Anastasius II Artemius, 713-715.
Solidus (Gold, 20 mm, 4.35 g, 6 h), Constantinopolis. D N APTЄMIЧS ANASTASIЧS MЧL Crowned and diademed bust of Anastasius II facing, wearing chlamys and holding globus cruciger in his right hand and akakia in his left. Rev.
VICTORIA AVSЧ S / CONOB Cross potent on base and three steps. DOC 2e. MIB 2. SB 1463. Lustrous and sharp, an exceptionally attractive piece and undoubtedly among the finest known. Slightly clipped and with very light doubling on the reverse, otherwise,
Ex Giessener Münzhandlung 60, 5 October 1992, 674 (illustrated on the front cover!).
After the murder of Justinian II, the last emperor of the Heraclian dynasty, in 711, the Byzantine Empire entered the so-called Twenty Years' Anarchy, a volatile period of political strife which saw several men claim the throne in a string of usurpations. One of these was a certain Artemius, a senior bureaucrat who overthrew another usurper named Philippicus in 713, supported by rebellious troops from the Thracian Opsikion theme. Philippicus had proven unpopular due to his religious policies, and Artemius, taking the throne name of Anastasius, set about restoring Orthodoxy and relations with the Catholic Church.
He also invested in strengthening the capital's defenses, and when the Ummayad Caliph, al-Walid, died in 715, Artemius seized his chance to go on the offensive, sending his land army to Syria and his fleet to Rhodes. At Rhodes, the Opsikian troops again mutinied, and Artemius was soon forced to flee and retire to a monastery as Theodosius III was elevated to the purple. His imperial ambitions appear to have endured, however, as he tried to overthrow Leo III in 719 at the head of a Bulgar army. When besieging the capital proved fruitless, the Bulgars handed him over to Leo, who had him executed along with his co-conspirators.