Coins with the depiction of cross on altar. Stephanos I – first emission
Type: Coins with the depiction of cross on altar. Stephanos I – first emission

Description, picture:
Silver. Weight – 2,9 gr.


Obverse: Ohrmazd IV to the right. Legend in Pehlevi: hrm – aphzu (Ohrmazd Augustus). This is placed within onefold circle of the dots. Four Georgian letters (Asomtavruli) on the edge of the coin – ႱႴႬႱ (=Stephanos), with four crescents on the sides.

Cross on altar protected by two guardians. Date and name of the mint are unreadable, all placed within twofold circle of the dots.  

Scholarly commentary:
    Drachms, struck according to the Sassanian monetary type, with Georgian inscriptions and the depiction of cross, were already known in the 19th century. There is a special term for these coins in the scholarly literature: Georgian-Sassanian coins, or the drachms of Kartli’s (East and South Georgia) erismtavaris (princes). This is an important numismatic group for the studies of the history of Early Feudalism in Georgia. For undestanding the genesis of this coin group, it is important to analyze the then existing political situation.
    Through the “Eternal Peace”, signed in 532, Byzantium acknowledged Iranian right upon East Georgia. The kingship in Kartli was abolished. In the course of the 6th century there was a constant struggle for the independence of Kartli. This was well reflected on the Georgian-Sassanian coins. As was already mentioned, in this period the coins in Kartli were struck according to the Sassanian type. On the obverse there is always depicted a bust of an Iranian shah, whereas on the reverse – the emblem of Sassanian fire-worshippers, holy fire – ātar – protected by two armed guardians. To this standard depiction, rebellious Georgians added above the shah’s shoulder cross which served as a symbol of Christianity and of Georgian nationalism. This was an act of great importance. Sometimes, above ruler’s depiction on the edge of the coins we encounter Georgian letters or monograms giving information about the names of Georgian erismtavaris. Moreover, the Georgians replaced the fire on the altar with cross, symbol of Christianity, and thereby got rid of the Iranian emblem. Erismtavari Stephanos placed fully his name in the centre of the coin, next to ruler’s depiction. Here are described the details (both beginning and the end) of the struggle between the Georgians and the Iranians.
    Before starting the description of the numismatic material, it is important to note the works of previous scholars, in particular,  I. Bartholomei, concerning the studies of Georgian-Sassanian drachms. He was the first scholar to note that Georgian-Sassanian coins are the imitations of Ohrmazd IV’s (579-590) drachms. Thereby, he created a solid base for defining the date of these coins.
    The coins struck in the name of Stephanos are divided into two emissions.
    The unique coin of the Berlin Museum belongs to the first emission. However, the exact place of finding of the coin is unknown.
    There has never been any doubt in the above-given coin’s attribution: it was unanimously attributed to the Kartli’s erismtavari Stephanos I (600-619 according to Vakhushti’s chronology).
    Evg. Pakhomov too attributed this unique coin to Stephanos I (however, differing from Bartholomei, he thought that the coins with full Georgian inscription were struck by Stephanos II) and regarded the following characteristics very peculiar to it: 1. Pehlevi inscription next to the shah’s bust (his conclusion: the depiction on the coin is that of the shah, and not of the Kartli’s erismtavari); 2. the name of erismtavari is placed not in the central part, but on the edge (according to Pakhomov, this fact tells that the coin was struck not by an independent ruler, but by shah’s vassal); 3. onefold circle is depicted on the obverse; 4. on the reverse – twofold circle; 5. distorted Pehlevi legends are placed on the reverse.
    Considering these characteristics, Pakhomov compared the coin to Ohrmazd IV’s and Khosrau II’s (590/1-628) original drachms, thereby trying to establish a chronological frame for Stephanos’ coin.  
    According to Pakhomov, the Georgian master took as a prototype Ohrmazd IV’s drachm. This is substantiated by the inscription, the king’s bust, and onefold circle on the obverse of the coin. However, twofold circle on the reverse of the coin is borrowed from Khusrau II’s coins (Ohrmazd IV struck coin with onefold circle). Still, there is a counter-argument: on the drachms of Khusrau II there is depicted not twofold but threefold circle. Nevertheless, we cannot attach much importance to this fact. A master who struck the coins could have easily mistaken the number of the circles.
    Thus, concludes Pakhomov, the emission of the unique coin from the Berlin Museum could have taken place only when: 1. Kartli was Iran’s vassal country; 2. within the Georgian monetary circulation there were mainly Ohrmazd IV’s coins, whereas Khusrau II’s coins were just entering into circulation (to the latter supposition attests an additional circle on the coin’s reverse).
    This is Pakhomov’s opinion.
    In his conception, there are several important observations, which should be accepted. One of these observations is about defining the prototype of the additional circle on the reverse of the unique coin from the Berlin Museum.
    To establish the chronology for the I emission struck in the name of Stephanos, first, it is important to compare Ohrmazd IV’s and Khusrau II’s coins, struck in the first two years of his reign. They are undoubtedly identical. The difference is in the number of circles: the depictions of Ohrmazd IV’s coins both on the obverse and the reverse are placed within a circle, whereas on the obverse of Khusrau II’s coin there is a twofold circle, on the reverse – a threefold one.
    Now we will compare the above-described coins to Stephanos’ drachm with an incomplete Georgian inscription. According to the type of the crown, it is completely analogous with Ohrmazd IV’s and Khusrau II’s coins. Also, through the circle depicted on the obverse, Stephanos’ coin imitates Ohrmazd IV’s coin type, whereas on the reverse there is a novelty: a twofold circle. We agree with Pakhomov’s proposition, according to which, the emission of these coins should have taken place at the time when in Kartli there were Ohrmazd IV’s coins, and Khusrau II’s drachms were only entering into circulation. This explains where a master could have taken an additional circle from. Thus, these coins should have been struck after Ohrmazd IV, but in the first years of Khusrau II’s reign. If we take into account the fact that each new type of original Sassanian coins needed a certain period of time to reach Georgia and enter into circulation, the timing for the emission of this coin is probably around 593, and not later than 595.
    The above-given numismatic excursus makes it necessary to review Vakhushti’s chronology (according to which Stephanos I was Kartli’s erismtavari in 600-619).
    Stephanos’ 11 pieces of the second emission (Obv. Shah/ruler to the right. Instead of Pehlevi, Georgian inscription (Asomtavruli) – ႱႲႤႴ/ႠႬႭႱ (Stephanos) to the left and the right. Twofold circle around it. Rev. Cross on altar, protected by two guardians. No Pehlevi inscription. Threefold circle around it) are held in several museums across the world (Simon Janashia Museum of Georgia – 3, Berlin Museum – 4, Hermitage – 2, Moscow State Historical Museum – 1, British Musem – 1). In addition, there are 10 coins mentioned in the scholarly literature. Some of them are the pieces from the above museums’ collections. All the coins are without information about exact place of finding. Also, during the archaeological excavations led by R. Ramishvili, one more coin was found in the place Nedzikhi, Aragvi gorge.
    As was already said, there was no doubt about the attribution of the unique coin from the Berlin Museum, however, quite opposite happened after Stephanos’ drachms with full Georgian inscription had been published. Some scholars attributed them to Stephanos I, others – to Stephanos II (639-663).
    What is our opinion regarding the coins struck in the name of Stephanos? We attribute both emissions to Stephanos I and date them by 593/595-600 (?). The arguments about the I emission are given above. As to Stephanos’ money with full Georgian inscriptions – had they been struck by Stephanos II, there would have been placed the same crown as on Khusrau II’s coins after the first two years of his reign. Indeed, during his reign Khusrau II mainly issued two types of coins. The first coin type, dated by the first two years of his reign, by the depiction of shah and his crown (also by other features), is absolutely identical with Ohrmazd IV’s drachms. The only novelty Khusrau II introduced into his early coins was a twofold circle on the obverse, and a threefold circle on the reverse. Stephanos’ coins with full Georgian inscription are the imitations of the above drachms. In following years, Khusrau II completely changed his coin type. For example, crown and bearded bust of the shah diametrically differed from the depiction on Khusrau II’s earlier drachms. If the emission with full Georgian inscription indeed belonged to Stephanos II, most probably he would have taken as a prototype for his coins not the drachms struck nearly 50 years ago, but Khusrau II’s coins issued in the 20s of the 7th c.
    The coins struck in the name of Stephanos are of the latest period among the Georgian-Sassanian drachms. Among them, the first, probably, are Gurgen’s coins. There are six coins (3 – Berlin Museum, 1 – Hermitage, 2 – Simon Janashia Museum of Georgia) known in the scholarly literature and struck in the name of Gurgen. The drachms struck in the name of Gurgen are the imitations of Ohrmazd IV’s coins. The only difference is the two Georgian Asomtavruli letters (or monogram) on the obverse, above the shah’s depiction: ႢႬ (or their ligature), i.e. Gurgen. On the reverse there is a distorted date which looks like a figure 7 (i.e. the seventh year of Ohrmazd IV’s reign, 579+7= 586). Nevertheless, it does not mean that Gurgen’s coin was struck exactly in the 7th year of Ohrmazd IV’s reign (it means that the drachm of Kartli’s erismtavari was struck according to the coin dated by the 7th year of Ohrmazd IV’ reign). However, it clearly shows that issue of the coins could not have taken place earlier than 586.
    To Gurgen should also belong other rare coins (Berlin Museum – 1, Simon Janashia Museum of Georgia – 1) with Georgian monogram, which can be divided into two or three Asomtavruli figures: ႢႬ and ႥႬႢ. In the first case the monogram is deciphered as Gurgen, in the second – as Vakhtang. Since later Georgian coins, namely, Vakhtang III’s drachms, dated by  1298/99, 1299/1300, have similar (but not the same) monogram, Pakhomov suggested that on the above-given coins there is Vakhtang’s name.
    Having closely compared palaeographically this monogram with the inscription on the money struck in the name of Gurgen, it is clear, these are undoubtedly identical through their graphics and content. On the coin in question Ⴂ and Ⴌ are simply linked to each other. If not this, it would be difficult to place another unknown erismtavari – Vakhtang (below we will see that, according to numismatic material, between Gurgen and Stephanos there is unknown, according to the written sources, erismtavari Juansher) between Gurgen and Stephanos.
Who is the above Gurgen?
    In the Georgian historiography Gurgen is identified with Guaram mentioned in the Georgian written sources. According to Vakhushti (18th c. Georgian historian), he ruled the country in 575-600.
The Georgian written sources belong to the later period, and in the parallel foreign written sources there is mentioned not Guaram, but – Gurgen.
    Most probably, it is only Gurgen who is a real historical figure.
In our opinion, Gurgen should have struck his coins at the end of 589-the spring of 590, when there was a commotion in Iran.
    To this period should also belong a unique coin struck in the name of Kartli’s erismtavari Jonber, or Juansher, who is otherwise unknown. The above coin is identical to Gurgen’s money, except for one detail: the letters above the depiction of the shah are replaced with two Asomtavruli figures: ႿႭ.
    There are several versions of deciphering ႿႭ (“Javakheti” – name of the province, “jvaro” – cross in Georgian). However, we think, the letters should be identified with Jonber-Juansher.
    Thus, Jonber//Juansher is an unknown erismtavari according to the written sources, who entered the historical stage for a short period of time (one year or several months, which attests to the coin’s uniqueness).
The distorted date (and other details) on Jonber//Juansher’s coin attests that this coin is an imitation of Gurgen’s drachm and not of the original Sassanian coin. The emission should be dated by 590-591.
    Khusrau II in either 590 or 591 with the help of the Emperor Maurice marched against a “tyrant” Bahrām Chōbīn and returned the throne in the beginning of 591.
    In spring of 591 a treaty was ratified between Byzantium and Iran. Khusrau II had to concede on many issues to the Byzantines’ benefit. Thus, Khusrau II gave up hegemony over the large part of Armenia and Kartli too. Apart from that, Khusrau II allowed the Christians on the territory of Iran to build the churches. Moreover, Christianity during Khusrau II’s reign acquired so many privileges that it even challenged Zoroastrianism within Iran itself.
    The peace between the empires lasted for ten years.
    In 591-593 should have been struck two types of anonymous series of Georgian-Sassanian coins: first – coins with the depiction of cross on the obverse; second – coins with the depiction of cross on altar.
    There are five coins per type which are existent (held in the Simon Janashia Museum of Georgia, and the Hermitage, 4+3; 1+2, respectively). One more coin with the depiction of cross on altar was discovered in a large hoard during the archaeological excavations on the territory of the ancient Babylon in 1900.
    The placing of cross on the Sassanian type coins was a revolutionary act, and, most probably, meant more than just putting Georgian letters next to the shah’s depiction (?). By this action Kartli overtly announced its national interests. Moreover, Kartli’s radical erismtavari got rid of the holy fire – emblem of Zoroastrianism – on the coin and demostratively replaced it with a Christian emblem –cross. This could have happened only after Kartli was put into the sphere of Byzantine hegemony, i.e. in 591 and afterwards.
    If we remember the composition of the reverse of Stephanos’ coin – cross on altar depicted in the same way as on one of the types of the anonymous drachms – then a question arises about the attribution of the anonymous coins with cross to Stephanos. In any case, anonymous coins with the depiction of cross on altar only could have been struck by Stephanos (?). This is attested by the common type of the reverses of the coins (cross on altar).
    Probably, the following happened: Stephanos, in the first phase of the changement of the political conjuncture, just tried to test the overall situation. On his coin, together with the shah’s depiction, he placed small cross. This, most probably, should have happened in the first phase of the peace agreement between Iran and Byzantium. Then he should have struck anonymous coins with the depiction of cross on altar, and the drachms with the Georgian legend.
    It is noteworthy that G. Chubinashvili, while studying the most acute problems of the Georgian art, took the year 590 as a starting date of Stephanos’ reign. This seems to be true. It might not have happened in 590, but in 591 (also worth noting is that, according to V. Jobadze, the reign of Stephanos should be placed between 591-601), but, we think, at this stage it does not have any critical importance.
    The alternative variant for the coin group’s classification is as follows: 1. personification of ruler and cross; 2. cross on both sides; 3. cross on altar; 4. Gurgen’s name in ligature; 5. the same but in abbreviation – ႢႬ; 6. emission with Asomtavruli letters – ႿႭ (=Juansher); 7. the hybrid of Ohrmazd IV’s and Khusrau II’s earlier coins. Cross on altar and legend – ႱႴႬႱ (=Stephanos); 8. local realization of Khusrau Parvēz’s earlier drachms. Cross on altar and legend – ႱႲႤႴ/ႠႬႭႱ. The possible terminus post quem non for this group is 586. The upper limit is much more defined – 592.
    G. Chubinashvili found out that the construction of the Jvari Monastery near Mtskheta began in the 90s of the 6th century. According to all the features, issue of the coins with the depiction of cross, and the construction of the Jvari Monastery are synchronous. By its political significance (we do not discuss other aspects) these two events (construction of the monastery and issue of the coin) have the same importance. Both of them are imbued with the same political and ideological functions: overt proclamation of the end of Zoroastrianism in Kartli, and of the apotheosis of the Christian religion.
Mint: Unknown.
Nominal: Drachm (2,9gr.).
Date: 593-595 or 591(?).
Collection: Berlin Museum – 1 (place of finding is unknown).
G. Dundua. Problem of the So-Called Georgian-Sassanian Coins and the Issues of Early Feudal Georgian History. Matsne. Series of History, Archaeology, Ethnography and Art History. №№ 1, 3. Tb. 1976 (in Georg.); Money in Georgia (Georg. and Engl. Parallel texts). Tb. 2003 (2nd Edition) (T. Dundua, N. Javakhishvili and A. Eristavi as co-authors); Georgian Numismatics. I. Tb. 2006 (T. Dundua as co-author) (in Georg.).

D. Kapanadze. Georgian Numismatics. Tb. 1969 (in Georg.).

М. П. Баратаев. Нумизматические факты Грузинского царства. СПб. 1844.

Д. Г. Капанадзе. Грузинская нумизматика. М. 1955.

Е. А. Пахомов. Монеты Грузии.Ч. I. СПб. 1910.

D. M. Lang. Notes on Caucasian Numismatics. The Numismatic Chronicle (N.C.). Vol. XVII. 1957. London.

V. Langlois. Essai de classification des suites monétaires de la Géorgie depuis l`Antiquité jusqu`à nos jours. Paris. 1860.

Imported coins found in Georgia:

Money circulation in East Georgia (5th c.-first half of the 7th c.)

5th c. Byzantine coins:
1. Emperor Theodosius II’s (408-450) solidi were found in different times and circumstances in the following sites of East Georgia: Telavi, Tetritskaro district, Mtskheta, Tsinandali, Urbnisi – one coin per place. His copper coin was found in Dmanisi; 2. solidus of  Emperor Marcian’s (450-457) wife Pulcheria was found in Dmanisi district; 3. Leo I’s (457-474) solidi were unearthed in Bolnisi district – 2, Khidistavi (Gori district) – 1, Akhalgori district – 1; also, three imitations of his silver coins were found during the archaeological excavations in Mtskheta.
The analysis of the topography of the spread of the Sassanian coins made Ir. Jalaghania pinpoint several local districts in East Georgia where the Iranian drachms played an especially important role. The districts are as follows: Ertso-Tianeti, Mtskheta, Urbnisi, Kvemo Kartli, and Hereti.

The following Sassanian coins were found in Ertso-Tianeti:
1. In 1923 in Tolenji (Tianeti district) a hoard (71 pieces) was found, consisting of the following coins: 1. Peroz I (459-484) – 2; 2. Balash (484-488) – 2; 3. Kavadh I (488-496 and 498-531) – 60; 4. Djamasp (496-498) – 1; 5. Khusrau I (531-579) – 6. The chronological frame for the hoard is 459-541. The date for its burying – mid-6th c.
2. In 1924 in Simoniantkhevi village (Tianeti district) a hoard was found which was subsequently lost except for 14 coins. They are as follows: 1. Peroz I – 1; 2. Kavadh I – 11; 3. Khusrau I –2. The chronological frame for the hoard is 459-536. The date for this hoard’s burying is the mid-6th c.
3. In Gulelebi (Tianeti district) was found Peroz I’s one drachm.
4. In 1968 in Maghraneti (Tianeti district) a mixed hoard was found consisting of 19 coins, out of which 12 are the Sassanian drachms and the rest – Byzantine hexagrams (silver coins). The Sassanian coins are divided as follows: 1. Khusrau I – 2; 2. Ohrmazd IV (579-590) – 7; 3. Khusrau II (591-628) – 3. The Byzantine coins were struck by Emperor Heraclius and his son Heraclius Constantine after 615. The date for burying of the hoard is believed to be the end of the first quarter of the 7th c.
    Interesting is the fact of finding together the Sassanian coins and the Byzantine hexagrams. This fact points to their co-circulation. Regarding this issue, there is an interesting information in the scholarly literature: in 1904, in the old part of Tbilisi (namely Maidan), a mixed hoard of 700-800 Sassanian and Byzantine coins was found. The Sassanian coins were mostly the drachms of Khusrau II (591-628), whereas the Byzantine ones were hexagrams and belonged to Heraclius and his son Heraclius Constantine.

The Sassanian coins found in Mtskheta:
1. In 1930 in the outskirts of Mtskheta a hoard of 41 Sassanian drachms was found. It consisted of Balash’s (484-488), Kavadh I’s (488-496 and 498-531) and Khusrau I’s (531-579) coins. The chronological frame of the hoard is 484-568. It should have been buried in the late 6th c.
2. Peroz I’s one drachm was accidentally found in 1953.
3. In different years and different circumstances Kavadh I’s four drachms were found in the outskirts of Mtskheta.
4. In 1961 Ohrmazd IV’s (579-590) silver coin was found during the “Mta-Kartli” archaeological excavations.
5. In the same place was found Khusrau II’s drachm.

    Apart from this, we have information, that in 1827 a hoard of Sassanian coins was found near Svetitskhoveli church. However, the main part of its content was melted.

The Sassanian coins found in Urbnisi:
1. In 1956, during the archaeological excavations in Urbnisi, seven rustied together coins were found. Through chemical analysis they turned out to be Kavadh I’s four and Khusrau I’s three drachms.
2. In 1960 in Urbnisi a hoard consisting of 21 Sassanian silver coins was found. All of them were struck in the name of Khusrau II. The earliest coin from this hoard was struck in the second year of Khusrau II’s reign; the latest one – in his 24th year. Thus, the chronological frame of the hoard is 591-613 and it should have been buried in the first quarter of the 7th c.
3. In 1960, during the archaeological excavations in Urbnisi, seven Sassanian coins were found: Peroz I – 1, Kavadh I – 2, Khusrau I – 4.
4. In the same year a local resident accidentally found a hoard of eleven Sassanian coins. All the coins were struck in the name of Khusrau II (591-628).
5. In the same year, during the archaeological excavations in Urbnisi, another drachm of Khusrau II was found.

The Sassanian coins found in Kvemo Kartli:
1. In 1970 a hoard of 29 Sassanian coins struck in the name of Peroz I (459-484) was found in Bolnisi.
2. In the Santha village (Tsalka district) one drachm of Kavadh I (488-496 and 498-531) was found.
3. In the 1940s-1950s in the Sioni village (Marneuli district) one coin of Khusrau I (531-579) was found.

The Sassanian coins found within the boundaries of the historical Hereti:
1. In 1939 in the outskirts of the Baisubani village (Lagodekhi district) a clay pot with Sassanian silver coins was found. Subsequently, the whole hoard, except for two coins, was dispersed. One of them belongs to Kavadh I, and another to Ohrmazd IV (579-590).
2. In 1958 in the Vashlovani village (Lagodekhi district) another drachm of Khusrau I was found.
3. In 1977 in the Ozaani village (Dedoplistskaro district) a large hoard of Sassanian silver coins was found. Altogether 1278 coins were collected. However, after their publication another 10 pieces were added to the Numismatic Department of Simon Janashia State Museum of Georgia. 1268 coins are the Sassanian drachms, whereas 10 are the Byzantine hexagrams. The coins are divided into: 1. Khusrau I – 96; 2. Ohrmazd IV – 743; 3. Khusrau II – 429; 4. Heraclius and his son Heraclius Constantine (615-631) – 8; 5. Heraclius, Heraclius Constantine, Heraklonas (632-641) – 2. The chronological frame of the Sassanian coins in the hoard covers almost one century. The Byzantine hexagrams were struck in 615-641. The hoard was buried most probably in mid-7th c. Finally we should touch upon the issue of the mints. The coins of the above-mentioned hoard were struck in 42 mints (11 unidentified) of the Sassanian empire.
4. In 1970 in the Shroma village (Lagodekhi ditrict) another drachm of Khusrau II was found.

The Byzantine coins of the 6th c.-first half of the 7th c. found in East Georgia:
1. In 1940s in the outskirts of Noste (Kaspi district) Anastasius I’s (491-518) one copper coin was found.
2. In 1872, during the archaeological excavations in Mtskheta, a copper coin of Justin I (518-527) was found.
3. The Dmanisi archaeological expedition found identical coin in 1936.
4. Identical coin was found in 1950 in Rustavi.
5. In 1959 in Urbnisi was found Justin I’s copper coin.
6. Justin I’s another copper coin was found in Tbilisi in 1961.
7. In 1961, during the archaeological excavation in Mtskheta, a silver coin of Justinian I (527-565) was found.
8. In 1961 in Mtskheta Maurice Tiberius’ (582-602) copper coin was found by the “Mta-Kartli” expedition.
9. In 1902 in the outskirts of Mtskheta a silver coin was found, struck in the name of Heraclius (610-641) and his son Heraclius Constantine.
10. Among the coins found in 1936 in the Tsintskaro village (Tetritskaro district) there was a hexagram struck in the name of Heraclius and his son Heraclius Constantine. Identical coin was found there in 1937.
11. In 1936 in Dmanisi a copper coin of Heraclius was found.
12. A silver coin struck in the name of Heraclius and his son Heraclius Constantine was found during the archaeological excavations in Mtskheta in 1937.
13. In 1952 in the church of the Chandrebi village (Kareli district) a hexagram of Heraclius and his son Heraclius Constantine was found.
14. In 1962 in the Zhebota village (Tianeti district) a copper coin of Heraclius was found.

Money circulation in West Georgia in the 5th-7th cc.

Coins found in Pitius-Bichvinta:
    The 5th c. coins: Arcadius (395-408) – 8, Theodosius II (408-450) – 1, and another one of his wife Eudocia (all of them are copper ones).
    On the territory of Pitius there were found over 100 Byzantine copper coins of the 6th c., the majority of which were struck in the first half. The coins are classified as follows: 1. Anastasius I – 5; 2. Justin I (518-527) – 72; 3. Justinian I (527-565) – 15; 4. Justin II (565-578) – 4; 5. Maurice Tiberius (582-602) – 4.
    From a numismatic point of view, some coins found in Bichvinta are of special interest. This primarily concerns the hoard (55 pieces) of 5 nummi coins of Justin I found in 1961. Identical coins have not been found in any other place in Georgia. In Bichvinta there were found separately 11 such coins. According to literature, their total number is not large. The coins from the Bichvinta hoard were most probably struck in the I and II workshops (officina) of Constantinople mint.
    It is worth noting that the majority of the coins found in Bichvinta were struck in the Constantinopolitan mint (86 pieces). On the territory of Pitius there were also found the coins struck in Antioch (Theopolis) (2), Nicomedia (1), Carthage (1), and Thessalonica (2). It is the only time when the coins struck in Carthage and Thessalonica were found on Georgian soil. The same can be said about the coins from Antioch which after the earthquake in 538 was renamed Theopolis.

The 5th c. Byzantine coins found in other parts of West Georgia:
1. In 1959 on the territory of the Sokhumi fortress a copper coin of Arcadius (395-408) was found.
2. In 1903 on Gagra necropolis West Roman Emperor Honorius’ (395-426) gold coin was found.
3. In 1937 in the Tskhumari village (Mestia district) two gold coins of Leo I (457-474) and Anastasius I (491-518) were found.

The 6th c. Byzantine coins found in other parts of West Georgia:
1. The copper coins found in Sokhumi are classified as follows: Anastasius I – 2; Justin I – 1; Justinian I – 4.
2. The 6th century Byzantine coins were found in the surroundings of Tsebelda (Gulripshi district) during archaeological excavations: Justinian I – 6, 2 of which are copper, 3 – silver, and 1 – gold.
3. The 6th century Byzantine coins were found in Tsikhisdziri: 10-15 copper coins of Anastasius I, Justin I and Justin II (565-578).
4. In 1903 in Ochamchire while working, allegedly, a pot full of Byzantine coins was found.The composition of the hoard is very doubtful because of its chronological frame (6th-11th cc.). It is impossible that the coins of such different periods could have been placed together. Therefore, it should be presumed, that before the hoard got to the museum (1957), its contents had been mixed. Nevertheless, the hoard contains interesting coins from the 6th century: Justin I (518-527) – 2; Justinian I (527-565) – 1; Justin II (565-578) – 2; Tiberius II (578-582) – 1; Maurice Tiberius (582-602) – 2. Eight coins altogether.

    The 6th c. Byzantine coins were also found in other parts of West Georgia. Their classification is as follows (mainly without notification of time of finding and circumstances): 1. one copper coin of Anastasius I (491-528) found in Kutaisi; 2. Six coins (four solidi, one silver, and one copper) of Justin I found in Nokalakevi (Senaki district), Zugdidi, and the outskirts of Batumi; 3. Justinian I’s seven coins (three solidi, three copper, and one silver) found in Psirtskha (Gudauta district), Chkhalta (Sokhumi district), New Athos, Chkhorotsku and Poti; 4. Tiberius II’s gold coin found in a hoard (see below) in Chibati (Lanchkhuti district); 5. hoard of Maurice Tiberius’ 23 solidi found in 1930 during the archaeological excavations in Nokalakevi; 6. The 6th century 6 copper coins found again in Nokalakevi.

The 7th c. Byzantine coins found in West Georgia:
1. In 1958 in the village Chibati (Lanchkhuti district) a hoard of Byzantine gold coins was found. Their classification is as follows: Tiberius II – 1, Maurice Tiberius – 1, Phocas (602-610) – 107, Heraclius (610-641) – 14.
2. In the Odishi village (Zugdidi district) a hoard of 13 silver coins was found. Their classifications is as follows: Maurice Tiberius – 2, Heraclius  and Heraclius Constantine – 11.
3. Emperor Phoca’s gold coin was found in 1927 in the Dranda village (Sokhumi district).
4. In 1952-1953 in Bichvinta three copper coins of Heraclius were found.
5. Heraclius’ one gold coin was found in the village Chiora (Oni district).
6. In 1950 in the Koreti village (Sachkhere district) Heraclius’ hexagram  was found.
7. In 1940 in Didchkoni (Martvili district) a gold coin was found struck in the name of Heraclius and his son Heraclius Constantine.
8. Constans II’s (641-668) gold coin was found in the outskirts of Sokhumi.
9. In 1930 in the village Ghvankiti (Terjola district) a solidus of Constans II was found.
10. In 1915 in the outskirts of Bichvinta Justinian II’s (685-695) three gold coins were found.
    In Tsikhisdziri a hoard of the Sassanian coins was found, out of which only three drachms got to the Batumi Museum. Their classification is as follows: Kavadh I (488-496 and 498-531) – 2, Khusrau I (531-579) – 1. Another two Sassanian drachms were found in Abkhazia: Kavadh I – 1, Khusrau II (591-628) – 1.