Hyperpyron of Andronikos I

A hyperpyron (also known as a trachea) from the reign of Andronikos I. Andronikos was the last emperor of the Komnenoi dynasty. He devoted himself with great zeal to rationalizing the imperial administration, but his inability to protect the state from its enemies led to him suffering a horrific death at the hands of his own subjects. The obverse of the gold coin depicts the Virgin Mary seated on a throne with a high back holding a medallion with a bust of Christ Emmanuel. The reverse is occupied by the figure of Christ (right) crowning the Emperor Andronikos (left). The latter, wearing imperial raiments with a loros, is holding a sceptre in his right hand which ends in a banner, and a globus cruciger in his left. Following the continuous devaluation of Byzantine coinage during the 11th century, the emperor Alexios I Komnenos restored the purity of the gold in the coins with his monetary reform of 1091; henceforth, the coins would be known as hyperpyra, though, in view of their uneven shape, they were also called “trachea”, meaning “rough”.

Skampavias K. 2007. Catalogue no. 31, in Skampavias K.—Chatzidakis N. (eds), Paul and Alexandra Canellopoulos Museum.Byzantine and Post-Byzantine Art, Athens, 46.