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    Justinian I: Expansive Ambition

    Justinian I the Great (AD 527-565). AV solidus (21mm, 4.48 gm, 6h).  Constantinople, 10th officina, AD 527-537. D N IVSTINI-ANVS P P AVG, pearl-diademed, helmet and cuirassed bust facing, head slightly right, holding spear over right shoulder and, on left arm, shield decorated with motif of horseman spearing fallen enemy / VICTORI-A AVGGG, angel standing facing, holding long cross in right hand and globus cruciger in left, star in right field, I//CONOB. Sear 137. DOC 3i. MIB 5. Crisply struck devices, lustrous fields. NGC (photo-certificate) MS 4/5 - 3/5, scuff.

    From The Andre Constantine Dimitriadis Collection.

    Justinian I is deservedly called "the Great" for his expansive ambition and his many accomplishments. Blessed with a keen intellect, a unique ability to spot talent, a tireless capacity for hard work, and unflinching belief in his vision, he quite nearly reconstituted the Roman Empire in its entirety and might have given it a long-term second lease on life, if not for a few twists of fate. His great generals Belisarius, Germanus and Narses carried East Roman arms from the Euphrates to southern Spain, restoring Africa and Italy to imperial control and turning the Mediterranean once more into a Roman lake, albeit at tremendous cost in coin and blood. In stone and concrete he built Hagia Sophia, the most spectacular church to survive antiquity; in parchment and ink he built the Code of Justinian, a towering work of jurisprudence that is still forms the foundation of European law. An early supporter of women's rights, he insisted that his beautiful and canny wife, Theodora, be granted co-equal powers to his own and often sought her counsel; indeed she saved the regime during the Nika Riots of AD 532. Like many great men, he evoked wildly differing views of his merits: His biographer Procopius both hailed him as a godlike being and attacked him as a demonic tyrant. The disasters of the AD 550s, including earthquakes, a horrific plague that killed a quarter of the Empire's population, and military reverses that undid many early conquests, seemed to show God's displeasure with his rule. Nevertheless Justinian and his picked men strove mightily to overcome these setbacks and, by AD 560, had seemingly done just that. The overall brilliance of his 38-year reign was reflected in the magnificent artistic, architectural, legal, and literary achievements of the age, which cast a long shadow in the centuries to come.

    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
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