A.D. 518-527 Justin I Copper Follis


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Unable to find a suitable member of his own family to succeed him, the old emperor Anastasius prayed for guidance. It was revealed to him that the next emperor would be the first person who walked through his bedroom doors. The next morning it was the commander of the palace guard, Justin I, who entered first.

This 1,400-year-old copper follis features the new Byzantine emperor on the obverse with a large "M" on the reverse for 40 Nummi, the coin's value. Justin I began as an impoverished peasant and rose through the army to become commander of a top palace regiment. Respected and well liked by the men he commanded, he dealt firmly with uprisings and ended the religious rift with Rome, culminating in a visit from the pope. Unfortunately, Justin wasn't educated, and used a wooden stencil to sign official documents, but he made his brilliant nephew Justinian I his advisor. Add the coin of Justin I, the emperor who set his nephew on the path to become one of the greatest Byzantine rulers ever!