Catalog number: MCO08
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Material: Brass. Size: 20 mm.
Gold Solidus of Byzantine Emperor Michael III, a find from grave No. 480 near the three-naved basilica in Mikulcice (Czech Republic). During the minority of Michael III, the empire was for the most part governed by his mother Theodora. From 856, the year in which her brother had ordered the murder of the minister Theoktistos and Theodora was forced to resign, the regency was assumed by commander Bardas, who was also entitled Caesar. Rastislav, a duke of Great Moravia, dispatched a message to Emperor Michael III in 862 with a request to send priests who would conduct divine services in the Slavonic language and lay the foundations of a proper church in Great Moravia. Although the population of Great Moravia had already acquainted itself with the church teaching of missionaries from the Kingdom of the East Franks, duke Rastislav feared the political and religious influence of German tribes and had the Latin speaking priests expelled from the country. Cyril and Methodius were chosen for the mission thanks to their knowledge of the language. As part of the preparation, Cyril devised an alphabet for the Slavonic language – the Glagolitsa – and together with his brother Methodius translated the liturgical books needed for divine services to old church Slavonic. After the assassination of Bardas in 865, Basileios (an Armenian stable hand by origin) became a co-ruler with Michael III but he also had his co-emperor and friend assassinated on September 23, 867, and became the founder of a new dynasty.