Time of Basil II Bulgaroktonos, with Constantine VIII
Bust of Christ Pantocrator facing, wearing nimbus cross ornamented with two dots in the limbs of the cross, holding book of Gospels with both hands, the cover ornamented with central pellet in border of dots
+ IҺSЧS/ XRISTЧS/ ЬASILЄЧ/ ЬASILЄ in four lines; ornament above and below
27.69mm, 11.2g, 6h
gVF, glossy dark-brown surfaces, some areas of roughness and flatness of strike
ex Classical Numismatic Group eAuction 443 (1 May 2019), Lot 642
In the 10th century, the emperor John I Tzimiskes began issuing folles which depicted Christ instead of the emperor, hence the name 'anonymous folles'. This would continue for the next 120 years. The legend on the reverse translates to 'Christ, Emperor of Emperors'.
Constantine VIII and Basil II were brothers and co-emperors of the Byzantine Empire. For the duration of their joint reign, Basil II concerned himself with the affairs of the state, whilst Constantine was content to spend his time pursuing leisurely pursuits. After conquering Bulgaria, Basil became known by the cognomen 'Bulgar Slayer' ('Boulgaroktonos'). After Basil died, Constantine became sole ruler. Constantine's reign would last less than 3 years before he too died, but after becoming the longest serving emperor. Both emperors died without a male heir. The Empire passed onto Romanos Argyros, the husband of Constantine's daughter.