Seller: highrating_lowprice (20,797) 100%, Location: Rego Park, New York, Ships to: Worldwide, Item: 231002985548 Item: i32316 Authentic Ancient Coin of: Byzantine Emperor: JOHN II, Comnenus - Reigned: 15 August 1118 - 8 April 1143 Bronze Half Tetarteron 17mm (2.26 grams) Thessalonica mint: 1118-1143 A.D. Reference: Sear 1954 Christ standing facing on footstool, wearing nimbus crown, pallium and colobium, and holding book of Gospels in left hand. + IW ΔЄСΠΟΤ - Bust of John II facing wearing crown and jeweled chlamys, and holding labarum and globe cross. You are bidding on the exact item pictured, provided with a Certificate of Authenticity and Lifetime Guarantee of Authenticity. Labarum of Constantine I, displaying the "Chi-Rho" symbol above. The labarum was a vexillum (military standard) that displayed the "Chi-Rho" symbol ☧ , formed from the first two Greek letters of the word "Christ" — Chi and Rho . It was first used by the Roman emperor Constantine I . Since the vexillum consisted of a flag suspended from the crossbar of a cross, it was ideally suited to symbolize the crucifixion of Christ . Later usage has sometimes regarded the terms "labarum" and "Chi-Rho" as synonyms. Ancient sources, however, draw an unambiguous distinction between the two. Etymology Beyond its derivation from Latin labarum, the etymology of the word is unclear. Some derive it from Latin /labāre/ 'to totter, to waver' (in the sense of the "waving" of a flag in the breeze) or laureum [vexillum] ("laurel standard"). According to the Real Academia Española , the related lábaro is also derived from Latin labărum but offers no further derivation from within Latin, as does the Oxford English Dictionary. An origin as a loan into Latin from a Celtic language or Basque has also been postulated. There is a traditional Basque symbol called the lauburu ; though the name is only attested from the 19th century onwards the motif occurs in engravings dating as early as the 2nd century AD. Vision of Constantine A coin of Constantine (c.337) showing a depiction of his labarum spearing a serpent. On the evening of October 27, 312, with his army preparing for the Battle of the Milvian Bridge , the emperor Constantine I claimed to have had a vision which led him to believe he was fighting under the protection of the Christian God . Lactantius states that, in the night before the battle, Constantine was commanded in a dream to "delineate the heavenly sign on the shields of his soldiers". He obeyed and marked the shields with a sign "denoting Christ". Lactantius describes that sign as a "staurogram", or a Latin cross with its upper end rounded in a P-like fashion, rather than the better known Chi-Rho sign described by Eusebius of Caesarea . Thus, it had both the form of a cross and the monogram of Christ's name from the formed letters "X" and "P", the first letters of Christ's name in Greek. From Eusebius, two accounts of a battle survive. The first, shorter one in the Ecclesiastical History leaves no doubt that God helped Constantine but doesn't mention any vision. In his later Life of Constantine, Eusebius gives a detailed account of a vision and stresses that he had heard the story from the emperor himself. According to this version, Constantine with his army was marching somewhere (Eusebius doesn't specify the actual location of the event, but it clearly isn't in the camp at Rome) when he looked up to the sun and saw a cross of light above it, and with it the Greek words Ἐν Τούτῳ Νίκα . The traditionally employed Latin translation of the Greek is in hoc signo vinces — literally "In this sign, you will conquer." However, a direct translation from the original Greek text of Eusebius into English gives the phrase "By this, conquer!" At first he was unsure of the meaning of the apparition, but the following night he had a dream in which Christ explained to him that he should use the sign against his enemies. Eusebius then continues to describe the labarum, the military standard used by Constantine in his later wars against Licinius , showing the Chi-Rho sign. Those two accounts can hardly be reconciled with each other, though they have been merged in popular notion into Constantine seeing the Chi-Rho sign on the evening before the battle. Both authors agree that the sign was not readily understandable as denoting Christ, which corresponds with the fact that there is no certain evidence of the use of the letters chi and rho as a Christian sign before Constantine. Its first appearance is on a Constantinian silver coin from c. 317, which proves that Constantine did use the sign at that time, though not very prominently. He made extensive use of the Chi-Rho and the labarum only later in the conflict with Licinius. The vision has been interpreted in a solar context (e.g. as a solar halo phenomenon), which would have been reshaped to fit with the Christian beliefs of the later Constantine. An alternate explanation of the intersecting celestial symbol has been advanced by George Latura, which claims that Plato's visible god in Timaeus is in fact the intersection of the Milky Way and the Zodiacal Light, a rare apparition important to pagan beliefs that Christian bishops reinvented as a Christian symbol. Eusebius' description of the labarum "A Description of the Standard of the Cross, which the Romans now call the Labarum." "Now it was made in the following manner. A long spear, overlaid with gold, formed the figure of the cross by means of a transverse bar laid over it. On the top of the whole was fixed a wreath of gold and precious stones; and within this, the symbol of the Saviour’s name, two letters indicating the name of Christ by means of its initial characters, the letter P being intersected by X in its centre: and these letters the emperor was in the habit of wearing on his helmet at a later period. From the cross-bar of the spear was suspended a cloth, a royal piece, covered with a profuse embroidery of most brilliant precious stones; and which, being also richly interlaced with gold, presented an indescribable degree of beauty to the beholder. This banner was of a square form, and the upright staff, whose lower section was of great length, of the pious emperor and his children on its upper part, beneath the trophy of the cross, and immediately above the embroidered banner." "The emperor constantly made use of this sign of salvation as a safeguard against every adverse and hostile power, and commanded that others similar to it should be carried at the head of all his armies." Iconographic career under Constantine Coin of Vetranio , a soldier is holding two labara. Interestingly they differ from the labarum of Constantine in having the Chi-Rho depicted on the cloth rather than above it, and in having their staves decorated with phalerae as were earlier Roman military unit standards. The emperor Honorius holding a variant of the labarum - the Latin phrase on the cloth means "In the name of Christ [rendered by the Greek letters XPI] be ever victorious." Among a number of standards depicted on the Arch of Constantine , which was erected, largely with fragments from older monuments, just three years after the battle, the labarum does not appear. A grand opportunity for just the kind of political propaganda that the Arch otherwise was expressly built to present was missed. That is if Eusebius' oath-confirmed account of Constantine's sudden, vision-induced, conversion can be trusted. Many historians have argued that in the early years after the battle the emperor had not yet decided to give clear public support to Christianity, whether from a lack of personal faith or because of fear of religious friction. The arch's inscription does say that the Emperor had saved the res publica INSTINCTV DIVINITATIS MENTIS MAGNITVDINE ("by greatness of mind and by instinct [or impulse] of divinity"). As with his predecessors, sun symbolism – interpreted as representing Sol Invictus (the Unconquered Sun) or Helios , Apollo or Mithras – is inscribed on his coinage, but in 325 and thereafter the coinage ceases to be explicitly pagan, and Sol Invictus disappears. In his Historia Ecclesiae Eusebius further reports that, after his victorious entry into Rome, Constantine had a statue of himself erected, "holding the sign of the Savior [the cross] in his right hand." There are no other reports to confirm such a monument. Whether Constantine was the first Christian emperor supporting a peaceful transition to Christianity during his rule, or an undecided pagan believer until middle age, strongly influenced in his political-religious decisions by his Christian mother St. Helena , is still in dispute among historians. As for the labarum itself, there is little evidence for its use before 317. In the course of Constantine's second war against Licinius in 324, the latter developed a superstitious dread of Constantine's standard. During the attack of Constantine's troops at the Battle of Adrianople the guard of the labarum standard were directed to move it to any part of the field where his soldiers seemed to be faltering. The appearance of this talismanic object appeared to embolden Constantine's troops and dismay those of Licinius. At the final battle of the war, the Battle of Chrysopolis , Licinius, though prominently displaying the images of Rome's pagan pantheon on his own battle line, forbade his troops from actively attacking the labarum, or even looking at it directly. Constantine felt that both Licinius and Arius were agents of Satan, and associated them with the serpent described in the Book of Revelation (12:9). Constantine represented Licinius as a snake on his coins. Eusebius stated that in addition to the singular labarum of Constantine, other similar standards (labara) were issued to the Roman army. This is confirmed by the two labara depicted being held by a soldier on a coin of Vetranio (illustrated) dating from 350. Later usage Modern ecclesiastical labara (Southern Germany). The emperor Constantine Monomachos (centre panel of a Byzantine enamelled crown) holding a miniature labarum The Chi Rho is one of the earliest christograms used by Christians. It is formed by superimposing the first two letters in the Greek spelling of the word Christ ( Greek : "Χριστός" ), chi = ch and rho = r, in such a way to produce the monogram ☧. The Chi-Rho symbol was also used by pagan Greek scribes to mark, in the margin, a particularly valuable or relevant passage; the combined letters Chi and Rho standing for chrēston, meaning "good." Although not technically a cross, the Chi Rho invokes the crucifixion of Jesus as well as symbolizing his status as the Christ. There is early evidence of the Chi Rho symbol on Christian Rings of the third century. The labarum (Greek: λάβαρον) was a vexillum (military standard) that displayed the "Chi-Rho" symbol, formed from the first two Greek letters of the word "Christ" (Greek: ΧΡΙΣΤΟΣ, or Χριστός) — Chi (χ) and Rho (ρ). It was first used by the Roman emperor Constantine I . Since the vexillum consisted of a flag suspended from the crossbar of a cross, it was ideally suited to symbolize crucifixion . The Chi-Rho symbol was also used by Greek scribes to mark, in the margin, a particularly valuable or relevant passage; the combined letters Chi and Rho standing for chrēston, meaning "good." John II Komnenos (or Comnenus) (Greek: Ίωάννης Β΄ Κομνηνός, Iōannēs II Komnēnos) (September 13, 1087 – April 8, 1143) was Byzantine emperor from 1118 to 1143. Also known as Kaloïōannēs ("John the Beautiful"), he was the eldest son of emperor Alexios I Komnenos and Irene Doukaina . The second emperor of the Komnenian restoration of the Byzantine Empire, John was a pious and dedicated emperor who was determined to undo the damage his empire had suffered at the battle of Manzikert , half a century earlier. In the course of his twenty-five year reign, John made alliances with the Holy Roman Empire in the west, decisively defeated the Pechenegs in the Balkans , and personally led numerous campaigns against the Turks in Asia Minor . John's campaigns fundamentally changed the balance of power in the east, forcing the Turks onto the defensive and restoring to the Byzantines many towns, fortresses and cities right across the peninsula. In the southeast, John extended Byzantine control from the Maeander in the west all the way to Cilicia and Tarsus in the east. In an effort to demonstrate the Byzantine emperor's role as the leader of the Christian world, John marched into the Holy Land at the head of the combined forces of Byzantium and the Crusader states; yet despite the great vigour with which he pressed the campaign, John's hopes were disappointed by the treachery of his Crusader allies, who deliberately failed to fight against the Muslim enemy at the crucial moment. Also under John, the empire's population recovered to about 10 million people. The Latin historian William of Tyre described John as short and unusually ugly, with eyes, hair and complexion so dark he was known as 'the Moor '. Yet despite his physical appearance, John was known as Kaloïōannēs, "John the Handsome" or "John the Beautiful". The epithet referred not to his body but to his soul. Both his parents had been unusually pious and John surpassed them. Members of his court were expected to restrict their conversation to serious subjects only. The food served at the emperor's table was very frugal and John lectured courtiers who lived in excessive luxury. Despite his austerity, John was loved. His principles were sincerely held and his integrity great. John was famed for his piety and his remarkably mild and just reign. He is an exceptional example of a moral ruler, at a time when cruelty was the norm. He never condemned anyone to death or mutilation. Charity was dispensed lavishly. For this reason, he has been called the Byzantine Marcus Aurelius . By the personal purity and piety of his character he effected a notable improvement in the manners of his age. Gifted with great self control and personal courage, John was an excellent strategist and an expert imperator in the field, and through his many campaigns he devoted himself to the preservation of his empire. // Succession He succeeded his father in 1118, but had already been proclaimed co-emperor by Alexios I on September 1, 1092. Niketas Choniates alone tells of the actions by which John II secured his own succession. Alexios I had favoured John to succeed him over his wife Irene's favourite, the Caesar Nikephoros Bryennios , who was married to their daughter Anna Komnena . Alexios resorted to dissimulation in order to avert Irene's criticism of his choice and her demands that Nikephoros should succeed. As Alexios lay on his deathbed in the monastery of the Mangana on 15 August 1118, John, consorting with relatives whom he could trust, among whom was his brother, the sebastokratōr Isaac Komnenos , stole into the monastery and removed the imperial signet ring from his dying father. Then, taking up arms, he rode to the Great Palace, gathering the support of the citizenry who acclaimed him emperor. Irene was taken by surprise and was unable either to persuade her son to desist, or to induce Nikephoros to act against him. Although the palace guard at first refused to admit John without proof of his father's wishes, the mob surrounding the new emperor simply forced entry. Alexios died the following night. John refused to join the funeral procession, in spite of his mother's urging, because his hold on power was so tenuous. However, in the space of a few days, his position was secure. In 1119, John II uncovered a conspiracy to overthrow him which implicated his mother and sister, who were duly relegated to monasteries. To safeguard his own succession, John crowned his own young son Alexios co-emperor in 1122. John's government These political intrigues probably contributed to John's style of rule, which was to appoint men from outside the imperial family to help him govern the empire. John's closest adviser was his closest friend, John Axuch , a Turk who had been given as a gift to John's father. Alexios had thought him a good companion for John, and so he had been brought up alongside John, who immediately appointed him as Grand Domestic upon his accession. The Grand Domestic was the commander in chief of the Byzantine armies. This was an extraordinary move, and a departure from the nepotism that had characterised the reign of his father Alexios. The imperial family harboured some degree of resentment at this decision, which was reinforced by the fact that they were required to make obeisance to John Axouch whenever they met him. Yet the emperor had complete confidence in his appointees, many of whom had been chosen on merit rather than their relation to him by blood. John's unwillingness to allow his family to interfere too much in his government was to remain constant for the rest of his reign. Reign Conflict with Venice After his accession, John II had refused to confirm his father's 1082 treaty with the Republic of Venice , which had given the Italian republic unique and generous trading rights within the Byzantine Empire. Yet the change in policy was not motivated by financial concerns. An incident involving the abuse of a member of the imperial family by Venetians led to a dangerous conflict, especially as Byzantium had depended on Venice for its naval strength. After a Byzantine retaliatory attack on Kerkyra , John exiled the Venetian merchants from Constantinople. But this produced further retaliation, and a Venetian fleet of 72 ships plundered Rhodes , Chios , Samos , Lesbos , Andros and captured Kefalonia in the Ionian Sea . Eventually John was forced to come to terms; the war was costing him more than it was worth, and he was not prepared to transfer funds from the imperial land forces to the navy for the construction of new ships. John re-confirmed the treaty of 1082. Nevertheless, this embarrassment was not entirely forgotten, and it seems likely that it played a part in inspiring John's successor (Manuel I Komnenos) to re-establish a powerful Byzantine fleet some years later. Successes against the Pechenegs and Hungarians In 1119–1121 John defeated the Seljuk Turks , establishing his control over southwestern Anatolia . However, immediately afterwards, in 1122, John quickly transferred his troops to Europe to fight off a Pecheneg invasion into Moesia . These invaders had been auxiliaries of the Prince of Kiev . John surrounded the Pechenegs as they burst into Thrace , tricked them into believing that he would grant them a favourable treaty, and then launched a devastating surprise attack upon their larger camp. The ensuing Battle of Beroia was hard fought, but by the end of the day John's army had won a crushing victory. This put an end to Pecheneg incursions into Byzantine territory, and many of the captives were settled as foederati within the Byzantine frontier. John then launched a punitive raid against the Serbs , many of whom were rounded up and transported to Nicomedia in Asia Minor to serve as military colonists. This was done partly to cow the Serbs into submission (Serbia was, at least nominally, a Byzantine protectorate), and partly to strengthen the Byzantine frontier in the east against the Turks. However, John's marriage to the Hungarian princess Piroska involved him in the dynastic struggles of the Kingdom of Hungary . Giving asylum to a blinded claimant to the Hungarian throne (called Álmos), John aroused the suspicion of the Hungarians, and was faced with an invasion in 1128. The Hungarians attacked Belgrade , Braničevo , Nish , Sofia , and penetrated south as far as the outskirts of Philippopolis . After a challenging campaign lasting two years, the emperor managed to defeat the Hungarians and their Serbian allies at the fortress of Haram which is located in Nova Palanka , and peace was restored. Campaigns against the Turks John was then able to concentrate on Asia Minor, which became the focus of his attention for most of his remaining years. The Turks were pressing forward against the Byzantine frontier in western Asia Minor, and John was determined to drive them back. In 1119, the Seljuks had cut off Antalya from the empire, John II led an army to capture Laodicea and Sozopolis , therefore reestablishing the land links to the city. He undertook a campaign against the Danishmendid emirate in Malatya on the upper Euphrates from 1130 to 1135. Thanks to John's energetic campaigning, Turkish attempts at expansion in Asia Minor were halted, and John prepared to take the fight to the enemy. In order to restore the region to Byzantine control, John led a series of well planned and executed campaigns against the Turks, one of which resulted in the reconquest of the ancestral home of the Komneni at Kastamonu , then he left a garrison of 2,000 men at Gangra . John quickly earned a formidable reputation as a wall-breaker, taking stronghold after stronghold from his enemies. Regions which had been lost to the empire ever since the Battle of Manzikert were recovered and garrisoned. Yet resistance, particularly from the Danishmends of the north-east, was strong, and the difficult nature of holding down the new conquests is illustrated by the fact that Kastamonu was recaptured by the Turks even as John was in Constantinople celebrating its return to Byzantine rule. John persevered, however, and Kastamonu soon changed hands once more. John advanced into north eastern Anatolia, provoking the Turks to attack his army. Yet once again John's forces were able to maintain their cohesion, and the Turkish attempt to inflict a second Manzikert on the emperor's army backfired when the Sultan, discredited by his failure to defeat John, was murdered by his own people. In 1139, the Emperor marched one final time against the Danishmend Turks , his army marched along the southern coast of the Black Sea through Bithynia , and Paphlagonia . Turning south at Trebizond , he besieged but failed to take the city of Neocaesarea . Campaigns in the Holy Land The emperor then directed his attention to the Levant, where he sought to re-inforce Byzantium's suzerainty over the Crusader States . In 1137 he conquered Tarsus , Adana , and Mopsuestia from the Principality of Armenian Cilicia , and in 1138 Prince Levon I of Armenia and most of his family were brought as captives to Constantinople. This opened the route to the Principality of Antioch , where Prince Raymond of Poitiers recognized himself the emperor's vassal in 1137, and John arrived there in triumph in 1138. There followed a joint campaign as John led the armies of Byzantium, Antioch and Edessa against Muslim Syria. Although John fought hard for the Christian cause in the campaign in Syria, his allies Prince Raymond of Antioch and Count Joscelin II of Edessa sat around playing dice instead of helping John to press the siege of Shaizar . These Crusader Princes were suspicious of each other and of John, and neither wanted the other to gain from participating in the campaign, while Raymond also wanted to hold on to Antioch, which he had agreed to hand over to John if the campaign was successful in capturing Aleppo , Shaizar , Homs, and Hama . While the emperor was distracted by his attempts to secure a German alliance against the Normans of Sicily , Joscelin and Raymond conspired to delay the promised handover of Antioch's citadel to the emperor. Premature death John planned a new expedition to the East, including a pilgrimage to Jerusalem on which he planned to take his army with him. King Fulk of Jerusalem , fearing an invasion, begged the emperor to only bring an army of 10,000 men with him. This resulted in John II deciding not to go. However, on Mount Taurus in Cilicia , on April 8, 1143, he was accidentally infected by a poisoned arrow while out hunting. The poison set in, and shortly afterwards he died. John's final action as emperor was to choose his youngest son Manuel Komnenos to be his successor. John cited two main reasons for choosing Manuel over his older surviving son Isaac Komnenos: these were Isaac's irascibility, and the courage that Manuel had shown on campaign at Neocaesareia . Another theory alleges that the reason for this choice was the AIMA prophecy which foretold that John's successor should be one whose name began with an "M". John's eldest son, the co-emperor Alexios , had died in the summer of 1142. John's achievement Historian J. Birkenmeier has recently argued that John's reign was the most successful of the Komnenian period. In The development of the Komnenian army 1081–1180, he stresses the wisdom of John's approach to warfare, which focused on siege warfare rather than risky pitched battles. Birkenmeier argues that John's strategy of launching annual campaigns with limited, realistic objectives was a more sensible one than that followed by his son Manuel I . According to this view, John's campaigns benefited the Byzantine Empire because they protected the empire's heartland from attack while gradually extending its territory in Asia Minor. The Turks were forced onto the defensive, while John kept his diplomatic situation relatively simple by allying with the Holy Roman Emperor against the Normans of Sicily. Overall, what is clear is that John II Komnenos left the empire a great deal better off than he had found it. Substantial territories had been recovered, and his successes against the invading Pechenegs, Serbians and Seljuk Turks, along with his attempts to establish Byzantine suzerainty over the Crusader States in Antioch and Edessa , did much to restore the reputation of his empire. His careful, methodical approach to warfare had protected the empire from the risk of sudden defeats, while his determination and skill had allowed him to rack up a long list of successful sieges and assaults against enemy strongholds. By the time of his death he had earned near universal respect, even from the Crusaders, for his courage, dedication and piety. His early death meant his work went unfinished — his last campaign might well have resulted in real gains for Byzantium and the Christian cause. Frequently Asked Questions How long until my order is shipped?: Depending on the volume of sales, it may take up to 5 business days for shipment of your order after the receipt of payment. How will I know when the order was shipped?: After your order has shipped, you will be left positive feedback, and that date should be used as a basis of estimating an arrival date. After you shipped the order, how long will the mail take? USPS First Class mail takes about 3-5 business days to arrive in the U.S., international shipping times cannot be estimated as they vary from country to country. I am not responsible for any USPS delivery delays, especially for an international package. 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