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Byzantine Emperor Romanus II coins

959-963 The charismatic son of Romanus I took over when his father passed away after a brief illness. Soon after accession he began his magnum opus in the retaking of Crete from Saracen raiders who had been using the island as their homebase. Although this major victory is accorded him he seems to have been little more than a puppet of his wife Theophano who was much less popular than he for her political ambitions and willful meddling in the affairs of state. He died under mysterious circumstances, still in his 20's, and Theophano was immediately suspected of foul play. However, it seems much more likely that the finger could be pointed at his primary administrator Bringas who was even more ambitious than her. In time neither benefitted from his death as the favored general who orchestrated the victory at Crete became the next emperor.

AU Solidus

SB unlisted, DOC III 15.22, BN 23 AU Solidus Obv: +IhSXPSREXREGNANTIUM+ - Nimbate bust of Christ, holding Gospels; G on Gospels.
Rev: Crowned busts of Constantine VII and Romanus II, holding patriarchal cross between them. $990 9/25/02.