Ancient Byzantine gold - AV Semissis - Emporer Maurice Tiberius - Circa 582-602 AD

Denomination:  AV Semissis                                                                     

Date:  Circa: 582-602 AD

Mint:  Constantinople.                                                                               

Weight: 2.14 g

Mount: 18 kt gold - accented with a Sapphire and .15 CT diamonds

Grade: NGC – 6057932-017 – MS details -Strike: 4/5, Surface: 2/5

Description: Maurice Tiberius (AD 582-602). AV Semissis.  Obverse:  Latin (D N MAV-RI PP AVG), pearl-diademed, draped, and cuirassed bust of Maurice Tiberius right, seen from front. Reverse:  Latin (VICTORI-A AVGG), Victory advancing right, head left, wreath in right hand, globus cruciger in left. The Semissis was a gold coin introduced by Constantine, and was worth 1/2 of a solidus. It was replaced by the tremissis (1/3 solidus) in the reign of Theodosius I. 

History: Maurice, Latin in full (Mauricius Flavius Tiberius) was born in the city of Cappadocia in 539 AD and died in Constantinople in 602 AD.  He was an outstanding general and Emperor (582–602) who helped transform the shattered late Roman Empire into a new and well-organized medieval Byzantine Empire.

Maurice first entered the government as a notary but in 578 was made commander of the imperial forces in the East. Distinguished by his successes against the Persians, he was selected by the emperor Tiberius II as his successor. On Aug. 5, 582, he was made emperor and betrothed to Tiberius’ daughter Constantina. He was crowned on August 13, the day preceding Tiberius’ death.

Maurice’s campaigns against Persians, Slavs, Avars, and Lombards drained the imperial treasury and necessitated the collection of high taxes. Dissatisfaction grew within the army, and, when he ordered some troops to set up winter quarters on the far side of the Danube River, a revolt broke out. The mutinous soldiers rallied behind Phocas, one of their junior officers, and marched on Constantinople. The citizens revolted, Maurice was overthrown, and Phocas was crowned emperor.