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Justin I
Justin I/Justinian I
Justinian I
Justin II
Tiberius II
Maurice Tiberius
Anonymous 4th-6th
Constans II
Constantine IV
Justinian II
Tiberius III
Theodosius III
Constantine V
Constantine VI
Nicephorus I
Michael II
Michael III
Basil I
Leo VI
Const VII/Rom I
Const VII/Rom II
Romanus II
Nicephorus II
John I
Basil II
Constantine VIII
Romanus III
Constantine IX
Constantine X
Romanus IV
Michael VII
Nicephorus III
Anonymous 10th-11th
Alexius I
John II
Manuel I
Andronicus I
Isaac II
Alexius III
John III
Theodore II
Thessalonica Empire
Empire of Trebizond
Michael VIII
Andronicus II-Michael IX
Andronicus III
Arab Imitative

The Byzantine Empire
Click here to see coins for sale from this period

Traditionally, numismatists categorize the "Byzantine Empire" from the reign of Anastasias I in 491 to Constantine XI Palaeologus, ending in 1453.  There is still much debate as to whether or not this is correct or if perhaps it should be moved back to the point when Constantine I moved the capital of the Roman Empire to Constantinople or perhaps when the Roman Empire split between the East and West.  Even the term "Byzantine" itself is debated by some numismatists and historians, who prefer to use the term "Romaion".  The coins listed on the sub-pages will be attributed to the number, and preceded by SB, in David Sear's "Byzantine Coins and Their Values", published by Seaby, an imprint of Spink & Son Ltd, London.

Chronological Index of Byzantine Rulers
(as listed on Dave Surber's site - www.wildwinds.com - with links to his pages)
Anastasius I 491-518
Justin I 518-527
Justin I and Justinian I 527
Justinian I 527-565
Justin II 565-578
Justin II and Tiberius II Constantine 578
Tiberius II Constantine 578-582
Maurice Tiberius 582-602
Theodosius 590-602
Phocas 602-610
Revolt of the Heraclii 608-610
Heraclius 610-641
Heraclius Constantine 641
Heraclonas 641
Constans II 641-668
Mezezius 668-669
Constantine IV 668-685
Justinian II, First Reign 685-695, Second reign 705-711
Leontius 695-698
Tiberius III 698-705
Philippicus 711-713
Anastasius II, Artemius 713-715
Theodosius III of Adramytium 715-717
Leo III the Isaurian 717-741
Artavasdus and Nicephorus 742-743
Constantine V Copronymus and Leo IV the Khazar 741-775
Leo IV and Constantine VI 775-780
Constantine VI and Irene 780-797
Irene 797-802
Nicephorus I and Stauracius 802-811
Michael I Rhangabe and Theophylactus 811-813
Leo V the Armenian 813-820
Michael II the Amorian 820-829
Theophilus 829-842
Michael III the Drunkard 842-867
Basil I the Macedonian 867-886
Leo VI the Wise 886-912
Alexander 912-913
Constantine VII Porphyrogenitus and Romanus I Lecapenus 913-959
Romanus II 959-963
Nicephorus II, Phocas 963-969
Anonymous Folles coined under several emperors, 10th - 11th centuries
John I Tzimisces 969-976
Basil II, Bulgaroktonos 976-1025
Constantine VIII 1025-1028
Romanus III, Argyrus 1028-1034
Michael IV 1034-1041
Zoe 1041
Michael V 1041-1042
Zoe and Theodora-1042
Constantine IX 1042-1055
Theodora 1055-1056
Michael VI 1056-1057
Isaac I Comnenus 1057-1059
Constantine X 1059-1067
Eudocia 1067
Romanus IV 1068 1071
Michael VII 1071-1078
Nicephorus III 1078-1081
Alexius I 1092-1118
John II 1118-1143
Manuel I 1143-1180
Andronicus I 1183-1185
Isaac, Usurper in Cyprus 1184-1191
Isaac II Angelus 1185-1195
Alexius III Angelus-Comnenus 1195-1204
Alexius IV Ducas 1204
Latin Rulers of Constantinople and Thessalonica
Theodore I (Empire of Nicaea) 1208-1222
John III (Empire of Nicaea) 1222-1254
Theodore II (Empire of Nicaea) 1254-1258
Empire of Nicaea, Uncertain Ruler
Theodore (Empire of Thessalonica) 1224-1230
Manuel (Empire of Thessalonica) 1230-1237
John (Empire of Thessalonica) 1237-1242 (despot 1242-1244)
Anonymous issues of Thessalonica 1242-1246
Michael I, Angelus (Despotate of Epirus) 1204-1215
Theodore, Comnenus-Ducas (Despotate of Epirus) 1215-1230
Manuel, Comnenus-Ducas (Despotate of Epirus) 1230-1237
Michael II, Comnenus-Ducas (Despotate of Epirus) 1237-1271
Michael VIII Palaeologus 1261-1282
Andronicus II Palaeologus 1282-1328
Andronicus III Palaeologus 1328-1341
John_V Palaeologus 1341-1391
John_VI Cantacuzenus 1347-1354
Andronicus IV 1376-1379
John VII Palaeologus 1390
Manuel II Palaeologus 1391-1423
John VIII Palaeologus 1423-1448
Constantine XI Palaeologus, 1448-1453

Reading Byzantine Folles

The obverses on Byzantine bronzes are similar to reading Roman coins.  The legend follows the edge of the coin and often employs a facing bust type.  What may be confusing at first is the usage of upper and lower case characters within names.

Maurice Tiberius, Ć Follis, Year 11 (592/593), Theoupolis (Antioch) Mint, Officina 3. d N MAurI C N P AuT  Facing bust, crowned, in consular robes, with mappa and eagle-tipped scepter.  Large M, + above, ANNO and X | I at sides, G below, THEUP' in exergue.  Sear Byzantine 533.

As for the reverse marks, there are often three different sets to observe.  The large letter(s) in the middle represents the denomination.

A = 1 Nummus
  B = 2 Nummi
  G = 3 Nummi
  D = 4 Nummi
E = 5 Nummi or Pentanummium
  V = 5 Nummi or Pentanummium
  S = 6 Nummi
  H = 8 Nummi
X = 10 Nummi or Decanummium
I = 10 Nummi or Decanummium
  I + B = 12 Nummi
I + S = 16 Nummi
XX = 20 Nummi or Half Follis
K = 20 Nummi or Half Follis
XXX = 30 Nummi or Three-Quarter Follis
  LG = 33 Nummi
XXXX = 40 Nummi or Follis
M or m = 40 Nummi or Follis
  PK = 120 Nummi (silver coin)
  PKE = 125 Nummi (silver coin)
  CN = 250 Nummi (silver coin)

Other Byzantine denominations, unmarked

Third-Siliqua (Silver, around 1.00g)

Below the denomination mark is one letter representing the officina in Greek, in this case gamma, or three.  To the right of the denomination mark is a group of Roman numerals representing the year of issue.  I is 1; V, U and u is 5; X is 10; etc.  However, this unusual character:

is actually a symbol for 6.  Therefore, a coin with that character (archaic digamma or vau) with say, two I's, is year 8, not year 7.  Since I don't have an exact character for vau, I'm going to use the symbol for the Roman digamma ( V ) throughout the Byzantine pages. Also, Year 5 is sometimes written as a C with an I connected below.

Maurice Tiberius, Ć Follis, Year 8 (589/590), Theupolis (Antioch) Mint, Officina 3. d N MAurI C N P AuT  Facing bust, crowned, in consular robes, with mappa and eagle-tipped scepter.  Large M, + above, ANNO and u | III at sides, G below, THEUP' in exergue.  Sear Byzantine 533.  

Sometimes, actually fairly often, you can find all sorts of oddities within Byzantine coins.  The culture is rife with overstrikes, double-strikes, gross mis-strikes and other errors.  For example, the above coin may be an example where two flans were stuck together, since there is no obverse strike at all.  It is an AE Decanummium from Carthage, struck in the year 14 for Justinian I.  It measures 16mm and weighs 4.31g. and would normally be SB 269.

Byzantine artifacts

Byzantine, Anonymous Lead Seal, Probably Late 6th Century
(No legend)
Nimbate, draped, facing bust of Christ, small cross in left and right fields
(No legend)
Large I, large cross in left and right fields, all in dotted line border
15mm, 4.44g, 3mm thick

Notes from David Sear: The most similar numismatic equivalents are decanummia of Tiberius II Constantine (SB 472) and Maurice Tiberius (SB 601). Nice silvery appearance.

Byzantine, Blue Glass Weight of 8 Siliquae or 1 Tremissis, 6th-7th Century
(No legend)
Bust of Eparch
(No legend)
18mm, 1.56g
Cf. Bendall 190 and 191
Ex Gert Boersema, VCoins, October 2009; Ex Kölner Münzkabinett (Tyll Kroha), Auction 68, Lot 1497, 1998

Notes from Mr. Boersema: Bendall does not give a date, but considering these glass weights also show block and cruciform monograms, that indicates a date in the 6th/7th century AD. Also, the only imperial portraits found on glass weights are Justinian I and Justin II, which corroborates that date. The reference for these is Simom Bendall's 'Byzantine Weights, An introduction' (1996).