Michael VII, Ducas with Maria, 1071-1078 AD. Constantinople

Michael VII, Ducas with Maria, 1071-1078 AD. Constantinople


AV Tetarteron, 3.97g (18mm, 6h). +ΘKE – POHΘ Facing bust of the Virgin, veiled and holding medallion of the Infant Christ; in field, MHTP ligate – ΘV / +MIX – ... M – PIA Half figures of Michel on l., wearing crown and loros and Maria, on r., similarly dressed, both holding between them long cross.

Pedigree: Ex Garrett Collection. Auction Bank Leu/NFA. Zurich, March 1985. Lot 526. Ex JWG Raymond. 30 Dec 1922.

References: Sear 1870. DOC 3

Grade: Extremely rare. Metal defect at edge at 2h on reverse. EF/Good VF (bz1010)

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Initially Michael VII became ruler with his mother Eudocia as regent when his stepfather Romanus IV Diogenes was taken hostage by the Seljuk Turks. The Turks were slowly scooping up land in Asia Minor which had previously been under Byzantine domain, but by this stage the Empire was slowly disintegrating. Romanus was taken hostage by the Turks and the opposing party used the opportunity to elevate Eudocia and Michael VII as joint rulers. This brief three month interlude led the way for the sole reign of Michael VII. Michael was as ineffective as his father Constantine X and the attacks by the Turks in Asia Minor and the Normans in southern Italy reflected his inadequacy to rule. With the Empire in real trouble, the general Nicephorus Botaniates rebelled against Michael and became the next ruler. Michael was not killed as many rulers usually met their fate. Instead he was sent to live out his days in a monastery.