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The Way Cool history of the Byzantine coin of Michael IV
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Thread: The Way Cool history of the Byzantine coin of Michael IV

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Raleigh NC.

    Default The Way Cool history of the Byzantine coin of Michael IV

    Here is an article I just finished writing after I researched the origins of a coin I own..
    What an increadible story!
    Who says coin collecting isn't cool!?

    I just love it when History is Better the fiction!
    and You're gonna be blown away by this too!

    Reign of Michael IV, April 12, 1034AD. Class C bronze follis.
    +EMMANOVHA. Christ, nimbate, with pallium and colobrium, with rt hand raised in benediction. In left hand Book of Gospels. / IC-XC-NI-KA divided by jewelled cross. Beautiful example, with original desert sand patina. 30 mm.

    This coin was created exactly April 12, 1034AD.
    No other Byzantine coinís exact date is known like this one. Also, the coins before it cost twice as much money and the coins after cost more as well. Why?

    The reason any coin cost twice as much as another is simply because twice as many are made of the cheaper coin. Also, The reason only THIS coinís exact date of production is known is because a dramatic event in history must have occurred on that date or just before that date and the event must also mention the coinís production.
    Thatís where this coinís story gets interesting!

    In the year 1033 there was an enormous pilgrimage to Jerusalem marked the 1000th anniversary of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. It normally takes pilgrims in Europe 6 months to travel to Jerusalem by foot or horse. Those travelling by ship or land must stop in Constantinople to restock their ships or by foot to cross channel now spanned by ďThe Galata BridgeĒ which is located right between the Black Sea and the entrance to the Mediterranean Sea. So there was an incredible amount of money to be taken by a king desiring to fleece all the world on a pilgrimage to the Holy land that year.

    Which is exactly what Romanus III Argyrus, the Byzantine emperor, (by marriage) was doing! Not only was he using the crossing as a high priced toll bridge. But he was also heavily taxing the local businesses, who, while enjoying land mark customer numbers, where making almost zero money because of the Kingís steep taxes. These and the fact that Romanus totally neglected his wife empress Zoe, who if she where a man would have become king herself, directly lead to what happened next.

    Zoe took a liking to a peasant's son from Paphlagonia, by the name of Michael. The family were moneychanger's (or possibly forgers,) except for Michael's brother, John, a eunuch who had advised Basil II and been raised to the senate by Romanus. It was this same eunuch who introduced Michael to Zoe. Romanus, foolishly, turned a blind eye to his wife's affair.

    On Apr 11, 1034 King Romanus, The Byzantine emperor (1028-34) was assassinated by his wife Zoe, making it possible for her lover Michael the IV to become king the very next day. And his first order was to make new coinage to be ready for the returning Pilgrims coming back through Constantinople after Winter had passed.

    "Thus died Romanus after reigning five and one-half years. But Empress Zoe, when she found out he had died, immediately took control of affairs, just as if she were, by divine will, the next inheritor of the throne. But actually she was more concerned to take over power briefly so that she might turn over authority to Michael."
    Michael Psellus

    What role Michael had in the events of 11th April, 1034, when Romanus was weakened with poison and then drowned in his bath, is not known, but that very evening he and Zoe were married. It was widely believed that Michaelís eunuch brother, with Zoe, had conspired against the king, and who provided the queen with the poison to do the deed.

    It takes 3-6 months to hand make and forge multiple coin dies to press coins. And the more the coins needed the longer it takes. So for this many coins to be cut the very next day there had to be a large number of people involved in this plot to kill the king. Now, remember the fact that Michaelís family where coin makersÖ and the circle of this coinís origination on a specific date in history is complete.

    The local historian Micheal Psellus rates Emperor Michael IV very highly, despite his unsavoury rise to power: ďan honest man, he never became intoxicated by his sudden rise to power. Sadly, his two younger brothers were not of the same mold.Ē

    Michael's great impediment was his epilepsy, which grew steadily worse over time. He rarely appeared in public, for fear of a fit, and kept himself from his wife. Were it not for this, Michael might have stemmed the empire's decline. His one large military campaign, against the Bulgars, was a resounding success. The Bulgars had rallied around pretender to their throne and raised the flag of revolt against the empire. When, however, a true heir to the royal family appeared, they fell hopelessly divided. Michael was quick to capitalize on their confusion and subdue them.

    On his return to the capital, Michael fell gravely ill. Filled with remorse for the murder of Romanus, he resigned his throne, fully surrendered his life to Jesus, and took a monk's robes. The very night of his oaths, the 10th December, 1041, he died.
    - God's Walky Talky

    "L A N . . A S T A S L E M"
    I will NOT submit to islam!

    "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing"
    Edmund Burke 1729-1797

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2009


    You never cease to amaze me .That is an incredible story.You have always mentioned why it's your favorite coin but never the history.Pretty cool man and that's coming from a young buck.
    "I know where Daddy keeps his Silver Shhhhhh"(I loves my precious hehehe)

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