Image:Histamenon nomisma-Alexius I-sb1776.jpg

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Alexius I Comnenus. 1081-1118. EL Histamenon Nomisma (4.48 gm, 6h). Thessalonica mint. Struck 1081-1082.

+KE RO ALEZ', IC XC across field, facing bust of Christ, nimbate, raising hand in benediction, holding Gospels
[DIMITI] to left, D EC PO TH T to right, Saint Demetrius, nimbate, standing right, presenting labarum to Alexius, wearing crown and loros, standing facing, each grasping labarum.

DOC IV 4; SB 1904.

According to DOC, this issue was the very brief first coinage of the Thessalonica mint, which Alexius opened as he passed through in September 1081 on his way to confront the invading Normans under Robert Guiscard. Hendy presumes this type was discontinued in 1082, when the significantly debased type with patriarchal cross replacing the labarum was introduced. However, since DOC IV was written numerous examples of this previously extremely rare type have come out of the Balkans, in fineness ranging from gold-colored electrum to nearly pure silver. Hendy notes an alternate chronology, with the labarum issue being struck during the entire span of the Norman incursion into Greece, through 1084, but dismisses this longer time span based on the sequence of types at Constantinople. Perhaps when the total number of extant specimens is tallied the militant labarum bearing type could be re-dated to the period of the Norman war, 1081-1084.

Coin from CNG coins, through Wildwinds.

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