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Ancient Nomos Art is a museum of galleries exhibiting ancient coins and ancient mint maps. The coin gallery displays the diverse art and history of hand-crafted ancient Greek, Roman, Byzantine, Persian and Medieval coinage. The ancient mints mapping gallery features Greek, Roman, Byzantine, Asia Minor and Medieval mint city regions and territories. Visitor's are welcome to explore, study and enjoy Ancient Nomos Art.

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Byzantine, Roman – 868 AD

Basil I

From Ancient Galleries

Byzantine, Roman – 868 AD

Obverse: Cross potent set on three steps with Christogram legend, globe below.
Reverse: Basil I and Constantine VIII legend on six lines, triple beaded border.

Obv: IhSЧS XRI SτЧS hICA, with cross potent set on three steps; glob below, all within triple beaded border. Rev: +bASI/LIOS CЄ/ CONSτAh/τIh’ PISTV/ BASILIS/ ROmEO in six lines, all within triple beaded border.

The coin above is a unique Byzantine silver issue named miliaresion. The silver miliaresion’s were struck between the 8th–11th centuries. This coin was struck during the miliaresion’s first century of issue. Typical of the miliaresion is the obverse cross on three steps and reverse legend stating the ruling emperor. On this piece +bASI/LIOS CЄ/ CONSτAh/τIh’ states the co-emperors Basil I and Constantine VIII are “born to purple, kings of Rome” in six lines. Basil I was a Byzantine emperor for nearly two decades from 867–886 AD. His family is said to be of Armenian decent who settled in Macedonia. Basil ascended quickly under Emperor Michael III rule and became co-emperor in 866 AD. Basil I is said to have proclaimed himself emperor in 867 AD after he had Michael III murdered. This was to begin a 200 year long Macedonian dynasty for eastern Byzantium. Basil I is known for his financial reforms and for updating the law of Justinian I by initiating a new code called the Basilica. He also helped protect the poor classes, improved relations with the church in Rome and restored military prestige to the Empire. Because of the substantial legal work Basil I undertook, he was often referred to as the “second Justinian.” Basil’s laws were eventually collected in the sixty books of Basilica, and smaller legal manuals known as the Prochiron and the Eisagoge. Basil’s financial administration was equally prudent. Basil also initiated an extensive building program in Constantinople, crowned by the construction of the Nea Ekklesia cathedral. However, construction of another church, the new Bulgarian Church in Constantinople, was considered a breach with Rome and thus ultimately led to the current divide between Roman Catholicism the Eastern Orthodoxy Church. Basil died on August 29, 886 from a fever contracted after a serious hunting accident.

Value: Miliaresion. Metal: AR Silver. Weight: 2.88 grams. Mint: Constantinople. Date: 868-877 AD.
Attribution: Dumbarton Oaks Collection, III, 7; Sear, Byzantine Coins, 1708.

Legend, Documentation and Attribution