We may therefore conclude that the most reasonable arrangement of the coin-types is:

Oct. 829-831 Theophilus alone (Nos. 67-101)
  832 Theophilus and Constantine (No. 102).
  833-837 Theophilus, Constantine and Michael.
  838 Theophilus, Theodora and their daughters.
  839-Jan.20, 842 Theophilus and Michael III.

These dates, of course, are mostly approximate, but the arrangement has the advantage of supplying all stages of the reign with gold and allowing the longest time for the commonest types.

The hoard, then, would have been buried in 832 just at the beginning of the issuance of the second type, of which we have a single specimen. This, as it happens, is an appropriate date if the burial of the hoard be connected, as such things frequently are, with wars and rumors of wars, for it was in 832 that Mamun captured Lulon, the fortress guarding the northern entrance to the Cilician Gates.13 We have no record of Saracen operations in Phrygia, but even as far away as Lagbe the citizens may have felt that the fall of Lulon put all of Asia Minor in jeopardy. If it was not this event that caused our hoard to be confided to the ground, we have no means of guessing what the cause was.

The condition of the latest of these coins furnishes us with an unusual opportunity to ascertain the gold standard actually in use. All of the pieces of Michael II and of Theophilus are described as uncirculated, and for all but two the weight is reported. These 38 specimens give an average just under 4.43 grams, with a maximum of 4.49 and a minimum of 4.39; that is, with a variation of 13/10% . This calculation is borne out by the rest of the hoard, in which the 8 earlier "uncirculated" coins give an average of 4.42; the 13 "very fine," 441 ; the 19 "fine," 4.39; the 7 "very good," 4.38; and the 5 "slightly worn," 4.35. The only inconsistency is furnished by 5 "good" coins, whose average is 4.4 1, though they should lie between the "slightly worn" and the "very good." Taken as a whole, however, the contents of the hoard give ample evidence of a standard of 4.42 to 4.43 grams consistently adhered to from 717 to 832. It is to be noticed that this is lighter than the theoretical value of the standard of 4.55 grams, or 4 scruples, introduced by Constantine and supposedly maintained throughout the history of the Empire. But the deviation is not sufficient to be accounted a change of standard, since the theoretical 4.55 gives 72 to the pound while 4.42 gives just under 74 to the pound-an impossible proportion to be officially recognized. It would be interesting to know when the decline in weight began, and it is to be hoped that more statistics for solidi in mint condition will become available.


Yale University


13. Bury, op. cit., pp. 245 f., 474.      


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