Ae Follis of the Byzantine Emperor Phocas

I don't often purchase coins on eBay but, to put it honestly, the person(s) I outbid were too cheap to pay a reasonable price for the coin, and I thank them.

This one caught my eye for two reasons. First, it is an excellent strike, and secondly, it's an excellent strike in spite of the fact that it is struck over an earlier follis of Maurice Tiberius. Generally, when the host coin is heated again it is not as malleable and the restrike is not as apparent as it is in this case. There is excellent evidence on both the obverse and reverse of the host coin of Maurice which was struck at Theopolis (Antioch). The restrike of Phocas was a product of the mint of Cyzicus also in modern day Turkey.

The Emperor Maurice Tiberius reigned from AD 583 to AD 602. He was usurped by Phocas (602 AD - 610 AD ), a person who from all descriptions was a red headed, red bearded barbarian of "grotesque physical appearance." One of the first things he did as emperor was to totally eliminate all members of Maurice's royal family in an effort to consolidate his own reign.

Phocas was truly a vicious person and not very politically adept and certainly not popular. His reign was one of a lot of blood letting and the blood didn't go to the Red Cross. He incurred the wrath of Khursu II, the Sasanian emperor and mismanaged campaigns against him especially in Egypt where the Persians gained a substantial foothold.

By 610 the empire was on the verge of disintegration and was rescued by the intervention of the family Heraclius, the exarch of Carthage in North Africa and his son, also Heraclius. The two Heraclii staged a successful revolt and restored order to the empire in a reign of thirty-one years.

Photos in this gallery taken by .


Reference: Byzantine Coins and Their Values by David Sear, revised second edition.

Copyright © 2001, 2002, 2005 and The Willamette Coin Club

Ae Follis Phocas Obverse
Ae Follis Phocas Reverse