Constantine IX Monomachos
Constantine IX Monomachos, Latinized as Constantine IX Monomachus, reigned as Byzantine emperor from June 11,1042 to January 11,1055. He had been chosen by the Empress Zoe as a husband and co-emperor in 1042, although he had been exiled for conspiring against her previous husband and they ruled together until Zoe died in 1050. Constantine Monomachos was the son of Theodosios Monomachos, an important bureaucrat under Basil II, at some point, Theodosios had been suspected of conspiracy and his sons career suffered accordingly. Constantines position improved after he married his wife, a niece of Emperor Romanos III Argyros. Catching the eye of Empress Zoe, Constantine was exiled to Mytilene on the island of Lesbos by her second husband, Michael IV. The death of Michael IV and the overthrow of Michael V in 1042 led to Constantine being recalled from his place of exile and appointed as a judge in Greece. After two months of increasing acrimony between the two, Zoe decided to search for a new husband, thereby hoping to prevent her sister from increasing her popularity and authority.
After her first preference displayed contempt for the empress, and her second died under circumstances, Zoe remembered the handsome. The pair were married on June 11,1042, without the participation of Patriarch Alexius I of Constantinople, on the following day, Constantine was formally proclaimed emperor together with Zoe and her sister Theodora. Constantine continued the purge instituted by Zoe and Theodora, removing the relatives of Michael V from the court, the new emperor was pleasure-loving and prone to violent outbursts on suspicion of conspiracy. He was heavily influenced by his mistress, Maria Skleraina, a niece of his second wife, in August 1042, under the influence of the Skleroi the emperor relieved General George Maniakes from his command in Italy, and Maniakes rebelled, declaring himself emperor in September. He transferred his troops into the Balkans and was about to defeat Constantines army in battle, immediately after the victory, Constantine was attacked by a fleet from Kievan Rus, it is incontrovertible that a Rus detachment took part in the Maniakes rebellion.
They too were defeated, with the help of Greek fire, Constantine married his daughter Anastasia to the future Prince Vsevolod I of Kiev, the favorite son of his dangerous opponent Yaroslav I the Wise by Ingegerd Olofsdotter. Constantine IX’s preferential treatment of Maria Skleraina in the part of his reign led to rumours that she was planning to murder Zoe. The mob was only quieted by the appearance at a balcony of Zoe and Theodora, in 1045 Constantine annexed the Armenian kingdom of Ani, according to a treaty between king John Smbat and Basil II, but this expansion merely exposed the empire to new enemies. In 1046 the Byzantines came into contact for the first time with the Seljuk Turks and they met in battle in Armenia in 1048 and settled a truce the following year. Even if the Seljuk rulers were willing to abide by the treaty, thus Constantine weakened the Byzantine forces, which in turn led to their cataclysmic defeat at the battle of Manzikert in 1071. Constantine began persecuting the Armenian Church, trying to force it into union with the Orthodox Church, in 1047 Constantine was faced by the rebellion of his nephew Leo Tornikios in Adrianople
It survived the fragmentation and fall of the Western Roman Empire in the 5th century AD and continued to exist for an additional thousand years until it fell to the Ottoman Turks in 1453. During most of its existence, the empire was the most powerful economic, several signal events from the 4th to 6th centuries mark the period of transition during which the Roman Empires Greek East and Latin West divided. Constantine I reorganised the empire, made Constantinople the new capital, under Theodosius I, Christianity became the Empires official state religion and other religious practices were proscribed. Finally, under the reign of Heraclius, the Empires military, the borders of the Empire evolved significantly over its existence, as it went through several cycles of decline and recovery. During the reign of Maurice, the Empires eastern frontier was expanded, in a matter of years the Empire lost its richest provinces and Syria, to the Arabs. This battle opened the way for the Turks to settle in Anatolia, the Empire recovered again during the Komnenian restoration, such that by the 12th century Constantinople was the largest and wealthiest European city.
Despite the eventual recovery of Constantinople in 1261, the Byzantine Empire remained only one of several small states in the area for the final two centuries of its existence. Its remaining territories were annexed by the Ottomans over the 15th century. The Fall of Constantinople to the Ottoman Empire in 1453 finally ended the Byzantine Empire, the term comes from Byzantium, the name of the city of Constantinople before it became Constantines capital. This older name of the city would rarely be used from this point onward except in historical or poetic contexts. The publication in 1648 of the Byzantine du Louvre, and in 1680 of Du Canges Historia Byzantina further popularised the use of Byzantine among French authors, however, it was not until the mid-19th century that the term came into general use in the Western world. The Byzantine Empire was known to its inhabitants as the Roman Empire, the Empire of the Romans, the Roman Republic, and as Rhōmais. The inhabitants called themselves Romaioi and Graikoi, and even as late as the 19th century Greeks typically referred to modern Greek as Romaika and Graikika.
The authority of the Byzantine emperor as the legitimate Roman emperor was challenged by the coronation of Charlemagne as Imperator Augustus by Pope Leo III in the year 800. No such distinction existed in the Islamic and Slavic worlds, where the Empire was more seen as the continuation of the Roman Empire. In the Islamic world, the Roman Empire was known primarily as Rûm, the Roman army succeeded in conquering many territories covering the entire Mediterranean region and coastal regions in southwestern Europe and north Africa. These territories were home to different cultural groups, both urban populations and rural populations. The West suffered heavily from the instability of the 3rd century AD
Isaac I Komnenos
Isaac I Komnenos was Byzantine Emperor from 1057 to 1059, the first reigning member of the Komnenos dynasty. During his brief reign he attempted to restore the finances of the empire. Isaac was the son of Manuel Erotikos Komnenos, who served as strategos autokrator of the East under Emperor Basil II. Manuels native language was Greek, according to Steven Runciman, he was either Greek or a Hellenized Vlach and it is said that the family name was derived from the city of Komne, near Philippopolis in Thrace. Manuel came to the notice of Basil II because of his defence, in 978, in recognition of Manuels loyalty, Basil gave him lands near Kastamuni in Paphlagonia. On his deathbed in 1020, Manuel commended his two surviving sons Isaac and John to the emperors care, Basil had them carefully educated at the monastery of Stoudion and afterwards advanced them to high official positions. Manuel had a daughter, born in 1012 and married around 1031 to Michael Dokeianos, Catepan of Italy, during the disturbed reigns of Basils seven immediate successors, Isaac by his prudent conduct won the confidence of the army.
From 1042 to 1057, he served as commander of the army in Anatolia. In 1057, after being humiliated by the Emperor, Michael VI, he rebelled in Paphlagonia, the army proclaimed Isaac emperor on June 8,1057, and he defeated an imperial army at the Battle of Petroe. Privately Isaac showed himself more open to negotiation, and he was promised the status of co-emperor, during the course of these secret negotiations, a riot in favor of Isaac broke out in Constantinople. With the deposition of Michael VI, Patriarch Michael Keroularios crowned Isaac I emperor on September 1,1057, taking much of the credit for Isaacs acceptance as monarch. The first act of the new emperor was to reward his noble partisans with appointments that removed them from Constantinople, Isaacs only military expedition was against King Andrew I of Hungary and the Pechenegs, who began to ravage the northern frontiers in 1059. Shortly after this campaign, he concluded peace with the Kingdom of Hungary. Here he became ill, and believed he was dying.
He was already deeply shaken after narrowly avoiding being struck by lightning while leaning against a tree on campaign against the Pechenegs, and he saw his illness as a sign of Gods displeasure. This situation was exploited by the courtiers, led by Michael Psellos, Isaac abdicated on 22 November 1059, against the wishes of his brother and of his empress Catherine of Bulgaria. Like Isaac, his wife and daughter entered a monastery and his Scholia to the Iliad and other works on the Homeric poems are still extant. He died late in 1060 or early in 1061, Isaac married Catherine, a daughter of Ivan Vladislav, the last Tsar of Bulgaria
The semis literally meaning half was a small Roman bronze coin that was valued at half an as. During the Roman Republic, the semis was distinguished by an S or 6 dots, some of the coins featured a bust of Saturn on the obverse, and the prow of a ship on the reverse. Initially a cast coin, like the rest of Roman Republican bronzes, the coin was issued infrequently during the Roman Empire, and ceased to be issued by the time of Hadrian 117-138 AD. Roman currency
The follis was a type of coin in the Roman and Byzantine traditions. The Roman follis was a bronze coin introduced in about 294 with the coinage reform of Diocletian. It weighed about 10 grams and was about 4% silver, mostly as a layer on the surface. The word follis means bag in Latin, and there is evidence that this term was used in antiquity for a bag containing a specific amount of coins. The follis of Diocletian, despite efforts to enforce prices with the Edict on Maximum Prices, was revalued and reduced, by the time of Constantine, the follis was smaller and barely contained any silver. A series of Constantinian bronzes was introduced in the century, although the specific denominations are unclear and debated by historians. They are referred to as AE1, AE2, AE3 and AE4, with the former being the largest, Fourth century folles represent the largest category of coin finds in the United Kingdom. The follis was reintroduced as a bronze coin in 498, with the coinage reform of Anastasius. A40 nummi coin of Anastasius is depicted on the obverse of the Macedonian 50 denars banknote, the fals was a bronze coin issued by the Umayyad and Abbasid caliphates beginning in the late 8th century, initially as imitations of the Byzantine follis.
Trifollaro, a coin worth 3 folles Grierson, Byzantine coinage, Dumbarton Oaks, ISBN 978-0-88402-274-9, archived from the original on 13 June 2010 Hendy
Nikephoros II Phokas
Nikephoros II Phokas was Byzantine Emperor from 963 to 969. His brilliant military exploits contributed to the resurgence of the Byzantine Empire during the 10th century and his mother, whose name is unknown, was a member of another powerful Anatolian Greek clan, the Maleinoi. Nikephoros joined the army at an early age and he was appointed the military governor of the Anatolikon Theme in 945 under Emperor Constantine VII. When his father was wounded in battle in 953, Nikephoros was promoted to commander on the eastern frontier. In the war with the Abbasid Caliphate under Al-Muti, Nikephoros began with a defeat in 954, from which he recovered in the following years with victories in Syria. From the accession of Emperor Romanos II in 959, Nikephoros and his younger brother Leo were placed in charge of the eastern and western field armies, in 960,27,000 oarsmen and marines were assembled to man a fleet of 308 ships carrying 50,000 troops. At the recommendation of the influential minister Joseph Bringas, Nikephoros was entrusted to lead this expedition against the Saracen Emirate of Crete, after a nine-month siege, Nikephoros stormed Chandax and wrested control of the entire island from the Muslims in 961.
Upon returning to Constantinople, he was denied the honor of a triumph. He soon returned to the east with a large and well-equipped army, in the campaigns of 962–963, he employed a brilliant strategy to conquer the cities of Cilicia and to advance into Syria. There he captured Aleppo, in collusion with his nephew, John Tzimiskes and it was on these campaigns that he earned the sobriquet, The Pale Death of the Saracens. During the capture of Aleppo, the Byzantine army took possession of 390,000 silver dinars,2,000 camels, early in his life Nikephoros had married Stephano. She had died before he rose to fame, and after her death he took an oath of chastity and this would create problems on. On 15 March 963, Emperor Romanos II died unexpectedly at the age of twenty-six of uncertain cause, Theophano had already gained a reputation as an intelligent and ambitious woman. She would gain a reputation for ruthlessness in achieving her goals, Romanos had already crowned as co-emperors his two sons Basil II and Constantine VIII.
At the time that Romanos died, Basil was five years old, Theophano was not allowed to rule alone. Joseph Bringas, the eunuch palace official who had become Romanos chief councilor, according to contemporary sources he intended to keep authority in his own hands. He tried to reduce the power of Nikephoros Phokas, the victorious general had been accepted as the actual commander of the army and maintained his strong connections to the aristocracy. Joseph was afraid that Nikephoros could claim the throne with the support of both the army and the aristocracy, josephs intrigues during the following months turned both Theophano and Nikephoros against him
Ever since Emperor Constantine I, the Byzantine Empires main coinage had been the high-quality solidus or nomisma, which had remained standard in weight and gold content through the centuries. The Emperor Nikephoros II Phokas, introduced a new coin which was a 2 carats lighter than the original nomisma, the exact reason for the introduction of the tetarteron is unclear. At any rate, the tetarteron was issued only in quantities in the 10th century. Initially, the two coins were virtually indistinguishable, except in weight, during the reign of Basil II, the tetarteron began to be minted in a thicker and smaller form, while the histamenon conversely became thinner and wider. Only during the rule of Constantine VIII, did the two coins become iconographically distinct as well. However, starting with Michael IV, who was a money lender, the gold content began to be increasingly lowered. After a period of stability in circa 1055–1070, the gold content declined dramatically in the period of crisis in the 1070s and 1080s.
During the first eleven years of the reign of Alexios I Komnenos, Alexios reformed the whole Byzantine coinage in 1092 and eliminated the gold/electrum tetarteron and gold/electrum histamenon. In its place he introduced a new coin called the hyperpyron. In 1092, Alexios I Komnenos reformed the coinage, introducing the hyperpyron gold coin instead of the devalued histamena. Alexios instituted a new copper coinage to replace the old follis, apparently due to its similar dimensions and fabric to the gold tetarteron, it was named tetarteron or tarteron. It has, suggested that its name derives from it being worth one quarter of the late. The new coin, weighing circa 4 grams and valued at 864 to the hyperpyron, was struck in great quantities and in a large variety of designs. Both coins remained relatively stable in weight, but begin to appear less frequently towards the turn of the 13th century. In the 13th century, copper tetartera were issued by the rulers of the Empire of Thessalonica in the 1230s and 1240s, as well as by the Empire of Nicaea.
In the restored Byzantine Empire, from 1261 on, they appear to have been replaced by a new type of copper coins named assaria after the ancient Roman coins, studies in the Byzantine Monetary Economy c. Oxford and New York, Oxford University Press, Провалите и фалшификациите във византийската монетна политика през X век. Появата на тетартерон и диотетартетон номизма, - В, Mediaevalia,3,2011, 237-245
Electrum is a naturally occurring alloy of gold and silver, with trace amounts of copper and other metals. It has been produced artificially, and is known as green gold. The ancient Greeks called it gold or white gold, as opposed to refined gold and its colour ranges from pale to bright yellow, depending on the proportions of gold and silver. This suggests that one reason for the invention of coinage in that area was to increase the profits from seigniorage by issuing currency with a gold content than the commonly circulating metal. Electrum was used as early as the third millennium BC in Old Kingdom of Egypt, sometimes as a coating to the pyramidions atop ancient Egyptian pyramids. It was used in the making of ancient drinking vessels, the first metal coins ever made were of electrum and date back to the end of the 7th century or the beginning of the 6th century BC. For several decades, the medals awarded with the Nobel Prize have been made of gold-plated green gold, the name electrum was used to denote German ‘silver’, mainly for its use in making technical instruments.
The name electrum is the Latinized form of the Greek word ἤλεκτρον, electrum was often referred to as white gold in ancient times, but could be more accurately described as pale gold, as it is usually pale yellow or yellowish-white in colour. The modern use of the white gold usually concerns gold alloyed with any one or a combination of nickel, silver. Electrum consists primarily of gold and silver but is found with traces of platinum, copper. The name is mostly applied informally to compositions between about 20-80% gold and 20-80% silver atoms, but these are called gold or silver depending on the dominant element. Analysis of the composition of electrum in ancient Greek coinage dating from about 600 BC shows that the content was about 55. 5% in the coinage issued by Phocaea. In the early period, the gold content of electrum ranged from 46% in Phokaia to 43% in Mytilene. In coinage from these areas, dating to 326 BC, in the Hellenistic period, electrum coins with a regularly decreasing proportion of gold were issued by the Carthaginians.
In the Eastern Roman Empire controlled from Constantinople, the purity of the coinage was reduced. Electrum is mentioned in an account of an expedition sent by Pharaoh Sahure of the Fifth dynasty of Egypt and it is discussed by Pliny the Elder in his Naturalis Historia. Electrum is possibly referred to three times in the Bible, in all three instances it is used to describe a type of glow seen in visions by the prophet Ezekiel. Electrum is believed to have used in coins circa 600 BC in Lydia under the reign of Alyattes II
Constantine VIII was reigning Byzantine Emperor from 15 December 1025 until his death in 1028. He was the son of the Emperor Romanos II and Theophano, and the brother of the eminent Basil II. As a youth, Constantine VIII had been engaged to a daughter of Emperor Boris II of Bulgaria, by her he had three daughters, who became a nun and Theodora of Byzantium. Constantine VIII had been crowned with his brother by their father in 962, for some 63 out of the 68 years of his life he was eclipsed by other emperors, including Nikephoros II Phokas, John I Tzimiskes, and Basil II. Even when his brother became senior emperor, Constantine was perfectly content to enjoy all the privileges of Imperial status without concerning himself with state affairs. On occasion Constantine participated in his brothers campaigns against rebel nobles, in 989, he acted as mediator between Basil II and Bardas Skleros. Otherwise he spent his life in the search of pleasure and entertainment, including spectator sports at the Hippodrome of Constantinople, when Basil II died on 15 December 1025, Constantine finally became sole emperor, ruling for less than three years before his own death on 11 November 1028.
Physically Constantine was tall and graceful, where Basil had been short, by the time he became emperor, he had chronic gout and could hardly walk. His reign was a disaster because he lacked courage and political savvy and he reacted to every challenge with impulsive cruelty, persecuting uppity nobles and allegedly ordering the execution or mutilation of hundreds of innocent men. Constantine carried on as he always had – hunting, feasting and he was poor at appointing officials. Within months, the laws of Basil II were dropped under pressure from the Anatolian aristocracy. Like his brother, Constantine died without a male heir, the Empire thus passed to his daughter Zoe, whom he had married to Romanos Argyros. List of Byzantine emperors Michael Psellus, the Oxford Dictionary of Byzantium, Oxford University Press,1991