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Constantine XI Palaeologos; 1448-1453 AD
CORONATION issue Stavraton or Half Hyperpyron
Constantine XI Palaeologos had ruled the Despotate of Morea (Peloponnesos’ name during the middle ages) in Mistra for some 20 years. After the death of his brother John VIII in 1448 he was brought to Constantinople. With little recourse his only task was to repair the walls and defend the empire against the Sultan Mehmet II. Mehmet offered Constantine to surrender the city in exchange for him to return to Mistra. Taking example of previous Hellenic royalty (like Justinian’s Theodora and Sparta’s Loeonidas) he refused determining that he either would defend the city or perish while doing so. After Mehmet’s army enter the city, likely from the Kerkoporta in the north (see map in the description), Constantinople fell to the Turkish onslaught Tuesday May 29th 1453. With Constantine XI’s death the Byzantine Empire ceased to exist. This example is from the emperor’s coronation. There is a similar second variety know as the siege issue that was probably struck from silver desperately taken from churches before the fall of the city. Obverse the bust of Christ Pantocrator, with cross nimbus, wearing himation over chiton gesturing benediction holding Gospels IC XC. Reverse Bust of crowned Constantine, nimbate, pendilia and collar of three tippets + KωNCTANTIN O ΔЄCΠOTHC O ΠAΛЄOΛOΓ ΘV XAPITI BACIΛЄVC POMЄON.
Mint: Constantinople
Provenance: Private acquisition

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