BYZANTINE Alexius I 1081-1118 AD tetarteron


BYZANTINE, Alexius I, 1081-1118 AD, tetarteron, no date, Obverse: long bust of Emperor facing and holding scepter, Reverse: jewelled cross, X in center, with globes at tips, curly ornaments in angles, bronze, 20mm, 1.41g, SB-unlisted, I found the type pictures at, where it is described as Sear 1931, which it is not. S1931 has long bust of Christ on obverse. This coin has a thinner fabric than the average tetarteron. The obverse has a kind of simplified and more schematic style than the normal Byzantine style. The arms of the cross on the reverse are made of dots only, not dots within two lines. The prototype has four Greek letters in the angles. There are no letters on this coin. I think it is a foreign imitation of the Byzantine type, probably from the Balkans, maybe Bulgaria. crude, VG/F

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Alexius I Comnenus came to the throne with a host of problems involving the Normans in Sicily, relations with Venice, and nomads in the Balkans. He had some successes, then had to deal with the First Crusade. The Crusaders took Antioch and Jerusalem. Alexius continued fighting until he died.

We call them Byzantines, but they thought of themselves as Romans. It is not incorrect to think of the Roman Empire persisting until 1453, when the Ottomans conquered Constantinople. The main reference we are using for the Byzantine series is “Byzantine Coins and their Values,” by David Sear.

Ancient Coins includes Greek and Roman coins and those of neighbors and successors, geographically from Morocco and Spain all the way to Afghanistan. Date ranges for these begin with the world’s earliest coins of the 8th century BC to, in an extreme case, the end of Byzantine Empire, 1453 AD.