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.
coins of Cherson
A comprehensive list by Warren Esty
e-mail me at:
Copyright (c) 2002-2014, all rights reserved
I welcome comments, suggestions, and corrections.
If you care about these coins, feel free to contact me.
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.
(Byzantine Coins and Their Values) and the other major western
references (Dumbarton Oaks, Grierson, Berk, etc.) frequently
substantially from those of Anokhin. There are three main
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.
400-500: Theodosius II and Valentinian III, Zeno [coins usually attributed to Constantinople, but found only near Cherson]
500-600: Justin I, Justinian 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]
Emperor (dates). (Link to images) [typical sizes]
green color code
Struck Coins of Cherson
Theodosius II (402-459) and Valentinian III (425-455). Images. [AE2's]
two emps stg on
either side of long cross
CONCORDIA AGV [sic]
"? 437" Con
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]
VIRTVS EXRCITI [sic]
emp rt. with standard and globe
foot on captive
SALVS R-PVBLCA [sic]
emp rt. with standard and globe foot on captive
D. Markov: Perhaps the high-quality ones really are
Victory seated right,
inscribing chi-rho on shield.
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."
(474-491). Images. [Small AE2's]
AE2, bust right
emp stg r, holding
spear and globe
captive at feet
RIC X 948 R2
p. 312, pl. 33
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.
(518-527). Images. [14 mm]
VICTOR emp stg w
long cross and shield
Justin I LD
VICTOR emp stg
VICTOR emp stg w
long cross and globe
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 .
(527-565). Images . [14-16
H252b (pl. 29, p. 157)
Hahn (2000): "one die .. a thoughtless copy of the
VICTOR emp stg w long cross and globe
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"
DO I: XXIV
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.
(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.]
S603 Line drawing,
Hahn 159 Justin II
DO I: LXXX
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.
S609 is this type with legend DMMAV... The existence of S609
is highly doubtful.
A--, B--, DO --
6 pieces, slight variants
So6.2 is this type with a Heraclius monogram countermark
There are later cast imitations
See below .
Hahn 158 Phocas
DO I, 303.2
+ above and between figures
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").
H, cross, figure
"< 5 recorded"
DO II,I: XXII
Sear: "The obverse of this coin is sometimes countermarked with the Heraclian monogram 32."
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.
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.
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.
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."
A: "emperor". A332 may have a small B to the right
of the M. This type is struck, not cast.
A: "Protevon". This type is struck, not cast.
A: "Archont". These 3 are the "first series" of Michael III.
This type is struck, not cast.
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
The ill-cast A344 may lack the reverse "o".
reverse of E7 and obverse of E8. That is, this
is E7 with the
order of the letters reversed on the obverse
the previous type, E7, with the order of the letters reversed
on both sides
This type is struck, not cast. DO: "class 1, 860-866"
Sokolova "9th C." p. 140
DO II,II: Alex
This type is struck, not cast.
A: "Archont" G: autonomous
So: Alexander, AD 912-2
? M ?
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).
I (867-886). Images.
[15-17 mm, rarely larger]
This type is struck, not cast. A has one example, larger than
Basil I "B", but the reverse is garbled.
A 13 mm example is (perhaps) unpublished.
A353 is struck., but similar in design to these.
DO pl. XXXIII
G: class 1, 867
as E13, but obverse retrograde
A370 and So7.8 do not have pellets beside the cross.
On So7.12 the "B" is similar to E15, but with no dot
So7.16 has no clear dot in the B.
The cross is wider than E16.
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.
Anokhin "9th century", listed right after Basil I.
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.
mm, one up to 18 mm]
9.1 pl. XXXV
Lambda, epsilon for "Leo". Leo VI
A386 lacks dots beside the cross.
Leo VI and Alexander
Leo VI and Alexander
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.
I (920-944). Images.
See E22 above for similar type with dots.
DO pl. XL
Sear says "Con VII/Zoe" (914-919), as does Sokolova. A says
P bust O
X bust P
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.
35 pl. XL
P sometimes (usually?) retrograde, as in Sear's photo, and
Small size. Resembles E44 but much smaller.
The obverse top sometimes almost looks like a P
II (from 960)
36, pl. XL
B for his baby son, co-emperor Basil II
Sokolova: Romanus II
DO 18, pl.
Associate rulers Basil II
and Constantine VIII
Sokolova: Basil II and Con VIII
CNG 41 (3/97) lot 2439
9 pl. XLI
Zagreba claims a new type for John, his #65, with this
and a slightly variant reverse, but I see it as a miscast coin of this type.
and Constantine VIII (976-1028). Images.
[17 or 22 mm]
DO III,II, pl. XLVII
A443: retrograde obverse
DO 21.b retrograde rev.
DO III,II Basil I
19.1 pl. XXXIII
So. Basil II
Images. [24 mm]
The top of the delta may vary:
Usually attributed as A453 (S1764v2) with
a very weak reverse. Malloy LVI (3/00) lot 898
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.
Anokhin to Romanus IV (1067-1071).
Images. [24 mm]
This resembles E39, merely with a different version of
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
Issues of the
late 11th and
early 12th centuries. Images.
A476-480 have somewhat reduced size. This type is usually
attributed as A456-467 with a very weak reverse.
References and their Abbreviations :
A = Anokhin, Coinage
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.]
Here is what the ANS has (an edited page of search results, used with permission).
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.
for the cast coins is:
Emperor (dates): [Typical diameters]
size in mm
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).
of the emperors' names:
(Some appear twice, or more, in the table. The link is to the first appearance).
"Michael III"; Michael III and Basil I; The previous type, reversed;
to 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";
and "Constantine VIII" (under Romanus II)
"Iohannes" = "John"; "Despot" (xx, ?)
"Basil II and Constantine VII"
"Romanus III"; "Despot". Another variant, with a different top to the delta
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.
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
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.
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