A treasure hunter found this beautiful gold coin in Kars, Turkey. The gold coin was minted and circulated during the reign of the Byzantine imperial family Dukas - that is, in the 11th century - and is also known as Histamenon.
The Dukas Imperial Family
The Dukas imperial family included the two Byzantine emperors Constantine X and his son, Emperor Michael VII. Constantine X ruled the Byzantine Empire for eight years (1059 to 1067), his successor Michael VII from 1071 to 1078. Inbetween, the emperor Romanos IV ruled the Byzantine Empire. He came from the prestigious noble family of Diogenes.
The Byzantine Empire was an empire in the Eastern Mediterranean and existed for over 1000 years from the partition of the Roman Empire around 395 until the conquest of the Ottoman Empire around 1453.
The gold coin, estimated at 4 to 5 g (0.2 oz), was found by a treasure hunter using an OKM Fusion Pro Plus. The Fusion Pro Plus is particularly well suited to locating objects at a great depth. With the sensor technology of the OKM Fusion Pro Plus, OKM customers have found objects at depths of up to 21 m (69 ft). The 3D ground scanner is ideal for discovering cavities, underground tunnels and treasures such as gold coins or larger relics.
A Coin as a Symbol of the Church
The coin shows on the front Jesus Christ sitting frontally, with his head in the nimbus of the cross, which is a special form of halo for Christ. At the same time Christ is wearing a pallium. Jesus is holding the Gospel in his left hand and holding his right hand in a position to bless someone.
On the reverse, Constantine X is depicted, crowned and wearing a loros. In his right hand he holds the labarum, that is, the main army flag for the battle of Constantine the Great at the Milvian Bridge around 312 A.D. It symbolizes the sacral background of the rule over the Roman, later Byzantine Empire. In his left hand, Constantine X holds an orb, also called globus cruciger. The orb represents a globe with an attached cross.
The Histamenon Loses Gold Content
The coin found is also known as histamenon, or stamenon nomisma. The histamenon, along with the tetarteron, was the currency from about 900 to 1100 A.D. The histamenon weighed about 4.4 g and initially consisted of up to 98% gold, equivalent to 22.8 carats. From 1034, the gold content of the currency was reduced further and further under Emperor Michael IV.
The coin found here dates from the 1060s. It is expected to have a gold content of 66%, equivalent to 16 carats. Under Emperor Alexios I, the histamenon was discontinued and the new coin, the hyperpyron, was introduced. The hyperpyron, also called hyperpyron nomisma, again had a gold content of 21 carats.