Nicephorus invaded Bulgaria

2019-07-23 Tue

Nicephorus I was a Byzantine Emperor from 802 until 811, when he was killed in the Battle of Pliska. Today on this in the year 811 he plunders the Bulgarian capital of Pliska and captures Khan Krum's treasury.

A patrician from Seleucia Sidera, Nicephorus became a high financial official under the empress Irene. When a revolution deposed Irene in 802, he was proclaimed emperor. In 807-809, Nicephorus I conducted campaigns against the Bulgars, who harassing Byzantium’s northern frontiers.

In 811 he invaded Bulgaria, rejecting the Bulgar khan Krum’s repeated offers for peace. The Bulgars, however, managed to trap the Byzantines in a mountain defile, where they killed Nicephorus together with most of his army. Through this, he becomes the first emperor to fall in battle against barbarians since Valens in AD 378.

Nicephorus improved the deplorable condition of the state by introducing a number of financial and political reforms. He issued coins in the denomination of Solidus, Follis, Semissis, and Tremissis. These coins were struck at Syracuse and Constantinople mints.

The above shown gold Solidus was issued under his reign from Constantinople mint. The obverse of a coin depicted the crowned facing bust of Nicephorus, chlamys pinned at the right shoulder, cross potent in the right hand, akakia in left. On the other hand, the reverse of a coin has crowned facing bust of Stauracius, chlamys pinned at the right shoulder, globus cruciger in the right hand, akakia in left.

Image Source: Heritage Auctions