BrianRxm Coin Stories 8/15
A visit to where my Byzantine coin was made
Constantinople, Castle Seven Towers, Yedikule, Istanbul
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The Coin:
Byzantine Justinian
1. Justinian copper follis (Constantinople)
Bronze, 30mm, 17.98gm
Diademed, draped, and cuirassed bust right
Large letter "M", star left, cross top, cross right, Γ under large "M"
CON in exergue
Struck: AD 527-538 Constantinople mint
The Story:
I have several Byzantine bronze coins and became curious as to the location of the
Constantinople mint that made them, especially the Justinian coin.
Philip Grierson's book Catalogue of late Roman coins in the Dumbarton Oaks Collection
(Dumbarton Oaks, 1992) places the Constantinople mint for bronze coins near the "Golden Gate".
In April 2012, I finally able to make a visit to Istanbul, Turkey.
After a busy day wandering around Justinian's Hagia Sophia church and the Sultan Ahmed Blue Mosque,
I was back at my hotel whose lobby had some books about Turkey and Istanbul.
I happened to look at Richard Stoneman's book
Across the Hellespont: A Literary Guide to Turkey (Hutchinson, 1987)
which had a map of Constantinople showing the "Golden Gate" to be in a place
called the "Castle of the Seven Towers", part of the 4th century walls around the city.
The walls were constructed during the reign of Theodosius II.
The "Golden Gate" was a location for ceremonial entrances into the city and for holding imperial Triumphs.
The castle is now a Turkish museum named Yedikule (Turkish for "Seven Towers") Museum.
I took the light rail to the Yedikule station, and walked out Yedikule street
to the Yedikule Castle museum.
Coin Story Byzantine Coin
2. The street to the museum
Coin Story Byzantine Coin
3. A sign describing the castle complex
I had the castle to myself for an hour, probably because it is not mentioned in many guide books.
Coin Story Byzantine Coin
4. The Golden Gate
Later a tour bus with some teenagers showed up and they began climbing around on the walls.
Coin Story Byzantine Coin
5. The museum entrance and the tour bus group
The castle has some views of the city.
Coin Story Byzantine Coin
6. Three of the towers, named the Treasure, Dungeon, and Cannon towers
The trip sure made this coin even more interesting.
After I returned to California, I had to have another coin of Justinian.
I always wanted a gold Solidus so I bought this one:
Byzantine Justinian Solidus
7. Justinian Gold Solidus Victory (Constantinople)
Gold, 21mm, 4.43gm
Helmeted and cuirassed bust facing three-quarters to right, holding spear over shoulder and shield
Victory standing facing, holding jeweled cross and cross on globe, star in right field
CONOB in exergue
Struck: AD 527-537 Constantinople mint
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