Heraclius & Heraclius Constantine 610-641AD Gold Solidus Very Fine

Heraclius & Heraclius Constantine 610-641AD Gold Solidus Very Fine

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  • A genuine gold coin from Byzantine ruler, Emperor Heraclius.
  • Struck by hand in Constantinople, approximately 1,400 years ago.
  • The obverse depicts the emperor with his co-emperor and successor, Heraclius Constantine.
  • In premium grade Very Fine, and very scarce in such lovely condition.
  • Tiny number available! Don’t miss this golden opportunity!

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Underpinned by better-than-usually-seen quality and rich history, we are delighted to give you the chance to secure a genuine gold coin from the pivotal reign of Byzantine ruler, Emperor Heraclius (610-641AD).

An official issue of the Byzantine Empire – the continuation of the Roman Empire in the east – this 7th century gold solidus depicts the Emperor Heraclius and his son, co-emperor and ultimate successor, Heraclius Constantine. Once described as ‘the greatest emperor you have never heard of’, Heraclius’ reign was crucial, and he is perhaps most famous for reclaiming the cross on which Christ died from the Ancient Persian Sasanid Empire and returning it to Jerusalem.

Genuine artefacts of his reign, struck in Constantinople approximately 1,400 years ago, these beautiful gold solidi have been graded Very Fine. Notable for the gorgeous golden hue and excellent detail, coins of Heraclius are undeniably scarce in such lovely condition.

With just a few examples available, you must not miss this golden opportunity – click add to cart now!

For more information on Emperor Heraclius, see below…

Heraclius – the greatest emperor you have never heard of…

Heraclius was born circa 575AD, and his father – ultimately known as Heraclius the Elder – was a leading general under the Byzantine ruler, Emperor Maurice Tiberius. Heraclius the Elder was appointed viceroy of the province of Africa circa 600AD, and in 608AD, some years after the violent overthrow of Maurice, he and his son rose in revolt against the usurper, Emperor Phocas.

Launching a two-pronged attack on the unpopular, brutish Byzantine ruler, with Heraclius marching on Constantinople and his cousin Nicetas invading Egypt, the rebels quickly gained the upper hand. With key figures deserting Phocas, Heraclius entered the city with little resistance. It is said that Heraclius challenged Phocas, asking “is this how you have ruled the empire, wretch?” Phocas’ spirited reply – “And you will rule better?!” – is said to have so enraged Heraclius that he beheaded the ousted emperor on the spot!

Having taken the throne, Heraclius attempted to end the ongoing war in the east with the Ancient Persian Sasanian Empire, but as the latter were enjoying a string of victories, the Byzantine’s ruler’s pleas were ignored. Thus it was that these two fierce, traditional rivals would engage in their last, and most devastating conflict – a conflict that would change the course of human history forever.

Initially, the Sasanians, under King Khusrau II, continued their early success in the war, and the Byzantines lost a substantial number of territories. A crucial, deeply symbolic victory, the Sasanians took Jerusalem in 614AD, and captured several holy relics, including the True Cross upon which Jesus Christ died. Many Byzantines saw this as divine displeasure, a view no doubt affirmed by the subsequent loss of Egypt and the Sasanians capture of Chalcedon – near the mouth of the Bosporus Strait, and within sight of Constantinople.

In despair, Heraclius again attempted to secure peace, but Khusrau refused, perhaps sensing an opportunity to end the Byzantine Empire once and for all. Heraclius knew the situation was desperate – as evidenced by a new type of silver coin issued at the time, bearing the inscription ‘May God help the Romans’.

In response, Heraclius completely reorganised the Byzantine Empire, putting it on a total war footing. Gold and silver was stripped from monuments and churches, taxes were increased, and new fines for corruption were levied in a bid to fund the war effort. In addition, the Byzantine clergy proclaimed it the duty of every Christian man to join the fight. Heraclius decided to lead from the front, and he and his troops left Constantinople in 622AD to launch a major counter-offensive against the Sasanians.

Although Heraclius and his men achieved some significant victories, the two giant empires would continue to trade blows for many years to come. One of the Persians’ final large-scale campaigns took place in 626AD, when Khusrau, knowing that a significant victory was needed to turn the tide, dispatched a combined force of Sasanians, Avars and Slavs to take Constantinople. The city was besieged for several weeks, but, despite constant bombardment, the Byzantines held out, and the attack failed.

After a final and decisive victory against the Persians at the Battle of Nineveh, Heraclius once again offered peace to Khusrau. The long-reigning Sasanian king may well have regretted his refusal of previous offers, given the Byzantine resurgence, but he was never given the opportunity to ponder Heraclius’ latest entreaty. Byzantine victories had led to chaos at home and, following a coup led by his son, Kavadh, Khusrau was arrested, starved in prison for five days, and then killed slowly, taking many non-lethal blows from arrows before being put out of his misery.

The new Sasanian king, Kavadh, immediately sought peace with the Byzantines, and Heraclius readily accepted. The emperor refused to enforce harsh terms upon his vanquished enemy, but the Byzantines did regain all lost territories, and, crucially, reclaimed the True Cross and other religious relics lost when the Sasanians took Jerusalem in 614AD, including the Holy Sponge. Heraclius returned to Constantinople in triumph, greeted by his people, with his son Heraclius Constantine – depicted with the emperor on the coin offered here – prostrating himself in joy.

For Heraclius, triumph over the Sasanians would burn his name into history as one of the truly great Roman military leaders. Indeed, it has been said that if Heraclius had died after defeating the Sasanians, after six years of virtually unbroken victories, and leading the Roman army where no Roman army had gone before, he would have been seen as the greatest Roman general since Julius Caesar. For better or for worse, however, there was one final chapter in the long reign of this underrated Byzantine ruler – the war against the rapidly emerging power of the Arabs, united under the banner of Islam.

The long-term consequences of the war between the Byzantine and Sasanian Empires were of the greatest significance, with both Ancient super-powers crippled. Following the death of Khusrau, the Sasanians suffered fatal internal political instability, and while the Byzantines battled on, decades of conflict meant that neither had the resources or the willpower to resist Arab incursions. In short order, the Sasanian Empire was destroyed, whilst the Byzantines lost key territories, unable to resist the ‘human tsunami’ emerging from the Arabian Peninsula. It was only due to reforms instigated by Heraclius that his successors were able to avoid the complete devastation.

Although the Byzantine Empire would exist in some form or other until 1453, and the Fall of Constantinople to the Ottomans, the consequences of this epic 7th century struggle between the Byzantines and the Sasanians – and Heraclius and Khusrau II – reverberate down to the current day.

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