Tiberius III (Apsimar), 698-705. Light weight Solidus of 23 Siliquae (Gold, 20 mm, 4.21 g, 7 h), Constantinopolis. D tIbЄRIЧS PЄ AV Draped and cuirassed bust of Tiberius III facing, wearing crown, surmounted by a small cross, and holding spear in his right hand and shield decorated with a horseman over his left shoulder. Rev. VICTORIA AVSЧ H✱ / CONOB Cross potent on three steps. DOC 2a = MIB 6 = SB 1361E. Cf. Triton XV (2012), 1608 (5th officina). Of the highest rarity, the third example of this type known, and only the second of this officina. A very light scuff on the edge, otherwise, good extremely fine.
Apsimar, a naval officer of Germanic descent, was the droungarios (a rear admiral) of the fleet of the Cibyrrhaeotic Theme in the naval campaign of 698, set up to recapture Carthage from the Umayyad Caliphate. Although initially successful, the Byzantines were soon driven out again, retreating to Crete. There the fleet rebelled, disheartened and fearful of punishment by the emperor Leontius. After having killed the admiral John the Patrician, Apsimar took over command and sailed to Constantinople, where friendly troops opened the gates and proclaimed him emperor. The new ruler, now called Tiberius, proved to be an effective administrator and his brother Heraclius led a number of successful campaigns against the Umayyads in southeast Asia Minor. In 705, however, the former emperor Justinian II, with the help of Bulgarian troops, returned from his exile in Cherson and had Tiberius-Apsimar and his brother publicly executed in the hippodrome of Constantinople. This marked the beginning of a reign of terror by Justinian II, who would further weaken the Empire in a time of military crises.