Exhibitions/ Art Object

Follis of Phocas (Focas)

Made in Antioch
Diam: 7/8 in. (2.3 cm); wt: 9.85 g
Credit Line:
Byzantine Collection, Dumbarton Oaks, Washington, D.C. (BZC.1948.17.1948)
Not on view
The Byzantine Empire issued the gold solidus, or nomisma, used primarily for large transactions such as tax payments, and several denominations of copper coins, the money of daily business transactions. Mints in Antioch and Alexandria supplied the majority of the coinage circulated in the southern provinces. The newly established Arab government inherited an efficient monetary system and made few changes during its first decades. The earliest Islamic coins derive from Byzantine coinage, most frequently that of the early seventh century. The caliph ‘Abd al-Malik (r. 685–705) introduced several issues of distinctively Islamic coinage.
The Byzantine Empire produced large quantities of copper coins. In Greater Syria, the forty-nummus (M), known as a follis, was the most common.
Inscription: In Greek, on obverse: Our Lord Focas, Perpetual Augustus [garbled]; on reverse: 40; left and right: year 9; in exergue: Theopolis [=Antioch]