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Michael V Calaphates (13 December AD 1041-21 April AD 1042). Gold histamenon nomisma (4.44 gm).
- +IhS XIS REX REgNANTIhM, Christ enthroned facing, raising right hand in benediction & holding book of Gospels in left
- +MI-XAHL DESPOT, archangel Michael, winged, on left, and Michael V, with short beard, on right, standing facing, holding between them labarum; the archangel wears tunic & mantle, while the emperor is clad in saccos & loros, & is crowned by the Hand of God.
This histamenon is one of the great rarities of the Byzantine series, but its attribution is disputed. Grierson initially gave it to Michael V Calaphates, the young nephew and designated heir of Michael IV. After the emperor's death Michael Calaphates was elevated to a coregency with the empress Zoe, his adoptive mother; but about four months later he attempted a coup by confining Zoe to a nunnery. The populace was outraged and within days Michael was deposed and blinded. An alternative attribution to Michael IV was proposed by Fagerlie and Hendy. The latter argued that this issue was minted at Thessalonica, headquarters of Michael IV during his Bulgarian campaign of AD 1040-1041, and that its reverse type, which exceptionally shows the emperor on the viewer's right instead of the left, inspired the iconography of later coins of Thessalonica under Alexius I, struck during his first Norman war. Grierson was persuaded by Hendy's argument, but others have been reluctant to declare the matter settled. It seems entirely plausible that the ambitious Michael V, in his rash grab for sole power, would have issued coins in his own name both to advertise his new status and to purchase support. The problem is the timeframe: Zoe was exiled on 18 April and Michael fell on 21 April, so that an issue of coins is possible only if it had been planned in advance. Regardless of its regnal attribution, this histamenon is of great iconographic interest, with a beautifully rendered archangel quite different from the schematic facing angels of sixth- and early seventh-century solidi.
Source: English Wikipedia, original upload 20 June 2005 by Panairjdde
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