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Byzantine Coins

Coin from the Byzantine Empire

The Byzantine era, spanning from 300 to 1400 AD, saw the widespread use of Byzantine money in the eastern part of the Roman empire. The currency mainly consisted of the gold solidus, which was highly valued, and some well-crafted bronze coinage. Notably, the Christian symbol of the cross was prominently featured on the vast majority of these coins, reflecting the influence of Christianity on Byzantine society and culture.

One of the most sought-after coins from this era is the gold coin of Justinian II, which featured a bust of Christ on the obverse side. This depiction of Christ on a coin was a significant departure from the usual practice of featuring the reigning emperor, and it added a unique spiritual element to the currency. Another intriguing example of Byzantine money with Christian imagery is the anonymous folles, which depicted Jesus on the obverse side along with the inscription “XRISTUS/bASILEU/bASILE”, translated as “Christ, Emperor of Emperors”. These coins are the only known examples of currency from any era to feature an image of Jesus, making them a fascinating rarity in numismatics. The presence of Christian symbols on Byzantine coins not only reflected the dominant religious beliefs of the time but also served as a way for the ruling elite to reinforce their authority and legitimize their power through divine association. The use of Christ’s image on Byzantine money was a unique and captivating aspect of the coinage of this era, adding depth and complexity to the study of Byzantine numismatics and shedding light on the cultural and religious influences of the time.

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