Byzantine Gold Solidus (AD 602-610) Constantinople mint
Obv. Draped and cuirassed bust facing, wearing crown and holding globus cruciger., 'dNN FOCAS-PERP AV.
Rev. Angel standing facing holding long rho-headed cross and globus cruciger, 'VICTORIA-AVGU E', 'CONOB' in exergue 21 mm, 4.49g.
EF - Extremely Fine or better, considerable amounts of original mint lustre
Following an army rebellion against the emperor Maurice in 602, Focas was sent to Constantinople as spokesman. There he took advantage of revolts in the capital to get himself chosen emperor in place of Maurice, who, together with his son, was executed. Focas enjoyed good relations with Rome, his recognition of the primacy of the pope in matters of religion winning him praise from Pope Gregory l.
Having made peace with the Avars (604) by agreeing to pay them an increased annual tribute, he had to face the avenging forces of Maurice's ally, Khosrow II, under whom the Persians moved into Asia Minor, reaching the Bosporus by 608. Focas' persecution of a Christian sect, the Monophysites, and of the Jews brought him the hatred of the Eastern provinces, and in the capital he grew increasingly tyrannical; riots erupted in some cities.
Fear of the Persians, together with general discontent, led to a revolt by the exarch of Carthage, who in 610 sent an expedition under his son Heraclius; the latter had Focas executed and was himself proclaimed emperor in October 610.
A column honouring Focas still stands in the Roman Forum, the last in a long series of such monuments to the Roman emperors.
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