," Cornucopiae 3 (1975), pp. 33-44.|
|c||J. W. Möller, "Estimation du nombre original de coins," PACT 5 (1981), pp. 157-72.|
|d||I. J. Good, "The Population Frequencies of Species and the Estimation of Population Parameters," Biometrika 40 (1953), pp. 237-64, where = percent known.|
|32||MIB, pp. 70-71.|
|33||The rough style of this striking and the unexpected return to the African style may have been a consequence of the troubles surrounding Guntarith's revolt which ended, according to Procopius, "in Justinian's nineteenth year" (Vand. 4.28.34).|
|34||"In Justinian's thirteenth year," Vand. 4.19.1.|
|35||Vand. 4.18.9 on the unsuccessful coup of Maximinus. The reason is one already given by Procopius for the mutiny of Stotzas in 537 in the speech he attributes to the rebel (Vand. 4.15.55).|
|36||This is clearly stated by Procopius in the case of the patrikios Germanos who, following Stotzas' mutiny in 536, gave the repentant mutineers "their pay for the time during which they had been in arms against the Romans" (Vand. 4.15.5).|
|37||C. Morrisson, "Estimation du volume des solidi de Tib�re et Maurice × Carthage," PACT 5 (1981), pp. 267-84, with references to the earlier literature. Ch. Carcassonne has since published a report on her method with accompanying tables, 'Tables pour l'estimation par la m�thode du maximum de vraisemblance du nombre de coins de droit (ou de revers) ayant servi × frapper une �mission," 2 Symposi numismatic de Barcelona (Barcelona, 1980), pp. 115-28. Using my data, Mr. J�rg Möller was kind enough to calculate figures estimated according to his own method, based on the empirical frequency of dies, and I am very grateful to him for this invaluable help.|
|38||Corippus (Ioh. 7.150-242 and 272-73) mentions the recruiting of new troops and 150,000 Moorish allies. However exaggerated the figures, no doubt a greater financial effort was made in the winter of 547/8 than in the previous one. The increase in coin production may reflect an increase in military expenses.|
Justin II's gold issues from Carthage have long been confused with Constantinopolitan coinage and were first identified by Philip Grierson in volume 1 of DOC. He pointed to four criteria (note to 190c) for distinguishing the coins of Carthage:
His first observation is true of most issues except all B, Γ, Δ, and earlier ones (2-12) which have an unbroken inscription like the unique I coin (41). Point 2 applies only to a great majority of reverse legends, obverse inscriptions displaying A and A. The last two criteria are of almost general application. The only exception to the fourth criterion is precisely the B issue (already remarkable for its unbroken inscription) which shows a point on either side below the pteryges and above the horizontal bar of the cuirass, similar to Justinian's Γ in the African style (Justinian, 2-12). This is one of the rare obvious connections between the gold coinage of the two emperors, the other perhaps being the systematic design of the loop at the top of the shield as an elongation of the left pteryges that is derived from the loop (or incipient loop) on most of Justinian's later coins (I, IB). Another peculiarity of the Carthage legends under Justin II is the absence of the final B on the obverse: except on the two earliest types (A and B), the legends end in PPAV instead of the PPAVC used at Constantinople.
The change in iconography between Justinian I and Justin II and the choice of a new type for the reverse, as well as the replacement of the globus cruciger by a Victory on globe on the obverse, precludes close comparison of local styles in these two reigns. But a difference does appear in the design of the cuirass: under Justinian, the pteryges are asymmetrical, or at least separate, whereas under Justin II they always touch one another, often in the middle of the cuirass. During the latter's reign, the gold coins of Carthage do not display any originality in fabric, except perhaps a higher relief in the figure's design. They are also of the same module as metropolitan solidi, and the diameter of the border of dots also equals that at Constantinople. It would appear that the geometrical characteristics of the solidi from the two mints were now very close to one another, perhaps due to more precise specifications from the administration responsible.39
Carthaginian solidi do, however, retain distinctive stylistic characteristics besides the four typological criteria mentioned above, namely the higher relief of the figures, the more conspicuous lettering, and, above all, the peculiar treatment of the eyes. Unlike metropolitan coins, they also bear, as they did under Justinian, a date at the end of the reverse legend. That the letter at the end of this legend has a chronological meaning is indicated not only by the volume of production, which is far too small to account for the activity of ten officinae, but also by 41 and 42 with IA or IΓ.40 This last issue precludes the interpretation of the letter as an indictional date, since no thirteenth indiction occurred in the reign of Justin II.
|Year Sept. 1-Aug. 31||Year Nov. 15-Nov. 14||N||�|
|565||14||1||A||X and V PR ANNO (MIB 78, 81)|
|ca. 566||Construction of new defensesa||15||2||B||K, I, facing bust, lustral type for 567-72 (MIB 75, 79, 82)|
|567||Financial help sent to Africa (?)b||1||3||Г|
|569||Theodorus, praefectus, slain by the Moors||3||5|
|570||Theoctistos, magister militum, defeated and killed by the Moors||4||6||S|
|571||Amabilis, magister militum, killed by the Moors||5||7||Z|
|572/4(?)-578||Thomas praefectusc||6||8||H||M, K, ANNO VIII|
|573||The Maccuritae tribe renews obedience to the emperor||7||9||⊖||(MIB 75, 76) 1 NM (MIB 80) two busts|
|574||574-78, under Justin II and Tiberius, restoration and repairs of walls at Iunca Soriana (Bordj Younga)d||8||10||1||M, K, ANNO X, two emp. enthroned (MIB 74, 77)|
|578||Justin II dies, Oct. 5|
Table 4 shows the extent to which the gold issues parallel the copper ones. In both metals, Justin's African coinage began with a primo anno dating. The undated bronze series with the facing bust of Justin alone is best attributed to the early years of his reign on the basis of the appearance of a similar type in other mints, from 565 to 569 in Antioch and from 565 to 568 in Thessalonica.41 In gold, with the exceptions only of years 4 (Δ) and 12 (IB), for which no specimens are yet known (although they could well appear in the future), all regnal years of Justin II are represented by one or more specimens. The issue of gold is placed on an annual basis from this reign onward, although it is struck in varying quantities. That of bronze also becomes more regular than it had been under Justinian, with two other dated issues in regnal years 8 and 10. The later pattern of the Byzantine coinage at Carthage, with regular annual issues of gold and lustral periodicity for silver and copper, thus takes shape progressively under Justin II.
The variations in output, which estimates of the original number of dies may indicate (Figure 1, above, and Table 5), show two significant peaks for the B and I issues and a smaller one for the Є issue. Both are paralleled in bronze according to our chronology, a fact which supports our interpretation of the letters on the solidus as regnal years. The issue of the second year covers part of the first indiction, and this may not be fortuitous. It should be noted that it is also partly contemporaneous with the financial "comfort" sent to the province from Constantinople in 56.42
|Issue||Die Links||Coins in Sample||Obv. Dies||Pairs of do||Rev. Dies||Pairs of dr||Estimated Number of Dies Using 1) C;a 2) B;b 3) M.;c||Estimated Number of Dies Using 1) C;a 2) B;b 3) M.;c||Confidence Range||Confidence Range||Percent of Issue Knownd||Percent of Issue Knownd||Ratio of Known Dies to Calculated Dies||Ratio of Known Dies to Calculated Dies|
|B. 566/7||2||7||6||1||7||0||1) 19||—||0.31|
|ϵ, 569/70||10||5||4||1||5||0||1) 9||—||2-16||0.44|
|Γ + ϵ||[9-14]||6||4||2||6||0||1) 6||—||3-9||0.66|
|Issue||Die Links||Coins in Sample||Obv. Dies||Pairs of do||Rev. Dies||Pairs of dr||Estimated Number of Dies Using 1) C; 2) B; 3) M.;||Estimated Number of Dies Using 1) C; 2) B; 3) M.;||Confidence Range||Confidence Range||Percent of Issue Known||Percent of Issue Known||Ratio of Known Dies to Calculated Dies||Ratio of Known Dies to Calculated Dies|
|S, + 570/1||15||3||2||1||3||0||1) 2||—||1.00|
|Z. 571/2||18||7||4||6||7||0||1) 5||—||3-7||0.80|
|H, 572/3||25||5||2||6||3||2||1) 2||4||1.5-2.5||2.2-5.8||1.00||0.75|
|I, 574/5||34||7||5||2||6||1||1) 9||19||4-14||3-35||0.55||0.31|
The issue of the tenth year could have been prompted by a whole series of events: the association of Tiberius as Caesar on December 7, 574, coincided with the decennalia of Justin II on December 15 and thus suggested a distribution greater than the usual quinquennial donative. At the same time the recently appointed praefectus Thomas may have wanted and needed fresh coins from the mint. Unfortunately too little is known about the history of Africa under Justin II to inquire more precisely into the possible relation between monetary output and the political and military situation of the province.
|a||Thubursicu Bure (Teboursouk), between 565 and 569: J. Durliat, Les d�dicaces d'ouvrages de d�fense dans l'Afrique byzantine, Collection de l'école française de Rome 49 (1981), no. 25; D. Pringle, The Defence of Byzantine Africa from the Time of Justinian to the Arab Conquest, BAR International Series 99 (Oxford, 1981), pp. 243-44. Perhaps Tingica, see Pringle, pp. 270-72.|
|b||Our only source is the allusion, in Corippus' praefatio to the panegyric of Justin II, to the "generous comforts" (ampla ... solacia) sent by the quaestor and magister officiorum Anastasius to the province, and this may well be biased.|
|c||For a discussion of the date of Thomas' appointment, see Durliat, pp. 61-62.|
|d||J. Durliat, no. 26, p. 62, gives a new reading of the inscription found at Sidi Gherib; Pringle, pp. 202-3 and p. 328, no. 30, puts forward the view that the inscription, despite its having been found a few kilometers from the site, came from and referred to Iunca.|
|a||Ch. Carcassonne, "Tables pour l'estimation par la m�thode du maximum de vraisemblance du nombre de coins de droit (ou de revers) ayant servi × frapper une �mission." Table Ronde Numismatique et Statistique, 17-19 Sept. 1979, Paris.|
|b||I. D. Brown: "Some Notes on the Coinage of Elizabeth I with Special Reference to Her Hammered Silver," BNJ 28 (1955-57) pp. 568-603; "On the Use of Statistics in Numismatics," NCirc 77 (1969), pp. 83-84; "Statistical Methods as a Tool in Numismatics," Cornucopiae'� (1975), pp. 33-44.|
|c||J. W. Möller, "Estimation du nombre original de coins," PACT 5 (1981), pp. 157-72.|
|d||I. J. Good, "The Population Frequencies of Species and the Estimation of Population Parameters," Biometrika 40 (1953), pp. 237-64, where = percent known.|
|40||The "probable re-engraving of ⊖ over I," on BNC 2 (34) alluded to as a supplementary argument by Hahn (MIB, p. 41) is not confirmed by close examination of the coin itself.|
|41||W. Hahn, MIB 1, p. 48.|
This description of the establishment of the moneta auri in Carthage under Justinian I and Justin II can be compared and related to the picture already drawn for the reign of Maurice.43 The vacillation between regnal year and indictional dating during these two early reigns, which is significantly illustrated by the "bimodal" coin of the next ruler, Tiberius II, with H/I (regnal/ indictional) dating, is not overcome until 597/8, when the first indictional cycle of Maurice ends and thus suppresses the confusion between regnal years and indictions which had obtained since the accession of Maurice in 582. Indictional dating of gold coins, which then became the norm in Carthage for a century, is but an external aspect of the regularity in gold issue achieved in this reign. If the lustral variations in output are set aside, the average estimate for the number of obverse dies per issue amounts to 6.12 (S.D. = 3.56) for Maurice. Under Justin II, when the trend toward regular annual issue of solidi is already in evidence, the average is only 5.36, with the 5.17 standard deviation showing a higher dispersion of the data. The irregular issues of Justinian—six in a period of 32 years—naturally reach higher individual peaks on the graph (Figure 1), but considered as a whole they surely represent a less significant amount than the gold coinages of Justin II and, a fortiori, Maurice. Plotted against the number of years of Justinian's rule in Africa, the number of obverse dies used is only on average 2.6, as against 5 for the following reigns. The significantly larger size of the issues in gold by Justinian's successors reflects the increasing regionalization which affected Africa, like other Byzantine provinces, from the second half of the sixth century.
|42||W. Hahn draws my attention to the fact that the absence of any IB coin could be explained by a shift during Justin II's eleventh regnal year from regnal (IA) to indictional dating (ΙΓ). In support of this "indictionaľ' interpretation, which was already argued in MIB 2, pp. 38 and 40-41, he notes the absence in Carthage of the star mark in the left reverse field, characteristic of the first year issue in Constantinople. In his opinion this would point to no gold being struck before the first indiction in 567. Considering the tendency to autonomy already displayed in Carthage under Justinian, I would not give too much weight to this point: the rough parallelism between gold and bronze issues appears to me more important. It should be conceded, however, that the successive bronze issues in years VIII (corresponding to the beginning of a new lustral cycle) and X clearly show that the mint was operating on a dual quinquennial basis whose cycles were alternatively of a fiscal or political nature.|
|43||See Morrisson (above, n. 37).|
|1||J. P. C. Kent, "Gold Coinage in the Later Roman Empire," Essays Mattingly pp. 190-204. F. Dworschak, "Studien zum byzantinischen Münzwesen I," NZ 29 (1936), pp. 74-77, assumed (arguing principally from the striking of silver at Carthage as at Ravenna) that the African mint also struck gold. Recalling this hypothesis in 1950, Grierson wrote, "His reasoning is not conclusive but the fact itself seems to me probable" (emphasis added), P. Grierson, "Dated Solidi of Maurice, Phocas, and Heraclius," NC 1950, p. 61, n. 16.|
|2||On the reorganization of the coinage of the three metals established by these measures, see M. Amandry et al., "L'affinage des m�taux monnay�s au Bas-Empire: les r�formes valentiniennes de 364-368," NumAntClass 11 (1982), pp. 279-95.|
|3||The only ones identified at that time; see D. M. Metcalf, "The Mint at Thessalonica in the Early Byzan tine Period," Villes et peuplement dans l'Illyricum protobyzantin, Collection de l'école française de Rome 77 (1984), p. 114.|
|4||Kent (above, n. 1), p. 203.|
|5||J. Lafaurie, "Un Solidus in�dit de Justinien Ier frapp� en Afrique," RN 1962, pp. 167-82.|
|6||Even if it must be admitted that the solidus with IB (Ratto 463) cannot be a Carthaginian issue (see below, pp. 46-47, Justinian's IB Issue) as Grierson noted already in DOC, p. 159, 278 n.|
|7||The attribution was earlier suggested by Lafaurie (above, n. 5), p. 177, n. 1.|
|8||DOC 277d, with X engraved over Z, is too different from African examples (Plate 10, 32-34) to be given to Carthage. It is assigned to Constantinople by Hahn, MIB 6-⊖. Note, in fact, the similarity of the reverse to M IB 5 and DOC 3, on which the cross is likewise represented with a succession of dots, which is never the case on the solidi of Carthage where it is always represented by a line.|
A quarter of a century ago J. P. C. Kent presented a clear and influential survey of the administrative organization which lay behind the supply of gold coinage in the later Roman Empire. Taking as his point of departure a balanced assessment by J. W. E. Pearce,1 he deliberately emphasized one aspect, namely the government's urgent need for coined gold to pay the stipends of its soldiers and functionaries and to fulfill the heavy periodic demands of accession donatives and quinquennial donatives. These demands were met through the collection of onerous taxes payable in gold. Kent went on to describe the gathering of tax by city councils, who forwarded it to diocesan treasuries. In the fourth century the work of provincial mints was linked to these treasuries, but from 366/7 onward the striking of gold became centralized. With a few exceptions it was permitted only at the comitatus or imperial residence. The gold collected in each province was carried to the comitatus in the form of ingots (of which there are late fourth century examples with the stamps of the Thessalonica treasury),2 and there a moneta auri, which was a palatine department quite separate from the older monetae publicae, converted it into coin.
Kent saw that, within the administrative framework he described, the minting of gold at Thessalonica in the fifth century was anomalous. He suggested that the clue to this puzzling situation was to be found in similar situations at Ravenna and probably also Carthage, where the praetorian prefects were expressly assigned a detachment from the officium of the comes sacrarum largitionum, to enable them to coin small quantities of gold.3 Kent's keen insight remains the basis of our understanding of the matter today: there was a palatine moneta auri at Thessalonica because the city was the seat of the pretorian prefect of Illyricum.
Hahn has now firmly ruled out the idea tentatively floated by Bellinger and others during the 1960s and 1970s that sixth-century solidi with the mint signature CONOB might
have been minted at a variety of places, in particular those where there was a moneta publica striking copper coinage.
Only the palace or the seat of a prefect might have a mint for gold, "at least under normal conditions."4 The saving
clause may still permit debate around Kent's idea that in the fourth and fifth centuries the mint signature COMOB referred
to the comitatus rather than the comes sacrarum largitionum, and that there might, exceptionally,
be a traveling mint which
This study ought in truth to have appeared jointly under Wolfgang Hahn's name as well as
my own. His modesty and insistence should not be allowed to conceal the fact that much of the enterprise and much of the hard
work were his. I
am deeply grateful to him for his encouragement and friendship.
A preliminary version of this paper was published as "The Mint of Thessalonica in the Early Byzantine Period," Villes et
peuplement dans l'Illyricum protobyzantin, Coll�ge de l'école française de Rome, 77 (Rome, 1984), pp. 111-28.
accompanied the emperor. That, however, is relevant to our theme only because of the scarce issues in the names of Theodosius II and Honorius signed COMOB which he attributed to
Thessalonica in ca. 408. It will be argued below that they are not Thessalonican, but that some of them are from a separate
The numismatic facts about Thessalonica upon which Kent relied in reaching his assessment that its gold coinage was anomalous have been changed substantially by the recognition that the mint continued to be active long after the time of Basiliscus, indeed throughout the sixth century and into the early seventh. Its later products were not readily identified because they were marked CONOB (rather than TESOB or THSOB). They are distinguished chiefly by the addition of stars in the reverse field or by other small variations from the design in use at Constantinople. Bellinger made the attribution in DOC 1, noting that the coins lacked an officina numeral on the reverse and that the tradition of adding two stars went back to coins of which the Thessalonican attribution was not in doubt.6 Fagerlie's monograph on the Scandinavian finds, published also in 1967, proposed the same attribution, and she should probably have the credit as the originator.7<