Byzantine Coins of Cherson (Kherson)
A resource for collectors

map Byzantine Cherson (in Greek it is spelled with a chi, so its pronunciation is somewhat like "CARE son") was located where Sevastopol is now. Sevastopol is in the Crimea, Ukraine, on the peninsula projecting into the north side of the Black Sea. The ruins of Cherson cover a cape on the edge of the city and parts are under water. Ancient Cherson (destroyed by the Mongols-Tatars in the 13th century) is the one labeled with large letters - it is not the modern Cherson (founded 1779) labeled with small letters.
    The city is the "Tauric" Chersonesus as opposed to the "Thracian" Chersonesus at Gallipoli on the European side of the Dardanelles. In the Greek period, coins of both places are found under "Thrace," although in different subsections.


XERCONOC / H

Byzantine coins of Cherson (Kherson) :
A comprehensive list
        by Warren Esty
e-mail me at: 
Copyright (c) 2002-2012, all rights reserved
I welcome comments, suggestions, and corrections.
If you care about these coins, feel free to contact me.

XEPCONOC ("Chersonos"), two nimbate standing figures,
left one holding globus cruciger, right one with long cross, cross above and between
/standing figure, nimbate, holding long cross, large H
(for "8" pentanummia = the usual 40 nummia of a follis) to the right, cross above
Naming the mint city, but not the emperor, this type has been variously attributed to
Justin II and Sophia (AD 565-578) or Maurice (602-610)
 Contents :  
   What's new?  May 28, 2012. Thumbnails replaced with larger images. 
March 31, 2012. Excellent John I. Lead Leo VI and Alexander.
Nov. 15, 2010.  Some of the photos previously only on the "Images" pages have been added to this page to illustrate the most common types.  (Many more images are only on the linked "Images" pages.)
Sept. 7, 2010. Pre-Byzantine coins of the city of Cherson. A coin of the Tmutarakan Princedom minted in imitation of a miliaresion of Basil II and Constantine VIII.
May 12, 2010. A Maurice "H".  A pre-Byzantine coin of Cherson of the "Freedom" period on the third century AD. 
March 15, 2010.  An example of the very rare "M" XEPCWNOC type of Maurice or Justin II.
March 13, 2010:  Arguments of Sidorenko about the mint city of types ES17-20. He thinks they were minted in Bosporos (modern Kerch on the east end of the peninsula), not Cherson. Also, Hahn, in Money of the Incipient Byzantine Empire Continued (565-610) has given "H" types to Tiberius II and Phocas in addition to Justin II and Maurice. This attribution is discussed.

Introduction
   The list: Coin types listed chronologically by ruler
            (click on the "Images" link for images of coins)
   Controversial attributions
        Format explained, color code, abbreviations, etc .
        Concise List of emperors who minted in Cherson
        The monograms
        The arguments for attributions
        Reference works
        Comments for collectors  
        A few coins of pre-Byzantine Cherson.

Introduction :  Coins are organized chronologically by emperor and type. The primary reference is Anokhin. Sear is the secondary reference.

Format, abbreviations, reference works, types, and color code are discussed below. Monograms are easy to find in the table itself. However, in addition, all monograms are listed in one place and linked to the table .

To search this page, use the usual "Find" command: "ctrl, F" or, on a Mac, "cmd, F". To find a type by Sear number use "S" as a prefix with no following space, eg. S1772.

Attributions by Sear (Byzantine Coins and Their Values) and the other major western references (Dumbarton Oaks, Grierson, Berk, etc.) frequently differ substantially from those of Anokhin. There are three main areas of controvery (The arguments are discussed below ).
1)  Who issued the AE14-16 coins with VICTOR reverses?  Excellent examples show at least "IVSTIN ...." Some legends are clearly of Justinian. The question is if any are of Justin. Some legends are short enough for Justin, but those seem so blundered it is not certain they intended to say "IVSTINVS" instead of "IVSTINIANVS."
2)  Who issued the "M" and "H" folles and "K" and "delta" half-folles with legend "XEPCONOC"? Very similar coins were issued in the name of Maurice, so older attributions of the "XEPCONOC" types were also to Maurice, but now some scholars have argued that they were originally issued by Justin II.
3)  Which of the several types with monograms of "Romanus " belong to which of the four emperors named "Romanus" ?

For arguments about attributions, see below. The table uses green to indicate that the reference in green (usually Sear) attributes the types differently than I have in these tables. For notes about references to Sear, see below.

Struck or Cast ? Coins from Cherson from the 5th century through Constans II (641-668) were struck. Their fabric, if not their designs, resembles normal Byzantine coin fabric. After a long gap in production, coinage apparently resumed at Cherson in the late 8th century with crude cast (not stuck) coins imitating earlier types. Coinage attributable to a particular emperor resumed with Theophilus (829-842) and from then on most types were cast. The fabric of the cast coins of Cherson is distinct and unlike that of other contemporary series of coins.

Emperors in the tables.
400-500:  Theodosius II and Valentinian III, Zeno   [coins usually attributed to Constantinople, but found only near Cherson]
500-600:  Justin IJustinian I, Justin II and Sophia, Maurice
600-668:  Heraclius, Constans II
**** Above here, coins are struck. After here, almost all coins are cast.
829-900:  Theophilus, Michael III, Basil I, Leo VI and Alexander
900-1000:  Constantine VII and Romanus I, Romanus II, Nicehorus II, John I, Basil II and Constantine VIII
1000-1071:  Romanus III, Romanus IV    [the final coins of the Cherson mint]

Table Format:  Emperor (dates). (Link to images)  [typical sizes]
E# (Esty 
   type
  number)
size: mm
  Obverse
   type or
line drawing
  Reverse
   type or
line drawing
Anokhin number:
   Axxx
Sokolova
plate.number:  SoX.Y
   Sear
  number:
  Sxxxx
green color code
 Berk
number:
  Bxxx
Grierson
 number:
   Gxxx
   DO
numbers
comments

Struck Coins of Cherson
T2
Theodosius II (402-459) and Valentinian III (425-455). Images.  [AE2's]
ES1
21mm
AE2 helmeted
bust right
DN THEO...
two emps stg on
either side of long cross
CONCORDIA AGV [sic]
A-- SR--
So--
RIC X
460 "R3" 
"? 437" Con
Hahn 71
pl. 4 
Con
DO LRC
435 Con
NC 1995
p. 271-5
ES2
21mm
the same 
but
DN VAL...
same A-- SR--
So--
RIC X
461 "R4"
Con
Hahn -- DO LRC
--
NC 1995
p. 271-5
pl. 48: 2-3

RIC
X, p. 92: "As with the AE2 of Leo and Zeno, provenances imply that this denomination was struck at Constantinople specifically in Cherson and its hinterland."  NC 1995 notes that there seems to be no exception to the provenances being the region of Cherson. [Hahn does not cover Valentinian III.] Valentinian III's pieces are much rarer, which is not surprising this far east because he was the western ruler.
These and the Leo pieces have a mintmark of Constantinople in exergue:  CON or CONE. NC 1995 suggests (but does not assert) it should be believed.

Leo I (457-474) and Verina. Images. [AE2's]
LL
ES3
19mm
AE2
bust right
VIRTVS EXRCITI [sic]
emp rt. with standard and globe
foot on captive
A--
So1.1
S-- RIC X
652-4
Constantinople
H23a-b
Pl. 9
Con
DO LRC
560
 
ES4
19mm
AE2
bust right
SALVS R-PVBLCA [sic]
emp rt. with standard and globe foot on captive
A--
So1.2-3
SR4339 RIC X
657-664
Constantinople
H24a-b
Pl. 9
Con
DO LRC
561
D. Markov: Perhaps the high-quality ones really are 
from Constantinople.
ES5
19mm
AE2
Verina
bust right
SALVS REIPVBLICAE, 
Victory seated right, 
inscribing chi-rho on shield.
A--
So--
SR4345 RIC X
655-6
Constantinople
H25
Con
pl. 9
DO LRC
598
 

Anokhin does not attribute any coins of Theodosius II, Valentinian III, or Leo I to Cherson. However, if they were not actually struck in Cherson, they were certainly associated with Cherson in that they are found in the region of Cherson and generally not elsewhere.  Hahn calls these pieces "maiorina."

Zeno  (474-491). Images.   [Small AE2's]
Zeno
ES6
17mm
AE2, bust right
DN ZENO 
PF AVG
CONCORDIA //
emp stg r, holding
spear and globe
captive at feet
A309
So1.4-9
RIC X 948 R2
p. 312, pl. 33
p. 118
Constantinople
H23.1-2
pl. 13
Con
DO LRC
604 =
H23.1
H "second reign" p. 74 
sites NC 1948 p. 224

Anokhin attributes this type to Cherson. The region of Cherson is the provenance of finds. The flan is usually too small for the dies.

Justin I (518-527). Images.   [14 mm]
J
ES7
14mm
bust
right
VICTOR  emp stg w
long cross and shield
A312
So1.11-12
S112B  B111v1
Justin I LD
G-- H77
Justin I
(DO371)
cites T.515f
 
ES8
14mm
bust
right
VICTOR  emp stg
w labarum
A313
So1.10
S112A B110
Justin I
G-- H76.1,76.2
Justin I
   
ES9
14mm
bust
right
VICTOR emp stg w 
long cross and globe
A311
So. 1.13-14
S112C B--       This has a short, blundered, obverse legend.
See ES11 for the same type with a longer legend.
A326 is a later cast of this type.
 
   Sear gives all three VICTOR types to Justin, and the third type also to Justinian, as listed in these tables. Anokhin gives them all to Justinian. Many examples have a legend short enough to be Justin, but none are clear and sensible all the way to the end of the legend. The three types above are associated with shorter obverse legends and therefore given to Justin. When a VICTOR piece has a long obverse legend definitely showing enough letters to be attributable to Justinian, it is type ES11, with emperor holding a globe. Sokolova attributes examples of "emperor holding a globe" with a short, blundered, obverse legend (ES9), to Justin I, and very similar examples with slightly longer blundered legends to Justinian I (ES11). Sear has the same distinction. Without any confidence in them, I have chosen to reproduce these attributions here.
    If these three types were not given different Sear entries, they would probably be regarded as one type with three minor variants.
    For the arguments supporting the various points of view, see below .

Justinian I  (527-565). Images . [14-16 mm]
J
ES10
16mm
bust
right
VICTORIA AVGGG 
emp standing
A310 S-- B309v2 G-- H252b (pl. 29, p. 157)
= A310
  Hahn (2000): "one die .. a thoughtless copy of the solidus legend."
ES11
14-17
mm
bust
right
VICTOR emp stg w long cross and globe A311
So1.13-14
So2.1-4
S197A B309v1 G159 H78 (pl. 11, p. 106f) 
Justin  I H252a1, 252a2 
(pl. 29, p.157f)
  See also ES9. 
See also A326 for a later cast version,
"second half of 8th century"
ES12
14mm
bust
right
A314
So2.5-9
S197 B310 G160 H253 DO I: XXIV
108.1,108.2 
 monogram possibly:
 ΠΟΛIC XEPCWNOC
Polis Chersonos

Anokhin gives all the VICTOR types to Justinian I (See the reasoning below ). Hahn ascribes some to Justin I (518-527). Sokolova attributes some VICTOR types (ES7-9) to Justin and some also to Justinian (ES11). Even her Justinian pieces have short, blundered, legends and I cannot tell how he distinguishes ES11 from ES9 in the coins she illustrates. ES11 is often larger, less blundered, and has more letters. Here, the intention is that coins with long obverse legends indicating Justinian will be ES11; short legends with barely enough letters for Justin will be ES9.

Justin II and Sophia  (565-578). Images .
    [The attribution of types with obverse legend "XEPCWNOC" to Justin II by Anokhin and Hahn is rejected here in favor of attribution to Maurice, as in Sear. However, most dealers are now using the attribution to Justin II.]
H

Maurice  (582-602). Images.
ES13
30mm
two figures
XEPCWNOC
figure, M A315
Justin II
So3.1-2
S603 Line drawing,
Maurice
B357
Hahn 159 Justin II
G162 DO I: LXXX
297.1-2
S604 with Sabatier's line drawing is this type with legend
DNMAV.... for Maurice. A--, DO (302) cites Sabatier's sketch, which has been proven by Sidorenko to accidentally combine drawings of two different coins; the M type with legend of Maurice does not exist.
ES14
24mm
two figures
XEPCWNOC
figure, K A316
Justin II
So3.3
S608
Maurice
B359
Hahn 152
Justin II
G-- (298) S609 is this type with legend DMMAV... The existence of S609 is highly doubtful.
A--, B--, DO --
ES15
30mm
two figures
XEPCONOC
figure, H A317
So3.4-6
Justin II

So5.3-6
S605
S606
Maurice
B356
Hahn 158
Justin II
G161 299.3, 300.2
6 pieces, slight variants
So6.2 is this type with a Heraclius monogram countermark
ES16
24mm
two figures
XEPCONOC
figure, Δ A318
319
Justin II
So3.7
S610 LD 
(rev only)
Maurice
B358
Hahn 161
Justin II
G163 DO 301 There are later cast imitations 
See below .
ES17
30mm
two figures
DNMA...
figure,  H A320
So4.1-4
S607 B458
LD
Hahn 157
Maurice
Hahn 158
Tiberius II
Hahn 158 Phocas

G-- DO I, 303.2
2 pieces
+ above and between figures
ES18
25mm
two figures
DNMA...
figure, Δ A321
So5.1-2
S611 B460
Hahn 160
Maurice
Hahn 161
Phocas
G-- DO-- There are later smaller cast imitations
See below .

    Anokhin assigns the varieties (ES13-16) with XEPCWNOC to Justin II, instead of the older attribution to Maurice used by Sear. Anokhin assigns only those with DNMAVRIC PP AVG to Maurice. Grierson does not outright deny it, but has his doubts. For the arguments, see below.
    The types with M and K (S604, S609) in the name of Maurice probably do not exist. No modern author has found an example and old citations and the Sear line drawing are all from one source, Sabitier, who accidentally combined images of different sides from different coins. Anokhin has no example and the DO number for ES13 is in parentheses "(302)", which means they have no example.
    The obverse legend for Maurice is given in references in an ideal form: DN MAV-RIC PP AVG, or something similar, however the coins themselves may omit letters and the delta type omits several.
    Sidorenko argues that the types in the name of Maurice above and the next two below were actually minted at Bosporos, the modern city of Kerch, and not Cherson.  Kerch is on the very east end of the peninusla (just below the "Z" of "AZOV" on the map above). Sidoranko's argument is that almost all the documented finds of these types (ES17-20) have been in Kerch and not Cherson. Also, he, and others, interpret the "B" in "K B" of ES20 as "Bosporos" (and the "K" is for "Constans").

Heraclius  (610-641)  [no images]
ES19
26mm
two
figures
H, cross, figure A322
So6.1
S926 B633  LD
"< 5 recorded"
MIB
265
DO II,I: XXII
311


Sear: "The obverse of this coin is sometimes countermarked with the Heraclian monogram 32."

Constans II (641-668) Image.
ES20
26mm
two figures
cross between
figure, K
          B
A-- S1145c B714
LD
G-- DO (210)
"Bosporus?"
S: "extremely rare"
DO no photo

Hahn (NCirc, 1978) knew of only 3 examples. He is certain that it has "KB" and not "XB" as Morrison read one example. The example here is much clearer and makes it certain. In 2007 Sidorenko was able to illustrate 15 examples. This is the last major die-struck type from Cherson (assuming it is from Cherson) or Kerch. Almost all later coins are cast.

After this type, there is a long gap until the late 8th century with no coins from Cherson. The next type attributable to a particular emperor belongs to Theophilus.

Cast Coins of Cherson:
From this time on, most coins are cast, not struck.  (Some of the very rare earliest types are struck.)
Late 8th Century. Images.
E1
20-15
mm
A323-325
So6.4-5
S-- B-- G-- DO-- A much reduced size, crude cast imitation of types ES17 & 18 of (Justin II) and Maurice. Hahn (1978) said only 3 were known. Sidoranko illustrates 3 on his plate I. 
E2
15-12
mm
A328-329
So.6.6-11
S-- B-- G-- DO-- A: "late 8th-early 9th century"
very crude and small

There is a cast imitation, A326, of the "VICTOR" type, ES9 above, which Anokhin gives to the "second half of the 8th century."

Theophilus  (829-842). Images.   [12 mm]
T
E3
12mm
A330
So6.12-13
S-- B-- G-- DO-- extremely
    rare

Michael III  (842-867):  Images.   [13-15 mm]
MIII
E4
13mm
A331-332 S-- B-- G-- DO-- A: "emperor". A332 may have a small B to the right of the M. This type is struck, not cast.
E5
14mm
A333-336 S-- B-- G--  DO-- A: "Protevon".  This type is struck, not cast.
E6
14mm
A337 S-- B-- G--  DO-- A: "Archont". These 3 are the "first series" of Michael III. This type is struck, not cast.
E7
14-
12mm
A338-340
342
So7.1-2
S1699 B903
LD
G866
So7.2
DO III,I:XXIX
15.1,2,3
The next two are this type, but with order of the letters switched on the obverse (E8/7) and on both sides (E8). G, page 187: "AD 866-867"
The ill-cast A344 may lack the reverse "o".
E8/7
14mm
A343o
A338r
A341
S1699/
1700
B--
G--
DO--
reverse of E7 and obverse of E8. That is, this is E7 with the
order of the letters reversed on the obverse
E8
13mm
A343
So --
S1700 B904 G-- DO-- the previous type, E7, with the order of the letters reversed on both sides
E9
14mm
A345-348
So6.14
S1701 B--- G865 (14) This type is struck, not cast. DO: "class 1, 860-866"  p.469. 
Sokolova "9th C." p. 140
E10
15mm
A349
So8.12-13
  S1739
Alexander
B926 G876 DO II,II: Alex
XXXV (4)
This type is struck, not cast.
A: "Archont"  G:  autonomous
So:  Alexander, AD 912-2
E11
13mm
? M ?
garbled
? A350 S-- B-- G-- DO-- This type is struck, not cast.
Small  "early 9th C."   One unclear piece.

Sokolova gives the "MB" piece (E7) to Michael III and Basil I, AD 867, but does not list the "BM" piece (E8).

Basil I  (867-886). Images.   [15-17 mm, rarely larger]
B
E12
19-13
mm
A331r A351 S--   G--   This type is struck, not cast. A has one example, larger than the usual 
Basil I "B", but the reverse is garbled.
A 13 mm example is (perhaps) unpublished.
E13
15mm
A354-358
So7.3-6
S1720 B913 G867 DO III,II:
17.a2-3, 17.c
A353 is struck., but similar in design to these.
DO pl. XXXIII
G:  class 1, 867
E13v
12mm
retro-
grade
A354r
A359
S1720v



as E13, but obverse retrograde
E14
17mm
A360-375
So7.7-9
So.7.12
S1719v1 B911 G870 DO 20a.3,.9 A370 and So7.8 do not have pellets beside the cross.
On So7.12 the "B" is similar to E15, but with no dot
E15
15mm
376 376 A376
So7.16
S1719v2
G-- DO-- So7.16 has no clear dot in the B.
The cross is wider than E16.
E16
16mm
Symmetric B iwth dots
A377-383
So7.13-15
S1719v3   G871 DO 20b.1-3 Similar to A360 above, but with pellets. 
It is slightly reduced in size and the bottom 
loop is almost a delta. The top is not quite closed.
E17
22-19
mm
A384
So.13.8
S-- B-- G-- DO-- Anokhin "9th century", listed right after Basil I.
Sokolova: "anonymous".
Zagreba  #60 calls it "interregnum" after Constantine VII (913-959) and before Romanus II and Basil II (959-963)

There are various shapes of "B", from an almost modern "B" to a delta-shaped lower part. They also come with and without pellets on either side.

Leo VI and Alexander  (886-912). Images.   [16-15 mm, one up to 18 mm]
LeoVI
E18
18-
15
mm
A385-388
391,393,396
So8.1-2,5-7
S1731
LD
B920 G872 DO III,II
9.1 pl. XXXV
Lambda, epsilon for "Leo". Leo VI
A386 lacks dots beside the cross.
E19
16mm
A389
So8.3-4
S1733
LD
B922 G874 DO III,II
11
Leo VI and Alexander
E20
16mm
A390
So8.8-9
S1734
LD (rev)
B923 G875 12.1-3 Leo VI and Alexander
E21
16mm
 facing
  bust
A392
So8.10-11
S1732
LD
B921 G873 10.1-2 Leo VI
E22
15mm
 facing
  bust
A395 S1771v1
Con VII
B940v1 G-- DO-- Anokhin has these letters with dots for Con VII while he was assoc. ruler 908-912 (That is why E22 is here rather than below.) See E23, next, for the obverse without dots during his own reign. Sear distinguished E22 and E23 in the first edition, but  not the second. 

The coins with "A" that Sear lists as "Alexander" are listed here under Michael III as Archont, as attributed by Anokhin.

Constantine VII (913-959) and Romanus I (920-944). Images.  [15-17 mm]
ConVII
E23
16mm
 A397o  facing
  bust
A397-400
So9.3-5
S1771v2 B940
LD
G878 DO III,II
29.1,29.4
See E22 above for similar type with dots.
DO pl. XL
E24
16mm
 facing
  bust
 facing
  bust
A401-402
So9.1-2
S1763 B932 G877 28 Sear says "Con VII/Zoe" (914-919), as does Sokolova. A says "Con VII/Helen"
E25
16mm
P bust O  X bust P A403
So9.9
S1769 B938 G880 (31) S: RO for Romanus, XP for Christopher
Anokhin thinks the portraits are of Constantine and Helen and the legends
for Romanus and Christopher, putting all four on one coin.
E26
16mm
 facing
  bust
 A404o A404-407
So9.6-8
S1766 B935 G879 30.2 Romanus monogram
E27
16mm
A408
So10.1
S1768 B937
LD
G883 DO III,II
35 pl. XL
 
E28
17mm
A409-413
419-421
So10.2-6
S1775
Romanus II
B942 G887 3a.3-4
pl. XL
P sometimes (usually?) retrograde, as in Sear's photo, and A409-410.
E29
17mm
A414-418
So10.7-8
S1770 B939 G885 37.1  "Constantine" abbreviated
E30
15mm
A423-424
426-427
So13.5-7
S--
cf S1764
B-- G-- DO-- Small size. Resembles E44 but much smaller.
Sokolova "anonymous"
E31
17mm
Romanus monorgrarm
A428-430
So10.9-10
S1772 B941
LD
G886 DO
38.1,38.7
The obverse top sometimes almost looks like a P
Note:  The  monogram and the  monogram previously attributed to Romanus I are given by Anokhin to Romanus IV and Romanus III, respectively (below).

Romanus II (959-963), with Basil II (from 960)  Images. [16-20 mm]
RII
E32
17mm
A431-432
So11.1-2
S1767
Romanus I
B936 LD
ill-drawn
G884 DO III,II
36, pl. XL
B for his baby son, co-emperor Basil II
Sokolova: Romanus II
E33
20-
18mm
A433-434
So10.8-9
S1718
Basil I
B--- G868 DO 18, pl.
XXXIII
Associate rulers Basil II 
and Constantine VIII
Sokolova:  Basil II and Con VIII
E34
16mm
A-- S-- B-- G-- DO-- CNG 41 (3/97) lot 2439

Nicephorus II (963-969). Images. [18 mm]
NII
E35
18mm
A435-437
So10.3-4
S1784
LD
B945
LD
G888 DO III,II
9 pl. XLI

John (969-976). Images.  [18 mm]
John
E36
18mm
A438-440
So10.5
S1794
LD
B947 G889 DO III,II
8.1,8.3 pl.XLII
Zagreba claims a new type for John, his #65, with this obverse
and a slightly variant reverse, but I see it as a miscast coin of this type.

Basil II (976-1025) and Constantine VIII (976-1028). Images. [17 or 22 mm]
RIII
E37
17mm
A441-444
So10.6-7
S1814
LD
B949 G890 DO III,II, pl. XLVII
21a, 21b.1-2
A443: retrograde obverse
DO 21.b retrograde rev.
E38
22mm
A445-448
So7.10-11
S1717
Basil I
B910 G869 DO III,II Basil I
19.1 pl. XXXIII
large, AE23
So. Basil II
Sear does not attribute any coins to Cherson after Basil II, S1814.

Romanus III  (1028-1034). Images.  [24 mm]

RIII
E39
24mm
A449-452
So13.3-4
S1765v2
Romanus I
B934v2 G882 DO-- The top of the delta may vary: variant top of delta
E40
24mm
A453
So12.5-6
S1764v2
Romanus I
B933v2 G-- DO III,II, 
pl.XL 32.b1 
 
E41
24mm
blank A--
So--
S1764v3
Romanus I
B-- C-- DO -- Usually attributed as A453 (S1764v2) with 
a very weak reverse. Malloy LVI (3/00) lot 898
E42
24mm
A454 S-- B-- G-- DO--  
Sokolova attributes all the  and  monogram pieces as "anonymous XI-XIII century" (p.143 and plates 12-13).
Anokhin cites conclusive hoard evidence to prove that these "rho-omega" types must be XIth century or later. The timing and monogram apparently fit Romanus III. He convinces me they can not be of an earlier Romanus (I or II). However, I see no reason to assume that the next, slightly different, monogram should be attributed to Romanus IV, skipping thirty years and several reigns. I prefer the caution of Sokolova.

Other late issues attributed by Anokhin to Romanus IV (1067-1071). Images. [24 mm]
RIV
E43
24mm
A455 S1765v1
Romanus I
B934v1 G-- DO III,II
34.1-2 pl.XL
 This resembles E39, merely with a different version of the rho-omega.
E44
24mm
A456-462
465-467
So12.1-4,7-8
S1764v1
Romanus I
B933v1
    LD
G881 32.a1-2 The cross is usually weak. It may be that some pieces said to be "weak" are really blank, as A468-480 below. See E30 for a smaller piece.
E45
24mm
A463-464 S-- B-- G-- DO--  

Issues of the late 11th and early 12th centuries. Images.  [various sizes]
late
E46
22mm
blank A468-474
476-480
So12.10,13.1-2
S1764v3
Romanus I
B933v2 G--- DO III,II
XL: 33.2
A476-480 have somewhat reduced size. This type is usually attributed as A456-467 with a very weak reverse. 
E47
20mm
other,
  X
A475
So11.9
S-- B-- G-- DO--  


References and their Abbreviations :

A = Anokhin, Coinage of Chersonesus (in Russian), 1977.  [This was translated into English. See the next reference. Coins numbered 309-480 are Byzantine and illustrated on plates XXII-XXXII and clearly listed on pages 156-166. It was reviewed by Bridge, below.]
A = Anokhin, The Coinage of Chersonesus, IVth Century B.C. - XIIth Century A.D., translated into English by H. Bartlett Wells, BAR International Series 69, 1980. This is a rare book which translates the Anokhin above. In attributing the coins to various emperors I have made some judgements about the arguments put forth in this book. This affects the attributions of types that Anokhin gives to Justin II and other types he gives to Romanus IV.
B = Berk, East Roman Successors of the Sestertius
    Note:  Many Berk types are identified only by Sear number, which can be misleading because they are numbers from the first edition of Sear, which sometimes differ by 1 from those in the second edition. Here is a concordance between Sear's second edition and his first .
Bridge, R. N. "The Coinage of Chersonesus," a review of Anokhin's book (above) in Numismatic Chronicle, 1981, pages 183-187.  A very good scholarly review which mentions alternative views of others on numerous controversial points.
DO = Dumbarton Oaks, Byzantine Coins
    volume 1: Anastasius to Maurice (498-602)  [plates XXIV, LXXX, p. 109, 373-5]
    volume 3, part 1:  Theophilus to Michael III (829-867)
    volume 3, part 2:  Basil I to John (867-976)  [plates XXXIII, XL, XLII, XLVII]
    Note: Parentheses around the DO number, e.g "(210)", means they did not have an example and the illustrated coin is from another source.
DO LRC = Grierson and Mays, Late Roman Coins in the Dumbarton Oaks Collection  
G = Grierson, Byzantine Coins
    [Especially pages 73 and 187-8, and plates 10 and 48-49. All Grierson coins have photos.]
H = Hahn, Money of the Incipient Byzantine Empire (491-565) [2000, a revision of MIB, volume I] 
    Money of the Incipient Byzantine Empire Continued (565-610) [2009, a revision of MIB II]
   or Hahn, Moneta Imperii Romani - Byzantini: Die Ostpragung des Romisches Reiches im 5. Jahrhundret (408-491)

    [This only covers Eastern emperors.]
H,NCirc  = Hahn, Numismatic Circular (1978) pp.414-5, 471-2, 521-3.
    [A well-illustrated survey article on the struck types from Cherson.]
MIB = Hahn, Moneta Imperi Byzantini, volume II, Justin II - Phocas (1975)
NC 1995 = "The Large Bronze of Valentinian III" by Korshenko, Gorshkov, and Holmes,
     Numismatic Chronicle , 1995, p.271-5 and plate 48, 2-3.  Here is a summary of their comments about the mint .
RIC X = Kent, Roman Imperial Coinage, volume X (1994)
    [especially pages 291 & pl.25-26 (Leo I and Verina), 312 & pl. 33 (Zeno)]
S = Sear, Byzantine Coins and Their Values, second edition, 1988.
    Sear is the most common reference for Byzantine coins, but not the most up-to-date for coins of Byzantine Cherson.
    All monograms are drawn on his page 32.  The Sear numbers given here are second-edition numbers.
    Here is a concordance between Sear's second edition and his first . 
Sidorenko, Valery. "The copper Coinage of Byzantine Bosporus" in "Ukrainian Papers at the XXth International Congress of Byzantine Studies, Paris 19-25 August 2002, published in 2007, edited by Alexander Aibabin and Hlib Ivakin.  [Very well illustrated with 139 coins of the types in the name of Maurice, Heraclius, and Constans II (ES17-20).] 
SR = Sear, Roman Coins and Their Values (only up to AD 498)
So = Sololova, Coins and Seals of Byzantine Cherson (in Russian), 1983
    [129 coins of Byzantine Cherson illustrated on 13 plates, plus a loose two-page plate of monograms illustrated and a two pages of 42 monograms in line drawings (plus 7 more page plates of seals plus about 50 more seals illustrated and fully discussed individually). The list of coin types on pages 138-144 gives the corresponding BMC, DO, and BNC numbers, but unfortunately does not reference his own plates.]
Whitting, Byzantine Coins (1973)  [not a major source]
Zagreba, Maxim, "Coins of Byzantine Cherson, IX-XII centuries" pages 10-17 in Numizmatika and Faleristika #3, 1998. [See types E17 and E36 which mention this article.]

Other references
Here is what the ANS has (an edited page of search results, used with permission).

History:
Neal Ascherson, The Black Sea (1995)   [An entertaining travelogue/history] 
J. C. Carter,  Crimean Chersonesos: City, Chora, Museum and Environs (2003). This is a beautiful book on the ancient city and artifacts recovered from it. The archaeological site was a well-kept military secret from many years because it was at the site of the Soviet naval base for the Black Sea fleet. Unfortunately, the book has very little to say about coins or about the time period as late as Byzantine Cherson.

Of course, there are the standard Byzantine history books by Ostrogorsky, Vasiliev, the Cambridge Medieval History, and the recent enjoyable volumes by John Julius Norwich. However, none of these focus much on Cherson.

The table format for the cast coins is:
Emperor (dates):   [Typical diameters]
E# (Esty
   type
number)
size in mm
  Obverse
      type
line drawing
  Reverse
     type
line drawing
Anokhin  number:
   Axxx
Sokolova
plate.number
SoX.Y
  Sear
number:
 Sxxxx
 Berk
number:
  Bxxx
Grierson
 number:
   Gxxx
   DO
numbers
comments

Sear color code:  If the Sear attribution disagrees with the one given here, it is in green. When Sear's attribution is in green, the Berk, Grierson, and Dumbarton Oaks attributions agree with Sear (even though only the Sear disagreement is highlighted by green.)
    Sear number suffix v1 or v2 distinguishes two Anokhin types with the same Sear number. For example, Sear does not distinguish between  and  , but Anokhin does.
    Sear has some photos, some line drawings, and some coins without either. Those Sear numbers (which are second edition numbers) with photos are in bold, those with line drawings say "LD". Click here for a concordance to first edition numbers .
    To search this page for Sear numbers, use "Ctrl, F" and "Sxxxx" (with no space between the "S" and the number).

Abbreviations:  [See also " References " above]
ES# = Esty Struck type number
E#  =  Esty cast type number
--, as in "S--" = not listed
xx =  work remains to be done here
LD = illustrated by a line drawing
v1, v2 = suffix on Sear numbers to distinguish two Anokhin types with the same Sear number. For example, Sear does not distinguish between  and  , but Anokhin does.
Sear or Berk number in bold = illustrated with a photo.

Coins are listed by type.  This lists all the intentional types, but not all the varieties, issued at Cherson.  "Types" are regarded as coin designs that were intended to be different by the issuing authority. "Varieties" are minor variants on what was intended to be the same design. The distinction between "type" and "variety" is always subject to question -- we cannot know what was in the minds of the authorities over 1000 years ago. Therefore, in cases of close calls, I have selected in favor of different "types" if and only if I think modern "type" collectors would have good reason to think something in the design was intentionally changed.

In some cases I have used a different criterion. For example, when a legend is retrograde it is doubtful a new type was intended, but the interest for collectors is sufficient to list it as a different "type." In the case of Sear 197A-C (Justinian I / VICTOR), the three similar varieties have been listed as three types because Sear did so.

Types, diameters, and weights.  A "type" may exist in several minor variants, varying both in design details and diameter. But even more variable are the weights of cast pieces, because the the preparation of weight-adjusted flans is not part of the minting  process. The process of casting does not lend itself to accurate weight adjustments. The typical diameter in millimeters of each type is given in the left column in black.

Coins listed in the order of the Anokhin numbers . Russian scholars have reattributed many types since Sear was published in 1988. Anokhin's order and attributions are probably preferable to Sear's. When Sear lists the coin under a different emperor than Anokhin, the Sear listing is in green . Also, Anokhin has determined that some differences regarded as "varieties" by Sear actually distinguish significantly different types. When a single Sear number refers to two or more types distinguished here, it will be followed with "v1" or "v2" to distinguish significant varieties.

Obverse/reverse. If coins are slightly bowed, the obverse is taken as the convex side. This usually is the side with the monogram of the emperor. Therefore, on essentially flat coins, the side with the monogram of the emperor is treated as the obverse. This is not always in agreement with Sear or other references. To find a type in the list, if you don't find the "obverse" in the obverse column, look for it in the "reverse" column.

Monograms.  Most monograms are of the emperor's name. The other monograms are listed first.
  "Polis"  (city);       "Polis";       "Polis Cherson";
  "Cherson";      genitive: "Of  Cherson", the "E" prominent as a mark of value (according to Grierson);
  "Archont" (according to Anokhin, but "Alexander" according to others. All place it under Michael III).
   "Despot";        "Despot";

Monograms of the emperors' names:
     (Some appear twice, or more, in the table. The link is to the first appearance).

   "Dominus Nostrum[?] Theophilus"
  "Michael III";    Michael III and Basil I;     The previous type, reversed;
  to Basil    variants of "Basil I";
 and        "Leo VI";
     "Leo VI and Alexander";
  "Constantine VII";       "Constantine VII"
   "Romanus I";      "Romanus I" (with what looks like two m's);
   "Romanus I";      "Romanus";   Romanus    "Romanus";
  "Romanus";
  and      "Basil"
  and      "Constantine VIII" (under Romanus II)
  "Nicephorus";        "Despot"
   "Iohannes" = "John";      "Despot" (xx, ?)
   "Basil II and Constantine VII"
   "Romanus III";        "Despot". Another variant, with a different top to the delta variant top
   "Romanus IV".

Return to the list of, and links to, emperors in the tables .

Comments on history, coins, dates, and attributions.
1)  Who issued the AE14-16 coins with VICTOR reverses?
Anokhin gives all "VICTOR" types sometimes attributed to Justin I to Justinian I (that is, all three of S112A-C, which Sear gives to Justin). Hahn claims the legend of H77 is clear and of Justin I. The legend in his picture does show a crude DNIVSTINV.... However, its blundered termination does not inspire confidence. In contrast, some VICTOR coins with cross and globe (ES10) do spell IVSTINIANVS correctly.
    For Anokhin the type ES9, which is apparently a unique piece, is the original prototype from which all the others are more or less degraded copies. On this one coin the name IVSTINIANVS is said to be legible (but it is not clear on the published photo). If so, and if you accept the usual progressive decline in size and artistry, then the other VICTOR types must follow and therefore be of Justinian also. However, Justinian did reform coins and increase their sizes, and type ES11, generally accepted as later, is reasonably well executed and certainly not as crude as most of the VICTOR types.
    Hahn (1978) notes that Procopius mentions that the Bosporus submitted to Justin I. This would be a good reason to expect coins of Justin I.  
Hahn, plates 11 (Justin) and 29 (Justinian), gives "shields" to Justin and "globes" to Justinian, with the exception of Justin 78 = A311 (same coin), a "globe", which is not at all clear, given to Justin.
    Sokolova illustrates several "long cross and globe" with short, blundered, obverse legends. In any case, the majority of pieces of types ES7 and ES8 have short obverse legends (not clear all the way to the end, though), and the majority of pieces of ES10 have longer obverse legends. Therefore, I have tentatively given, without confidence, some of the "long cross and globe" type to each (ES9 and ES11), and the others (ES7 and ES8) with a short obverse legend to Justin.

2)  Who issued the "M", "K", "H" and "delta" follis and half-follis pieces with legend "XEPCONOC "?
Very similar coins were issued in the name of Maurice, so older attributions of the "XEPCONOC" types were also to Maurice, but now some scholars have argued that they were originally issued by Justin II. Under the old attribution the obverse figures are Maurice and his wife and the reverse figure is his son Theodosius. Grierson (p. 73) says, "If the coins all belong together it would seem reasonable to regard them as an insurrectionary coinage struck at Cherson in 602, the intention of the rebels having been initially to depose Maurice in favor of his son Theodosius and not the upstart adventurer Phocas." According to this theory, the revolt prompted a new coin with a neutral legend, which was replaced by the emperor's name when the outcome favored Maurice. This attribution is accepted by Sear.
    Anokhin (1980) and Hahn (1978) concur in attributing them to Justin II (and the following period). Anokhin argues the two-figure type resembles the regular type introduced by Justin II and Sophia. However, a type can resemble one of Justin II and be issued a few years later. Anokhin says (p. 92) "if the striking commenced from the moment Theodosius was named Augustus, i.e. in 590, all three series with differing types would have had to be issued within limits between 590-602, which is unlikely." Hahn also argues that there are several minor varieties which would probably take a number of years to mint. However, the  varieties are clearly very similar and not numerous. I think there is no need to postulate more than ten years to mint three very similar types, all of which are scarce.
    Anokhin (p. 92) argues "if we assign the coins described to Maurice we expose their failure to correspond with empire-wide coins, which have on the obverse a portrait of Maurice alone." But that argument is feeble -- we know Maurice minted such coins that fail to correspond with empire-wide coins -- some of the coins we are attributing have his name on them!
    Anokhin (p. 93) thinks the reverse figure, if a real person, could "be Tiberius, the future emperor, who was proclaimed Caesar in December 574 and who reigned as co-regent jointly with Sophia during the last four years of the life of Justin II who was mentally ill." However, he does not accept that it is a real person and says "it most likely represents some symbolic figure or a saint."
    Hahn notes that the reverse figure seems to be a Caesar (because the pendillia are lacking) and says in the later 6th century the only appropriate Caesar is Tiberius II under Justin II. However, the older attribution already had an acceptable Caesar, just in the early 7th instead of the late 6th century. Hahn notes the first issue, with the "M" and "K" has a capital omega in "XERCWNOC", rather than the later "O", as do some of the "H" and delta pieces. Clearly, the "M" and "K" are the first of the series. However, that does not make them issued by Justin II.
    Hahn admits, as noted by Grierson, that the two-figure type is very similar to some coins of Focas, showing a continuum of types could equally well be at either end of the potential attribution period. Hahn gives the attribution to Justin II and calls it "secure." It may well be that the "M" and "K" types began under Justin II, but the Hahn paper presents no convincing evidence.
    If we postulate this type began under Justin II, it is hard to explain why it pops up again under Maurice with a 12-year gap from the end of Justin II (578) until Maurice (582-602) promotes Theodosius to Caesar (May 26, 590). Unless, of course, it was minted throughout the period as a type immobilise.
    I can not read Russian so I cannot follow the reasons for the attributions of Sokolova. The four illustrated "H" pieces with legend of Maurice all have a cross between and above the two figures. Some of the "H" XEPCONOC pieces have a cross and some do not. But some of each are given by Sokolova to each emperor. Plate 3.4-5 (without) are given to Justin II  but 5.6 (without) is given to Maurice. Whereas, 3.6 (with) is given to Jusin II, but 5.3-5 (with) are given to Maurice.
         Anokhin's argument is, in my opinion, very weak. I do not find the arguments for the reattribution away from Maurice compelling. Therefore, I have used the older attributions in this table -- the ones used by Sear.

    The dates of the Byzantine emperors in this time period are: Justin II 565-578, Tiberius II Constantine 578-582, Maurice 582-602, and Phocas 602-610. If you think the type resemblance of the "two figures" obverse to Justin II obverses is enough to attribute the earliest M and H pieces to Justin II, it is difficult to explain the omission of imperial names other than Maurice.  Hahn (volume II) fills the gaps by also giving H examples to Tiberius II and Phocas (as well as Δ), but the criteria by which they differ from the other "XEPCONOC" or "XEPCWNOC" coins is unclear to me.  Why would the mint issue H coins without the emperor's name, then use the name of Maurice, and then return to omitting the emperor's name? This type of lack of continuity usually is used to argue that a chronological arrangement is wrong.  

    Perhaps I am missing something convincing. I think an obvious question is "Why was the emperor's name omitted and the name of the city put on the coins where the emperor's name always went?" Grierson attempted an answer and made it primary to his attributions. The attribution to Justin II seems to be based on the type alone.
   Why would a two-figure type be under Justin II? I agree that *if* Justin II were to mint at Cherson, he would probably have used a two-figure type (but, with his name). However, we are interested in the converse which is not logically equivalent. "If there is a two-figure type, is it of Justin II?" First of all, let's be clear the H two-figures are not the same two-figures of Justin II and Sophia coins. Those are seated and the H types are standing. Assuming the H type copies another established type (Why should we assume that? The H itself does not, and the reverse is much different! Couldn't this be the innovative type?), it implies the other type must have been earlier. Types before Justin II did not generally have two figures, so coins of his reign are the
first possible prototypes, but two-figure (or three, it you count the reverse) could have been used for anyone later.  *If* the figures are particular actual people, why are they not named?  If we do not care if they are actual people, then the two-figure type could have been used at Cherson by anyone later including Tiberius II or Maurice whose usual copper types have the emperor alone.  Hahn now gives some, without conviction, to Tiberius II (to bridge the gap from Justin II to the certain Maurice) and to Phocas who is still later but did use a two-figure type elsewhere.  
   So, I remain unconvinced.

3)  Which of the several types with monograms of "Romanus " belong to which of the four emperors named "Romanus" ?
    Whitting (p. 181)  says Cherson was transferred to Prince Vladimir of Kiev in 989. This would serve as an explanation for why Byzantine coins of Cherson were thought to end with Basil II who reigned AD 976-1025 (Sear 1814). Some coins that used to be attributed to Romanus I are now attributed to the later rulers Romanus III and Romanus IV. Anokhin cites conclusive hoard evidence to prove that these "rho-omega" types must be XIth century or later. The timing and monogram apparently fit Romanus III. He convinces me they can not be of an earlier Romanus (I or II). However, I see no reason to assume that the next, slightly different, monogram should be attributed to Romanus IV, skipping thirty years and several reigns. Even if coins really were issued by Romanus III (1028-1034), why are there no coins attributed to any of the half-dozen rulers between Romanus III and Romanus IV (1068-1071)?  A glance at the types now attributed by Anokhin to these rulers shows they are quite similar, merely with variant monograms. Agreeing with Sokolova, I would attribute the first type to Romanus III and assert nothing stronger than that the other late "rho-omega" types, both large and small, are as late or later.
    I am ignorant of the arguments that justify switching attributions of some Romanus I and Romanus II coins. Here, I have merely accepted Anokhin's attributions.


Links:  Coins of Cherson were issued as early as the 4th century BC.  Here is an on-site link to three of the scarce ancient coins of Cherson issued before the Byzantine period. Here are several, illustrated at the site of the Odessa Museum of Numismatics.

    This is the end of the main page on Byzantine Coins of Cherson (Kherson).

Return to the list of emperors near the top of this page .