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    Description

    The Crafty Basil I

    Basil I the Macedonian (AD 867-886), with Constantine. AV solidus (20mm, 4.30 gm, 6h). NGC MS 5/5 - 4/5. Constantinople, AD 870-871. + IhS XPS RЄX RЄGNANTIЧM*, full-length figure of Christ, with cruciform nimbus, seated facing, wearing chiton, raising hand in benediction and holding Gospels / bASILIOS ЄT CONSTANT AЧΣΣ b, crowned facing busts of Basil, with short beard and loros, and Constantine, beardless and wearing chlamys, holding patriarchal cross between them. Sear 1704. DOC 2c. Perfectly struck from fresh dies of high Byzantine style, with needle-sharp detail and lovely satin surfaces. NOTE: Holder misidentifies rulers as Basil II and Constantine VIII.

    A Macedonian peasant, Basil came to Constantinople as a young man seeking his fortune, and can hardly have done any better. Despite having no education or money, he parlayed an appointment as a groom in the Imperial stables into a friendship with the Emperor Michael III "The Drunkard," who appointed him co-emperor in May of AD 866. Basil next contrived the murder of the powerful Caesar Bardas, then, in September of 867, he did away with Michael himself. Once installed as uncontested ruler, he proved himself as gifted as he was cunning, crafty and ruthless. He continued the military expansion begun by his predecessors and dealt the Arabs and Slavs several heavy defeats while consolidating and strengthening the empire's new frontiers. He is shown here with his eldest and favorite son Constantine, who, predeceased him in AD 879. 


    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    September, 2017
    7th-12th Thursday-Tuesday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 9
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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