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Old Jan 19, 2008, 05:59 AM   #1
Lycaonian
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!2th century histamenon gold debasement question

Hello
Can anyone comment on the approximate gold fineness standards for the histamenon during the 12th century? Specifically, how badly had the gold content of this coin been debased about the time of Romanus III? Eager to hear...thank you!

Dave
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Old Jan 19, 2008, 08:50 PM   #2
Basileus
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Dave,

Romanus III issues (AD 1028-1034) were still at nearly the full purity standards as other East Roman/Byzantine gold issues since the time of Constantine I...23k to 23.5k.

Debasement really didn't start to occur until mid-11th century during the reign of Constantine IX, where gold histamena were reduced to ~18k coinage. The next big drop occurred Michael VII (~1075) reducing the gold content to about ~9k.

Isaac Comnenus restored much of the original gold content to the new hyperpyron...to about 20.5k in 1092. But the fourth crusade and banishment of one of the imperial gov't fragments to Nicaea started the irreversable decline in East Roman/Byzantine gold coinage.

At least this is what all my sources point to, as my interest in the gold issues led me down this path some time ago as well.

Hope this helps!
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Old Jan 21, 2008, 07:22 AM   #3
Lycaonian
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Thanks for the insights Thomas...I appreciate it.

Dave
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