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Research Coins: Feature Auction

 
641330
Sale: CNG 64, Lot: 1330. Estimate $4000. 
Closing Date: Wednesday, 24 September 2003. 
Sold For $4250. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

MICHAEL III, with THEODORA, his mother. 842-867 AD. AV Solidus (4.44 gm). Constantinople mint. Struck 843-856 AD. Nimbate facing bust of Christ, raising hand in benediction and holding Gospels; * at end of legend / Crowned facing busts of Michael and Theodora. DOC III 2; SB 1687. Good VF, a few marks in fields. Very rare. ($4000)

At three years of age, Michael III, later nicknamed "the Drunkard" because of his propensity for drink, succeeded his father Theophilus as the third and final emperor of the short-lived Amorian, or Phrygian, Dynasty. Because he was still in his minority, his mother, Theodora, became regent. With Michael in isolation, she maintained the empire's borders through the assistance of her brothers, Bardas and Petronas, as well as Theoktistos, the logothete of the drome. During her regency, she brought an end to the century-old iconoclastic controversy by maintaining a moderate position and demonstrating herself an effective and capable ruler. In typical Byzantine fashion, though, intrigue soon intervened. Theoktistos edged Bardas from power; Bardas in turn conspired with the young emperor in 856 to remove both Theoktistos and Theodora; the former was murdered while the latter was confined to a convent. In 866, Basil, an ambitious courtier, murdered Bardas and made himself co-emperor with Michael, who was dispatched soon afterward.