A rare and attractive solidus of Basil II, the 'Bulgar slayer'
Lot 2645
Basil II Bulgaroktonos, with Constantine VIII, 976-1025. Histamenon (Gold, 24 mm, 4.41 g, 6 h), Constantinopolis, 1001-1005 (?). +IҺS XIS RЄX RЄGNANTIVm Nimbate bust of Christ facing, wearing tunic and pallium, raising his right hand in benediction and holding book of Gospels in his left. Rev. +bASIL C COҺSTAҺTI b R Crowned facing half-length busts of Basil II, with short-beard, wearing loros on the left, and Constantine VIII, beardless, wearing chlamys on the right, holding between them long patriarchial cross crosslet; a suspended crown over Basil's head. DOC 4a. SB 1798. Rare. A beautiful and boldly struck example. Light die roughness and with a minor scuff on the edge, otherwise, extremely fine.

From an American collection, privately acquired from Ariadne Galleries prior to 1982.

This issue of Basil II introduces a series of new and interesting iconographical features, such as the pelleted rosettes in each arm of Christ's nimbus on the obverse and a suspended crown above Basil's head on the reverse. The latter clearly underlines his status as the actual ruler of the Byzantine state, as opposed to that of his pleasure-loving younger brother and imperial colleague, Constantine VIII, who preferred to leave all government affairs to his older brother. Furthermore, the reverse shows the imperial brothers holding a patriarchal cross crosslet, an unusual form of the typical patriarchal cross showing an additional cross-beam at the end of each arm. Finally, the chlamys of Constantine is jeweled, which is rarely seen on the coinage from his reign.
Starting price:
250 CHF
Hammer price:
3000 CHF
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Closing time: 25-Feb-24, 22:29:30 CET
All winning bids are subject to a 20% buyer's fee.


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