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Research Coins: Feature Auction

Sale: CNG 61, Lot: 2184. Estimate $1000. 
Closing Date: Wednesday, 25 September 2002. 
Sold For $1200. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

LEO III (717-741) and POPE ST. GREGORY II (715-731). AR 1/8 Siliqua (0.26 gm). Struck circa 717-731. Crowned and bearded facing bust, wearing chlamys and holding cross cruciger in right hand; star in upper field left and right / G R E O around central cross. O’Hara/Vecchi 29; DOC III 92 (Leo III); MEC 1030 (Gregory III); SB 1534C (Gregory III). EF, very light encrustation. ($1000)

This type was previously attributed to Gregory, exarch of Africa who revolted against Constans II in 647, or to duke Gregory of Benevento (732-739). However its presence in the papal-Byzantine hoard confirms its present identification.

Gregory II was a strong and able pope who resisted the iconoclast edicts eminating from Constantinople and survived a number of attacks on his life instigated, some say, by agents of Leo III. When Liutprand, king of the Lombards (712-744), resumed a policy of expansion and unification, the papacy found itself completely isolated, appealing without success in 739 for help to the Frankish king Charles Martel, who was too busy defending his kingdom against the Moors. It took Pepin III (‘the Short”), the son of Charles Martel, to take the initiative and come to an understanding first with Pope Zacharias and later Pope Stephen II, who in 754 visited Gaul to request military help against the Lombards.