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    Description

    Pedigreed to 1925

    Basil II Bulgaroctonos (AD 976-1025), with Constantine VIII. AV histamenon nomisma (25mm, 4.44 gm, 6h). NGC Choice AU 5/5 - 4/5. Constantinople, AD 1005-1025. + IhS XIS RЄX RЄΣNANTIhM, bust of Christ facing, wearing nimbus cruciger with annulets in upper quarters, pallium, and colobium, raising right hand in benediction, book of Gospels cradled in left arm; triple border / + bASIL Є COhStAhtIh R, crowned facing busts of Basil II (on left), bearded, wearing loros of large jeweled pattern, crowned from above by manus Dei, and Constantine VIII (on right), beardless, wearing jeweled chlamys pinned at right shoulder, jointly holding long cross between them; triple border. Sear 1800. DOC 6a. One of the most beautiful examples of this superb, iconic type we have offered, crisply struck on an immense flan, with a superb bust of Christ.

    From the Morris Collection. Ex. H. C. Levis Collection (Ars Classica 11, 18 June 1925), lot 1132.

    The son of Romanus II, Basil II inherited the purple at the age of five in when his father died in AD 963; however he had to fight off several challenges to his rule and was not fully secure until AD 989. The experience made a hard, austere man of him. Monastic in tastes and militant in manners, he never married and devoted his whole reign to administering the state and leading armies into battle. He expended enormous efforts toward destroying the Bulgarian menace once and for all. At the Battle of Kleidion in AD 1014, he acquired his nickname "Bulgar-slayer" (Bulgaroctonos) when he captured and blinded 15,000 Bulgarians; the Bulgarian Tsar Samuel died of despair when he beheld the fate his men. The Fatamids and Arabs also felt his wrath and he oversaw the annexation of Georgia to the Empire. He kept wealthy aristocrats on a short leash and favored peasants and small farmers, the backbone of the army. By the time of Basil's death in AD 1025, the medieval Byzantine Empire had reached its greatest size, power and prestige.


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    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    January, 2019
    6th-7th Sunday-Monday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 11
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