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    EMPIRE OF NICAEA. Theodore I Comnenus-Lascaris (AD 1208-1222). EL/AR aspron trachy (32mm, 4.27 gm, 5h). NGC Choice AU 5/5 - 4/5, graffito. Magnesia, AD 1208-1212. IC-XC (barred), Christ enthroned facing, wearing nimbus cruciger with pellet in each arm, pallium and colobium, holding book of Gospels in lap / ΘΕΟΔΩPOC ΔEC-Π-OT ΘΕΟΔΩΡΟC, standing facing figures of Theodore I (on left), wearing crown with pendilia, divitision, loros and sagion, and St. Theodore (on right), nimbate and wearing military military dress, each holding sheathed sword in outer hand; both holding staff surmounted by eight-pointed star between them. Sear 2064.

    The catastrophic Crusader sack of Constantinople in AD 1204 found some of Byzantium's most capable soldiers scattered to the winds. One of them, Theodore Comnenus-Lascaris, established himself at Nicaea in western Anatolia and began building a Byzantine Empire in exile. He gained support from the Patriarch Michael, who crowned him as Emperor in AD 1208. Surrounded by enemies, the Nicaean Empire nevertheless coalesced and grew stronger under the excellent rule of Theodore and his son, John III Ducas-Vatatzes (AD 1222-1254). Before long, the dream of recapturing Constantinople from the Latins came within reach.

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    22nd Monday
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