Author Topic: Imitative follis of Constantine IV: an arab-byzantine fals?  (Read 306 times)

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Offline Numis1

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Good morning guys, I'm new here. I'm a numismatist, and I study late roman and early byzantine coinage but I don't know very well the arab-byzantine emissions, so I'm asking here to receive some infos about the coin I'm gonna show you, an imitative follis of Constantine IV. The style, weight and diameter (2,55 grams and 21 mm) seems to point to an arab-byzantine emission, but I can't find any example closer to this one. There are some arab-byzantine folles that copy some sicilian folles of Constantine IV, but they are different. The style of the obverse resemble that of Constantinople half follis or follis, but the reverse standing figure is made copying the style of the figures on the reverse of Constantine IV sicilian folles, as for the style of drapery, as you can see from the second image. Flanking the M, on right field, there is the word ANNO, but without A and with retrograde N. In the exergue there are some letters, but I can't say with certainty if they are imitative of the byzantine exergue mark or they are a sort of blundered arabic legend. Can you give me some hint to identify it?

Thank you

Offline Quant.Geek

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Re: Imitative follis of Constantine IV: an arab-byzantine fals?
« Reply #1 on: June 23, 2020, 11:51:23 PM »
Very interesting!  Let me check Goodwin and see if there is any hit for this particular type...

Ram
A gallery of my coins can been seen at FORVM Ancient Coins

Offline Numis1

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Re: Imitative follis of Constantine IV: an arab-byzantine fals?
« Reply #2 on: June 24, 2020, 12:24:29 AM »
ok, thank you very much for your help!

Offline THCoins

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Re: Imitative follis of Constantine IV: an arab-byzantine fals?
« Reply #3 on: June 24, 2020, 09:00:31 AM »
Hi Numis1, and welcome to WorldOfCoins !
I am not really the person who can give any sensible answer on your questions unfortunately. Thanks however for your interesting post and coin you are presenting. I saw some "Arab-Byzantine"and "Pseudo-Byzantine pieces"  The good workmanship of this coin does not really strike me as fitting those categories. Especially the details in the clothes of the ruler look very well excecuted. I see no hint of any Arabic script.

Offline Manzikert

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Re: Imitative follis of Constantine IV: an arab-byzantine fals?
« Reply #4 on: June 24, 2020, 09:03:10 AM »
My copy of Goodwin is in store at the moment so I wouldn't be able to look at it until later in the week, but I checked the SICA volume 1 and there is a possibly related item at no. 530.

Obv. Beardless imperial bust facing, holding globus cruciger. 'enigmatic' legend either side of head.
Rev. Capital M with monogram above and standing figures at either side holding gl.cr. Blundered SCL in ex. 3.22 gm, 24 mm

"The prototype is an undated follis of Sicily (MIB-104) from the early part of the reign of Constantine IV (668-685)"

Unfortunately your piece is rather eroded at the sides of the head, but the inscription is fairly close to the sides of the bust on the SICA specimen and would probably still be visible if it had been present.

The other thing I noticed is that on your piece the reverse die seems to be mirrored: the B is reversed as are the two 'N's of the [A]NN
  • , and the gl.cr. is in the standing figure's opposite hand. The inscription in the ex. is too faint for me to make much of it, but one of the two letters I can guess at seems to be a reversed 'D'.


Altogether a very interesting item, and though there are differences, probably from the same series as the SICA specimen (which is the only one of the type they have).

Alan

Edit: that should be [A]NN
  • : I tried to edit it but no luck :-\

Offline Numis1

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Re: Imitative follis of Constantine IV: an arab-byzantine fals?
« Reply #5 on: June 24, 2020, 02:29:25 PM »
Hi Numis1, and welcome to WorldOfCoins !
I am not really the person who can give any sensible answer on your questions unfortunately. Thanks however for your interesting post and coin you are presenting. I saw some "Arab-Byzantine"and "Pseudo-Byzantine pieces"  The good workmanship of this coin does not really strike me as fitting those categories. Especially the details in the clothes of the ruler look very well excecuted. I see no hint of any Arabic script.

Thank you. The bust on the obverse is indeed well executed, maybe better than some official folles or half folles of Constantine IV. However, we are dealing undoubtedly with an imitative coin. Some features, like the border of the reverse and the mirrored B are those you find on some arab imitative. But this piece is really strange.

Offline Numis1

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Re: Imitative follis of Constantine IV: an arab-byzantine fals?
« Reply #6 on: June 24, 2020, 02:39:38 PM »
My copy of Goodwin is in store at the moment so I wouldn't be able to look at it until later in the week, but I checked the SICA volume 1 and there is a possibly related item at no. 530.

Obv. Beardless imperial bust facing, holding globus cruciger. 'enigmatic' legend either side of head.
Rev. Capital M with monogram above and standing figures at either side holding gl.cr. Blundered SCL in ex. 3.22 gm, 24 mm

"The prototype is an undated follis of Sicily (MIB-104) from the early part of the reign of Constantine IV (668-685)"

Unfortunately your piece is rather eroded at the sides of the head, but the inscription is fairly close to the sides of the bust on the SICA specimen and would probably still be visible if it had been present.

The other thing I noticed is that on your piece the reverse die seems to be mirrored: the B is reversed as are the two 'N's of the [A]NN
  • , and the gl.cr. is in the standing figure's opposite hand. The inscription in the ex. is too faint for me to make much of it, but one of the two letters I can guess at seems to be a reversed 'D'.


Altogether a very interesting item, and though there are differences, probably from the same series as the SICA specimen (which is the only one of the type they have).

Alan

Edit: that should be [A]NN
  • : I tried to edit it but no luck :-\
Thank you for your help. The type you posted is rare and uses as prototype the folles of Syracuse in the name of Constantine IV SB 1207. It is possible that my coin is minted in the same period ad the coin you showed. The exergue is not understandable, but maybe there is something like SCL or some arabic legend. The style of the coin, however, make me think about some pseudo-Damascus fals.
« Last Edit: June 24, 2020, 02:58:37 PM by Numis1 »

Offline Numis1

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Re: Imitative follis of Constantine IV: an arab-byzantine fals?
« Reply #7 on: June 24, 2020, 03:02:30 PM »
If on the exergue there is an arabic legend, I read something like this


Offline Numis1

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Re: Imitative follis of Constantine IV: an arab-byzantine fals?
« Reply #8 on: June 25, 2020, 10:47:20 AM »
Good morning, maybe I found the right way, even thanks to Manzikert. I get a copy of Andrew Oddy article "Constantine IV as a prototype for early Islamic coins" and, describing class 6, he says that the large M is "sormounted either by a barbarous monogram (see table 2) (6.01-6.40) or a retrograde B (6.41-6.42)". Looking at the specimen 6.41 we can see the retrograde B above the M and the figure on the left mirrored like on my coin (the style of it is also similar). The exergue of 6.41 is different from other specimens of the type, infact it's not a blundered SCL, it's different, and even if it is largely indistinguishable, we can see mirrored E and H, in the right part of exergue. I can't however say if it can be similar to what is written in the exergue of my coin. Another specimen is reported on the work of Wolfgang Schulze "The Byzantine-Arab Transitional Coinage of Tartus". This coin shows an exergue similar to that of 6.41 of Oddy article.
Is it possible that my coin is of a (maybe) unrecorded type deriving from Oddy 6.41?
« Last Edit: June 25, 2020, 12:55:23 PM by Numis1 »

Offline Manzikert

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Re: Imitative follis of Constantine IV: an arab-byzantine fals?
« Reply #9 on: June 25, 2020, 10:27:29 PM »
I think you are definitely getting closer. The mintmark on 6.41 and the second coin is a retrograde ThЄUP' for Antioch, though I can't at the moment see this on your coin.

Alan

Offline Numis1

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Re: Imitative follis of Constantine IV: an arab-byzantine fals?
« Reply #10 on: June 25, 2020, 11:07:16 PM »
Yes, you are correct it seems ThЄUP' or something similar. I don't think that on my coin there is the same mirrored ThЄUP' mintmark, but maybe another one: other type, other "mintmark", maybe.

Offline Numis1

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Re: Imitative follis of Constantine IV: an arab-byzantine fals?
« Reply #11 on: June 29, 2020, 05:55:23 PM »
I've made other photo of the reverse because I think I see something like a Theup mintmark but not retrograde. There is a T on the left, and what was visible in the previous images can be half E and half U: they are halved due to striking problems. Last letter may be a P, even if I think it is strange to have a reverse with retrograde letters but not the exergue.

Online Figleaf

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Re: Imitative follis of Constantine IV: an arab-byzantine fals?
« Reply #12 on: June 29, 2020, 08:59:13 PM »
The problem with such coins is that the more you look at them, the less you see. I was trying to read the "letters" on the side, until I realised they were another standing figure *sigh*

Nonetheless, I'll stick my neck out and say I read the letters in the exergue as "blundered SCL", as Manzikert put it in reply #4. Having said that, does it matter much what it is supposed to say when your coin is an imitation, most certainly struck elsewhere with dies cut by someone who couldn't read Latin characters and may have thought that the M was a four poster garden bed after a night of heavy rain?

Peter
An unidentified coin is a piece of metal. An identified coin is a piece of history.