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    Attractive Irene-Constantine Solidus

    Irene, joint reign with Constantine VI (AD 780-797). AV solidus (19mm, 4.38 gm, 6h).  Constantinople, AD 792-797. IRIhH AΓOЧSTI, crowned facing bust of Irene, wearing loros, holding globus cruciger and cross-tipped scepter / COhSTAh-TIhOS bAS', crowned and draped facing bust of Constantine, holding globus cruciger and acacia. Sear 1594. DOC 3a. Well centered and evenly struck. NGC (photo-certificate) Choice AU 5/5 - 4/5.

    From The Andre Constantine Dimitriadis Collection. Ex "An Important Private Collection of Byzantine Coins" (Sotheby's, 2 November 1998), lot 420.

    Irene was a legendary beauty from Athens who married the Emperor Leo IV and soon came to dominate domestic affairs in his government. When Leo died in 780, Irene ruled as regent for her adolescent son Constantine VI. Though the Isaurian dynasty had initiated iconoclasm and vigorously attacked the use of sacred images, Irene was a fervent iconodule and began the process of reversing the divisive policy. She called a church council at Nicaea in 787 that declared iconoclasm to be heretical. This won her enemies in the army, which was heavily iconoclast, and in 790 she was temporarily ousted in a coup led by her now 20-year-old son. But he showed no talent for ruling and recalled her two years later. This solidus belongs to Irene's second ascendency, AD 792-797, before she took the audacious step of seizing sole power for herself. 

    This coin from the Dimitriadis Collection has been issued a photo-certificate by NGC. It may be sent in for encapsulation after the auction at the request of the buyer, free of charge. E-mail SamS@HA.com if you would like to utilize this option.


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    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    September, 2014
    3rd-10th Wednesday-Wednesday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 7
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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