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    Description

    Michael III 'the Drunkard' (AD 842-867), with Theodora and Thecla, AV solidus (20mm, 4.32 gm, 6h). NGC Choice XF 5/5 - 3/5, clipped. Constantinople, ca. AD 842-843. + ΘEO?O-RA C ЄESPVh'A, facing bust of Theodora, wearing crown with two double pinnacles, pendilia and loros, cruciform scepter in right hand, globus surmounted by patriarchal cross in left / • MIXAHLS Θ-ЄCLA, facing half-length length similar-sized busts of Michael III (on left), wearing crown and chlamys, globus cruciger in right hand, and his sister Thecla (on right), wearing crown with three plain pinnacles and the middle surmounted by cross, pendilia and loros, patriarchal cross in right hand, akakia in left. Sear 1686. DOC 1. Scrape at 2h obverse edge noted for accuracy.

    From the Morris Collection.

    Theodora, who ruled as regent for Michael III during his long minority, was one of the more successful female Byzantine rulers. She was wed to the newly crowned Theophilus in AD 830 following a "bride show" in which eligible maidens from all over the Empire were paraded before the young emperor. She remained a fervent iconodule despite the strict iconoclasm of her husband, and bore him seven children over 12 years. In AD 842, Theophilus died at only 29 years of age; his only surviving son was the three-year old Michael III, who had already been declared emperor and succeeded without opposition, with Theodora acting as regent. She was ably assisted by her brothers, Bardas and Petronas, as well as by Theoktistos, the logothete (admiral) of the Byzantine navy. The borders were maintained, Arab and slavic raids repulsed, and the century-old iconoclastic controversy ended diplomatically by a restoration of icons (as objects of veneration, not worship), without reprisal on those who had sought their destruction. Throughout, she demonstrated herself an effective and capable ruler. In typical Byzantine fashion, though, she soon fell victim to court intrigues by her brother Bardas, who conspired with the young Michael in AD 856 to remove Theodora from power. Once deposed, she was confined to a convent and could only watch helplessly as a lowborn but ambitious courtier named Basil wormed her way into her son's affections, did away with Bardas, and ultimately murdered Michael and ascended the throne himself in AD 867.


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    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    January, 2019
    6th-7th Sunday-Monday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 9
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