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Herakleios, Copper, Follis, Neapolis/Nablus, 630?-640?

 
 

Obverse

Herakleios standing at left in military costume, details obscure. Herakleios Constantine standing at right, wearing chlamys and holding globus cruciger. K between their heads. No inscription.

Reverse

M with in right field and below.

Exergue

NE

Obverse

Herakleios standing at left in military costume, details obscure. Herakleios Constantine standing at right, wearing chlamys and holding globus cruciger. K between their heads. No inscription.

Reverse

M with in right field and below.

Exergue

NE

Accession number BZC.1970.27.7
Ruler Herakleios
Date of Reign 610–641
Associated Authority Herakleios Constantine III
Metal Copper
Denomination Follis
Mint Neapolis/Nablus
Date 630?640?
Diameter 20.0 mm
Weight 4.92 g
Relation of Dies 7:00
Shape Flat

Commentary

According to Grierson, “this is a very puzzling coin. The position of the , which is fairly clear, would suggest X|X|, but in Year 25 there should be more than two figures. Also, what is the after NE? Scarcely an officina letter since there is one already. The fabric is Constantinopolitan, so the coin cannot be Neapolis.” 

However, this coin belongs to the series that Hahn (MIB 3:110) proposes to attribute to Neapolis (Nablus) in Palestine. P. Donald (“The Neapolis Coins of Heraclius”) suggests they might have been struck in another Neapolis—the one in Cyprus—since he has “records of three of these coins found in that island; two of them in an as yet unpublished hoard.” But the relations between Cyprus and the mainland are well known to have been active in both directions, and Foss (Arab-Byzantine Coins: An Introduction, with a Catalogue of the Dumbarton Oaks Collection, 15) argues for the Palestinian Neapolis, which might have been “a base of Byzantine resistance” during the Arab attacks at the time.

Donald points out that their mere size rules out the attribution to Constans II put forward by Grierson and Shaw (“A New Follis Type of Constans II”) and that it is also excluded by the existence of such a coin bearing a Sicilian (recte Syrian) countermark of the 630s.

MIB 3: plate 12, X 24, from the R. N. Bridge Collection.

P. J. Donald, “Neapolis under Heraclius: A Further Find.”

W. P. de Roever,  “A Nea(polis) Follis of Heraclius’ 26th Regnal Year.”

Acquisition History

From Henry Weller, 1 July 1970