Numismatic Iconography of Justinian II (685-695, 705-711 A.D.)

Breckenridge, James D. (James Douglas), 1926-1982
Numismatic Notes and Monographs
American Numismatic Society
New York
Worldcat Works




Open access edition funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities/Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Humanities Open Book Program.


Table of Contents




Justinian II was the first Byzantine emperor to place the image of Christ on his regular official coinage.1 When he took this step, furthermore, he used not one but two quite different representations of the physical appearance of Christ. The precedent thus created was ignored by his successors, however, and the Christ-image disappeared again from the Byzantine coinage for a century and a half, while the Eastern Empire was torn by the Iconoclastic Controversy; then, almost immediately upon the Restoration of the Images in the middle of the ninth century, one of Justinian II's two coin types of Christ was copied almost line for line by the die-cutters of Michael III, and thereafter became the prototype of one of the Christ representations which became normal on imperial Byzantine coins from the ninth century on.

These facts have long been well known, and the importance of Justinian II's innovation is generally recognized; but it has been more difficult to ascertain the meaning placed in his action at the time it was taken. In recent years, increased attention has been given Justinian II's issues by a group of scholars whose special concern is the theory of icon-worship developed by the iconophiles of the eighth and ninth centuries.2 While the interest shown by these iconophiles in Justinian II's use of the Christ image is of great importance to an understanding of the fully developed image theory, much less is known about the actual background, political, theological, or whatever it may have been, of Justinian II's own actions; in other words, whereas the ninth century's evaluation of seventh-century practice is important in understanding eighth- and ninth-century attitudes toward images in general, it is considerably more difficult to apply this same eighth- or ninth-century evaluation to the seventh century itself.

This is not to say that our understanding of what was developing with regard to attitudes and practices of religious art in the seventh century has not advanced markedly in recent years, not least as a result of the above-mentioned researches.3 Until now, however, no attempt has been made to study the coins of Justinian II in a thorough way from the numismatic standpoint, with a view to applying our new knowledge of their own and later periods, and their possible relation to pre-Iconoclastic image-theory.

The pre-Iconoclastic age was a pivotal one, not only for the Byzantine Empire, but for all of what we know as Europe. The very scarcity of the material from which we must reconstruct a picture of the epoch serves to show us just how critical its position was. We are well enough informed about the era of Justinian the Great, a period in the course of which we may perceive the beginnings of the evolution of the Roman Empire into its mediaeval form. But we are far less au courant with events in each subsequent decade. With the coming of Heraclius, and the first of a new series of battles with the resurgent Orient, a veil begins to fall over the Byzantine Empire, through which we can dimly discern men and events, but little of the institutions and ideas that gave them life. When, in another hundred years, the Isaurian emperors had succeeded in beating off the Moslem onslaught, the curtain begins to lift. The stage is the same, but all else, characters, scenery, dialogue, the whole frame of reference has changed immeasurably.

Clearly all this did not happen overnight, in the eighth century. A great deal of research has been devoted to the study of these new institutions which we see in operation under the Isaurians,4 and all of it has served to illustrate how much of the modification of the structure of the Empire took place in the century before Leo III, the years between the great Persian invasion of Syria around 613, and the final unsuccessful Moslem attack on Constantinople in 717 A. D. The new administrative system of the themes, integrating civil and military administration; the new agrarian laws, adjusting conceptions of property and ownership to the new realities of a ravaged countryside; these and many other details, large and small, of Byzantine life can be demonstrated, or may be hypothesized, to have had their origins in the century which followed the advent of Heraclius.

The final stage of this transition, it is clear from our evidence, was taking place under the last ruler of the Heraclian Dynasty, Justinian II. His two reigns, interrupted and followed as they were by periods of anarchy which prepared the way for the new strong man, Leo the Isaurian, provided despite their difficulties the last period before the Iconoclasm when the Byzantine government enjoyed sufficient stability to concern itself not only with civil administration and policy, but also with religious practices.

In the matter of the art of the period, we find a situation directly parallel to that just described with regard to its political history. The Isaurians brought with them a new attitude toward the Christian religion and its art, an attitude which we call Iconoclasm. They left an indelible imprint upon the character of Byzantine art, religious and secular. Yet the very nature of the Iconoclastic movement erased a great deal of the evidence which would tell us what came before it, and consequently whence the Iconoclastic attitude itself derived.

Just as recent research has pushed the origins of the Isaurian legislative system back a century, so we can see now that Iconoclasm itself did not spring like a weed from untilled soil. Rather is it true that the conflict had been preparing itself for decades in the minds of men, within and without the boundaries of the Empire; and what happened to religious art, in its theory and in its practice, in the course of the seventh century, was of the greatest importance in determining the rise of the opposite viewpoint, Iconoclasm.

The evolution of religious art in this period just prior to the Iconoclasm has a further interest, inasmuch as it formed the basis for the concepts used by the Orthodox party against the Image-Breakers, and supplied the concrete examples necessary for the formulation of regular Orthodox icon-theory; not only that, but surviving examples, and memories, of this art evidently provided the point of departure for the new religious art which flowered almost immediately upon the Restoration of the Images, in the ninth century.

The problem posed for the art historian by this period immediately before the advent of the Isaurian Dynasty, as may be seen from the foregoing, is that of ascertaining in the first place what monuments survive from that period, and secondly what those monuments can tell us about the character and tendencies of the arts of that time. It is, thus, a problem of extremely broad scope, considered from the point of view of geographical distribution alone. This was perhaps the last moment at which we may consider the art of the Mediterranean basin to have presented a fundamental, though naturally not homogeneous, whole; in all the lands of the Byzantine Empire, whether or not its political rule was still felt, its artistic hegemony was evident. The questions raised about the character of this art can only be answered satisfactorily when all the arts of the period, toward the close of the seventh century, have been studied and compared in detail.

History has played us the trick, at just this point, of erasing the center of the disc of the Empire, leaving us only fragments of its rim. At all times, Constantinople was unquestionably the most active center of the creative arts of the Eastern Empire; its influence could not but have been felt in all the peripheral areas with which it was in contact. Only through appreciating the importance of this essential unity can we explain the changes and evolutions of such provincial art as has been preserved, changes which are rarely the result of independent progress, but rather show every sign of being dependent upon the dynamic central source.5

There are certain of the provincial areas where we may, in time, be able to assemble sufficient data to clarify this aspect of the problem. In Italy, and particularly in Rome, the Popes were frequently active in the fields of construction and decoration, as the tattered palimpsest of S. Maria Antiqua bears witness; one of the most active Popes in this respect was John VII, and the art produced during his brief reign, contemporary with that of Justinian II, should provide valuable evidence, if only by inference, of what influences were reaching Italy from the East at that time.6

In Greece, and especially at Thessalonika, there would appear to have been a good deal of activity in the arts, but here problems of attribution and Hating present greater difficulties in drawing precise parallels for purposes of comparison. The same is true of Egypt, in the present state of our knowledge, for although it is generally agreed that Coptic art remains subject to recurrent waves of influence from the Empire long after Egypt's conquest by the Moslems, the lack of an established chronology, within even a century for the most part, makes analysis and comparison extremely difficult. Yet it is probable that the only way in which these problems of Coptic chronology will one day be solved is by just such correlations between Coptic monuments and established and dated works outside Egypt.7

Finally, our documents tell us enough about relations between the Byzantine emperors and the Umayyad caliphs, as well as between their subjects at more humble levels, for us to be fully aware of the dependence of Umayyad art in its more formative stages upon the Byzantine traditions which it supplemented. The happy discoveries made in the Near East in recent years, as well as the generally resurgent position of Islamic studies, give great hope that our knowledge of Byzantine as well as Sassanian art will be vastly increased as more Islamic material becomes available.8

The purpose of any one study, at the present stage of our knowledge, could however scarcely embrace with profit all these scattered fields of artistic production. In view of the nature of the central problems of pre-Iconoclastic religious art, the most pressing need is to establish what can be known about the art actually produced in the imperial circle itself; and in the period which concerns us, the surviving imperial art, with negligible exceptions, is exclusively that of the coinage. It is for this reason that the following study is undertaken on a numismatic basis; its objective is the establishment of the following facts about the emperor's coinage:

First, what numismatic issues were struck under his reign, in what sequence, and at what dates;Second, what meaning or meanings these coins were intended to convey, and henceThird, what the reasons may have been for issuing them.

It should be possible, in the light of this information, to clarify some of the attitudes held by official, that is to say, by state and ecclesiastical circles, concerning religious images, and particularly their use in the state cult. From this, it is to be hoped that something may be deduced about the wider context of the religious art of the time, about the spirit which manifests itself through both style and content as an expression of the outlook of the age. From this material, it may be hoped that future research will have one more tool with which to attack some of the major problems of the history of Byzantine art.

As a first step in this exposition, it is necessary to provide a brief historical survey of the principal events of Justinian II's reign, insofar as they may be seen to have a bearing upon his numismatic activities.9 The reign of Justinian II, whose full name was Flavius Justinianus, began upon the death of his father Constantine IV, sometime during the summer of 685 A. D.; he was then sixteen years old.10 The Empire was at that time in sounder condition than had been the case for some decades; Constantine IV had beaten off the first high-watermark assault of the Moslem power in the protracted siege of Constantinople between 673 and 677, and reasserted the strength of the Orthodox faith at the Sixth Oecumenical Council, held at the capital in 680–681. This Council condemned the Monothe-lete heresy which, while accepting the two Persons of Christ, preached only one will or operation in the personality of Christ; this heresy had been warmly espoused by the preceding emperor, Constans II, and accepted by one Roman Pope, Honorius, whom the Council therefore condemned as a heretic. Of Constantine IV's various actions to strengthen the Empire, the only one which was less than a resounding success was his campaign of 679 against the Bulgars, who had recently invaded the Balkans, and whom he was unable to dislodge from their new strongholds.

The first actions of Justinian II's new reign were designed to continue this procedure of strengthening the position of the Empire, both internally and in relation to allies and. enemies abroad. To make plain his adherence to the tenets of strict Orthodoxy, he held a synod in the Great Palace to confirm the Acts of the Sixth Council.11 In 688 he conducted a major campaign against the Bulgars and Slavs in Macedonia, where he succeeded in relieving their pressure on the native populations. Finally, about the same time, he concluded a new treaty with the Moslems, on even more favorable terms than those secured by his father after the rout of 677;12 his troops had been on the offensive along the southern borders, a fact which may have influenced the Moslems to buy a firmer peace, and his ablest general, Leontius, seized full control of Armenia and the rest of the sub-Caucasus, which lad shown signs of slipping into the Moslem orbit.

In 692, however, this string of successes was broken when the Moslems, accusing the Byzantines of violating the terms of the treaty, invaded the province of the First Armenia, and defeated Justinian II's army at the battle of Sebastopolis. Whatever the ostensible cause of the Moslem attack,13 its result was clear: Armenia surrendered to Moslem authority, and the Empire lost valuable prestige throughout the borderlands.

In the meantime, however, the emperor continued to concern himself with domestic affairs as well. He held a church council on a more ambitious scale than the synod of 686, in the same Trullan Hall of the Great Palace where the Sixth Council itself had met; since neither that nor the preceding Fifth Council of 553 had dealt with matters of church and lay discipline, this new council of Justinian II's, meeting in 692,14 was intended to be simply a continuation of the proceedings of 681, concerning itself solely with bringing up to date this aspect of church affairs. It came to be known, therefore, as the Quinisexte Council. It issued one hundred and two canons dealing with all matters, lay and clerical, in which the authority of the Church needed to be applied or restated.15

These acts were drawn up, unfortunately, by a council of clergy drawn exclusively from Eastern dioceses, so that whenever a question of preference between the practices observed in the Eastern churches and those of other communions, such as the Armenian or the Roman, arose, the natural decision was in favor of the familiar one.

This may not have been of major importance with regard to the feelings of the Armenians—although it was the Patriarch of Armenia, Sabbatius, who surrendered his land to the Moslems the following year, and offense taken with Constantinople over these matters might conceivably have influenced his decision—but when it came to offending Rome, really serious matters were at stake. The principal points of difference on the theoretical level were the recognition of 85 Apostolic Canons, of which Rome acknowledged only 50, and the assertion of the equality of the bishops of Constantinople with those of Rome, an equality to which seniority of establishment did not entitle them. In matters of practice, the Council prohibited fasting on Saturdays, a Roman custom; it permitted the lower orders of the clergy to remain married, if already in that condition, a practice disapproved at least on principle by the Holy See; the command to abstain from 'blood and from the meat of strangled animals infringed upon certain Western customs; and finally, a decree that Christ should be represented in human form, rather than as a Lamb, condemned one of the more common themes of symbolic early Christian imagery which had been quite popular in the West.

It would seem almost certain that the framers of these canons were not aware of the extent of their offense in the eyes of Rome;16 the tone of the Acts conveys the impression that the Eastern bishops felt merely that their Western colleagues, in those troubled years, were in need of guidance on a few points where unfortunate political circumstances, such as barbarian invasions, had compelled temporary abandonment of the truly correct procedure.

Whatever the intentions and motivations of the framers of the canons may have been, the fact remains that the Acts of the Council were completed and duly signed by the emperor, as well as by the patriarchs of Constantinople, Alexandria, Jerusalem, and Antioch, and by two hundred eleven other bishops and representatives of bishops; then they were forwarded to Rome. There, Pope Sergius, recognizing what he felt was an affront to his dignity as well as an abrogation of his powers and status, not only refused to sign the Acts, but forbade their publication in any church under his jurisdiction. The ensuing dispute dragged on for months, with action delayed by the long time required for communications to pass from East to West and back again; at length the emperor resorted to the expedient, successfully carried out by Constans II in 653, of kidnapping the Pope. On this occasion, the effort ended in a low-comedy debacle for the imperial agents, and the papal hand was strengthened rather than otherwise.

Justinian II had no further chance for reprisal against the Pope, for in 695 the emperor was overthrown by a coup led by his erstwhile general, Leontius.17 The unpopularity engendered by Justinian's defeats at the hands of both the Caliphate and the Papacy had not been mitigated at home, where brutal ministers carried out a policy designed, perhaps, to weaken the traditional power of the nobility; so the Constantinople mob flocked to the standard of revolt, and jeered in the Hippodrome while Justinian II was disfigured with slit nose and tongue, in token of deposition, and then exiled to Cherson in the Crimea.

Leontius ruled only three years, until 698, and the only major event of his reign was the military campaign which resulted in his downfall. The continuing expansion of Moslem territory led to the fall of Carthage in 697, and Leontius dispatched a powerful naval and military force to attempt its recapture. Although this expedition had some initial success, and even reoccupied the city, the Moslems in turn obtained reinforcements, frightened off the Byzantine fleet, and permanently took the city of Carthage in 698.

The unsuccessful armada, aware of its disgrace, decided its only hope of avoiding punishment was to rebel against its emperor; the rebels named one of their admirals, Apsimar, new emperor under the name Tiberius III, and sailed for Constantinople. There they met with greater success than at Carthage; Leontius was deposed, mutilated like Justinian II, and exiled to a monastery. Tiberius III proved not an incapable monarch; under his rule the Empire was able at least to hold its own against the expanding Moslem power.

In the meantime, in the Crimea, Justinian II had been forced to flee from Cherson when the authorities there discovered that he was plotting to recover his throne. He took refuge with the Khagan of the Khazars, one of the most powerful of the Hunnish tribes of the steppes, and married the Khagan's sister-german, whom he named Theodora. Tiberius III, informed of these events, bribed the Khagan to murder or surrender Justinian II; forewarned by his loyal wife, Justinian escaped a second time, gathered a boatload of supporters at Cherson, and set sail across the Black Sea.

It was now the autumn of 704; the little party wintered at the mouth of the Danube, after experiencing violent storms at sea, and there they contacted the Bulgars, who were only too happy to contribute an army to Justinian II's campaign to win back his throne. It was not until the summer of 705, however, that this barbarian host descended upon the walls of Constantinople.18 The inhabitants of the city met them with jeers and catcalls, and might have stayed safe within their mountainous ramparts, had not Justinian been able to slip through a small gap or postern near the Blachernae gate, occupy the Blachernae palace, and rally his own supporters. The fickle populace deserted Tiberius Apsimar at this moment, and Justinian was able to resume his throne without having had to resort to the dangerous expedient of allowing the Bulgar army inside the walls of Constantinople.

A great triumph was celebrated in the Hippodrome, to which both Tiberius Apsimar and the deposed Leontius were dragged. Justinian II, seated in the Kathisma, presided over the races with one foot on the neck of each of his prostrate foes, while the mob chanted, 'Thou hast trodden on the asp and the basilisk; the lion and the dragon thou hast trampled under foot,"19 playing on the names of Apsimar and Leontius. When the races were over, Justinian sent them both to the Kynegion to be beheaded. His vengeance fell also on the Patriarch Callinicus, who had consecrated the usurpers; he was blinded, and sent to Rome as a living witness of Justinian II's return to power. Havoc was wrought in the army and the civil service, as all who had supported the usurpers were executed.

While all this went on, the emperor dispatched an armada to Khazaria, to bring back his wife Theodora. This fleet came to grief in another of the autumn storms for which the Black Sea is famous; when he learned of it, the Khagan sent a message to his brother-in-law: 'Fool, should you not have sent two or three ships to fetch your wife, and not have killed so many men? Did you expect to have to seize her by force?20 Learn that a son is born to you; send and get them both." When at last the mother and child were safely brought to Constantinople, Justinian crowned them both, and ruled jointly with his infant son, who was named Tiberius in further imitation of the practices of Justinian I, the Great.

The year 705 saw significant changes in the leadership of the other world centers, Damascus and Rome, as well. Abd el-Malik died, after a twenty-five year reign of exceptional brilliance, to be succeeded by his son Walid, a far more fervent partisan of Arabisation. In the same year, one of the ablest of the 'Greek" Popes, John VII, was elected to the See of Rome. It was with this Pope that Justinian II resumed negotiations over the Acts of the Quinisexte Council, with a view to obtaining the needed papal signature. The blinded Patriarch Callinicus was undoubtedly an effective messenger; but he was followed also by two metropolitan bishops bearing those six tomes which Pope Sergius had refused to sign thirteen years earlier. Yet the emperor seems to have been far less overbearing this time, as the fact that his emissaries were bishops, not soldiers as before, would indicate. The terms in which Justinian couched his demands were conciliatory in the extreme. He urged the elderly pontiff to convene a synod to which the Acts might be communicated; this synod should then confirm those canons which seemed worthy of approval, and reject those which were unsatisfactory. Instead, John returned the Acts unemended to the emperor, saying that he could find no fault with any of them—yet he still neglected to sign! Thus, when he died shortly afterward, the whole business had to be taken up all over again with his successor, Constantine.21

By this time, his purges completed, Justinian II had a falling out with his erstwhile ally, the Khan of the Bulgars, and in 708 he led an expedition far up the Black Sea coast to Anchialus. His army was ambushed and routed, and the survivors returned to Constantinople in full flight. The following year the Moslems, on the move once more, besieged the important trading center of Tyana, well north of the Taurus range in Asia Minor; a relief expedition was slaughtered, and the city fell to the Arabs. From this time on, Moslem raids on Byzantine territory became bolder and bolder; small parties of marauders rode right up to the Bosphorus, looting and burning as they went.

Moslem pressure increased, in preparation for the full-scale invasion which was to follow only eight years later.

In the summer of 711, Constantinople received the ceremonial visit of the reigning Pope, Constantine, who was honored with great reverence by the emperor and his son, as our Roman sources relate. The disputed canons of the Quinisexte Council were again discussed, and presumably agreed upon—but the fact remains that we have no surviving copy of the Acts of 692 signed by any Roman Pope.

Scarcely had the papal party returned home, when they learned that the prince with whom they had so recently conferred was dead, and the little Augustus Tiberius who had met them on the road to Constantinople, butchered at the very altar of the Church of the Virgin at Blachernae. Justinian's unremitting vengefulness had begotten further violence. The object had been his home of exile, Cherson. Three ill-advised expeditions to the Crimea, designed, according to our sources,22 to punish the Chersonites for their attempt to betray him to Tiberius Apsimar, furnished instead a rebel armada to overthrow Justinian himself. In effect, it was the same story as in 698: the imperial forces, prevented from accomplishing their mission by the interference of the Khazars, found themselves obliged to revolt against their ruler as the only possible way of saving themselves from punishment for their failure.

Justinian, when he feared, but could not be certain, that his last expedition had come to grief, committed the tactical error of leaving Constantinople with his field army, to scout in the direction of Pontus.23 In this way, the rebel fleet was able to seize the capital in his absence. His troops were subverted, and Justinian II fell easily into the rebels' hands, for instant execution.

The chief of the rebels, the Armenian Philippicus Bardanes, assumed the purple, and proclaimed the Monothelete faith reinstated; Pope Constantine, hearing of this, took great alarm, but his fears were soon quieted. Bardanes. reign was short, and Monotheletism died with him. The succession of petty rulers who followed to the throne served only to set the scene for the assumption of power by Leo III, the great Isaurian, in March of 717 A. D., when the Moslems were again about to lay siege to Constantinople, for the second time in forty years; but that is another history.

End Notes

1 That is to say, the image of Christ as a coin-type of and by itself, on a numismatic issue intended for general circulation. The figure of Christ had appeared on Byzantine coins already, however, to judge by the unique solidus of Marcian and Pulcheria in the Hunterian Collection, illustrated by George MacDonald, Coin Types, Their Origin and Development, Glasgow, 1905, pp. 233–5 & PI. IX, 8. This coin, which bears on the obverse an image of Marcian, in armor, three-quarters facing, has for reverse type the figures of emperor and empress standing, with Christ behind and between them, placing a hand on each of their shoulders. The reverse legend is "FELICITER NUBTIIS."The significance of the type has been elucidated, loc. cit., along the following lines: Whereas Christ on this coin assumes the place taken in Roman iconography by Juno Pronuba, He specifically replaces the figure of Theodosius II as seen on a coin celebrating the marriage of Valentinian III and Eudoxia in 437 A. D. Christ appears on the later coin (dated ca. 450) because the marriage was one of form only, the bride having taken irrevocable vows of chastity at an early age; she married only to continue the imperial succession. Christ as depicted on this coin, insofar as can be determined given its worn condition, has the rounded skull, long face, beard, and cross-nimbus familiar in fifth-century Italian art of other media.In any event, this coin, which must have been struck in very limited quantity, had no immediate influence on Byzantine coin-types, or on the imperial Christian iconography: Christ appears here for a specific symbolic reason, and not because of any function He performs in a more generalized way for the Christian religion, or for the Christianized imperial cult.
2 The pioneering work on the subject was André Grabar's L'empereur dans l'art byzantin, Paris, 1936. Certain of Grabar's ideas were developed, with other original ones, by P. Lucas Koch in a series of articles, "Zur Theologie der Christusikone," Benediktinische Monatsschrift XIX, 1937, pp. 375–387; ibid. XX, 1938, pp. 32–47, 168–75, 281–8, and 437–52; and, most important to our subject, "Christusbild-Kaiserbild," ibid. XXI, 1939, pp. 85–105. Developing ideas he had already begun to publish in Germany, Gerhard B. Ladner wrote the important "Origin and Significance of the Byzantine Iconoclastic Controversy," Mediaeval Studies II, 1940, pp. 127–49; and, since, "The Concept of the Image in the Greek Fathers and the Byzantine Iconoclastic Controversy," Dumbarton Oaks Papers VII, 1953, pp. 1–34. Still more recently we have the significant paper by Ernst Kitzinger, "The Cult of the Images in the Age before Iconoclasm," Dumbarton Oaks Papers VIII, 1954, pp. 83–150; cf. esp. his remarks, p. 128, on the importance, as well as the weaknesses, of Grabar's, Koch's, and Ladner's contributions. Most recent of all is Grabar's L'iconoclasme byzantin, dossier archéologique, Paris, 1957, which overlaps and somewhat antedates, in composition, parts of Kitzinger's work.
3 Cf. the article by Kitzinger just cited, with his "On Some Icons of the Seventh Century," in Late Classical and Mediaeval Studies in Honor of Albert Mathias Friend, Jr., Princeton, 1955, pp. 132–150, and Grabar's L'iconoclasme . Symptomatic of growing scholarly interest in the pre-Iconoclastic period was the Symposium on Byzantium in the Seventh Century, held at Dumbarton Oaks in May, 1957, at which parts of the present work were read in abridged form.
4 Cf. for example G. Ostrogorsky, "éber die vermeintliche Reformtétigkeit der Isaurier," Byzantinische Zeitschrift (hereafter BZ) XXX, 1929–30, pp. 394–401; G. Vernadsky, "Sur les origines de la Loi agraire byzantine," Byantion II, 1926, pp. 169–80; a good summary, with bibliography to date, is Ostrogorsky's chapter in the Cambridge Economic History I, Cambridge, 1941, pp. 579–83. Most recently, Ostrogorsky has arrived definitely at a Heraclian date for the composition of the Book of the Themes: "Sur la date de la composition du Livre des Thémes et sur l'époque de la constitution des premiers thémes d'Asie Mineure," Byzantion XXIII, 1953, pp. 31–66. According to Ostrogorsky, the "Nomos Georgikos" was probably published under Justinian II himself.
5 Kitzinger's article "On Some Icons...", cited above, n. 3, demonstrates this dependence of Roman art upon the Constantinopolitan in a strong way, especially (p. 138) with reference to the period of Pope John VII (705–707) when Constantinopolitan influences had hitherto been thought to have been weakest, and Roman art at its most autonomous.
6 Cf. for Roman art of this period the basic study by Kitzinger, Rémische Malerei vom Beginn des 7. bis zur Mitte des 8. Jahrhunderts, Munich, n. d. (1936).
7 On the situation at Thessalonika in and about the time of Justinian II, cf. J. D. Breckenridge, "The 'Long Siege' of Thessalonika: Its Date and Iconography," BZ XLVIII, 1955, pp. 116–22, with bibliography on just one problem concerning the decoration of the church of S. Demetrios.With regard to Coptic art, again the work of Kitzinger is fundamental: "Notes on Early Coptic Sculpture," Archaeologia LXXXVII, 1937, pp. 181ff. At present, Hjalmar Torp is engaged upon studies of Coptic art which, it is hoped, will produce a better absolute and relative chronology. In addition, much valuable material is being recovered and documented by the Princeton-Michigan expeditions to the Monastery of St. Catherine, Mount Sinai.
8 Grabar has added much to our knowledge of the interrelations of Byzantine and Islamic art by the material assembled in L'iconoclasme, esp. Chapter IV, & pp. 103–112. In addition, we may look forward to a contribution by Oleg Grabar, in Ars Orientalis III, 1958.
9 The historical exposition given here goes into more detail than would otherwise be necessary, both because much of the following has a bearing upon the numismatic evidence, and because none of the available modern studies are thorough enough in their examination of the period to furnish an absolutely reliable narrative and chronology of events. It has been necessary to reexamine all the sources, and to make a few new interpretations of their information, in order to clarify all the problems raised about the sequence of Justinian II's art and coinage.
The most important single source is the Chronography of Theophanes, written in the years 810—815 A. D.: Theophanis Chronographia, ed. C. de Boor, Leipzig, 1883. His contemporary, the Patriarch Nicephorus, who held the See of Constantinople from 806 to 815, wrote a somewhat less detailed account of events from the time of Maurice (582–602) to his own day: Nicephori Archiepiscopi Constantinopolitani Opuscula Historica, ed. C. de Boor, Leipzig, 1880. These two chronicles may be supplemented by that of Michael the Syrian, who was Jacobite Patriarch of Antioch from 1166 until 1199, and who supplies some information not available in the histories just cited: Chronique de Michel le Syrien, ed. J.-B. Chabot, Paris, 1899–1924.
The accounts of these historians, who shared many of the same sources, are generally followed by later Byzantine and Syrian chroniclers, from whom we can derive little or no new information except from an occasional indirect reference, or a not infrequent blunder, usually mistaking Justinian II for Justinian I or Justin I or II. Far more nearly contemporary to the events described than any of the aforementioned is the Liber Pontificalis, ed. L. Duchesne, Paris, 1886, which supplies information on events taking place in Italy, but is not always completely reliable in its accounts of what was transpiring at Constantinople and elsewhere in the East. Material upon one episode of Justinian II's second reign is found in Agnellus' biography of Archbishop Felix of Ravenna, written in the ninth century: Liber Pontificalis Ecclesiae Ravennatis, ed. Holder-Egger, in Monumenta Germaniae Historiae, Scriptores Rerum Langobardicarum et Italicarum saec. VI–IX, Hannover, 1878, pp. 367–71. Finally, there is the text of the church council held under Justinian II: J.-D. Mansi, Sacrorum Conciliorum nova et amplissima collectio IX, cols. 921–1007.
The nearest thing to a modern study of Justinian II is found in the essay by Charles Diehl, "L'empereur au nez coupé," in Choses et gens de Byzance, Paris, 1926, pp. 173–211, which also exists in a privately-printed English translation. This article follows literally and rather uncritically the accounts of Theophanes and Nicephorus. (Only slightly more romanticized is a drama by Alexandre Embiricos, L'Empereur au nez coupé: Chronique Byzantine en cinq actes, Paris, 1929, ambitious and elaborate enough to tax any theater smaller than the Yankee Stadium.)
In the highly condensed account of the reigns of Justinian II which follows, specific source references are not indicated except where a question of interpretation, or of disagreement between sources, arises.
10 A brother of Justinian II, named Heraclius, is mentioned in a "Sacred Letter" from Constantine IV to Pope Benedict II, quoted in the Liber Pont. I, p. 363. The letter, which has not been preserved in the papal archives, presumably dated from late in the year 684. No further mention of this brother occurs; he may have died before Justinian II assumed the imperium.
11 Documentary evidence for this Synod is scattered and, in part, confused; since inferences have been drawn about it which have a bearing upon Justinian II's presumed conception of his imperial function with regard to ecclesiastical affairs, we shall trouble to go into the problem:
The account of the Synod is first mangled by Theophanes, where, under A. M. 6177 (ed. de Boor, pp. 361–2), confusion was created by an uncertainty regarding the date of the later Quinisexte Council (cf. below, n. 14), and compounded by Theophanes' losing sight of the distinction between this Synod and that Council. The Synod is mentioned in the Lib. Pont. I, p. 368, which describes Pope Conon's receipt of Justinian's sacra regarding his Synod and its new text of the Acts of the Sixth Council; and the sacra itself is preserved and published by Mansi, op. cit. XI, cols. 737–8, at the head of one text of the Acts of the Sixth Council, the one which it had conveyed.
It has been suggested by F. Gérres, "Justinian II und das rémische Papsttum," BZ XVII, 1908, pp. 432–54, that Justinian II was abrogating the rights due the papal and patriarchal authority to publish the acts of an oecumenical council; thus this was the first move in a concerted caesaropapistic campaign by the young emperor to bring the See of Rome under the complete sway of his own authority. This seems rather an overstatement of the situation on several counts, the most important being the lack of evidence that at this period such publication was considered the particular prerogative of the ecclesiastical authorities; to the contrary, the initiative in each of the great church councils was taken by the reigning emperor, from Constantine I on, and he was never in any case considered to be infringing upon clerical rights by these actions. The emperor held ex-officio, in fact, the rank of deacon in the church hierarchy. In the same way, it was customary for the emperor to take the responsibility for circulating the completed acts of the councils. Although Rome shortly found reason to object to certain of Justinian II's actions, there is no indication that his promulgation of the texts of the Sixth Oecumenical Council was in any way disapproved.
The explanation for holding the Synod seems to be more simple. There is an indication that the volume of the Acts of the Sixth Council which was the property of the imperial palace had strayed from its place in the palace archives, and was found in the offices of the chancellery. (Cf. Mansi, op. cit. XII, cols. 189–96). When the volume was located and returned, it was deemed desirable that new copies, checked in every way for authenticity and accuracy, should be prepared—perhaps because, as the emperor intimates in his sacra, some falsified versions had been circulated (presumably by recalcitrant Monotheletes) while the original volume was missing from its rightful place.
Some misapprehension may have arisen, furthermore, because, early in 686, the ex-patriarch Theodore, who had been deposed by Constantine IV in 679 (on the eve of the Sixth Council) for his Monothelete views, had recanted and been restored to the See of Constantinople. Although Theodore behaved himself with utter circumspection during this second term of office, it might well have seemed desirable to take this dramatic way of demonstrating his adherence to full Orthodox tenets, as well as that of his emperor.
12 Although Theophanes dates the new treaty with the Moslems at the beginning of Justinian II's reign, Moslem sources date it to A. H. 69/689 A. D.: H. A. R. Gibb, s. v. "'Abd al-Malik b. Mar wan," The Encyclopedia of Islam, New Ed. 1:2, Leiden, 1954, pp. 76–7. In view of the unreliability of Theophanes' dating at this particular point, the Moslem chronology seems preferable.
13 Cf. below, pp. 69ft., for an analysis of the various imputed causes of the rupture of Arab-Byzantine relations. Whatever the ostensible cause, it would appear obvious that the break took place simply because the Moslems were then secure enough to resume active hostilities once more, and so were prepared to make any reasonably adequate provocation serve their purpose.
14 The dating of the Quinisexte Council has occasioned more difficulty than was necessary, largely because of the various conflicting methods of keeping dates in use at the time. For a discussion of the problem, cf. Hefele-Leclercq, Histoire des Conciles III1, pp. 560–1. J. B. Bury, History of the Later Roman Empire II, London, 1889, pp. 326–7, note 3, pointed out the confusion in Theophanes under A. M. 6177 (cited above, n. 11), where the chronicler had read correctly the date improperly preserved in the Acts of the Council (Mansi, cp. cit. XI, cols. 921–1006), but failed to place it in the proper era; so Theophanes arrived at a date of 706 A. D. for the Council. He knew that this must be wrong, since the Council had taken place during Justinian's first reign; so he placed his account of the Council at the very beginning of that reign, taking advantage of the opportunity to confuse the Council with the Synod of 686, and to summarize the latter part of the Monothelete Controversy. The Quinisexte Council took place, as Leclercq shows, during Indictio V, that is, after September first 691 A. D.—but Leclercq, op. cit. Ill1, p. 561, himself then errs in starting Indictio V in 692.
15 For the Acts of the Council, cf. Mansi, op. cit. XI, cols. 921–1006; they are summarized in Hefele-Leclercq, op. cit. Ill1, pp. 562–75. Our own discussion is below, pp. 78ff.
16 On the other hand, F. Gérres, op, cit., sees these Canons, as well as almost everything else Justinian II did, as a direct attempt to impose the imperial authority on the papacy. As remarked above, n. 11, it is questionable whether the issue presented itself in this guise to either antagonist at the time.
17 Following his conquest of Armenia, Leontius had been made general of Anatolia; but by 695, he had been under arrest for three years—which takes us back to the date of the battle of Sebastopolis, and suggests that he might have been blamed for that disaster.
18 Theophanes, ed. de Boor, p. 374, records the capture of the city under A. M. 6197 (704–5 A. D.), but Justinian's acts of revenge under the following Annus Mundi, pp. 374–5. Since the latter year is termed the first of Justinian II's second reign, he must have assumed the crown before the beginning of the year, in September; the execution of his vengeance against those he considered his enemies, and the ceremonial rewarding of his Bulgar allies, would inevitably have consumed some time, perhaps as much as several months or more.
19 Psalms xci, 13, in the Greek version. This is the subject, of course, of the mosaic of Christ as the Warrior, in the Archbishop's Palace, Ravenna: cf. Corrado Ricci, Monumentitavoli storichi dei mosaici di Ravenna V, Rome,. 1934, PI. XXXV & PI. B.
20 Justinian might well have thought so. The Khagan had not proven himself the most reliable of friends in the past, nor was he to do so in the future. The Khagan's reproof is quoted in Theoph., p. 375, and in Michael Syrus, ed. Chabot II, p. 478.
21 It may be noted, however, that our source for this episode is wholly one sided; it is mentioned only in the Lib. Pont. I, pp. 385–6, and not in any Eastern source.
22 We have taken the liberty of reducing Theophanes' recorded four expeditions to Nicephorus' three: respectively, pp. 377–81 and 44–8; since Theoph. obviously confuses different aspects of one and the same expedition. It may be noted that pure revenge may not have been the sole motive for these punitive expeditions, in view of the continual interference of the Khazars in the development of events in and around Cherson.
23 There is a hint, in contemporary events in Armenia and Lazica (cf. V. Grumel, Les regestes des actes du Patriarcat I, i, pp. 127–8, with extended bibliography), that Justinian II had good reason to fear trouble from that direction; furthermore, the knowledge that the chief of the rebels was an Armenian may have persuaded him that they would move first in that direction, before attacking Constantinople itself.


The usefulness of numismatic evidence for the art historian will vary widely from period to period, and from country to country. By way of generalization, the following statement may be considered valid for Roman imperial coins and their successors, the Byzantine issues, in virtually all periods: These coins represent a significant field of the imperial iconography, never entirely neglected by the authorities for their ability to bring messages to the general public, or to special segments thereof; the coinage tends to reflect, then, significant changes of imperial policy as they may be susceptible of representation in the imperial iconography, and in any case, are more reliable guides to iconography than to stylistic character. The imperial coinage, moreover, partook of some of the sacred character enjoyed by official portraits of the emperor.1 Thus the coinage inevitably represents the intentions of the imperial authority, to a degree perhaps varying according to the distance of the issuing mint from the seat of that authority, and the actual power there exercised. When, as in the case of the issues of Justinian II, a radical change was made in the nature of the types represented, we can safely assume that a significant shift in imperial policy itself had taken place.

Our first necessity, then, will be to describe the types of coins issued by this emperor. For our descriptions, we base our work both on the pertinent sections of the general catalogues of the Byzantine coinage,2 and on the relatively few specialized works on this immediate set of issues.3

When we examine the coinage of Justinian II, as that of any other of the emperors of his period, we find that the principal determining types are to be found in the gold issues, and most specifically among the solidi; not only the fractional gold, but the coins in silver and bronze, form relatively simple sub-types to the solidi (although in the West a certain amount of greater liberty in creating variant types was exercised), with the normal differentiations demanded by the established criteria of denominational indications. For the purposes of our study, then, only the types of the solidi need be described; nor do we need to delineate the precise epigraphy of the legends, or the various officina-marks represented among the known specimens. For this and for other details, the catalogues cited above provide information, pending publication of a corpus. Laffranchi's essay, just cited, includes an able study of the epigraphy of the coin legends of these and adjoining reigns.


Obv. IUSTINIANUSPEAV Bust of Justinian II, facing, beardless (except on one specimen where he has a light beard and the suspicion of a mustache4); he wears the crown with "globus cruciger," actually a semicircular ornament surmounted by a cross; divitision and chlamys, the latter fastened at the right shoulder by a conventional fibula; in his right hand he holds the true globus cruciger.

Rev. VICTORIA AVGU Cross potent on three steps; beneath, CONOB. Additional officina letters appear at the end of the inscription.5

Plate I, 1.

This type also seems to occur in the fractional gold, and there would appear to be a counterpart with beardless portrait in the bronze.6


Obv. DIUSTINIANUSPEAV Bust of Justinian II, facing, costumed as above, but with full beard and mustache.

Rev. VICTORIA AVGU Cross potent on three steps, with mint and officina marks, all as above.7 Plate I, 2

Fractional gold of the Constantinople mint has the imperial portrait facing, as above, while that from Italy is distinguished by a profile beardless portrait, conventional from preceding reigns.8 Denominations are indicated by changes in the base of the cross on the reverse: on the semis the cross potent stands on a globus ( Plate I, 3); on the triens, it has no base other than its own barred foot ( Plate I, 4)9.


Obv. IHSCRISTOSREXREGNANTIUM Bust of Christ facing, with cross behind head (but no nimbus). Hair and beard flowing; wears pallium over colobium; right hand in act of benediction in front of breast, Book of Gospels in front of left breast (Book must be supported by the left hand, although this is not visible in field of coin).

Rev. DIUSTINIANUSSERUCHRISTI The emperor, standing facing, bearded. He wears the crown with cross, and long jewelled robes covered by the loros; in his right hand, he holds the cross potent on two steps; in left hand, the mappa. Beneath, CONOP.10

Plate I, 5.

The fact that the emperor here occupies the reverse of the coin is made doubly clear by the presence of the mint-mark under his feet, and by the fact that on the triens, the only variety of fractional gold certainly known to date, the cross potent changes its base to the plain base seen on the reverse of triens, Type I ( Plate I, 6).11


Obv. DNIHSCHSREXREGNANTIUM Bust of Christ facing, same pose as in Type II, but facial type is different, triangular shape, with hair arranged in double row of curls, while the beard is short and curly as well.

Rev. DNIVSTINIANUSMULTUSAN Bust of the emperor, facing, wearing the crown with "globus cruciger," and jewelled costume with loros; in right hand, the cross potent on three steps; in his left, a globus inscribed PAX, and surmounted by a double-barred ("patriarchal") cross.12

Plate I, 7.

The fractional gold issues show the conventional changes in the cross potent held in the emperor's right hand. Hence, although no mint-mark is used, the emperor is still indicated as occupying the reverse ( Plate I, 8).13


Obv. DNIHSCHSREXREGNANTIUM Bust of Christ facing, exactly as on Type III.

Rev. DNIUSTINIANUSETTIBERIUSPPAU Bust of Justinian II, bearded, on left, and bust of Tiberius, beardless, on right, both facing; both wear crowns with "globus cruciger," divitision, and chlamys; each supports with his right hand a cross potent on steps, which occupies the center of the field.14

Plate I, 9.

The fractional gold pieces show the conventional alterations in the cross potent held by the two Augusti, confirming that they are still on the reverse of the coin ( Plate I, 10).15


Obv. Similar to reverse of Type IV, save that the co-emperors hold a globus inscribed "PAX" and surmounted by a "patriarchal" cross, as on the reverse of Type III.

Rev. Similar to Type I, with the proper epigraphic changes to accommodate the existence of two Augusti.16

Plate 1, 11.

Solidi and fractional gold of this type are known only from Western mints, including issues of 1/4 solidus, while the obverse type was used with conventional reverses on Constantinopolitan bronze which appears to have been the normal counterpart of Type IV at that mint ( Plate 1, 12).17

The basic identification of the Byzantine mints is fairly well established, but it was Laffranchi's achievement to arrive at a new and more satisfactory analysis of the mints of Italy for the period leading up to the accession of Leo III, on the basis of more complete information (provenance, local collections, etc.) than had been available to his predecessors. At variance with Wroth, then, Laffranchi distinguished four mints in Italy: at Ravenna, at Rome, somewhere in South Italy, and in Sicily. The Sicilian mint of this period can be proven by certain mint-marks to have been located at Syracuse; that in South Italy, which was in close touch with the mint of the Lombard dukes of Beneventum, may have been located at Naples.18

Ricotti Prina's more recent study of the Sicilian coinage has supplemented but not altered Laffranchi's findings about the series and sequences of imperial coins of this period;19 but he has also been able to distinguish a series of coins of a particular type as the product of a mint established on Sardinia, probably at Cagliari, in the territory of the Exarchate of Africa.20 The first issues of this new mint, which have a fabric similar to the thick Carthaginian one, appeared during Justinian II's first reign, when Carthage was already threatened by Arab raids and attacks ( Plate 1, 11).

Integrating these additions to the previous arrangements of the mints, we find that we can obtain the following picture of the numismatic activity of the two reigns of Justinian II, according to the known gold coins:21



Sardinia: Type I–A, I, II, III, and IV–B.


ROME: Type I–A, I, III, IV, IV–B.



The scheme of arrangement which we have followed in numbering and presenting the coin issues of Justinian II is, with a few exceptions in detail, the conventional order used in previous numismatic studies, based on a few self-evident facts. It may be well, at this point in our study, to indicate that, on the other hand, this arrangement is essentially an arbitrary one. These are the points on which it is based:

Type I–A is clearly the earliest struck, both because its types are derived directly from previous numismatic issues, and because it portrays the emperor in beardless boyhood. Type I, for the same reasons, follows immediately after.

Types IV and IV–B, on the other hand, are plainly late—they must date from the second reign, when Justinian's infant son Tiberius had been named Augustus.22 On the other hand, they would appear to have been issued more or less simultaneously, Type IV at Constantinople and Rome, IV–B elsewhere in the West, with the bronze equivalent of IV–B serving at the capital. This leaves only Types II and III to be placed in their relative chronological positions; we may do that by virtue of the similarity of Types III and IV which, although not requiring the assumption of an absolute chronological precedence of Type II over Type III, makes it clear that the morphology of these types did tend in the direction II–III–IV rather than III–II–IV.

Another observation points to the same conclusion: we have already remarked that on Types II, III and IV, it is Christ who occupies the obverses of the coins, while the emperor is on the reverses.23 This is something quite unprecedented in the imperial numismatic iconography, for which there is no parallel in earlier issues of either Christian or pagan emperors; the obverse, the side of greatest honor, had always been reserved for the imperial image of highest rank. This resignation of the obverse by the emperor to Christ is most clearly seen, however, on Type II, where the inclusion of the mint-mark seals confirmation of the change of position. The design of Types III and IV make it more difficult to include a mint-mark and, in fact, the mint-mark is dropped entirely on these coins. (The question arises as to which consideration came first: was the mint-mark omitted because the design left no place for it, or was a design chosen which left no room for the mint-mark?)

In any case, the fact that the emperor or emperors still occupy the reverse on Types III and IV can be determined by comparing the fractional gold, on which the base of the cross potent held by the rulers changes to follow the coin's denomination. This, however, is an indication seen most clearly only when a variety of gold pieces is at hand, not when the coins are examined one at a time; hence a less obvious one. On post-Iconoclastic coins, too, where the image of Christ became a common type, there is even less of an obvious indication of whether the emperor or the Christ-image occupies the obverse; but when the scyphate series begins, it is to be seen that Christ always occupies the anvil die, which more or less by definition is considered that of the obverse.24

End Notes

1 That the imperial image, as presented on coins, retained its sacred character as an object worthy of reverence even after the Restoration of the Images, and even in the eyes of the Orthodox iconophiles, is demonstrated by the incident at the Eighth Oecumenical Council of 869 (Mansi, op, cit, XVI, col. 388), cited by Ladner in D, O, Papers VII, p. 32, n. 156.
2 These are: J. Sabatier, Description générale des monnaies byzantines II, Paris, 1862, pp. 19–26 and" 32–5, Pl. XXXVII and XXXVIII; W. Wroth, Imperial Byzantine Coins in the British Museum (hereafter BMC) II, London, 1908, pp. 330–45 and 354–7, Pl. XXXVIII, XL; and J. Tolstoi, Monnaies Byzantines (in Russian) VIII, St. Petersburg, 1914, pp. 832–70 and 890–6, PI. 61–2 and 63.
3 The only studies relating specifically to the coinage of Justinian II are the following two: Giulio di San Quintino, Delle monete dell'imperatore Gius-tiniano II, Torino, 1845; and A. R. Bellinger, 'The Gold Coinage of Justinian II," Archaeology III, June, 1950, pp. 107–11. San Quintino's monograph, which seems to have escaped the notice of the cataloguers listed in n. 2 above, has been largely superseded by their work, since they had at their disposal considerably greater quantities of specimens from which to form their conclusions. It does have at least an academic interest, however, in its valiant attempt to survey the problems of the bronze coinage of the period. The author gathered a large number of pieces, for the most part of Italian provenance, and although many must now be reattributed, his plates repay careful study, as has been shown by the work of Ricotti Prina mentioned below. Bellinger's article is not in the nature of a catalogue, but gives a clear idea of the qualitative as well as the stylistic distinction with which the coinage of Justinian II must be credited. The same author has returned to a related area of study in a more recent article, 'Coins and Byzantine Imperial Policy," Speculum XXXI, 1956, pp. 70–81.More directly pertinent to our own study, although specifically concerned not with the coins of Justinian II but with those of his period as a whole, is the key article by L. Laffranchi, 'La numismatica di Leonzio II. Studio su un periodo della monetazione Italo-Bizantina," Numismatica e Scienze Affini (now Numismatica) IV, 1938, pp. 73–4; ibid. V, 1939, pp. 7–15, 91–2. Reprinted as a complete essay, Perugia, 1940. Laffranchi, although not a specialist in the Byzantine field, was able by the application of techniques of stylistic, iconographic, orthographic and paleographic methodology to make a set of convincing new attributions of mints for the Italian coinage of this period; most important of all, he succeeded in identifying for the first time the coins of Leontius, in a series previously attributed to Leo III, by means of a monogram on certain Western bronzes, which monogram, including an unmistakable 'T", must pertain to Leontius, rather than to Leo (identified on his coins simply as 'Leon.")(More recently, a simple explanation has been found for the identification of Leontius on most of his coins as 'Leo," in the fact that the latter was the imperial name he assumed at his coronation, the former his original given name. Just so Apsimar became the emperor Tiberius, Bardanes Philippicus, and so on. The similarity of the parts of the double name, 'Leo Leontius," was probably what led the chroniclers to overlook his official name, and retain his former one, to the long-standing confusion of struggling numismatists: J. P. C. Kent, 'The Mystery of Leontius II," Numismatic Chronicle VI: 14, 1954. pp. 217–8.)Finally, there is the important study by Diego Ricotti Prina, 'La monetazione siciliana nell'epoca bizantina," Numismatica XVI, 1950, pp. 26–60 & PI. I–IV, which further clarifies the situation as regards Sicilian mints of this period, as well as some related problems, as we shall indicate in our notes below.
4 The exception is a solidus from the A. M. Friend, Jr., Collection, now in Dumbarton Oaks.
5 This group of coins is usually catalogued together with those of our Type I but, as Prof. Bellinger has pointed out, belongs to a distinct series, both by virtue of the youthful portraiture and of the different obverse inscription, which is consistent despite changes in dies. Examples include BMC II, p. 331, Nos. 3, 5 and 6 (Constantinople mint); p. 337, 32 (Carthage) and p. 336, 30 (given by Wroth to Carthage but now attributed to Sardinia; cf. below, p. 11–5); also Tolstoi, op. cit. VIII, p. 837, 13 & 16, and p. 843, 41 (Carthage); and Laffranchi, Numismatica e Scienze Affini V, 1939, p. 8, Pl. 1, figs. 1–2 (Constantinople) and p. 11, Pl. V, figs. 1–2 (Rome).The absence of the letter "D", for "Dominus," suggests that this type might have been issued before the death of Constantine IV; Justinian II was given the rank of Augustus in 680. But in this case we should expect the re- verse inscription to be in the plural with reference to the Augusti, which it is not; and to judge by dated examples, the "beardless" bronze (cf. below, n. 6) was issued, certainly at least in part, after 685. It is probably best to consider this merely the initial issue of the new emperor, carried on longer at some officinae than at others.
6 A tremissis is illustrated by Laffranchi, loc. cit., p. 11, Pl. V,figs. 17–18 (Rome). Prof. Bellinger has also drawn our attention to the series of bronze coins with beardless portraits, some of which appear to have inscriptions beginning without the "D", although others decidedly do not. One consistent group of bronzes with beardless portrait, in both folles and half-folles, has the word "PAX" on the reverse, and is generally somewhat heavier than other bronze issues of Justinian II of the same denominations. If, as we have suggested above, pp. gft, the early years of Justinian II's first reign were devoted to promoting peace and harmony throughout the empire and abroad, this series may be linked to the beginning of his reign in a direct way. No conclusions of this sort can safely be drawn, however, until far more research has been devoted to these coins, and the dated examples fully collated. Published examples include Sabatier, op. cit. II, p. 26, 21; Tolstoi, op. cit. VIII, p. 853, 79, & p. 856, 87–8; and R. Ratto, Sale Catalogue, Lugano, 1930, No. 1696.
7 BMC II, pp. 330–1, 1–2, 4, 7–10 (Constantinople); p. 337, 33–6 (Carthage); p. 336, 29 (Carthage-Sardinia); p. 341, 51 (Rome); pp. 342–3, 56–9 (South Italy); also Tolstoi, op. cit. VIII, pp. 835–40, 1–12, 14, 15, 17–26; p. 843, 40 (Carthage); Laffranchi, loc. cit., p. 8, PI. I, figs. 3–4 (Constantinople); p. 10, PI. Ill, 1–2 (Ravenna); p. 11, PI. V, 3–4 (Rome); p. 12, PI. IX, 1–4 (Syracuse); and also probably p. 12, PI. VIII, 13–4 (S. Italy), at this time rather than after 705; also Ricotti Prina, Numismatica XVI, 1950, pp. 41–2, 124–30 (Syracuse).
8 San Quintino, op. cit., pp. 12–3 & passim, makes much of the beardless portraits, coupling them with those on the Western fractional gold to toy with the idea that the emperor was beardless throughout his entire first reign. Of course the fractional gold provides no evidence for the imperial portraiture, and the beardless type of solidi were probably issued over a far shorter period; cf. above, n. 5.
9 Fractional gold: BMC II, p. 333, 19–21 (Constantinople); p. 338, 37–44 (Carthage); p. 342, 54 (Rome); pp. 343–5, 61–73 (S. Italy); Tolstoi, op. cit. VIII, pp. 843–7, 42–4 46–59 p; p. 849–50, 67–71; Laffranchi, loc. cit., p. 8, Pl. I, 11–2 & 17–8 (Constantinople); p. 10, Pl. III, 7–10 (Ravenna); p. 11, PL V, 19–20 (Rome); p. 13, Pl. IX, 19–20 (Syracuse); and Ricotti Prina, loc. cit., p. 42, 131–6 (Syracuse).Silver: BMC II, p. 334, 25 (Constantinople); Tolstoi, op. cit. VIII, pp. 850–1, 72–3.Bronze: BMC II, p. 335 (unnumbered, Constantinople); p. 339, 45–6 (Carthage); p. 339, 47 (Sicily); Tolstoi, op. cit. VIII, pp. 852–7, 78–92; Laffranchi, loc. cit., p. 8, Pl. I, 25–6 (Constantinople); p. 10, PL III, 25–8 (Ravenna); p. 13, PL IX, 21–30 (Syracuse); and Ricotti Prina, loc. cit., pp. 42–3, 137–152.Known dates on the bronzes include the years I, II, III, V (?), VII, and X. These are usually dated from 685, the year of accession, rather than from the date of coronation as Augustus in 680: cf. Ricotti Prina, loc. cit., p. 58, n. 20, as well as F. Délger, Regesten der Kaiserurkunden des Ostrémischen Reiches I, Monaco, 1924, p. 28, n. 236.
10 BMC II, pp. 331–2, 11–17 (Constantinople); p. 336, 31 (Carthage-Sardinia); Tolstoi, op. cit. VIII, pp. 840–1, 27–34; Laffranchi, loc. cit., p. 8, PL I, 5–6 (Constantinople).
11 Fractional gold: BMC II, p. 333, 22–3 (tremissis of Constantinople); Tolstoi, op. cit VIII, p. 844, n. 1 (a semis taken from Sabatier, op. cit. II, p. 23, 4 & PI. XXXVII, 4, apparently drawn from an actual piece on which the standing emperor holds a cross potent on globus base; but the lack of obverse reference and source in Sabatier makes it impossible to substantiate the authenticity of this otherwise unique coin), and pp. 847–8, 60–3, (all tremisses); and Laffranchi, loc. cit., p. 8, PI. I, 19–20 (tremissis of Constantinople).Silver: BMC II, p. 334, 26–7 (Constantinople); Tolstoi, op. cit. VIII, p. 851, 74–5.Among the wide variety of Sicilian bronzes dated to the first reign are certain ones with standing emperor type similar to that of the reverse of this issue. Cf. BMC II, p. 340, 48–50, and Laffranchi, loc. cit., p. 13, PI. IX, 25–6. These are, on the other hand, only variants of standing-emperor types which otherwise go back to types established by Heraclius and Constans II. For the whole problem, cf. Ricotti Prina, op. cit.
12 BMC II, p. 332, 18 (Constantinople); p. 341, 53 (Rome); p. 343, 60 (S. Italy); Tolstoi, op. cit. VIII, pp. 841–3, 35–9; Laffranchi, loc. cit., p. 9, PI. II, 33–4 (Constantinople); and Ricotti Prina, loc. cit., p. 57, n. 1, attributing a coin of this type illustrated in San Quintino, op. cit., to the Sardinian mint. Ricotti Prina also raises the possibility of a Syracusan sub-type of this Type III, with emperor in loros costume, but with normal stepped-cross reverse: loc. cit., p. 46, 171. If this piece has been accurately described, this type bears the same relationship to our Type III as our Type IV–B does to Type IV; but the question hinges on whether or not the emperor is actually wearing the costume of Type III. Inasmuch as Ricotti Prina was unable to be certain of this from the illustration in his source, a sales catalogue, we deem it proper to suggest that this is more probably a Syracusan example of Type I, in bad condition.
13 Cf. the discussion below, pp. 26f.Fractional gold: BMC II, p. 334, 24 (Constantinople); p. 342, 55 (given to Rome, but more probably South Italian); p. 345, 74 (S. Italy); Tolstoi, op. cit. VIII, p. 844, 45 (called a semis, but the base of the cross held by the emperor is plain, so the piece is almost certainly a tremissis of wider than normal flan); pp. 848–9, 64–6; and Laffranchi, loc. cit., p. 9, Pl. II, 49–50 (Constantinople). All the above are tremisses, but in the part of the Whittemore Collection on loan to Dumbarton Oaks from the Fogg Museum of Art, are two semisses of this type, and from the Constantinople mint.Silver: BMC II, p. 335, 28 (Constantinople); and Tolstoi, op. cit. VIII, pp. 851–2, 76–7.Bronze: Ricotti Prina, loc. cit., p. 46, 172 (Syracuse), as well as an unpublished follis and five other bronzes of various denominations at Dumbarton Oaks.
14 BMC II, p. 354, 1–2 (Constantinople); Tolstoi, op. cit. VIII, p. 892, 1–2; Laffranchi, loc. cit., p. 9, Pl. II, 35–6 (Constantinople).
15 Fractional gold: BMC II, pp. 354–5, 3–6 (Constantinople); p. 356, 11 (tremissis of Rome); Tolstoi, op. cit. VIII, pp. 893–4, 4–10 Laffranchi, loc. cit., p. 9, Pl. II, 45–6 (semis of Constantinople); a piece of ¼-solidus weight is also known, as an example in the Shaw Collection at Dumbarton Oaks.Silver: BMC II, p. 355, 7 (Constantinople); Tolstoi, op. cit. VIII, p. 895, 12.The bronze issues struck concurrently with this type are found under Type IV-B, n. 17, below.
16 BMC II, p. 357, 12 (S. Italy); Tolstoi VIII, p. 893, 3; Laffranchi, loc. cit., p. 10, PL IV, 35–6 (Ravenna, erroneously identified in the text as a coin of Artemius Anastasius); and Ricotti Prina, loc. cit., p. 57, n. 1, the reattribution of Ratto, Sales Catalogue, No. 1709, to Sardinia. (Another of these Sardinian solidi is in the Pierce Collection at Dumbarton Oaks.)
17 A South Italian semis is published by Laffranchi, loc. cit., p. 12, PL VIII, 29–30. Otherwise, only a group of 1/4-solidus weight gold pieces are known, now attributed to the Sardinian mint: cf. Ricotti Prina, loc. cit., p. 57, n. 1, discussing Tolstoi, op. cit. VIII, p. 894, 11, and Ratto, Sales Catalogue, No. 1711. Ratto No. 1710, now at Dumbarton Oaks, is another example.Silver of this type is unknown.Bronze: BMC II, pp. 335–6, 8–10 (Constantinople); Tolstoi, op. cit. VIII, pp. 895–6, 13–17; Laffranchi, loc. cit., p. 9, Pl. II, 57–8 (Constantinople); p. 11, PL VI, 37–8 (Rome, erroneously identified in the texé; and Ricotti Prina, loc. cit., p. 46, 173 (Syracuse).
18 Cf. the bronze coins of XX nummia, Tolstoi, op. cit. VIII, p. 857.
19 Op. cit.
20 Ibid., p. 57, n. 1, as detailed in the notes above.
21 Grabar, L'iconoclasme , pp. 16–7, goes to considerable length to refute the theory set forth by Tolstoi, op. cit. VIII, pp. 842–3, that all our coins of Types III and IV, that is those with the curly-bearded Christ-image, were of Western origin. There is ample evidence that only the smaller proportion of coins of these types were struck at Western mints, while the bulk are of definitely Constantinopolitan style; cf. Laffranchi, op. cit., esp. pp. 7–15.
22 Cf. above, p. 15.
23 Grabar, in his description of these coins of Justinian II, Liconoclasme, pp. 16–7 and elsewhere, follows his own precedent from L'empereur, pp. 19–20, in mistaking obverse and reverse—a mistake common, for that matter, to most publications of these coins. Judging by inconsistencies within L'iconoclasme itself, however—p. 16, Christ on "revers;" p. 17, Christ on "avers;" p. 220, Justinian II on "revers," etc.—the author is merely unaware of the significant numismatic and symbolic distinction between obverse and reverse on the imperial coins.
24 As Prof. Bellinger has pointed out, this is true of the entire scyphate series with the exception of one type struck by Romanus IV, which appears to be a special case in that Christ does not occupy the die by himself: BMC II, Pl. LXI, 12.


Bellinger has remarked that the coins of Justinian II show a far higher level of technical and artistic proficiency than those of his immediate predecessors,1 an observation which has been echoed by Kitzinger, who would place the beginning of the change with the last issues of Constantine IV.2 A far more plastic conception of the portrait-image, a general rejection of the conventionalized types which had become so routine in the seventh century, in favor of extremely delicate workmanship (drapery details, delineation of eyes, etc.) which represented a new effort at convincing realism of imagery; all these are indications of a new policy in the Constantinople mint. This new style appears to continue through the first reign of Justinian II and that of Leontius (leading to the distinction in style which made the misattributed issues of the latter ruler so conspicuous when displayed among the flatter, more schematized types of Leo III) and even with diminishing force through the second reign and beyond, a full generation from the starting date around or before 685.

One of the results of this apparent interest in the quality of the coin dies, whatever its ultimate cause, is a strong sense of portraiture to be gained from perusing these coins, especially the solidi. What the significance of the renewed realism of the coin images may have been, can only be determined after a complete examination of all the types involved.

One type of emperor-portrait is common to three of our five coin types: the figure wearing the divitision and chlamys, crowned, and holding one form or another of the globus cruciger, is seen on Types I–A and I ( Plate 1, 12), where Justinian II appears alone, and again on Types IV and IV–B ( Plate I, 911), where he shares honors with his infant son Tiberius, who is costumed identically.

In describing Type I, Wroth used the terms "mantle and robe" for the emperor's garments, and remarked3 that here for the first time he could positively describe an emperor as wearing this form of nonmilitary dress; he confessed, however, that in its general lines the costume seems to be found on earlier issues, as far back as Heraclius. It is there, in point of fact, that a careful examination of the coin types will indicate that the real introduction of this civil costume must be placed.

Let us review for a moment the development of Byzantine coin types leading up to this change. The restriction of themes on the imperial coinage between the fourth and the sixth centuries, which Grabar has so trenchantly described,4 brought about, by the time of the accession of Justinian I, a situation wherein the variety of coin types in use had become extremely limited indeed. The solidi bore a three-quarter facing bust portrait of the emperor, a type which had originated under Constantius II in the fourth century ( Plate II, 16); the ruler appears clad in armor, wearing a helmet, carrying a spear over his right shoulder, and bearing a decorated shield before his left one. The fractional gold issues had profile portraits, as did the silver and bronze coins; it was on the last-named metal that the only recent modification had been effected, under Anastasius I, when a new denominational system was established, based upon the follis of 40 nummia, whereby each denomination of bronze coin was identified by means of capital letters on the reverse, denoting the value in Greek or Latin numerals.5

Beginning with the year 538–9, however, Justinian I introduced new types, featuring full-face portraits of the emperor, still wearing the cuirass, but now with a crown instead of a helmet, and holding in his right hand the globus cruciger ( Plate II, 17).6 This went into effect in all metals, although the fractional gold, on which it was difficult to attempt the frontal bust, tended to continue to represent the monarch in profile as before.

On the bronze, a system of dating was introduced at the same time as the new type (enabling us to be so precise about the exact time of the innovation), by which the reverses were numbered according to the emperor's regnal year. This makes it possible to date the bronze coins of Justinian I and of many of his successors, right down to Justinian II.7 The practice can be linked directly to a Novella of 31 August, 537 A. D., which ordered the abandonment of the old custom of dating by post-consulate, and its replacement by the use of the Indiction Year or of the regnal year of the current ruler.8

These new types of Justinian I continued to dominate Byzantine coinages, with certain exceptions to be discussed later, until the reign of Heraclius. That emperor, in his earlier issues, after employing at first the very dies of Phocas,9 continued the frontal type, showing armor worn under a paludamentum thrown across the shoulders ( Plate II, 18).10 Starting about 613–14, however, Heraclius began to appear in a slightly different costume, using almost the same elements, but in which no trace of armor is visible ( Plate II, 19).11 This, we believe, is the true beginning of the mantle-and-robe, or more properly chlamys-and-divitision type.

The costume may be seen in full on some later coins of Heraclius, where the chlamys falls full to the wearer's ankles,12 and it was employed by his son and successor, Constans II.13 Constantine IV, on the other hand, dropped this type, and went all the way back to the three-quarter-face military portrait which had prevailed from the reign of Constantius II to that of Justinian I, and which may have seemed appropriate to the warlike preoccupations of his troubled reign ( Plate II, 20); he also employed some of the full-face types which originated with Justinian I, just as he issued a series of bronze coins comparable in size and weight only to those of that emperor.14

What Justinian II did on his first coins, then, was to revive the types of his grandfather, Constans II; when he sought to associate himself with his own son, during his second reign, he used the same costume and a directly related type to convey the sense of the coregency of the two Augusti, father and son.

If the designs of Justinian II's coin Types IV and IV–B present a certain semblance of originality, this is iconographically speaking more apparent than real. The idea of co-rulers clasping a symbol of power simultaneously to indicate their joint imperium was common on coin types from the third to the fifth century; the placing of family busts on coin reverses, on the other hand, was a favorite practice of the earlier Heraclians. The particular composition here employed was arrived at, no doubt, for Type IV, where it was necessary for the two Augusti to support the cross potent, as a symbol among other things of the coin's value; when the type was carried over to the obverse, on Type IV–B, and the cross potent had the reverse to itself, the composition with the two co-emperors was retained without difficulty.

The legends, too, "Dominus Iustinianus Perpetuus Augustus," and "Domini Nostri Iustinianus et Tiberius Perpetui Augusti," are in keeping with the Roman and Byzantine traditions of coin legends, which the Byzantines tended to restrict to the barest essentials of titulature and nomenclature.

Concerning the costume, aside from what evidence we have from coins and other material remains, we can gain considerable information from the Book of Ceremonies. Despite its late date, in the tenth century, the antiquity and traditionalism of garments such as these make the evidence of this book trustworthy with regard to general significance and applicability.15

The references to the chlamys, when assembled as Ebersolt has done,16 make it clear that this was the garment of highest dignity in the imperial wardrobe, one of the primary symbols of imperial power. Not only was it worn on many, indeed on nearly all the great civil and religious festivals of Byzantium, but it was the garment which was placed on the emperor's shoulders at his coronation, at the same time that the crown was put on his head; it was worn, too, by the deceased emperor on his catafalque. The use of the chlamys as such was not, of course, restricted to the imperial family; while the imperial chlamys was made of purple cloth, embroidered in gold, there were similar mantles in other prescribed materials and colors which were worn by the various ranks of court dignitaries. As the robes of mandarins of imperial China were embroidered with dragons of different type, so the chlamys of the Byzantine dignitary was additionally decorated with an ornate colored tabulum, whose embroidered details indicated both his status and the occasion of wearing.

The divitision, sometimes equated in Byzantine writings with the ancient chiton, was a belted tunic-like garment slightly shorter than the chlamys, which might be worn not only under that cloak, but under the sagion or the tzitzakion, as the occasion required. This tunic was worn without an overgarment at the coronation until the moment when the chlamys was placed over the imperial shoulders.17

As regards the crown, we have considerable information in our sources about a variety of crowns used for various occasions;18 but, thus far at any rate, it has proven impossible to relate this information to the visual evidence of the coins and other material remains. The type of crown worn by Justinian II on his coins, apparently a fairly plain filleted circlet surmounted in front by a semicircular ornament itself topped by a small cross, appears to have originated with Constans II, and is first clearly discernable on that ruler's coins ( Plate III, 21).19 Heraclius (and his sons, when shown) wore a similar crown, but one on which the central ornament comes down across the front of the circlet, and which was in use from at least the sixth century ( Plate II, 1819).20 The type of crown introduced by Constans II, on the other hand, remained in use long after the fall of the Heraclian Dynasty. It is the only type of crown seen on the coins of the Isaurians (wherever detail is fine enough to ensure that a distinct type of specific crown is being portrayed) until the reign of Leo IV. At that time, a new crown seems to be introduced, with no semicircle at all, but a simple cross surmounting the front ( Plate III, 22).21 Both this and the preceding type are seen on coins of the succeeding Iconoclast emperors, but by the reign of Michael IV the simpler crown-with-cross has become the only type used. As mentioned above, the sources indicate that more than one crown was in use by the Byzantine monarchs, at least in the tenth century; but we are unable to form even a hypothetical opinion as to which one may have been the dominant type, and hence the one represented numismatical-ly, in the seventh and eighth centuries.

The globus, carried in the ruler's hand as a symbol of world domination, was of course of great antiquity in the Roman world.22 Already under the Roman Republic, it was held by the goddess Roma, a representation which survived into Christian times.23 In the later Empire, it is seen most frequently surmounted by the Nike, who crowns its holder, as on a medallion of Constantius II ( Plate III, 24),24 and as such it survived through the first century of the Christian Empire. But even during that time the tendency toward Christianization of the imperial symbols was suggested, as on a coin of the ephemeral usurper Nepotianus, in 350, where the globus is shown surmounted by the Chi-Rho monogram.25 It does not appear to have received the cross, however, until the reign of Theodosius II ( Plate III, 23),26 at a time when the cross-sceptre also makes its first numismatic appearance on the same series,27 and when the cross as a symbol took on great importance in the imperial coinage, as apparently in the general context of religious art as a whole. As regards the globus cruciger, however, it became an integral element of the imperial-portrait coin type on the new issues of Justinian I, and as such it is used in Type I of Justinian II, a "normal" attribute of the Byzantine ruler.

The large cross potent on steps, which is used on the reverse of the solidi of Type I (and, on globus or without base, on the fractional gold of the series), can also be traced as a type to the coins of Theodosius II, 28 where for the first time a new reverse type is introduced, the standing figure of Victory in profile to the left, holding before her a tall, broad-armed Latin cross whose outline is decorated with something like pearls ( Plate III, 25).29 On the basis of the legend, VOT XX MVLT XXX, this issue may be linked to the vicennalia of Theodosius II, while the combination of imperial personages in whose name the type was struck (obverses of Theodosius II, his wife Eudocia, his sister Pulcheria, his uncle Honorius the Western emperor, and his aunt Placidia) makes it possible to date it quite precisely to the year 423 A. D.30

This adaptation of the familiar imperial image of Nike planting a trophy in symbol of victory was introduced on the coinage of the vicennalia of Theodosius II for good reason: the occasion almost certainly was the conclusion of peace, the preceding year, after a brief and successful war against the Sassanian ruler BahramV, caused in the first place by religious persecutions against Christian residents of the Persian domain. In the peace treaty, Theodosius II won new assurances of toleration of the Christian faith from the Persians, and his victory was celebrated as a major triumph for the Empire and for the Faith.31

For the particular form taken by the cross on this coin type, another contemporary event furnishes the clue. Only two years earlier, in 420–1,32 Theodosius II had sent money to Jerusalem to endow the erection of a great jewelled cross on Golgotha, on the site of the crucifixion.33 This great ornamented cross must have been the inspiration for the type placed in the hand of the Nike on the coins of the vicennalia, as it is for succeeding representations of the cross as the instrument of Christian imperial victory.

The type was modified by succeeding rulers, as the cross might or might not be shown with jewelled edges, and as the Nike was turned full-face, and then was transformed into a true Angel (wearing masculine rather than feminine garments) on the coins of Justin I, from about 519 A. D. ( Plate III, 26).34 Finally, on the coins of Tiberius II, the supporting figure was dropped entirely,35 and the cross on steps became the standard reverse type of the solidi, as seen on the first issues of Justinian II. On the other hand, as Frolow has shown, on his coins of Type II Justinian II actually reverts to the earlier type, and himself replaces the Nike who originally supported the victorious cross.36

On Types II and III, of course, the emperor is wearing a different variety of imperial costume, characterized by the loros, the broad embroidered and bejewelled scarf which was worn wound about the upper part of the body, with its ends falling almost to the feet ( Plate I, 57). Contemporary documentation on this costume is sparse, but its place in the Byzantine ceremonial can be ascertained by the use of the invaluable Book of Ceremonies, and most particularly by consultation of the chapter on the imperial regalia.37 In that chapter, we find the loros mentioned with reference to only one occasion, Easter Sunday, when, after the preliminary ceremonies in the Triklinos of the Nineteen Akoubitoi, the emperor put on the loros and the "white or red crown, as it pleases him," while taking a sceptre in his left hand, and the anexikakia in his right. In this costume he proceeded to the mitatorion, the imperial robing room at the Great Church; but he removed the loros in favor of the chlamys before participating in the religious ceremonials there. After communion, he resumed the loros for the return to the Palace. So important was this particular occasion that Constantine Porphyrogenitus left among his papers an additional essay on the significance of the costume: Book II, Chapter 40, is entitled, "Why it is that on Easter Sunday the emperor, the magistri, the proconsuls and the patricians wear the loros."38 Here the costume is described as symbolizing both the death and the resurrection of Christ; the loros, wound about the body like a winding-sheet, is yet studded with gems and embroidered with gold; the sceptre bespeaks Christ's victory over death by means of the cross; the anexikakia, the roll, wrapped in cloth and filled with dust, recalls our mortal bodies, embraced by the Book of Life.

Another analogy follows, however: immediately after this description we find a second explanation, namely, that the costume and paraphernalia are, essentially, those of the ancient consuls of Rome; they are borne by the patricians, then, as a reminder of the glories of former times, when men became kings for a year, and assumed not only the privileges, but the heavy responsibilities of the administration of the state. This is a clue, obviously: even in the tenth century it was remembered that this costume, of which the loros was the most characteristic feature, was that of the Roman consuls. In the history of the consulate under the Byzantine emperors, and in the history of the consular dress, may lie some of the answers we seek. Let us first see of what the costume consisted at the apogee of its splendor.

Study of the most significant of the monuments related to the consular office, that is, the consular diptychs, has revealed most of the information necessary to an understanding of the consular costume.39 The basic elements of the dress were as follows: the undermost garment was a long tunic with full sleeves. Over this was worn a shorter, very full and sleeveless colobium, another variety of tunic which appears to have entered the consular regalia in the course of the third century A. D.; outermost was the consular toga, which might be, according to the importance of the occasion, either the plain white toga of every-day wear, or the purple toga which bears the name trabea, and which in its highest grades was of gold, embroidered with pearls and precious stones. This costume was completed by the ceremonial boots, or calcei, and the insignia of office, most particularly the mappa and the sceptre ( Plate IV, 29).40

The simple trabea costume, with a purple trabea rather than the embroidered one, was worn by the Viri consulares, the men of consular rank; the consuls themselves during their term of office wore what is called, significantly, the triumphal costume, with the tunic purple and bordered with gold, the colobium also purple, and the trabea, which developed during the history of the Empire into the form of a wide scarf decorated with gold rosettes. It was John Lydus, of our sources, who in the sixth century first applied the Greek word, loros, to the trabea.41

In origin, all these garments had their antecedents in Roman Republican usage, when they had vague associations with still earlier traditions of the monarchy. The basic elements of the costume, which was essentially that of the Triumphator, were the tunica palmata42 worn underneath the toga picta;43 these were the garments worn by the statue of Jupiter Capitolinus, who bestowed victory upon the arms of Rome.44 The emperor Augustus made the toga picta a part of his own regular costume for ceremonial occasions; the triumphal and consular costumes gradually lost whatever distinctions may have existed between them prior to this time, and by the second century of our era were to all intents and purposes identical;45 at the same time, of course, the right to receive a triumph had become the exclusive prerogative of the emperors, so that there was no such thing as a triumphal costume for any other member of the state. During the fourth century, the trabea or toga picta assumed its final, narrow form of scarf, as we see it in representations of the loros.46

The sceptre too was linked to this triumphal iconography of the consular costume, but there was one attribute which was not: the mappa. The mappa was held in the consul's right hand at the games over which he presided on the first of January, his inauguration day, and it was thrown down as the signal to commence the performance. The first mappae portrayed on the consular diptychs have the appearance of a limp cloth, like the napkins for which they were named; but in the sixth century the mappa was given added firmness by the insertion of a roll of paper inside the cloth, as described by the Porphyrogenitus in the Book of Ceremonies.47 This type of mappa received the Greek name akakia, whence the parentage of the Byzantine anexikakia is direct.48

The fact that in its origins the mappa was, and always remained so long as it was an attribute of the consular office properly speaking, a simple instrument of the producer of the spectacles, is clear from all the texts. According to Cassiodorus, it dates from the time of Nero, who one day delayed the start of the games by staying late at table for a particularly fine luncheon. When the crowd in the nearby stadium became unruly at waiting so long, the emperor threw his napkin out the window of the dining-hall, as a signal that the proceedings might begin without him.49 Despite the patness of the story, and the skepticism modern students have shown toward it, there is no evidence that the word, or the use of the napkin-mappa at the games, antedates the reign of Nero.50

The consulate, however, underwent a major alteration in the course of the sixth century—a change which some commentators have considered to mark the very end of the consulate itself.51 What had happened was that by the time of Justinian I the consulate had become not only a purely formal dignity, bestowing on its bearer merely the rights to give certain games, notably those of the first of January, when he was also privileged to free slaves,52 and the right to bestow private and public gifts in honor of his appointment; but these very honors had become an almost intolerable burden for any private citizen, a burden of which the emperor could not but be fully sensible.

Early in the sixth century the last of the consuls retired in Rome; at Constantinople, after certain lapses of appointment, the naming of consuls ceased entirely in 541. This did not mean, however, that the office itself then ceased to exist; instead, there merely ceased to be private holders of the office. At the same time, there remained numerous bearers of the title ex-consul, which for centuries had been an honorific bestowed generously upon men who had never held the eponymic consulate itself, as well as upon those who had; from 541, this title became more common than ever.53

After this time, the consulate proper became purely an imperial office, which the emperor assumed more or less automatically upon commencing his reign; as such, its duties were amalgamated with the others embodied in the imperial responsibilities, to such an extent that the consulate shortly became just another title to be cited in a full list of the imperial dignities, without any distinction of its functions whatsoever. Justin II was the first emperor to celebrate this form of consulate, in 566;54 it was at this time that the imperial diadem was incorporated into the consular regalia.55

It is, furthermore, at this time that the consular costume reappears on the imperial coinage, significantly just at the moment that the consulate had become exclusively an imperial office. Its first occurrence was in the second year of Justin II's successor, Tiberius II ( Plate III, 27);56 the next emperor, Maurice Tiberius, issued at various periods and mints during his reign "consular" types in bronze,57 silver,58 and gold.59 Phocas too minted both solidi60 and bronzes61 of this kind, on which for the first time the consular sceptre appears topped by a cross, instead of by the imperial Roman eagle ( Plate III, 28).

Byzantine coins bear the image of the emperor as consul for the last time in the reign of Heraclius, on a series over which there had long been uncertainty, but which has now been satisfactorily elucidated by Grierson.62 The same emperor raised his eldest son, Heraclius Constantine, to consular rank on the occasion of his own triumph in 631, after the successful conclusion of the Persian Wars;63 thereafter we hear very little of the consular office, although both Constantine IV and Justinian II occasionally dated their acts by consular as well as regnal years, not with standing the fact that the two were identical.64

At the same time, as we have remarked, during the seventh century the practice of creating honorary consuls, called ex-consuls or ἀπύπἀτωυ, became more and more common, as the lead seals of the period, as well as our literary sources, attest.65 During this time, the loros costume, which pertained to the consular functions, became more general in its application to other dignities, as we may find in the account of the procession of Heraclius and his family to the church of S. Sophia on the Kalends of January (at the time of the old consular inaugurations), recorded in the Book of Ceremonies: the ex-prefects, another honorary class, wore the loros on that occasion, after the fashion of the consuls, as the author expresses it.66

During the 68o's, however, it has been noted that the title of exconsul ceases to occur on the lead seals, and seems to have fallen rapidly into disuse.67 On the other hand, in the following century the title of consul itself reappears as an official rank, albeit not a very distinguished one, in the senatorial class. This seems to have been not so much a continuation of the old ex-consular office, as a new position in the court hierarchy, which revived the title, but not the office or status, of the old magistracy.68

The loros, on the other hand, far from being reserved for this class, became a ceremonial garment for several of the highest classes of the nobility, as a number of passages in the Book of Ceremonies make clear. We have already cited the parts of Chapters 46 (37) of Book I, and 40 of Book II, which indicate that the only occasion on which the emperor regularly wore the loros was at Easter.69 This is borne out by the description of the ceremonials of Easter, in Book I, Chapter I,70 where we find the emperor putting on the loros and taking in his right hand the akakia, in his left the cross-sceptre.71 At the same time it is clear that, just as in earlier centuries, there were different types of loros to conform to the different ranks entitled to wear them: a clear distinction is made between the loroi of cloth-of-gold worn on this occasion by the twelve magistri and proconsuls who were to dine with the emperor,72 and the "golden" loroi worn by the lesser dignitaries to whom they were appropriate.73

The loros appears twice more in the Book of Ceremonies: once as the special garment of the "patrician of the girdle;"74 and again, as worn by various dignitaries of the court at a special reception in the Magnaura in 946 A. D.75 These passages illustrate very well the restricted character of the use of the costume in the tenth century: The "patrician of the girdle," a feminine rank of the very highest degree, seems to have been bestowed especially upon female members of the imperial family who were not entitled to the rank of Augusta; the only known bearer of the title was the mother-in-law of the emperor Theophilus, Theoctiste, for whom it was probably created.76 The relatively limited number of occasions on which the garment, at least in its most elaborate form, might be worn is illustrated by the description in Book II, for it is expressly stated that on that occasion things were arranged in the Chrysotriclinium (the site of the loros reception on Easter Sunday of Book I, Chapter I) just as on the occasion of Easter.77

This conscious transfer of the consular costume from its former secular milieu to a religious one, from the first of January to one of the most sacred of Christian festivals, Easter, is undocumented so far as any literal account of the shift, or the reason therefor, is concerned. On the other hand, Ebersolt's notice on the loros78 investigates the evidence, which the author felt was sufficiently clear to permit the conclusion that the celebration of the consular procession, with the attendant distribution of largess which came to constitute the literal meaning of the Greek word for "consulship", was shifted during the eighth century to Eastertime, and that this was the simple reason for the wearing of the consular costume at Easter in the tenth century, when the consular procession itself had at last been completely forgotten, except perhaps by the antiquaries.

The following is the evidence for such a conclusion. The first occasion on which the consular ceremony was recorded, after the time of Heraclius, was at the close of the year 718, when, in December, a son and heir was born to the new emperor Leo III. This son, who was to be Constantine V, was baptized at the earliest possible moment—before, in fact, the infant had been house-broken; after the close of an embarrassing New Year's episode at the font of the Baptistry of S. Sophia, the consular largess was distributed to the crowd outdoors.79

The next recorded instance was at Eastertide of 768, when Constantine V himself had produced heirs; he held a multiple coronation ceremony to establish the titles of all his family. On Good Saturday, he crowned his wife Eudocia as Augusta; the following day he made two of his sons Caesars, and a third one Nobilissimus. That same day, as the rulers were proceeding from the Great Palace to S. Sophia, they ὺπατεἱαυ ἐπоἱησαυ, as well as distributing largess.80

Again, in 799, at Easter, the empress Irene, then sole ruler of the Eastern Empire, made a distribution of money after the custom of the consuls, as it was expressed.81 Finally, in 867, after Basil the Macedonian had murdered his patron Michael III, he made a consular procession, with the attendant largesses, after the coronation ceremony. This took place on the twenty-fourth of September.82

Three of these ceremonials, we see, were in reality attached to occurrences other than simple consular processions: coronations in two cases, a baptism in another. Only the episode under Irene seems to indicate that there persisted a regular practice of holding the consular procession regularly without special motivation, and then at Easter; this would be an ordinary event which would only be mentioned by the chroniclers when something unusual took place, or when something so unprecedented as a woman's assuming the consular duties took place.

Even this meager evidence, however, seems to be enough to indicate at least the outlines of the picture. We have seen that, from the time of Justin II, the emperor counted his consular years as he did his regnal ones; the consular procession thus became associated with the ceremonial of coronation, if not at this time, then shortly thereafter. For this reason, when necessity did not dictate the date of a coronation—that is to say on occasions when a living emperor was raising an heir or other relative to a higher dignity—then that ceremonial might be arranged to take place at the same time as the regular consular celebration. This would explain the choice of a date for the coronation of the family of Constantine V, at Easter; if we extend the analogy back another fifty years, we may take it to mean that at the outset of Leo III's reign, the consular procession was still held in January. That, then, was the fixed part of the recorded ceremonial, and this would explain the ill-advised rush to baptize the infant princeling, since otherwise it would have been preferable to postpone matters a full year for the proper occasion to arrive again. It may also be significant that it was after the time of the incident which earned for Constantine V the sobriquet "Copronymus" that the date of the consular procession was changed. All this, however, remains largely conjectural at the present state of our knowledge of the sources.

What is clear, however, is that the old significance of the processus consularis, namely, victory and triumph, and of the consular costume itself, had not been forgotten in the mid-Byzantine period, but had been translated from the imperial into Christian imagery; this is, fundamentally, why the Book of Ceremonies was right in giving not one but two reasons for the wearing of the loros at Easter. It is also the reason why (contrary to Ebersolt) the celebration and, still more permanently, the costume attached themselves to Easter, the most triumphant of Christian feasts, and not the other way round.

The difficulty in tracing the history of titular office and associated ceremonials of the consulship after the time of Heraclius makes it impossible to determine with certainty the precise significance of the appearance of the consular costume on the coins of Justinian II—if indeed there was one single "precise" significance to its use. But even if there was no single meaning to the introduction of this costume and its attributes, we know that it was not done without clear purpose in mind. We have been able to observe that the office was undergoing modifications at precisely this time, and the honorary title of exconsul seems to have been suppressed almost at the outset of his first reign; it is tempting to risk the conjecture that the office was discontinued deliberately at this time, in conjunction with what seems to have been a concerted policy of restricting the powers of the nobility.83

We are not permitted to hypothesize that any of the changes in date of the procession, or the institution of a new consular order, took place before the Isaurian dynasty came to power. The latter move, as a matter of fact, is one more typical of a newly-established ruling group than of one long in power. We may suggest, however, certain things with which the use of the costume on the coins of Justinian II may have been associated: If the coins commemorate some more or less specific event, there can be no question that it was of the highest ceremonial order; and the date may well have coincided with the date of the consular celebration, whether that was then held in January or at Easter. There can be little question, moreover, that the triumphal significance, in the broadest sense, of the costume was something of which the designer of the new coin type was fully aware.

End Notes

1 Cf. above, p. 19, n. 3.
2 In a lecture delivered at the Dumbarton Oaks Symposium, 1957.
3 BMC II, p. 330, n. 2.
4 L'empereur, p. 159.
5 BMC I, Pl. I–IV, etc.
6 Ibid. I, Pl. IV, 11–2; Pl. V, 4–5; etc.
7 Cf. above, p. 22, n. 9.
8 Nov. XLVII, Corpus iuris civilis, ed. R. Schoell and W. Kroll, vol. II, pp. 283–7. Although Justinian I dated his coins by regnal years, and his practice was followed by most of his successors, some interesting examples of coin series dated by Indiction years have recently been identified by P. Grierson: "Dated solidi of Maurice, Phocas, and Heraclius," Numismatic Chronicle VI, 10, 1950, pp. 49–70, Pl. III–IV.
9 BMC I, Pl. XXIII, 1.
10 Ibid. I, Pl. XXIII, 2–3.
11 Ibid. I, Pl. XXIII, 4–9, etc.
12 Ibid. I, Pl. XXIII, 10–12, etc.
13 Ibid. I, Pl. XXX, 12–15, etc.
14 Ibid.II, Pl. XXXVI, 11–12; XXXVII, 9, 10, 16; XXXVIII, 8, etc.
15 References to these garments may be found throughout the text, but Chapter 46 (37) of Book I, specifically concerned with the imperial costume, sum- marizes its use in a particularly convenient fashion: Constantin Porphyrogénéte, Le Livre des Cérémonies, ed. A. Vogt, Paris, 1935–40 (hereafter De Cer., ed. Vogt), I, pp. 175–9.
16 J. Ebersolt, Mélanges d'histoire et d'archéologie byzantines (extract from the Revue de l'histoire des religions LXXVI), Paris, 1917, pp. 53–6.
17 Ibid., pp. 59–61.
18 Ibid., pp. 67–9.
19 BMC I, Pl. XXX, 12–16.
20 Ibid. I, Pl. XXIII, 4, 8–9, etc
21 Ibid. II, PL XLV, 20–21.
22 Cf. the study by A. Alféldi, in "Insignien und Tracht der rémischen Kaiser," Rém . Mitt. L, 1935, pp. 117–20.
23 Cf. Tolstoi, op. cit. I, PL I, 1, etc.
24 Alféldi, loc. cit., Pl. 10, 6.
25 H. Cohen, Description historique des monnaies frappées sous l'Empire romain VIII, Paris, 1892, p. 2, 2: a solidus in the Vatican Museum.
26 Tolstoi, op. cit. I, Pl. 5, 13, etc.
27 Ibid. I, Pl. 5, 32–6, etc.
28 Cf. A. Frolow, "Numismatique Byzantine et archéologie des lieux saints," Mémorial Louis Petit, Bucarest, 1948, pp. 78–94. Frolow's thesis has certain weaknesses, which are pointed out by Grabar, L'iconoclasme, p. 28, n. 2; but we should hesitate to go so far as Grabar in rejecting the connection between these issues and Theodosius II's other activities concerning the True Cross. It is too much of a coincidence for a jewelled cross to appear at Golgotha, and on the coins of the reigning monarch, at almost the identical moment. Grabar may be correct in hypothesizing a prior erection by Constantine I on the site of the Crucifixion; but this would not destroy the validity of Frolow's thesis about the work of Theodosius II.Accepting, therefore, the basic point made by Frolow, we take the liberty of expanding upon the subject of this particular issue, in order to amplify a few details about the matter which are generally overlooked.
29 Tolstoi, op. cit. I, PL 5, 42–7.
30 Cf. the remarkable, but long-overlooked, article by J. F. W. de Salis, "The Coins of the Two Eudoxias, Eudocia, Placidia, and Honoria, and of Theodosius, Marcian, and Leo I, Struck in Italy," Numismatic Chronicle, N. S. VII, 1867, pp. 203–15. This essay should have settled once and for all time the question of Eudocia vs. Eudoxia on the coins of the reign of Theodosius II, since de Salis pointed out that the latter struck coins not only in the name of his wife Aelia Eudocia, but in that of his daughter Eudoxia II, who married the Western emperor and struck coins in the West as Licinia Eudoxia, but who was apparently called at Constantinople by the same name as her grandmother, Aelia Eudoxia I, wife of Arcadius.Now that the story has been told again, with full credit to de Salis. brilliance and ingenuity, by A. A. Boyce, "Eudoxia, Eudocia, Eudoxia: Dated Solidi of the Fifth Century," American Numismatic Society Museum Notes VI, 1954, pp. 131–42, we may hope that the distinctions between these three ladies will not be lost sight of again.
31 Theoph ., p. 87, etc.; but the fullest Greek account is in Socrates, Historia Ecclesiastica VII, 18–21 (Migne, P. G. LXVII, cols. 773–84). To obtain a glimpse of the other side of the picture, cf. A. Christensen, L'Iran sous les Sassanides, Copenhagen, 1944, pp. 269–81. J. Kollwitz, Ostrémische Plastik der Theodosianischen Zeit, Berlin, 1941, is an able general survey of the arts of this period.
32 Theoph ., pp. 86–7.
33 Cf. Frolow, loc, cit.
34 Cf. A. A. Vasiliev, Justin the First, Cambridge, 1950, pp. 418–26.
35 Grabar, L'iconoclasme , pp. 27–8, suggests that a Constantinian precedent influenced the action of Tiberius IIin establishing this type, and that there may have been a Constantinian monument in Constantinople itself which was the prototype. He also rejects Frolow's emphasis on the continuity of types of the cross on coin reverses, feeling that this was much more of an original departure.
36 Frolow, loc, cit., p. 92.
37 Cf. above, p. 31, n. 15.
38 De Cer., ed. de Reiske, Bonn, 1829, pp. 637–9. Cf. J. B. Bury, "The Ceremonial Book of Constantine Porphyrogennetos," English Historical Review LXXXVI, 1907, p. 225: This section "has no special marks of Constantinian origin, and the introductory sentence is unlike the general style of the De Ceremoniis. It must be left open whether it was compiled by Constantine or is an extract from some older work."
39 R. Delbriick, Die Consulardiptychen und Verwéndte Denkméler, Berlin, 1929.
40 Ibid., Text, pp. 43–4.
41 Ibid., Text, pp. 53–4.
42 Cf. Daremberg & Saglio, Dictionnaire des antiquités grecques et romaines V, pp. 539–40: "Tunica," by G. Blum.
43 Ibid. V, p. 349: "Toga," by F. Courby.
44 Ibid. V, p. 490: "Triumphus," by R. Gaguat.
45 Delbréck, op. cit.. Text, p. 54.
46 F. Courby in Daremberg & Saglio, op. cit. V, p. 352.
47 Cf. above, n. 38.
48 Delbriick, op. cit., Text, pp. 62–3.
49 Cassiodori Senatoris Variae III, 51, ed. Th. Mommsen, M. G. H. , auctores antiquissimi XII, Berlin, 1894, p. 106. The topography of the Palatine in relation to the Hippodrome in Rome would not make this feat an impractical one.
50 Cf. Daremberg & Saglio, op. cit. Ill, p. 1593: "Mappa," by E. Pottier.
51 As J. B. Bury, The Imperial Administrative System in the Ninth Century, London, 1911, pp. 25–6.
52 Daremberg & Saglio, op. cit. I, pp. 1466–81: "Consul," by G. Bloch. Freeing slaves, i. e., captives, was doubtless another vestige of the prerogatives of the triumphator.
53 The most recent study of the later history of the consular office and titles in the Byzantine Empire, with a résumé of previous scholarly opinion, is that of Chr. Courtois, "Exconsul. Observations sur l'histoire du consulat é l'époque byzantine," Byzantion XIX, 1949, pp. 37–58.
54 Corippus, De laudibus Iustini minoris IV, ed. Partsch, M. G. H. y auct. ant. Ill, 2, Berlin, 1879, pp. 147–56.
55 Ibid. IV, 243, ed. Partsch, loc. cit., p. 153.
56 After a brief issue of folles during the initial year of his reign, all of Tiberius IFs 40-nummia pieces, and many of his other bronze coins, were of this consular type: BMC I, Pl. XIV, 5–6; Pls. XV & XVI, passim. There is also an issue of gold of the consular type, which includes in the obverse legend the interesting acclamation, "VIVAT FELIX:" Ibid. I, Pl. XIII, 20.
57 Ibid. I, Pl. XVII, 8; Pl. XVIII, 2 & 4, are coins of the Constantinople, Cyzicus and Nicomedia mints, respectively; PL XVIII, 7–9, are coins of Antioch. For the coins of Maurice and his successors, cf. the valuable article by Grierson cited above, n. 8.
58 BMC I, PL XVIII, 12, from Carthage.
59 Ibid. I, PL XVII, 1, struck at Constantinople, representing the emperor enthroned and wearing consular dress.
60 Tolstoi, op. cit. V, Pl. 42, 26–7.
61 BMC I, Pls. XX-XXII, passim.
62 P. Grierson, "The consular coinage of 'Heraclius' and the revolt against Phocas of 608–610," Numismatic Chronicle VI, 10, 1950, pp. 71–93, Pls. V-VI. Previous attempts to solve the problem, now disposed of with evident finality by Grierson, may be found in BMC I, pp. 231–7, and Tolstoi, op. cit. VI, pp. 662–4, where the earlier literature on the subject is reviewed.
63 Niceph., pp. 22–3. Heraclius Constantine is also mentioned as consul in an inscription dating from 641: J. B. de Rossi, Inscriptiones Christianae urbis Romae saeculo VIP antiquiores I, Rome, 1857, xlvi-liv.
64 Cf. Mansi, op. cit. XI, cols. 209 & 738.
65 Cf. Courtois, op. cit., pp. 52f.
66 De Cer. II, 28, ed. de Reiske, p. 629.
67 Courtois, loc. cit.
68 Ibid., pp. 57f.; cp. Bury, Imperial Administrative System, pp. 25f.
69 Cf. above, p. 36
70 Ed. Vogt I, pp. 17–20.
71 Ibid. I, p. 20.
72 Ibid. I, p. 18: τοὺς δώδεϰα χρυσоυφάυτους λώρους.
73 Ibid. I, p. 19: τοὺς χρυσоῦς λώρους.
74 De Cer. I, 59 (50), ed. Vogt II, pp. 63–6.
75 Ibid. II, 15, ed. de Reiske, pp. 570–82.
76 Cf. ed. Vogt, Commentaire II, pp. 72ff.
77 Ed. de Reiske, p. 580.
78 Ebersolt, op. cit., pp. 64–5.
79 Theoph., p. 400.
80 Ibid, p. 444; Niceph., p. 77.
81 Theoph, p. 474.
82 Theophanes Continuatus, ed. Bekker, Bonn, 1838, p. 256.
83 Cf. the actions recorded in Theoph., pp. 367–8, and Niceph., p. 37.


The major innovation of Justinian II's coins lies in the introduction of two portraits of Christ as the obverse types of three of his issues.1 Of these two types,2 the first, seen on our coins of Type II, and which we shall call Christ-type A ( Plate V, 30), is broad-faced and round of head; the hair is long, falling behind the shoulders. The right hand, as we have remarked, appears in front of the right shoulder in the gesture of blessing, while in front of the left breast is held the Book.

If we look for parallels to this Type A, we find that there are no surviving antecedents in Christian art so far as it has been preserved. Other bearded portraits of Christ of course had appeared long before this date, particularly from the fourth century on, but all lack the distinctive characteristics of Type A: the wavy hair and beard, the rounded head, and the clearly marked part in the hair, from which two tiny locks stray down onto the forehead.3

But if Type A appears seemingly for the first time on these coins of Justinian II, its subsequent history is, by contrast, quite well documented, and of the greatest importance to later Byzantine art. It does not recur, naturally enough, during the Iconoclastic Controversy, but we find Type A used almost immediately after the Reinstatement of the Images, on the coins of Michael III (842–867) ( Plate V, 31).4 With the inscription changed to read simply "Jesus Christos," an almost exact copy of the coin type of Justinian II appears on the reverse of Michael Ill's gold coins, but with a significant variation: instead of falling behind both shoulders, as on the pre-Iconoclastic coins, Christ's hair in this case seems to trail down in front of His left shoulder. This can only be an error made in copying the earlier cointype, in which the die-cutter confused the lines of the pallium on the type of Justinian II's coin for locks of hair; it proves, most significantly, that the pre-Iconoclast coins, on which the distinction between hair and garment was very slight, must have been the models for these coins of Michael III.

Later issues of Michael III correct this confusion ( Plate V, 32),5 as does the die of a gold bulla of Michael's murderer and successor, Basil I.6 Still another issue of Basil I, his regular solidi, supplants this image of Christ with a new one: it is Christ at full length, seated blessing on a lyre-backed throne, holding in his left hand the Book of Gospels; the legend reads "IHS XPS REX REGNANTIUM" ( Plate V, 33).7 Both the details of the head and upper parts of the body, and the legend, support the identification of this figure with the bust-portrait on the coins of Michael III as well as, by extension, the coins of Justinian II. The only details at variance are the extended right arm of the enthroned figure, as against the inward-turned arm on the bust-type, and the presence of a nimbus enclosing the cross behind Christ's head.8

These details, which may in part be accounted for by the different spatial arrangement of the new coin-type, are scarcely more than expected variations in the transmission of a standard type; it would seem clear that, from the point of view of the artists and die-designers of the post-Iconoclastic period, the Christ-type A of Justinian II was believed to be a segment of a larger picture of the enthroned Christ, which was associated with the special title, 'Rex Regnantium." It was not, therefore, a simple imago clipeata in the classical sense, a medallion portrait complete within its frame,9 which the earlier coins portrayed; as the unsupported Book, implying the existence of a left hand, shows, it was rather a segment of a larger picture, and in the strictest sense was incomplete in itself: the coin of Basil I, then, shows us what the Macedonian period understood the full prototype, in a general way, to have looked like.

Out of the bust-type of Christ 'Rex Regnantium," on the other hand, there evolved, shortly after the time of these coins of Basil I, the image of Christ Pantocrator, a true clipeus image, a purely circular portrait of God the Father seen through the image of Christ His Son, complete and perfect as given within its frame ( Plate VII, 36).10

We have already remarked that the artists and iconographers of the post-Iconoclastic period considered our Christ-type A as part of a picture of the enthroned Christ; it behooves us to enquire if this image had any currency beyond the coins. As it happens, the answer is immediately at hand: One of the finest of the mosaics recently uncovered in the church of Hagia Sophia at Istanbul portrays just this figure of Christ on the lyre-backed throne ( Plate VI, 35).11 The work of the Byzantine Institute has revealed the great mosaic over the central doorway of the narthex, where it had long been known to exist, since it was drawn by Fossati and published by Salzenberg in the nineteenth century.12 Here is the very image of Basil I's coin, albeit in far more classically elegant style; and at Christ's feet bows in humblest proskynesis the Emperor of the Romans, a figure frequently identified as Leo VI, but, even more probably, Leo's father Basil I the Macedonian himself.13

The attributes of this Christ figure are of the greatest importance in the imperial symbolism, as Grabar has shown in his few pages on the subject of the emperor in adoration.14 The lyre-backed throne is not a generalized type of throne, but a very specific one, which appears on the imperial coinage from the fifth century onward, and is almost certainly a particular throne used in the imperial ceremonial; it is found especially on coin types showing the synthronos of two or more Augusti, as on the coins of Leo I and Leo II,15. of Justin I with Justinian I ( Plate V, 34),16 or of Justin II with his wife Sophia,17 where the motif appears for the last time prior to the Iconoclastic period, when it was revived and used frequently on the coins.

The inscription on the Book, which we may read in the mosaic of Hagia Sophia, is as follows: "Peace be unto you; I am the Light of the World."18 The Evangelical source of both elements of this formula is well known;19 yet they had so important a place in the symbolism of imperial Rome that this derivation seems almost of equal importance with the biblical one.20 The Pax Romana is a well-known concept of late antiquity; its transition into Christian imagery may be studied in the Homily on Matthew ii, 1, of John Chrysostom, which embodies a vision of the Pax in Heaven after a victorious war conducted by Christ against sin and death, and in which Christ enthroned presides over a glorious Triumph.21 The concept of the emperor as Lux Mundi was also as old as the Roman Empire—and had preRoman antecedents as well—for it entered Roman panegyric literature with the work of Horace.22 The cult of Sol Invictus revived its popularity in the third century, and sustained it well into the fourth, after the Christianization of the Empire itself. After 400 or so it lapsed into disuse, until it was revived in the time of Justin II by Corippus, the poet who perhaps has best right to the title of the last of the long line of Roman panegyrists.23 In describing a ceremony taking place in S. Sophia, Corippus actually compares Christ the Light of the World with the emperor: beginning with a paraphrase of the Credo, "Jesus natus, non factus, plenum de lumine lumen," he describes the prayer of Justin II before Christ, and concludes, "quem Christus amat rex magnus, amatur. Ipse regit reges, ipse et non sub-ditur ulli."24 The concepts of Emperor-Light and Christ-Light continue side by side into the Book of Ceremonies;25 thence the imagery proceeds to flower in the literature of Comnenian and even later times.

It is clear, then, that this image was a particularly imperial one; and we know that Basil I especially revered Christ as Rex Regnantium, to whom he gave credit for placing himself and his House upon the imperial throne.26 Since this title is so plainly linked to this one particular image, as it occurs on Basil's own coins, we may infer that Basil's worship of the Rex Regnantium was in fact directed to a specific image of the imperial Christ.

The title Rex Regnantium itself has antecedents in the New Testament. Christ is called "King of Kings" (Rex Regum in the Vulgate) three times, in I Timothy vi, 15, and in Revelation xvii, 14 and xix, 16 (in xix, 15, the term "Pantocrator" is employed in the Greek); but whereas in the latter cases the Greek agrees with the Latin, reading Bασιλεὺς Bασιλέωυ, in I Timothy the Greek is Bασιλεὺς τῶυ Bασιλευόντων, that is to say, "King of Those Who Rule," our Rex Regnantium. The distinction is subtle, but definite: Christ as King of Kings is the supreme power, the divine being having authority over all beings; but as Rex Regnantium He is placed in a particular relationship to the rulers of other men. This implies that He rules through the rulers of the earth, rather than directly over each individual human being.

The title of Rex Regnantium is applied to Christ in the Cherubic Hymn, the portion of the liturgy sung during the Great Entrance of the Elements of the Mass from the Prothesis to the Altar.27 This hymn, which with the Great Entrance itself is a relatively late addition to the Eastern liturgy, is said by Cedrenus to have been incorporated into that liturgy at the order of Justin II.28 This assertion seems to be corroborated by the fact that the first mention of the Cherubicon occurs in 582, in a sermon protesting its use—and hence implying that it was then a relative novelty—by Eutychius of Constantinople.29 The appelation which concerns us does not appear in the normal form of the Cherubic Hymn, however, but in a special form, the Proper of Easter Eve: 'O Υάρ βασιλεὺς τῶυ βασιλευόυτωυ, ϰριστòς ὁ Θεóς.30

The title, King of Those Who Rule, is also applied to Christ in a letter of Pope Leo II to the emperor Constantine IV, dated on the Nones of May, 682.31 From this occasion to the time of the coins of Justinian II is a matter of but a decade or so; after the use of the title on these coins, it seems to have lapsed during the Iconoclastic period, until its great revival in popularity in the second half of the ninth century.

When we have come this far in investigating this figure of the Enthroned Christ Rex Regnantium, and have established the antiquity of the elements involved, insofar as it is possible to trace them, we are compelled to ask ourselves if there was not some monumental prototype, prior to the mosaic of Hagia Sophia, which determined its characteristics? The answer must lie in the realm of hypothesis, incapable of absolute proof; and yet there is such a concordance of circumstantial evidence on the matter that it is difficult to reject the answer which presents itself.

Unquestionably, the preeminent image of the Enthroned Christ after the Restoration of the Images was the one in the apse of the Chrysotriclinium of the Great Palace.32 Before this image the emperor prayed, as his first official act on any great feast day;33 directly beneath it was the imperial throne itself, from which the greatest affairs of the state were conducted. The emperor's obeisance before this image recalls that of the emperor before the Christ Enthroned in S. Sophia: and the mosaic there stands over the Imperial Doorway, where in turn the emperor made obeisance before entering the Great Church.34

The image of Christ in the Chrysotriclinium was erected by Michael III; but the same texts which give us this information, reveal that this work was simply the restoration of an image which had existed there before the Iconoclasm. An epigram of Menander Protector states, "The light of Truth hath shone forth again, and blunts the eyes of the false teachers. Piety hath increased and Error is fallen; Faith flourisheth and Grace groweth. For behold, Christ pictured again shines above the imperial throne and overthrows the dark heresies. And above the entrance, like a holy door, is imaged the guardian Virgin. The Emperor and the Patriarch, as victorious over Error, are pictured near with their fellow-workers, and all around, as sentries of the house, are angels, disciples, martyrs, priests: whence we call this now the Christotriclinium, instead of by its former name Chrysotriclinium, since it has the throne of the Lord Christ and of His Mother, and the images of the Apostles and of Michael, author of wisdom."35

Again we read, "O Emperor Michael, as preserving the bright preciousness of the ancient image, and as conqueror of all fleshly stains, thou dost picture the Lord in colors too, establishing by deed the word of dogma."36

What Michael III had done, then, was to re-erect in its former place a copy of the Enthroned Christ image which had existed in the Chrysotriclinium before the destruction of the images.37 The responsibility for the first image, erected in the pre-Iconoclastic period, cannot be established with certainty; what our sources do tell us, however, is that the building, an eight-sided domed chamber with numerous dependencies, was erected in its final form by Justin II,38 and its decoration carried out, or at least completed—the wording of the original is slightly ambiguous—by his successor, Tiberius II.39 A prototype may have existed already on the site, a building of the emperor Marcian a century earlier.40

It is curious to note, then, how many elements of the Macedonian image of Christ Enthroned as Rex Regnantium, illustrated in the narthex mosaic at S. Sophia, also appear at this particular time: The lyre-backed throne on the coins of Justin II (whose successor renounced this type of "majestas" coin-image41); the concepts of both Christ and the Emperor as Lights for the World, employed by Corippus, the court poet; as well as the introduction of the very title of Christ, Rex Regnantium, in the Cherubic Hymn. So all the elements of the concept of the Enthroned Christ Rex Regnantium, Light of the World and Bestower of Peace, were current at one precise point in Byzantine history; it seems more than probable that the image produced during the Macedonian Dynasty as the supreme symbol of the divine bestowal of imperial power could have originated at this particular moment.

This concept of the bestowal of power by Christ seems to have been present almost constantly in the mind of Justin II,42 but he gave it fullest expression in his famous abdication speech on the occasion of the elevation of Tiberius II to the throne; phrases such as "Behold the insignia of supreme power; you are about to receive them not from my hand, but from the hand of God,"43 are addressed to his successor, while the people are told that their new emperor is being given them not by Justin himself, but by the deity.44 According to Justin, the words of the speech were dictated to him as he spoke by an angel, and the chroniclers state that they were taken down verbatim by secretaries, for the edification of posterity.

Our evidence is thus quite circumstantial, but nonetheless it is more than tempting to conceive of Justin II delivering this speech in his own Chrysotriclinium, pointing as he speaks to the very image of this Bestower of Power. Nor would this have been impossible, in the light of the evidence of our sources on the history of the structure, since they make it clear that Tiberius II was merely finishing the work begun by his predecessor when he decorated the interior of the throne-room; they do not specify whether part of the decoration was already in place, or if none of it had actually been begun at the time of Tiberius' accession.

We know that the image of Christ was in the conch of a sort of apse, at the east side of the building;45 indeed, the general scheme seems to have resembled closely that of the church of S. Vitale, at Ravenna, and of other eight-sided structures of the same period.46 The example of S. Vitale shows us that the decoration of the apse was considered the most important feature in such a building, and therefore the first to be executed—so that if Justin II lived to see any decoration completed inside his Chrysotriclinium, he would probably have seen the image of the Rex Regnantium!

Whoever was responsible for the erection of the original mosaic image, its importance to us is clear: It seems almost incontrovertible that this was the ikon which was reproduced after the Iconoclasm by Michael III, who also employed it on his coins, as did Basil I; finally, another mosaic of a similar type was placed over the imperial doorway at Hagia Sophia.47

This being the case, the position of our Christ-type A on the coins of Justinian II becomes equally apparent: it must have been the model for the coin type of Michael III, and hence must have been considered by the artists and designers of the ninth century to be a faithful copy of the great image in the Chrysotriclinium as it had existed when the coin was struck; it may even have served as one of the models for their reproduction of the Palace mosaic, since we do not know what other evidence was available after the depredations of the Iconoclasts.

The concept of the deity as bestower of dominion, as pambasileus, which we find expressed at both turning points in the history of the Chrysotriclinium mosaic by Justin II and by Basil I, had of course great antiquity in the Mediterranean world; in the Greco-Roman sphere, the supreme pambasileus was most often Zeus-Jupiter, who had been called by that epithet as early as Homeric Greek times.48 The concept of Jupiter as pambasileus doubtless played a part in the formation of the Roman triumphal imagery, in which the triumphator–and later the consul as well—assumed the garb of Jupiter Capitolinus.49 A splendid illustration of the concept of allpowerful Jupiter in the imperial art was formerly in the Golden House of Nero at Rome, where a fresco of Jove the Thunderer occupied the center of a circular (domed?) ceiling, enthroned on clouds, and surrounded by an entourage of gods, goddesses, Tritons and other mythological figures.50

But the image of Zeus-Jupiter which most fully expressed to the ancients this concept of the world-ruler was the great chryselephantine statue at Olympia, the work of Phidias. Writers of all nations, pagans and Christians alike, paid tribute to the immense impression wrought upon the classical mind by this statue.51 We can see from the statement of Origen that this one sculpture did not receive the condemnation which the Christians gave other images of the pagan divinities.52

The later history of the statue has been pieced together,53 so that we may trace its movements after the abolition of the Olympic festivals in 394 A. D. by Theodosius I. At that time, Phidias' sculpture was still in its place, but when, during the reign of Theodosius II (406–450), the temple of Zeus at Olympia burned to the ground, the statue was no longer inside it. In the interval, it had been transported to Constantinople and set up in the palace of a certain Lausos, in a gallery otherwise known as the Lauseion, along with such other famous works of classical art as the Hera of Samos, the Knidian Aphrodite, and the Kairos of Lysippos. The Lauseion, however, burned in its turn in the year 462, and all these masterpieces perished together.

It was just at this time that there originated a legend which has long intrigued historians of Christian art. In the time of the Archbishop Gennadios, who was Patriarch of Constantinople from 458 to 471, a certain painter made an ikon, at the instigation of a pagan, portraying Christ in the likeness of Zeus (ἐυ τάξει Διός); the painter's hand and arm withered in consequence of his blasphemous act, but he was healed miraculously through the intercession of Gennadios.54

The early versions of this legend do not amplify the words, "in the likeness of Zeus," but when the miracle was recounted by John of Damascus, the famous eighth-century iconophile described most explicitly his conception of a figure of Christ in the likeness of Zeus: "The hair on the head was painted as dividing on either side so that the eyes were not hidden. For in such manner the Greeks painted their Zeus."55

Such a legend would not have arisen, obviously, had there not been some occasion when images of Christ were considered to have been derived from those of the pagan Zeus; and modern scholarship has certainly been able to show that more than one pagan deity provided the antecedents for the appearance of Christ in one or another of the likenesses known to the Christian Empire. But with regard to the Phidian Zeus, there seems to be a particular link with the Pantocrator-Pambasileus type of Christ, which has often been advanced, and as often rejected,56 especially since comparison with the best known ancient reproduction of the Phidian statue, the famous coin of Elis which portrays on one side the enthroned figure of the god and on the other his head in profile, shows little resemblance to the familiar Christian image.57 What had been lacking, however, was an opportunity to compare the two images in full-face, which is the key to the Christian representation. With the general acceptance of the marble head of Zeus from Mylasa in Caria, now in Boston, as a good and accurate copy of the Phidian work ( Plate VIII, 37),58 however, this has become possible. Viewed from full-face, this head represents a striking parallel to the appearance of our Type A head, both in its general proportions of one part in relation to another, and in the strongly marked parting of the hair which John Damascene so stressed.

The model for our Christ-type A, and before it for the great apse mosaic of the Chrysotriclinium, may indeed have been the Phidian Zeus. This would have been completely sensible, in terms of the ideation of the sixth century, when paganism had been so thoroughly suppressed (at least at the intellectual level) that there needed be no longer any fear of contamination in borrowing from its imagery in this overt way; yet not so long a time since the destruction of the statue itself that its overwhelmingly impressive appearance could have been forgotten (since the very story of Gennadios' miracle serves to demonstrate that copies of some sort of Zeus image must have been made). The great masterpiece of Phidias seems to have lived on, as one of the most important symbols of the divine Empire, of Christ's rule on Earth through the agency of the Basileus appointed by Him.

Our Type B of Christ portrait is characterized by the same attitude, garments, attributes and legend as Type A, but its facial features are wholly different: the head is longer, the face thin and triangular, the hair and beard scant and very curly ( Plate IX, 38). Our first source of information on this type is in the same passage in the Ecclesiastical History of Theodoros Anagnostes where we found the story of the painter healed by the Patriarch Gennadios.59 After concluding his story of the miracle wrought by the benevolent archbishop, Theodoros goes on to say, "But one of the historians60 says, that the other type of the Savior, the woolly and short-haired (or scant-haired), is taken for granted as the more truthful."61 This description would seem to fit, above all extant early portraits of Christ, the one used on the coins of Justinian II.

We learn more about this figure when Theophanes repeats the story of Gennadios, basing his remarks upon Theodoros, but adding some new information: "But certain of the historians say that the woolly and short-haired type is the more familiar in the time of the Savior."62 These remarks are repeated by such later writers as Nicephorus Callistos,63 and were transmitted to the seventeenth-century Athos Painter's Manual, which includes in its description of the appearance of Christ from the original and earliest sources, mention of "the head frizzy-haired tending to blond, the beard being black."64 So we still seem to be dealing with our Type B; and since the type described is scarcely that of the customary Christ figure of late Byzantine times, the references to the antiquity of the image must be given great stress in considering the significance of the passage.

All these terms applied to this image of Christ, such as "more truthful," "more familiar in the time of the Savior," "as it has been transmitted by those who first saw it," point in the same direction as the anatomical characteristics of the portrait type itself would indicate: toward an origin in the Syrian and Palestinian sphere of early Christianity. And they also suggest strongly a link with the most important group of early portrait-ikons of Christ, the "acheiropoietai," the images not painted by human hands, but preserving the actual living appearance of Christ by miraculous means.65

We have a description of one such portrait of Christ said to have been painted during His lifetime, which was erected in the Praetorium of the palace of Pontius Pilate, the later church of S. Sophia at Jerusalem.66 The sixth-century pilgrim Anthony of Placentia (the modern Piacenza) described the picture, and significantly enough, describes the head as having "capillos subannellatos."67 So it would seem that here we are also dealing with a version of the same curly-haired portrait of Christ as in the previous cases. And the same is true of the famous letter purporting to have been written by John of Damascus to the Emperor Theophilus (John, of course, died before 754, while Theophilus' reign began only in 829), which states that Constantine the Great had the figure of Christ put on paintings and mosaics (in the Holy Land), and represented the Savior "as the old authorities had described, with eyebrows that joined, fine eyes, a long nose, frizzy hair, a black beard, flesh tones like His mother's, the color of wheat."68 Although its authorship may be in doubt, there can be no question that this letter was a product of the Iconoclastic Controversy, or that the description is of our Type B.

The course of history has destroyed the monumental records which would make it possible to verify beyond all doubt the origin which these scraps of evidence suggest for this type of Christ-portrait; still there are a few pictures which may be cited for comparison with our Christ-type B, and which tend to bear out an attribution of this type to the area of Syria and Palestine.

In the famous Rabula Gospels in the Laurentian Library in Florence, whose colophon not only dates the manuscript very precisely to 586 A. D., but locates its place of composition in exactly the region of Syria, we find in the Dedication miniature a figure of Christ whose head, with its thick curly hair, short black beard, and triangular face, is remarkably close to our Type B ( Plate X, 40).69 Another manuscript, Syrian in script, and dated to 634 A. D., has a miniature with a head of Christ still closer to our Type B.70 The type appears also in a fresco from a burial-crypt at Abu-Girgeh (near Alexandria), which Morey dates as post-sixth-century ( Plate IX, 39);71 the radical difference between this type and the beardless youth who more customarily represented Christ in Alexandrian art is explained by Morey as the result of the increasing rapprochement of Egypt and Syria after Chalcedon (451), with its accompanied infiltration of Syrian monks and their foundations, as well as their theological principles, into Egypt.72

The very fact that this type, although preserved in literature and memory, tended to disappear after the seventh century, when Syria fell to the Moslems, seems to provide negative evidence for its identification with that area. A reflection of the type does appear again in the eleventh century, however, in a mosaic at S. Sophia at Kiev, and again in 1164, in a fresco at Nerez, and in 1197, in a fresco at Neredicy; this group was distinguished by Ainalov as the "Priest-Christ," an interpretation based upon the apocryphal tradition that Christ was a priest in the Temple at Jerusalem 73–perhaps another indication of the indissoluble bond which seems to tie this type of Christ-image to its Palestinian origins.

This is a very different type of Christ, with very different associations and implications, from the imperial Rex Regnantium image which we first investigated. Why this type should have appeared together with the other on the coins of Justinian II, and what the total significance of the various combinations of figures may have been, can only be determined when we know what the motives for Justinian II's innovations were in the first place, and what the circumstances were in which these innovations were made.

End Notes

1 For guidance in establishing a framework for this chapter, as well as for certain of the theories presented herein, I am deeply indebted to Dr. Alan Gowans for permission to draw upon his paper, "The Earliest Byzantine Christ-Types," read in Prof. A. M. Friend, Jr.'s seminar at Princeton in March, 1948. In addition, I have had the advantage of discussion with Mr. Hjalmar Torp, who undertook researches along similar lines at the University of Oslo.
2 Dom Leclercq, in Cabrol-Leclercq, Dictionnaire d'archéologie chrétienne et de liturgie VII2, cols. 2396–7, working from the line engravings of Sabatier's plates, distinguished a third type from our coins of Type IV, wherein the curly-bearded Christ appeared to be wearing a diadem of pearls. Comparison with original specimens and with photographic plates will demonstrate that the source of this difference was merely a faulty rendering of the double row of curls on the head of the Christ-type common to our coin Types III and IV. This is in the excellent article, "Jésus-Christ," cols. 2393–2468.
3 The closest parallels are to be found in a fresco from the Ponziana Catacomb, ill. J. Wilpert, Die Malereien der Katakomben Roms, Freiburg-im-Breisgau, I903 Pl. 257, dating from the sixth or seventh century, but in which the hai; lacks the very distinctive part and the tiny locks falling over the forehead, and in S. Maria Antiqua, ill. W. de Gruneisen, Sainte Marie Antique, Romer 1911, Pl. 25, where the part and perhaps the locks are to be discerned, but in which the proportions of the head are longer and thinner. (The Christ on the Cross in S. Maria Antiqua, ibid., Pl. 39, is of the same type.)Neither of these is, in our opinion, similar enough to the type used on the coins of Justinian II to constitute a clear precedent; although, as will be seen by the discussion which follows, there is no reason why such Christ-types should not have existed, at least after the late sixth century, without in any way damaging the points to be made about the distinctive character of the type.
4 Cf. BMC II, Pl. XLIX, 16–18, and the enlarged reproduction in Grabar, L'iconoclasme, fig. 46.
5 Grabar, op. cit., fig. 47.
6 BMC II, Pl. L, 10.
7 Ibid. II, Pl. L, 11–12.
8 The absence of a nimbus is a puzzling and, as of the present time, inexplicable detail of the Christ-images of Justinian II. There is no indication, however, that it presents a significant obstacle to the elucidation of the coin types; it must simply be accepted as, most probably, a characteristic of the prototype of the coin image. In the pre-Iconoclastic period, for example on sarcophagi, the use of haloes to distinguish the figure of Christ was by no means universal, nor does the cross-nimbus become standard until the post-Iconoclastic period. Obviously, what is needed is a really thorough study of the nimbus, from its imperial usages through those of the formative Christian periods. In the meantime, an interesting discussion is contained in the article by Meyer Schapiro, "Notes on Castelseprio, I. The Three-Rayed Nimbus," The Art Bulletin XXXIX, 1957, pp. 292–7.
9 Such as is flourished by the iconophiles and others in the very interesting marginal miniatures of the Chludov Psalter: Grabar, L'iconoclasme, figs. 143, 144, 146, 152, etc. For the clipeus in general, cf. Joh. Bolten, Die Imago Clipeata. Ein Beitrag zur Portrét- und Typengeschichte (Studien zur Geschichte und Kultur der Altertums, ed. E. Drerup, H. Grimme & J. P. Kirsch, XXI, 1), Paderborn, 1927.
10 Cf. the great cupola mosaic of the church of Daphni, illus. E. Diez and O. Demus, Byzantine Mosaics in Greece , Cambridge, 1931, Pl. I; the Pantocrator appears on the coins of Constantine VII Porphyrogenitus and his successors: BMC II, PL LIII, 7, 12–4, et seq. To anticipate slightly, Grabar, L'iconoclasme, pp. 40–1, discusses the relation of the Rex Regnantium image to that of the Pantocrator in an illuminating way.
11 The Mosaics of Haghia Sophia at Istanbul, The Byzantine Institute, 1950 Pls. 5–7.
12 W. Salzenberg, Altchristliche Baudenkméle von Konstantinopel vom V. bis XII. Jahrhundert, Berlin, 1854, Pl. XXVII.
13 T. Whittemore advanced the identification of this emperor with Leo VI in The Mosaics of St. Sophia at Istanbul. Preliminary Report on the First Year's Work, 1931-I932. The Mosaics of the Narthex, The Byzantine Institute, 1933, pp. 14-23 and Pls. VI & XII-XXI; he upheld it again in an article, "The narthex mosaic of Sancta Sophia," Studi Bizantini e Neoellenici VI, 1940, pp. 214-23. He has also been supported in an article by K. A. Karabias Gribas, "Remarks on the narthex mosaics of Hagia Sophia," (in Greek) Orthodoxia XV, 1940, pp. 217-26 & 256-9. This is also the identification followed by Grabar, Byzantine Painting, Geneva, 1953, p. 97, where the whole image is described. as conveying the concept of Christ as "Holy Wisdom."The identification of the emperor with Basil I, which has been considered with renewed seriousness in recent years, was strongly advanced by A. M. Schneider in "Der Kaiser des Mosaikbildes éber dem Haupteingang der Sophienkirche zu Konstantinopel," Oriens Christianus III, 10, 1935, pp. 75-9, and again in his Byzanz, Berlin, 1936, pp. 32-3. And if Grabar suggests seriously, L'iconoclasme, p. 211, n. 3, that there was formerly an image of the Patriarch Photius opposite that of the emperor in this mosaic, this could scarcely be other than Basil I.
14 L'empereur, pp. 100-6.
15 Tolstoi, op. cit. II, Pl. 8, 2.
16 Ibid. III, Pl. 18, 141-3.
17 BMC I, Pl. XI, 12.
18 Eἰρήυη ὺμῖυ—'Eγώ εἰμὶ τò φῶς τοῦ ϰóσμου
19 The first part is the greeting of Christ after the Resurrection: Luke xxiv, 36; John xx, 19 & 26; the other phrase comes from John viii, 12.
20 Grabar, loc. cit., as well as L'iconoclasme, p. 40, on the Pax Christiana, with significant quotation from the contemporary Anastasius Sinaiticus; idem., p. 37, relates this to the word PAX on the globus held by the emperor on our coins of Type III.
21 Migne, P. G. LVII, cols. 22-4.
22 Odes, Book IV, Ode V, 5.
23 De laudibus Iustini minoris, 1, 149-50 & IV, 328; ed. Partsch, pp. 121 & 155.
24 De laudibus IV, 322–2, ed. Partsch, p. 155.
25 The luminosity of the emperors assures the joy of the Universe: I, 74 (65), ed. Vogt II, p. 103. Christ the Sun illuminates and magnifies the power of the emperors, assuring Peace to the Universe (precisely as in the Hagia Sophia mosaic): I, 6, ed. Vogt I, p. 46.
26 Theoph. Cont. V, 80 (Constantine VII's life of Basil I), ed. Bekker, pp. 334–5, where the Porphyrogenitus notes the inscription in which the family of Basil I give thanks to the Rex Regnantium for raising their house to power.
27 Cf. A. Fortescue, "Cheroubicon," in Cabrol-Leclercq, Dictionnaire III1, cols. 1281–6.
28 Historiarum Compendium, ed. Bekker, Bonn, 1838, p. 685: [Justin II] 'Eτυπώθη δὲ φάλλεσθαι ϰαὶ ὁ χερουβιϰòς ὕμυος.
29 Homily on Easter and the Holy Eucharist, in Migne, P. G. LXXXVI2, cols. 2400–1. Eutychius objected to such reverence being shown to unconsecrated elements.
30 B.-Ch. Mercier, La Liturgie de Saint Jacques, Paris, 1946 (R. Graffin, Patrologia Orientalis XXVI, 2), p. 176; this edition includes earlier texts than those used by F. E. Brightman, Liturgies Eastern and Western, I: Eastern Liturgies, Oxford, 1896, p. 41; but even in this case the earliest MS. is of the thirteenth century. Since Eutychius seems to refer to one of the special versions of the Cherubicon, it is considered possible that these texts of limited applicability were the earliest ones to be used: cf. Brightman, op. cit., p. 573 and p. 532, n. 9; also Fortescue, loc. cit., esp. col. 1283.
31 Mansi, op. cit., XI, cols. 725–36; quoted directly, below, p. 95.
32 De Cer. I, i, ed. Vogt I, pp. 4 and 17, two passages of almost identical wording: 'ευ τῇ ϰόγχῃ τοῦ χρυσοτριϰλίυου, ἐυ ᾗ ἱστόρητατ ἡ τοῦ ϰυρίου ἡμῶυ ϰαὶ Θεοῦ θεοείϰελος ἁγία εἰϰὼυ 'επὶ θρόυου ϰαθεζομέυη. This phraseology might apply to a portable icon, placed upon the imperial throne itself, but the context of these passages, together with the other descriptions to be quoted immediately below, make it clear that such was not the case.
33 Ibid. I, i, ed. Vogt I, p. 4.
34 Ibid. I, i, ed. Vogt I, pp. 10-11. V. Grumel, in Echos d'Orient XXXVI, 1937, pp. 214-5, reviewing Grabar's L'empereur, demonstrates conclusively that the mosaic cannot represent the actual scene which took place before the Imperial Doorway itself.
35 The Greek Anthology I, 106, tr. Paton I (Loeb Classical Series), London, 1918, pp. 44-7. Many of the same figures reappear in similar contexts at Hagia Sophia, a point which is perhaps the basis of Grabar's conjecture referred to above, L'iconoclasme, p. 211, n. 3.
36 Ibid. I, 107, tr. Paton I, pp. 46–7.
37 Cf. S. der Nersessian, "Le décor des églises du IXe siécle," Actes du VI e Congrés International d'Etudes Byzantines II, Paris, 1951, pp. 315–20, supported by Grabar, op. cit., p. 211.
38 Leo Grammaticus, Chronographia, ed. Bekker, Bonn, 1842, p. 132; Joannes Zonaras, Epitomae Historiarum XIV, 10, ed. Pinder, Bonn, 1897, p. 174; and Suidas, Lexicon, ed. Adler, Leipzig, 1931, Vol. II, p. 646, s. v. "Ioustinos."
39 Leo Grammaticus, op. cit., pp. 137–8; Cedrenus, op. cit., p. 690; Zonaras, op. cit. XIV, 11, pp. 180–1.
40 Cf. Scriptores Originum Constantinopolitarum II, ed. Preger, Leipzig, 1907, p. 256. On the basis of this reference, C. Mango has constructed an interesting hypothesis as to the history of this part of the palace complex, with particular reference to the rather mysterious "exterior galleries of Marcian:" "Autour du Grand Palais de Constantinople," Cahiers Archéologiques V, 1951, pp. 17986. Whether or not Marcian did build a prototype of the Chrysotriclinium, it is clear that the construction undertaken by Justin II was a completely new building, conceived in terms of sixth-century architectural principles, and furthermore a separate architectural conception entirely independent in its own right.
41 Cf. Grabar, L'empereur, pp. 24f.
42 Cf. Cedrenus, op. cit., p. 681, early in the reign. It may be significant that it is during this same period that the bust of Christ assumes the central and dominant position on the consular diptychs: cf. J. Déer, "Das Kaiserbild im Kreuz," Schweizer Beitrége zur Allgemeinen Geschichte XIII, 1955, p. 103; and the discussion in Grabar, L'iconoclasme, pp. 18–9 & 38.
43 τοῦτο τò σχῆμα ὁ Θεός σοι δίδωσιυ, οὐϰ ἐγώ.Theophylactus Simocatta, Historiarum III, II, ed. Bekker, Bonn, 1834, pp. 136–7.
44 Cf. R. Payne Smith, The Third Part of the Ecclesiastical History of John Bishop of Ephesus, Oxford, 1860, p. 173; Michael Syrus, op. cit. II, pp. 334–6.
45 Theoph. Cont. VI, 26, ed. Bekker, p. 373.
46 Cf. Ebersolt, Le grand palais de Constantinople , Paris, 1910.
47 Prof. Bellinger has advanced, in correspondence, an interesting suggestion about the two main types of enthroned Christ-figures from the Macedonian coinages, i. e. a "clumsy" figure seen on coins of Basil I (BMC II, Pl. L, 11–12), Alexander (Ibid., Pl. LII, 1), Romanus I and Constantine VII (Ibid. LII, 6), and Romanus I and Christopher (Ibid., Pl. LIII, 1); as against a more "elegant" one, seen with Leo VI (Ibid., Pl. LI, 9), Constantine VII and Romanus I (Ibid. LII, 4 & 5), and on other unpublished specimens of the same reigns: that these two principal types may in fact be linked, one with the Chrysotriclinium mosaic so identified with Basil I, and the other with the tympanum mosaic of Hagia Sophia—suggesting, perhaps, that Leo VI might be the emperor of the latter mosaic, after all! This suggestion raises numerous fascinating hypotheses, none of them germane to the subject of the present work; it is our hope that Prof. Bellinger will see fit to work it out in more detail.
48 Cf. an Orphic hymn, cited by C. F. H. Bruchmann, Epitheta Deorum quae apud Poetas Graecos Leguntur (W. H. Roscher, Ausféhrliches Lexikon der Griechischen und Rémischen Mythologie , Supplemen), Leipzig, 1893, p. 134.
49 Cf. above, pp. 37f.
50 J. P. Bellorus & M. A. Causseus, Picturae antiquae cryptarum Romanarum, et sepulcri Nasonum, Rome, 1750, p. 89; Appendix, Pl. VI. Is it entirely impossible that the Domus Aurea might still have been remembered when the Chrysotriclinium was being built?
51 For a summary of ancient opinion, cf. A. B. Cook, Zeus III1, Cambridge, 1940, Section 11, pp. 954-73.
52 Contra Celsum VIII, 17; in Roberts & Donaldson, The Ante-Nicene Christian Fathers IV, New York City, 1890, p. 646.
53 Cf. Cook, op. cit. III1, pp. 969–70.
54 From the lost "Ecclesiastical History" of Theodoros Anagnostes, written in the early sixth century: cf. G. Moravcsik, Byzantinoturcica, I. Die Byzantinischen Quellen der Geschichte der Turkυélker, Budapest, 1943, p. 324; the text of this passage is in Migne, P. G. LXXXVI1, col. 173.
55 De imaginibus III, in Migne, P. G. XCIV, col. 1413: ἐν τῷ προσχήματι τοῦ ὀνὁματος τοῦ Σετῆρος, γεγράφηϰεν, ἐξ ἐϰατἐρου τὰς τρίϰας ἐπὶ ϰεφαλῆς διεστώσας ὡς μὴ τὰς ὅψεις ϰαλύπτεσθαι. τοιούτῳ γάρ σϰήματι ʿΕλλήνων παῖδες τóν Δία γράφоυσι. On the importance of the hair in classical representations of divinity, cf. H.P.L'Orange, Apotheosis in Ancient Portraiture, Oslo, 1947, esp. p. 90, on the parted hair which became a key feature of such representations in the third century.
56 As in J. E. Weis-Liebersdorf, Christus- und Apostelbilder, Freiburg-im-Breisgau, 1902, pp. 18–28.
57 A. Hekler, Die Kunst des Phidias, Stuttgart, 1924, p. 16, figs. 5–6.
58 L. D. Caskey, Catalogue of Greek and Roman Sculpture, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, 1925, No. 25, pp. 59–61. Another numismatic example has been published by J. Liegle, Der Zeus des Phidias, Berlin, 1952.
59 Cf. above, p. 58.
60 Presumably one of his lost sources, Socrates, Sozomenus, or Theodoretus: cf. O. Bardenhewer, Geschichte der altkirchlichen Literatur V, Freiburg-im-Breisgau, 1932, pp. 117–8.
61 Migne, P. G. LXXXVI1, col. 173: φησὶ δε ὁ ιστоρῶν, ὅτι τò ἄλλо σχῆμα τоῦ Σωτῆρоς, τò оὖλоν ϰαὶ ὀλιγóτριχоν, ὺπάρχει τò ἀληθέστερоν. The word оὖλоν is used to describe Negroes' hair from Herodotus' time onward.
62 Ed. de Boor, p. 112: φασὶ δέ τινες τῶν ἱστоριϰῶν, ὅτι τò оὖλоν ϰαὶ ὀλιγóτριχоν σχῆμα ἐπὶ τоῦ σωτῆρоς оἰϰειóτερóν ἐστιν.
63 Ecclesiasticae Historiae XV, 23, in Migne, P. G. CXLVII, col. 68.
64 оὐλóτιχоν τὴν ϰεφαλὴν ϰαὶ ξανθòν ὀλίγоν, μέλαν δὲ τò γένειоν: Denys de Fourna, Manuel d'iconographie chrétienne (in Greek), ed. Papadopoulo-Keremeus, St. Petersburg, 1909, p. 226.
65 Cf. the study by E. von Dobschétz, Christusbilder (Texte und Untersuchungen zur Geschichte der altchristlichen Literatur, N. F. III), Leipzig, 1899. The important place these supernaturally created images played in the iconophiles' defense against the attack on man-made idols has recently been stressed by Grabar, in Martyrium II, Paris, 1946, pp. 343–57, and in L'iconoclasme, pp. 19–21, 30–4 & passim; and esp. Kitzinger in D. O. Papers VIII, 1954, pp. 122–5.
66 Cf. H. Vincent & F. M. Abel, Jérusalem II3, Paris, 1922, pp. 562–88.
67 Antonini Placentini Itinerarium XXIII, ed. Pomialovsky, Pravoslavnij Palestinskij Sbornik XIII3 (fasc. 39), 1895, p. 12. For a bibliography of previous publications, including variants of the text, cf. pp. x–xi.
68 Migne, P. G. XCV, col. 349: τоῦ χάριν χαραϰτηριζóμενоς ϰαθὼς óἱ ἀρχαῖоι ἱστоριϰоὶ διαγάφоυσιν αὐτоῦ τὴν ἐϰτύπωσιν, σύνоφρυν, εὐóφθαλμоν, ἐπίρρινоν, оὐλóθριξιν.
69 Guido Biagi, Riproduzioni di Manoscritti Miniati. Cinquanta Tavole in fototipia della R. Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana, Florence, 1914, Pl. III (Laur. Plut. I. 56). For a good detail of this figure, cf. Grabar, L'iconoclasme, fig. 79.
70 Codex 3, 1300 Aug., in the Wolfenbéttel Library: O. von Heinemann, Die Handschriften der herzoglichen Bibliothek zu Wolfenbéttel IV (II Abth., Die Augusteischen Handschriften, B. I), Wolfenbéttel, 1884, p. 186, No. 2045. I owe possession of a photograph of this miniature to the kind generosity of Prof. Weitzmann, who has more recently photographed another MS. containing a miniature showing the same type of Christ: this is the only figural miniature in the Gospels in the Mariamana Church at Diyarbakr in Turkey. This MS., which dates from the seventh century also, is a product of the Syrian sphere of influence. There is also a miniature of this type of Christ in an unpublished Syrian MS. of the twelfth or thirteenth century, from the Sachau Collection, Berlin.
71 Municipalité d'Alexandrie, Rapport sur la marche du service du Musée en 1912, Alexandria, 1913, Pl. VII.
72 C. R. Morey, Early Christian Art, Princeton, 1942, pp. 81–2.
73 D. V. Ainalov, "Nouveau type iconographique du Christ," Seminarium Kondakovianum II, 1928, pp. 19–24 & Pl. III.


In concluding our analysis of the various representations and symbols employed on the coins of Justinian II, we need to consider the legends which accompanied these types, since they can frequently illuminate the pictorial representations on the coins. We have already seen this in the case of the "Rex Regnantium" inscription, which seems to be directly applicable, in its first occurrence, to a specific Christ-image employed by Justinian II, and hence was applied only by transference to his second Christ-type.1

As regards the legends used on the first and last of Justinian II's coin types, on which he (and later his son as well) wears the traditional chlamys-covered costume familiar on earlier imperial issues, we have established that the inscriptions also follow general usage on both obverse and reverse.2

The same cannot be said of the two legends associated with the emperor's appearance in loros-costume, on the reverses of his two Christ-image coins: The legends he used with his name on these coins, "Justinianus Servus Christi" and "Justinianus Multos Annos," have no direct prototypes in Byzantine numismatic practice up to this time, just as the coin types with which they are associated are completely unprecedented. They are identifiable, however, as acclamations, and as such may be found in the Book of Ceremonies.3 But to establish the context in which these legends were selected to accompany these particular coin types (or, perhaps more accurately, to discover why these legends dictated themselves as the inevitable ones to accompany these types), it will be necessary to delve into the background of the phrases themselves.4

The appelation "Servus Christi" is, of course, but a variant of the troader expression, "servant of God," which may be found in the Old Testament, where it was applied particularly to Moses.5 Subsequently, the Apostles frequently termed themselves the "Servants of Christ" in their epistles: we find the formula used by Paul,6 who once included his assistant Timothy,7 as well as by James,8 Peter,9 and Jude.10 With this sort of precedent, it is not surprising that this expression of humility should have been popular as a term of self-description among all orders of the Christian clergy. In addition, the phrase seems to have been a favorite with Constantine the Great, according to the Vita Constantini, which quotes him as using it on numerous occasions;11 it has been the opinion of some modern scholars that Constantine was particularly influenced in his choice of this phrase by the Old Testament, and the connection of the term with the person of Moses.12

As an expression of humility, the phrase continued to enjoy great popularity in the West, largely under the influence of St. Augustine, who admonished the mighty of this world to remember their human frailty.13 The title was used by Pope Hilarus (461–8),14 and an interesting variant survives in which Pope John VII (705–7) declares himself to be the servant of the mother of God.15 It was in the same spirit that Pope Gregory I, at the beginning of the seventh century, adopted for himself the title "servus servorum Dei,"16 which has enjoyed almost chief place among all these epithets ever since in the favor of all ranks of the ecclesiastical hierarchy.17 The same tradition was present in the ruling class of the laity in the West even before Carolingian times,18 and continued in use throughout the middle ages; a particularly interesting occurrence was the assumption by the Holy Roman Emperor Otto III of the title "Servus Jesu Christi et Romanorum imperator augustus secundum voluntatem Dei salva-torisque nostrique liberatoris" in 998 A. D. when he was beginning a campaign against the heathen Slavs of Poland.19

In the Eastern Roman Empire, on the other hand, where the position of the imperial authority in relation to the church was somewhat different, the title in its various forms, although not unknown among the less exalted,20 was never common in the imperial titulature at any time, and seems to be unprecedented before its use on Justinian II's coins. In its Greek form, it was employed on coins by the last Iconoclast emperor, Theophilus,21 while Theodore the Studite applied the contrary epithet "Slave of Satan" to the Iconoclast Emperor Leo V.22

How, then, are we to explain the use of this phrase at precisely this time? It has been suggested that its introduction in the Byzantine coinage came about, not from Christian precedent at all, but from the Moslems;23 it is pointed out that on some Moslem coins of about this time, it is customary for the Caliph to call himself "Slave of Allah."24 These are, of course, the Arab coins based upon models of the Byzantine issues of Heraclius and Constans II, commonly called Arab-Byzantine, about which we shall have more to say in the next chapter.25 The fact is that the title "Slave of God" had been one of the attributes of the caliphs since the death of Mohammed; it occurs in an inscription of Moawiyah, dated to A. H. 58, or 677–8 A. D.26 Its origin is Koranic, for Mohammed refers to himself as the Slave of God.27 At another point in the Koran, interestingly enough, in telling the apocryphal story of the birth of Jesus, the narrator says that the infant Christ cried out, "I am the servant of God!"28

Further investigation, however, reveals that the expression was still more common in Arab usage. The Arabic word for "Slave of God" is Abdullah; this is easily recognizable as one of the most common of Moslem given names, as was already the case by the time of Abd el-Malik.29 Similar "slave-of" names, moreover, were in use in pre-Koranic times, so that Mohammed's practice is really a continuation of a long-established Arab tradition, rather than an innovation of great immediate significance; the antagonist of Justinian II, the Caliph Abd el-Malik, had a name which meant "Slave of the King," without application to any specific ruler, mundane or celestial, being implied. There were Abd-el-other names, especially of the pagan gods of Arabia, such as Abd el-Ilah.30 So common was this type of terminology, that it seems rather unlikely that its use on an extremely limited series of coins, of almost exclusively local circulation, would have been even noticed at the Byzantine court, much less imitated on the imperial coinage.31

This question of the relationship between the Byzantine and the Moslem coinages is only a part of the larger problem of possible numismatic influences between the two world powers, which we propose to examine, however tentatively, in the following chapter; in the meantime, it should not appear too much like anticipating our conclusions to indicate that, if chronology is any guide, there is very little likelihood that the coins of Type II on which the "Servus Christi" legend was used were issued as a reply to any action of the Moslems, or were dependent in any way upon Moslem influence within Byzantium; in the circumstances, it is far more probable that the inspiration for the legend, as well as for the iconography, is to be found within the purely Christian tradition of the Byzantine state, than as a consequence of foreign and completely alien developments. An imperial tradition for the use of the term "servus Christi" did exist, if only in the usage of Constantine the Great; and it is to such a precedent that we would expect Justinian II to have turned, rather than to that of his contemporary rival, the Moslem Caliph Abd el-Malik.

The acclamation "Multos Annos" is by no means as rare in the imperial tradition as is the phrase "servus Christi." Acclamations for longevity, including this one, had an important part in the imperial ritual as far back as the first century A. D.;32 nor were they by any means new at that time, having a long history of Hellenistic usage behind them. In the Byzantine epoch, the Latin phrase "Multos Annos" was translated into its Greek equivalent πολλοὶ χρóνοι, in which form it recurs throughout the Book of Ceremonies; but in its archaic Latin form, quaintly graecisized into οἱ μουλτούσανοι, it was preserved in the special ceremonials of the great festivals of the Christian year,33 as well as among the Latin acclamations chanted by the Chancellors of the Quaestor at Christmas.34

There is still another and particularly interesting use of the acclamation, heard in a series of acclamations and responses chanted on various occasions to the emperor or emperors: it was heard at Christmas,35 at the imperial coronation,36 on the eve of a great reception,37 and on a variety of occasions in the Hippodrome.38 This acclamation, which was delivered in verse form, reads in part as follows:

πολλοὶ ὺμῖν χρóνοι οἱ θεράποντες τοῦ χυρὶου.

It thus combines, in one expression, the words of both the legends we have been examining!

End Notes

1 Cf. above, pp. 47ff.
2 Cf. above, p. 31.
3 Cf. below, pp. 67f.
4 Particularly useful are the studies of the subject by P. E. Schramm, in Kaiser, Rom und Renovatio I, Leipzig, 1929, pp. 141–6, repeated without significant alteration in an article, "Der Titel, Servus Jesu Christi' Kaiser Ottos III," B. Z. XXX, 1929–30, pp. 424–30. Also of interest is K. Schmitz, Ursprung und Geschichte der Devotionsformeln bis zu ihrer Aufnahme in die frénkische Kénigsurkunde (Kirchenrechtliche Abhandlungen 81, ed. U. Stutz), Stuttgart, 1931.
5 Deuteronomy xxxiv, 5; Joshua i, 1; etc.
6 Romans i, 1; Titus i, 1.
7 Philippians i, 1.
8 James i, 1.
9 II Peter i, 1.
10 Jude i, 1.
11 Eusebius, Vita Constantini I, 6, ed. Heikel, Die griechischen Christlichen Schriftsteller VII, Leipzig, 1902, p. 9: ϰαὶ ὁ μὲν оἷα πιστòς ϰαὶ ἀγαθòς θεράπων, τоῦτʾ ἔπραττε ϰαὶ ἐϰήρυττε, δоῦλоν ἄντιϰρυς ἀπоϰαλῶν ϰαὶ θεράπоντα τоῦ παμβασιλέως ὁμоλоγῶν ἐαυτóν. Ibid. II, 29, p. 54, in a purported letter of Constantine, referring to himself: ὺπò δὲ τῷ θεράπоντι τоῦ Θεоῦ. The phrase recurs throughout the Vita Constantini.
12 Cf. V. Schultze, "Quellenuntersuchungen zur Vita Constantini," Zeitschrift fér Kirchengeschichte XIV, 1894, p. 530.
13 Civitas Dei V, 24.
14 De Rossi, op. cit. II1, p. 147, n. 12: Christi famuli Hilari episcopi.
15 Ibid. II1, p. 418, n. 15: Beati Dei genitricis servus Johannes indignus episcopus fecit domus sancte Dei genitricis.
16 According to his biographer, Joannes Diaconus, Gregory assumed the title in order to give a lesson in humility to his contemporary, John, Patriarch of Constantinople, who had just assumed the title of oecumenical patriarch: Vita S. Gregorii II, 1, in Migne, P. L. LXXV, col. 87. But whereas it is true that Gregory used the phrase frequently while Pope in his correspondence and his homilies (Homily on Job, Migne, P. L. LXXV, col. 510; Homily on Ezekiel, P. L. LXXVI, col. 785; Homily on the Gospels, P. L. LXXVI, col. 1075), it is equally certain that he had already used the epithet to refer to himself before becoming Pope: ". . .ego Gregorius servus servorum Dei..." is to be found in a monastic charter of donation, dated 28 December 587 A. D.: cf. S. Gregory, Registrum epistolarum, ed. L. M. Hartmann, M, G. H. , epistolae II, appendix I, p. 437.
17 Cf. the article, "Servus Servorum Dei," by Leclercq, in Cabrol-Leclercq, Dictionnaire XV1, cols. 1360–3.
18 Déer cites interesting examples of the usage from both the Lombard kings of Italy and the Asturian kings of Spain, between the eighth and the tenth centuries: Schweizer Beitrége XIII, 1955, p. 107, n. 269 & 271.
19 Cf. the works of Schramm cited above, n. 4.
20 Cf. Th. Schmit, Die Koimesis-Kirche von Nikaia Berlin, 1927, p. 13, for an altar inscription wherein the monk Hyakinthos calls himself the slave of the Virgin. Grabar, L'iconoclasme, p. 42, refers to seals, presumably not imperial, on which the owners refer to themselves by this formula in one style or another.
21 Cf. BMC II, Pl. XLVIII, 18.
22 Theodore Studite, Epistolae II, 75, in Migne, P. G . XCIX, col. 1312A.
23 I. von Karabacek, as in Kusejr Amra, Vienna, 1907, Text, p. 219.
24 G. F. Hertzberg, Geschichte der Byzantiner und des osmanischen Reiches (W. Oncken, Allgemeine Geschichte in Einzeldarstellungen II, 7), Berlin, 1883, p. 63.
25 Cf. John Walker, A Catalogue of the Muhammadan Coins in The British Museum II, A Catalogue of the Arab-Byzantine and Post-Reform Umaiyad Coins, London, 1956, esp. pp. xxxvii, lv, & 32–42, Nos. 104–36, etc. Grabar, L'iconoclasme, pp. 67–74, discusses this series and makes some interesting contributions to the study of the iconography of some of the issues.
26 G. C. Miles, "Early Islamic Inscriptions near Ta'if in the Hijaz," Journal of Near Eastern Studies VII, 1948, pp. 236–41.
27 Surah 72, Verse 19.
28 Surah 19, Verse 31.
29 For example, the great foe of the Umayyads in the Hejaz was named Abdullah Ibn az-Zubeir; cf. below, p. 72.
30 I am indebted to Dr. G. C. Miles for much of the foregoing information.
31 This is also the conclusion reached by Grabar, L'iconoclasme, pp. 70–1.
32 Cf. A. Alféldi, "Die Ausgestaltung des monarchischen Zeremoniells," Rém. Mitt. 49, 1934, pp. 86–8, esp. p. 88, n. 2.
33 De Cer. I, 1, ed. Vogt I, p. 16.
34 Ibid. I, 83 (74), ed. Vogt II, p. 169.
35 Ibid. I, 2, ed. Vogt I, p. 29.
36 Ibid. I, 47 (38), ed. Vogt II, p. 4.
37 Ibid. I, 71 (62), ed. Vogt II, p. 88.
38 Ibid. I, 78 (69) & 80 (71), ed. Vogt II, pp. 124, 126, 134–5, 155 and 156.


As we have just noticed, the suggestion has been made that the design, and particularly the inscriptions, of the new coin types of Justinian II were created under the influence of the contemporary coinage of the Moslem Caliphate. This theory is only one aspect of a more general thesis that the entire motivation behind Justinian II's creating a new coinage was the Byzantine reaction to the reform of Moslem official procedures instituted by Abd el-Malik during the first reign of Justinian II.

The hypothesis that the Moslem reformed coinage met with opposition, and hence reaction, by the Byzantine imperial authorities finds support in the account given by Theophanes of the quarrels leading up to the battle of Sebastopolis in 692,1 among which he cites side-by-side with Abd el-Malik's objections to the deportation of the populace of Cyprus to the mainland, Justinian II's refusal to accept gold coins struck by the Moslems in payment of the tribute owing to him.2 Neither of our other major sources, however, offers this as a cause for the war: Nicephorus imputes the rupture solely to Justinian's hubris;3 Michael Syrus gives the deportation of the population of Cyprus to the Byzantine mainland as its only cause.4

The very fact that it was the Moslems who invaded Roman territory, rather than the other way round, would indicate that it was the former who felt themselves to be the aggrieved party. It is difficult to see how this would have been the case had the only point at issue been the question of whether or not Justinian II would accept their coins in payment of the tribute he had exacted from them a few years earlier. If he found their coins unacceptable, and refused the tribute in that form, it was scarcely the Arabs' responsibility to force it on him, but rather his problem to compel them to offer it in what he deemed proper form; similarly, if the emperor considered it objectionable for the Moslems to strike coins other than imitations of his own types (as they had been doing), then it was up to him to stop them. In short, Justinian II's refusal of the Moslem tribute could under no circumstances be construed as a reason for them to attack him. Nor can we see any economic or other reason the Moslems might have had to attempt to force their gold money into circulation within the Byzantine Empire. By contrast, not only does the Cyprus affair provide adequate motivation for a Moslem protest, but it explains quite comprehensibly the actual sequence of events as they took place.

But what, then, was this newly-minted money of Abd el-Malik's? Theophanes appears to be alluding, and has been taken to refer, to the Moslem reform coinage, which had its part in the general policy of Islamization begun within the Caliphate by that monarch.

When the Caliphs, upon the total collapse of the Sassanian power, took over the structure as well as the territories of the Persian Empire, they found themselves so suddenly in command of so enormous an administrative system that it was obviously more desirable to permit the old forms and methods of routine government to continue, rather than to attempt a revision of procedures according to their own nomadic customs. Even more was this true in the lands they conquered from the Byzantine Empire, Syria and Palestine and Egypt, where Christian scribes and account ants sustained a government whose chiefs could scarcely read or write, and certainly could not count.

Illustrative of this stage in the history of the Moslem state is the story of Athanasius Bar Goumay, an Edessan Christian who controlled the administration of Egypt under the titular charge of Abd el-Malik's brother, Abd el-Aziz. Athanasius grew so wealthy in this work, albeit with full honesty of action, that he was able to build or repair many Christian churches in both Egypt and Syria. When he returned home at the end of his service, Moslem enemies denounced him to the Caliph for having appropriated all the riches of Egypt for his own private gain. Abd el-Malik, unperturbed, summoned the Edessan to his presence, and told him that it was not deemed suitable for a Christian to be quite so rich. So Athanasius gave the king money until the latter said to stop, and Athanasius went away still a very wealthy man.5

At this period, all records were kept in Greek, and all figures recorded in the unwieldy, but workable, Greek numeral system. As regards its money, the Caliphate at first made no attempt to disturb the numismatic status quo which had existed in tacit agreement between the Byzantines and the Sassanians. The former, being in possession of the major sources of gold ore known to the ancient world, struck coins of that metal, which passed as bullion far beyond the borders of their Empire;6 the Sassanians, on the other hand, struck a far greater volume of silver coins than the Byzantines, while their gold coinage was issued in token quantity.

Until eighty years after the Hegira, the Caliphs continued to strike silver coins which were copied with the utmost fidelity from the Sassanian types, to which were added marginal inscriptions in Arabic giving religious formulae as well as the names of issuing governors, etc.7 In gold and bronze, the Caliphate seems to have begun coining somewhat later, and then in imitation of the Byzantines, especially the types of Heraclius and of Constans II.8

It was Abd el-Malik, however, who took the initiative to alter this state of affairs, and, more particularly, to weaken the hold of the Christians upon the rank and file of his administration. In 81 A. H. (700 A. D.) he took serious steps to see that all state records should be kept in Arabic, instead of Greek;9 but even before this he had begun the process by the introduction of a totally new, "iconoclastic" coinage, in both gold and silver. These coins renounced the stylized symbols, the ruler-images, modified crosses and fire-altars, which had characterized the Moslem coinage until then; instead, they bore merely the Arabic inscriptions of identification, and pious expressions, arranged in conformity with the shape of the coin.

As late as 84 A. H. (703 A. D.), Arab-Sassanian coins were still being struck;10 but the beginning of the new coinage dates nevertheless from several years earlier. The literary information in the Arab chronicles which has a bearing on this problem has been assembled with a view to giving us a general picture of the Reform itself, so that we can arrive at some general consensus of the opinions of the sources.11 Of the seven Arab historians who refer to the Reform, two date it in 74 A. H. (693–4 A. D.); two date it in 75 A. H.; and three in yet the following year.

What is especially clear from all these texts is the fact that the history of the Reform was indissolubly linked with the career of el-Hajjaj ibn-Yusuf, Abd el-Malik's great schoolmaster-tumed-general, who was the one person most responsible for the triumph of the Umayyad cause over its opponents in the contest for the Caliphate between the years 685 and 695 A. D.

In 692, Hajjaj was at last victorious over Abdullah ibn-az-Zubeir, who had hitherto held Mecca and the Hejaz against the Umayyad party. Two years were then spent by Hajjaj in repairing the damage wrought by civil war (he had not hesitated to bombard the Holy City itself during his siege, and even the sacred Kaaba had been gravely damaged). It was only in the year 75 A. H. that he was appointed governor of Iraq, where his talents were required to deal with the turbulent spirits of the citizens of the city of Kufa, in an area where the Shiite partisans of Ali were still numerous.12 It is clear from the chroniclers that it was only after Hajjaj had taken command in Iraq that the Reform coinage was instituted; this being the case, the effective date of the Reform must be placed, at the earliest, in 695 A. D., or 75 A. H.13

We have no more reliable evidence, of course, than that provided by the dated Moslem coins themselves; and this evidence does not contradict the information given by the chronicles. The first indisputable and wholly reformed dinar (gold piece) appears at Damascus, dated 77 A. H.;14 the earliest known reformed dirhem (silver) is dated two years later.15

This chronological information makes it reasonably certain that the Moslem Reform coinage cannot have been a factor contributing to the rupture of Arab-Byzantine relations which took place in 691 A. D., and to the battle of Sebastopolis in 692, at a time when our sources specifically state that Hajjaj was still conducting his campaign in the Hejaz. The date of the battle is placed in the latter year, and the rupture of relations in the former, by Theophanes, whose chronology at this period is fixed with admirable precision by his mention of a solar eclipse only two years later. This was the eclipse of A. M. 6186, which took place at the third hour on Sunday, the fifth of October (Hyperberetaios according to Theophanes, a Macedonian month-name rarely used in Byzantine writings).16 This corresponds exactly with the empirical eclipse-tables set up by modern mathematical computation, according to which an eclipse occurred on a date corresponding to October fifth, a Sunday, in 693 A. D.17 A chart of the path of totality, moreover, shows that the eclipse reached maximum at Constantinople (it was not total there, but to the south, in a path across Asia Minor, the Hellespont, Macedonia including Thessalonika, and the Balkans) between 8:30 and 9:00 a. m., a time corresponding closely to the "third hour."18

In the circumstances, it is equally improbable that the Moslem Reform coinage could have had, per se, any direct influence upon the issue of new coins such as Types II and III by Justinian II. Coins of these types, although not so numerous as those of Type I, the other type attributed to his first reign, are still sufficiently common to indicate that they must have been issued well before the very end of that reign; yet the Moslem Reform was begun so very shortly before his downfall in 695, if it preceded that event at all, that it would be difficult indeed to imagine how so complex a procedure of invention and execution could have been carried through during the period of a few short months which is all we may allow for the creation of these wholly original designs.

One other possibility of a way in which Moslem coins might have provoked a Byzantine reaction remains to be considered: this is the possible influence of Moslem coins which were not the actual reformed dinars, but Abd el-Malik's previous tentative issues of gold in free imitation of earlier Byzantine types.19 Although the earliest dated example of this sort of Arab gold coin was struck only in 74 A. H. (693–4 A. D.),20 it is generally accepted that certain of the undated issues, and particularly the type with three standing figures, modelled on the coins of the latter part of the reign of Heraclius,21 are of a slightly earlier date. Similarly, in the silver, various experiments toward the development of new types seem to have been made just before the actual Reform itself, with two specimens dating from the year 75 A. H. having been noted.22

The principal argument against this thesis is the extreme scarcity of examples of this coinage, as well as the wide variety of types found among the relatively few surviving specimens.23 This was plainly a small, token coinage, minted only for local circulation, which would scarcely have figured in international financial transactions in any important way; as the Byzantines had tolerated the Sassanians' striking such limited series of gold coins, they had no more reason to object to the Moslems doing the same. Nor have any specimens of this type of coin been found in contemporary Byzantine coin hoards, as Reform coins have.24 The crude modifications of the original types and legends, and the addition of a limited number of Moslem religious expressions, seem scarcely enough provocation for either a war or a numismatic-iconographic revolution, even had these pieces reached Constantinople in any large quantity, as it is highly doubtful that they did.

The most reasonable conclusion open to us is to eliminate the Arab coins as a factor in the struggle between Justinian II and Abd el-Ma-lik, especially since a fully satisfactory and more logical casus belli exists in the Cyprus incident. If it be objected that Theophanes' statement is too unequivocal to be wholly disregarded (although there is little about his accuracy of detail, particularly at this murky period, to merit such unalloyed confidence), we may suggest that possibly coins were concerned with the outbreak of hostilities, but that Theo-phanes had gotten things turned round: the Arabs were objecting to Justinian II's new coins bearing Christ-types, rather than the other way round. In any case, we are obliged to conclude that in order to find the stimulus which produced the new coin types of Justinian II, we must look elsewhere.25

Before we do so, however, we must make one further remark. Now that we have established a rough date for the institution of the Moslem Reform coinage, and have tentatively assumed the priority of Justinian II's new coins over that Reform, it is tempting to ask whether the opposite influence might not have been operative: whether, that is, Abd el-Malik's iconoclastic measures might not have been at least accelerated, though not necessarily au fond caused, by the appearance of these coins bearing the portrait of Christ, which it would have been repugnant, at the very least, for a faithful Moslem to use?

There are one or two passages in the Arab historians, as a matter of fact, which might, freely interpreted, give credence to this view. One is in al-Baladhuri, describing how the Byzantines bought papyrus from Egypt with their gold money.26 According to this oft-repeated story, Abd el-Malik introduced the practice of using pious Moslem phrases in the protocols which were inscribed on these papyri to guarantee their authenticity; the king of the Romans objected to this, and demanded that it be stopped, or else he would place insulting mention of the Moslems' prophet on the coins. And so Abd el-Malik made his own coins instead. In some ways, this sounds more like a post facto rationalization of the course of events, than an accurate description of the way things happened at the time; but the idea that Abd el-Malik initiated his new coins as a result of the appearance of Byzantine gold bearing an image unacceptable to the faithful Moslem, is a persuasive one.

Another document, cited at second hand, ascribes to one Picendi, Coptic bishop of Keft, a description of the Arabs taking the Byzantine gold coins which bore the Cross and the image of Christ, effacing this figure and symbol, and writing instead the name of their prophet and of their caliph.27 There can be little doubt that a good deal of the Moslem gold coinage–if not almost all of it–was produced by melting down or restriking Byzantine issues, as the lower weight standard of the dinar in relation to the solidus suggests.

The non-Arabist can only raise a question of this sort; but the problem clearly merits more thorough examination, in terms of the evidence on the Islamic side, than it has yet received.28

End Notes

1 Cf. above, p. 10.
2 Theoph., p. 365. This account is accepted at its face value by Gibb, Encyc, of Islam I2, p. 77, and by Grabar, L'iconoclasme, pp. 67–8.
3 Niceph., p. 36.
4 Mich. Syr., p. 470.
5 Ibid., pp. 475–7.
6 Cf. H. L. Adelson, Light Weight Solidi and Byzantine Trade during the Sixth and Seventh Centuries (Numismatic Notes and Monographs, No. 138), N. Y., 1957, for illuminating information on ways in which this situation could be turned to the extra profit of the minting authorities.
7 John Walker, A Catalogue of the Muhammadan Coins in the British Museum I. A Catalogue of the Arab-Sassanian Coinage, London, 1941, is the best and most up-to-date study of this coinage.
8 For the gold, cf. G. C. Miles, "Some Early Arab Dinars," American Numismatic Society Museum Notes III, 1948, p. 97, No. 1, & Pl. XVII, 1; also J. Walker, "Two Arab-Byzantine Dinars," British Museum Quarterly XX, 1955, pp. 15–16. Now, the whole field of the Arab-Byzantine coinages is surveyed in true corpus form in Walker's A Catalogue of the Muhammadan Coins in the British Museum II. A Catalogue of the Arab-Byzantine and Post-Reform Umaiyad Coins, London, 1956, pp. 1–83 (and Introduction, pp. xv–liii), which includes all published and otherwise known coins of this type.
9 J. de Goeje, Liber expugnationis regionum, auctore Imamo Ahmed ibn Jahja ibn Djabihr al-Beladsori (i. e., Ahmed ibn Yahya al Baladhuri, The Book of Conquests), London, 1863–66, p. 301.
10 Walker, Catalogue II, p. liii, n. 4.
11 Cf. H. Sauvaire, Matériaux pour servir é l'histoire de la numismatique et la métrologie musulmane (extract from the Journal Asiatique), Paris, 1882.
12 Cf. Gibb, loc. cit., and Walker, Catalogue I, p. lxiv.
13 Walker, Catalogue I, pp. cxlviii–cxlix.
14 Ibid. II, p. liii, & p. 84, No. 186.
15 Ibid. II, p. liii, & p. 104, No. Kh. 4 (in Cairo).
16 Theoph., p. 367; the eclipse is also mentioned by Mich. Syr., p. 474.
17 J. Fr. Schroeter, Spezieller Kanon der zentralen Sonnen- und Mondfinsternisse, Kristiania, 1923, Tafel XII.
18 Ibid., Karte 12b.
19 This is the theory advanced by R. S. Lopez in his article, "Mohammed and Charlemagne: A Revision," Speculum XVIII, 1943, pp. 14–38, esp. pp. 24–6. Lopez combines Arab and Byzantine sources to arrive at a new interpretation of the events of 692, beginning with the question of watermarks on paper, mentioned below, p. 76. In the outcome, Lopez sees the Moslem Reform as a step which reconciled the Byzantines to the Arabs, and mollified feelings which had been exacerbated by the Arab-Byzantine imitations.
20 Cf. Walker, Catalogue II, pp. v–vi. Before this coin was discovered by Dr. Miles, the earliest known dated coin was of 76 A. H.: H. Sauvaire, "La plus ancienne monnaie arabe d'Abdul-Melek," Revue de la numismatique belge 3:IV, 1860, pp. 325–7 & Pl. XV, 1; and Walker, Catalogue II, pp. 42–3, Nos. P 13 & P 14. Grabar, L'iconoclasme, p. 68 and elsewhere, dates the beginning of this effort in 73 A. H., but up until the present time, no coins of this date have come to light.
21 Cf. Walker, Catalogue II, p. 18, No. 54.
22 One of these, with a standing-Caliph figure on the reverse of an Arab-Sassanian coin, in the Zubow Coll., is published by Walker, Catalogue I, p. 25; the other is a unique dirhem, described as a "mihrab" type, in the collection of the American Numismatic Society, published by George C. Miles, "Mihrab and cAnazah: A Study in Early Islamic Iconography," in Archaeologica Orientalia in Memoriam Ernst Herzfeld, Locust Valley, 1952, pp. 156–71. This coin was probably struck at the Damascus mint. The iconography of these and other of the "experimental" Umayyad coins is discussed by Grabar, L'iconoclasme, pp. 68ff.
23 Remarked by Walker, Catalogue II, p. 18.
24 Cf. S. Mosser, A Bibliography of Byzantine Coin Hoards (Numismatic Notes and Monographs, No. 67), New York City, 1935.
25 This is essentially the conclusion of Grabar, L'iconoclasme, p. 71, and of Walker, Catalogue II, p. lv; yet Grabar still follows Theophanes' account of the cause of the Battle of Sebastopolis.It might be remarked in passing that a somewhat similar situation, in which a great deal had been taken for granted on vague assumptions which have proven, upon examination, insusceptible of proof, exists with regard to the question of direct Moslem influence upon Leo III's decision in favor of his Iconoclastic measures. For an objective evaluation of early Moslem iconoclastic attitudes, cf. K. A. C. Creswell, "The Lawfulness of Painting in Early Islam," Ars Islamica XI–XII, 1946, pp. 159–66. Cf. also Kitzinger's comments, D. O. Papers VIII, 1954, P. 134 and the remarks of Ladner in Mediaeval Studies II, 1940, pp. 129–35. The most recent study of the Edict of Yazid is A. A. Vasiliev's "The Iconoclastic Edict of the Caliph Yazid II, A. D. 721," D. O. Papers IX–X, 1956, pp. 23–47. The consensus of modern opinion, among both Byzantinists and Arabists, would be that influences flowed in both directions, while there was ample justification for the steps taken in the native tradition of each side.
26 De Goeje, op. cit., p. 240. Cf. Walker, Catalogue II, p. liv.
27 E. Quatremére, Mémoires géographiques et historiques sur l'égypte et sur quelques contrées voisines I, Paris, 1811, p. 343. The pertinence of this passage was indicated to me by Dr. Miles.
28 This would seem to be implied by Walker, Catalogue II, p. lv, as well as by Grabar, L'iconoclasme, p. 71. It cannot be claimed as a new idea, of course: It occurs, for example, in Macdonald, Coin Types, pp. 235–7. (On the other hand, it might be well to note that Macdonald states erroneously on p. 238 that the head of Christ reappears on the coins of Michael I. It is not until the reign of Michael III, as we have noted, that this takes place.)


If the political events of Justinian II's first reign fail to provide any convincing reason for the introduction of the portraits of Christ onto his coins, there is another sort of event from that same period to which these numismatic innovations may be linked. This was pointed out two decades ago by Grabar, who wrote, "Un concile qu'un empereur avait réuni en 692, dans son palais, s'était montré hostile é la doctrine romaine et, en matiére d'art, avait ordonné la représentation obliga-toire du Christ, sous ses traits physiques; Fempereur qui avait pris Tinitiative de ce concile, se déclarant servus Christi, s'empressa de suivre le nouveau canon, et fit graver sur ses monnaies cette icone de Jésus que nous venons de signaler."1

The council referred to was of course the Quinisexte, which in one of its canons concerned itself specifically with the representation of Christ, and which thus seemed to Grabar as well as to most other students of the subject of pre-Iconoclastic icon-worship2 directly related to the numismatic innovations with which we are dealing. Hitherto we have referred to this council only briefly, as the cause of a rupture between Constantinople and Rome.3 Now let us examine it more closely, in order to see not only the specific phrases which concern us most directly, but the general character of the council as a whole, with a view to understanding both the basis of disagreement with Rome, and the background of our own particular problem.4

The text of the Canons of the Quinisexte Council is given in full in Mansi,5 and is summarized, with a certain amount of commentary, in Hefele-Leclercq.6 The Canons give us, in terms of the conditions they were intended to correct, a closely-observed though one-sided picture of the life of Byzantium at the end of the seventh century, a time when priests might take part in theatrical performances, cheer on the Blues or the Greens in the Hippodrome, or even keep houses of ill fame; when monks did not wish to be confined to their cloisters, but wandered into the cities and towns, acting not only as preachers but even as merchants or conjurors; where the laymen of the city consulted all manner of soothsayers and astrologers, and the countrymen retained many of their old pagan beliefs and practices when they bore upon the daily relationship to the natural world upon which their livelihood depended.

What these disciplinary Canons reflect, however, is not truly a world of frivolity, but a profoundly disturbed and dislocated one, when a great empire was in the act of dissolving into its component parts, tom by dissension within and pressed by enemies without who were not just the unlettered barbarians of earlier times, but civilized adherents of ways of life and thought which represented a far more serious threat to the continuity of Greco-Roman Christian culture than mere barbarism could ever have meant.

Such were the circumstances under which Justinian II summoned his Quinisexte Council, wishing to make up for the fact that no general church council had taken up the new problems of ecclesiastic and lay discipline for over two centuries.

The Canons of this Council, then, had two principal objectives: the regularization of all Christian practices throughout the Oecumene, and the eradication of any non-orthodox elements in Christian worship which might tend to endanger the purity of the Faith. Basic questions of theology were not considered; the Quinisexte Council, which was regarded at the time and afterward as a simple continuation of the sittings of the Sixth Council, rested upon the theological decisions and definitions of that and the preceding oecumenical councils. The Canons of the Quinisexte Council represented what their authors regarded as logical extensions of these definitions into the everyday practice of the Christian faithful.

The largest single group of these Canons is, therefore, related directly to discipline within the Church itself. The purpose of these acts was, more or less by definition, to provide for the raising of ethical and moral standards within the body ecclesiastic. In such a council as the Quinisexte, claiming oecumenical status, there was also the necessity of arriving at a universal standard in each case, which should be valid for the entire Christian community.

This community, the Oecumene, properly speaking embraces all individuals worshipping Christ; it is a concept of great flexibility, and powerful in its very variety and looseness of definition. The weakness of the Quinisexte Canons lay in their attempt to impose too rigid a pattern upon an oecumene whose structure had become far too complex to admit of such an imposition.7 The action of the Quinisexte Council was no less worthy for being ill-advised, however; its aim was to provide, in such matters as ecclesiastical administration, marriage regulations for the clergy, enforcement of monastic vows, and so forth, an adequate standard of behavior which would enhance the moral character of all the clergy. Its success in this effort, within its own sphere, is demonstrated by the fact that virtually all its provisions of more than purely temporary significance remain in effect throughout the Eastern Church to this day.

Similarly, another group of Canons concerned itself with the moral behavior of the laity, with a view toward eradicating both the surviving influences of paganism, and those of the contemporary coreligion, Judaism,8 as well as correcting the general moral laxity which had been brought about by over a century of political unrest.

The most pertinent Canons for us, however, are those, less than one third of the whole, which relate to matters of worship and ritual, some of which may be connected directly to the Christological thought of the period.9 The result of the Christological controversies, with their demonstration that the crux of orthodoxy lay in its adherence to the dogma of the Incarnation, had been to place increasing stress upon the importance of the ritual of worship, in which the Mass and its related sacraments were the living enactment of the Incarnation of Christ. We find, therefore, that a large body of the Canons are concerned with regularizing the performance of the church rituals; enhancing their sanctity through the prohibition of practices common at earlier times, which tended to diminish the exclusiveness of the ceremonial as performed by the ordained clergy; regulating the observance of feasts and fasts; and in other ways emphasizing the new importance of church ritual, as a prerogative of the church hierarchy, the instrument of salvation for the Oecumene.

The purpose of all this legislation, plainly enough, was to ensure that the liturgy of the Church would be performed in one way and only one, and only by certain people, so that its meaning, particularly with reference to the Incarnation of Christ, in Both Natures and Both Wills, should never be obscured. Therefore the ceremonial of the Mass must never be confused by extra offerings, nor should its significance be obscured by rich trappings added by communicants, who think to honor the Body of the Lord, but instead dishonor Him with gifts of base dead matter.

Because of this, the Quinisexte Council, although the direct sequel of the Fifth and Sixth Councils, finds itself more closely allied to the theological discussions of the Middle Ages, between and within both the Eastern and the Western Churches, when practice and ritual became more and more the subject, instead of the abstract conceptions of the nature of divinity which had been the concern of the first church councils.

It is among these Canons which have to do with the regulation of worship that we may find the two which particularly concern the present study. The first of these is Canon 73, the text of which is as follows: "Since the lifegiving cross has shown us the way to salvation, we ought to apply every care to give the proper honor to that through which we have been saved from the ancient fall. Wherefore, bestowing upon it reverence in mind, speech and sensation, we order that the signs of the cross made by some people on the ground should utterly disappear, lest the victorious trophy be insulted by trampling underfoot. Therefore we decree that henceforward those who make the sign of the cross on the ground should be excommunicated."10

On the one hand, this interesting regulation, forbidding a practice virtually unknown in the West, may take its place in the historical crystallization of religious symbolism in the Christian world. From a general symbol of the Faith, referring sometimes to the event of the crucifixion, sometimes to the person of Christ Himself, and just as often taken as an almost abstract decorative motif which merely indicated a subject that was Christian in nature, the Holy Cross comes to be understood in one single guise: that of the instrument "through which we have been saved from the ancient fall." As such, it must not be desecrated by the feet of the faithful as they come to worship.

The emphatic reiteration of this Canon at precisely this time, on the other hand, cannot but be in some way the consequence of the decisions of the general councils, as well as of the accelerating advance of icon-worship which the seventh century had seen.11 In the sense that it was the instrument of salvation itself, its sanctity, like that of the Virgin Mary, is an integral tenet of the orthodox faith, an element apt to be depreciated by either extreme of heresy, Nestorianism or Monophysitism, and their manifold offshoots: whether one believes in the complete unity of the person of Christ, or in His having two wholly distinct persons, the role of the Virgin as the Mother of God, and that of the Cross as the Instrument of Redemption (the two primary aspects of the Incarnation are after all Christ's Birth and Re-Birth) become less important. For in either case the divine nature of Christ (whether embracing all of Him, or but one distinct Nature) is not concerned with these instruments: He passes through the Virgin "like water through a pipe" (Nestorian); only an "image" of Him hangs upon the Cross (Monophysite). So, while participation in either extreme of heresy will lead the individual to depreciate the instruments of the Incarnation, orthodoxy, by contrast, will always tend to exalt them.

It is for this reason that the Quinisexte Council was impelled to particularize finally the nature of the approved representation of the Cross, and to specify that it must receive, and be so placed as always to receive, the reverence due it as one of these instruments.

Canon 82 of the Quinisexte Council seems to us almost a corollary of Canon 73, but it is far more important to the history of Christian art:

"On some representations of venerable icons is depicted a lamb pointed at by the Forerunner's finger, which has been accepted as a symbol of Grace, showing us in advance through the Law the true Lamb, Christ our Lord. While embracing the ancient symbols and shadows as signs and anticipatory tracings of the Truth handed down to the Church, we give preference to the Grace and the Truth, having received them as the fulfilment of the Law. Therefore, in order that the perfect should be set down before everybody's eyes on paintings also, we decree that the [figure] of the Lamb, Christ our God, who removes the sins of the world, should henceforward be set up12 in human form in images also, instead of the ancient lamb, comprehending through Him the height of the humiliation of God's Word, and guided towards the recollection of His Incarnation, His Passion, and His Salutary Death, and the redemption which has thence accrued to the world."13

This pronouncement is of the greatest significance; it is the official sentence passed upon the symbolic representation of Christ, as it had been inherited from primitive Christian art; and sentence passed for the very reason that evolving orthodoxy, with its dogma of the Incarnation, could no longer tolerate purely symbolic representation. The Canon refers specifically to the image of the Lamb, which is here forbidden, but its effect is to forbid the use of any symbolic representation whatsoever of the living incarnate Christ. This sense is reinforced by Canon 73, dealing with the use of the Holy Cross in art and decoration. The Cross had been used as a symbol for Christ Himself from early times, but in speaking of its use, the Council makes it very plain that it is referring in no way to a symbol for the Crucified, but to the Cross itself, that is to say, to an Instrument of the Passion, which is to be represented as such.14 The principle established by these Canons, then, is that, in Christian art, an object represented should stand for only one thing, that which it directly represents.15

In the case of the Lamb-image, this principle is based upon the fact that the use of this symbol to represent Christ derives from the old dispensation of the Law, that of the Old Testament, and hence is no longer applicable in the present dispensation of Grace, inaugurated by the Incarnation and set forth in the New Testament.16 The point involved is not one of sacrilege, as in the case of the use of the Cross in pavements, but rather the simple matter of clarity and precision– the object of all the Canons dealing with matters of worship, as we have pointed out. As the council saw it, in a religious picture, a personality represented was understood to be "present" in the form in which he or she walked the earth, not in the form of a symbol or allusive reference.17

The position of religious art in the drama of worship, therefore, is clearly thought out and presented in the acts of the Quinisexte Council, as the product of previous decisions and definitions of the Church Universal. Just as the Council of Chalcedon had its immediate repercussions in art,18 so our Canon 82 may be understood to be the logical consequence of the anti-Monothelete definition of the Sixth Council. This Council had the problem of undoing the linking of the divine and human wills of Christ, accomplished by the Monothelete definitions, which it did by reference to the identity of His human flesh, which was not destroyed by being deified, and yet did continue to exist as divine and human both. So the human appearance of Christ assumes a new importance in relation to His Godhead as well as His humanity.19

His personality is expressed in the action of His two united wills, just as His physical aspect manifests itself in the union of His two persons. The definition of Chalcedon, followed by the definition of the Sixth Council, imposed the necessity of representing Christ as one person, divine and human simultaneously, manifesting the unity of His two wills, in the form which made His Incarnation visible to men, i.e., in human form as He had walked the earth. Only by representing Christ directly in this way could the orthodox dogma be illustrated; the ancient symbols could no longer serve to inculcate the presence of the God-man Who had been on earth, and is in heaven.

We cannot exaggerate the importance of this Eighty-Second Canon to its own time; it states the problem of Christian religious representation in terms of Christology, and it was on the grounds of Christology that the Iconoclastic Controversy was fought in the course of the next century and a half.20 This Canon was remembered well, and it became an important weapon for the orthodox cause in the eighth century. Not only was it cited in the works of the orthodox polemicists like the Patriarch Nicephorus 21 and others,22 but it was actually used in the proceedings of the Seventh Oecumenical Council, in 787.23 It was, in fact, the chief legal precedent available for use by the orthodox party in demanding a general council on the subject of Iconoclasm, and as such it was the principal text, aside from biblical and patristic references, used by the Patriarch Tarasius in his inaugural synodica to the Eastern Patriarchs, calling for that Council.24

These are the facts which led Grabar to see a connection between the action of the Quinisexte Council, and the initiative taken by the imperial administration in issuing coins bearing the portrait of Christ; this relation seems to us also the most obvious, and the most direct one of the possibilities open. Whether or not these coins were produced as the direct outcome of the Council's sessions, or were merely struck at about the same time as a result of the same thinking, the same intellectual climate, must remain a moot question, with the weight of the probabilities perhaps on the side of the latter conclusion.

Of the two types showing the image of Christ accompanied by that of the sole emperor (as he was during his first reign), it is our Type II, on which the emperor termed himself "Servus Christi," which Grabar formerly felt showed most characteristics indicating its special connection with Canon 82;25 we are inclined to the same conclusion. But if that is so, what are we to make of the other type, Type III, which also shows the emperor alone, but in bust form, and with a different Christ portrait?

In seeking an answer to this problem, the evidence of the mints from which the coins were issued is of some value. In summarizing this evidence, insofar as it is available to us, we have found that Type II occurs only in issues of Constantinople and of the Exarchate of Carthage (Sardinia), while Type III is to be found not only at these mints, but at two Italian mints, at Rome and in the South.26 Equally significant, from this point of view, is the fact that in published records of coin hoards, coins of Type II and of Type III have never been found together.27

Arguments ex silentio are by their nature perilous; yet a check of as many collections and cabinets as possible has confirmed the absence of any coins of Type II which might have been struck at Italian mints. This fits so conveniently with our hypothesis about the character and meaning of Type II, that it is difficult not to regard this situation as significant. We know that the Acts of the Quinisexte Council were never signed by the Pope–that, in fact, the first Pope to receive them, Sergius, refused to permit their publication within his domain.28 Justinian II attempted to force Sergius to bow to his will, but the Pope was too strong on his home ground to be bested by the emperor's first attempt at coercion, and Justinian's first reign ended before another attempt could be made. In this quarrel, the Exarch of Italy is conspicuous by his absence; he seems to have kept himself aloof from the dispute, for motives which we can only surmise. What more natural, therefore, than for him to have hesitated to strike coins identified with the actions of the Council, at mints where the papal authority was in effect stronger than his own?

Coins of our Type III, on the other hand, seem to have been acceptable in the West; and their reverse, in fact, seems to show a different aspect of the imperial authority. The globus in the emperor's hand proclaims "Peace;" if this was an offer of reconciliation with Italy, it must have been accepted. Could all this have taken place during the same short period of three years from 692, the date of the Council, to 695, the date of Justinian II's fall?

The reason that all coins bearing the figure of Justinian II alone have usually been assigned to his first reign is the simple one that we know that during his second reign he had as co-emperor his infant son, Tiberius. But the fact seems to have escaped the compilers of our catalogues that Justinian II at the outset of his second reign did rule alone for several months, perhaps for the better part of a year, before he was able to bring his wife and son to Constantinople and have them crowned; and during part of that period, he was not even aware of his son's existence.29 In this time, Justinian could scarcely have presumed to strike coins representing his uncrowned son as already elevated to the rank of Augustus; yet it is equally inconceivable, given the importance of the coin-image as a representation of the imperial authority, that he would have failed to strike some sort of coins of his own, to replace in circulation those of his hated—and vanquished—rivals.

Our Type III fits the requirements of such a type to perfection, in view of what we know of the circumstances of Justinian I Ps return to power. Whereas an attempt to explain its appearance at any earlier date raised innumerable complications, in 705 all its distinctive characteristics coincide with the period when the emperor was showing himself willing to make concessions to the papal feelings as a price for reconciliation with Rome and the West: among these characteristics we should single out the retreat from the "imperial" Christ-image associated, apparently, with the controversial Quinisexte Council; the proclamation of "Peace" restored to earth by Justinian, the rightful emperor;30 and yet at the same time, significantly enough, sufficient attributes are retained, such as the "Rex Regnantium" legend and the emperor's loros-costume, to continue to assert the God-given nature of the emperor's power almost as much as the preceding type had done.

Nor would the Papacy have been so apt to block the minting of such coins. Its point had been made in the suppression of Type II; the political symbolism of Type III, in contradistinction to that of its predecessor, contains nothing which would have made its striking objectionable at the mints under the jurisdiction of the Exarch of Italy. Coins of this type, with Justinian II alone, would have continued to appear, as other periods of multiple-rulership demonstrate, even after the coronation of little Tiberius had led to the introduction of Type IV and Type IV-B.

There are other grounds on which our objection to the dating of Type III to the first reign have already been substantiated. Examination of our descriptions of the two issues will show differences in the orthography of the legends on the two which are highly unlikely on coins minted direct sequence: while Type II calls Christ "IHSCRIS-TOS," Type III terms Him "DNIHSCHS;" Type II begins the emperor's title "DIUSTIN...," while Type III begins "DNIVS-TIN..."31 Further differences in the epigraphy of these inscriptions, in each case relating Type III closer to Type IV than to its predecessor, as well as the evidence of style, led Laffranchi to anticipate our conclusions in his important article:32 He found that whereas Type II followed epigraphically and stylistically upon Justinian II's Type I in a natural way, Type III showed considerable dissimilarities stylistically and epigraphically (the phrasing of the inscription referring to Christ differs on the two types, for example, as does the epigraphy of the letter "G"). In general, on the other hand, the style of Type III is quite similar to that of the coins of Tiberius III ( Plate II, 15; the heads, hair, etc., of the emperor-portraits on the two types are all but identical, and quite dissimilar from the strongly individualized and far more plastic portraits of the coins of Leontius or of Justinian II's first reign). Laffranchi established a stylistic sequence, therefore, in which Justinian II's coins of Type III took a place only following the development carried through by the coins of Leontius and of Tiberius Apsimar, and hence belonging to the second reign.

Final confirmation is available with the discovery of two bronzes, bearing the image of the emperor in bust-length and wearing the loros, as on the gold of Type III, and with legible dates in the year XXI, which in Justinian II's reigns must be 705–6 ( Plate II, 14).33

With such gratifying substantiating evidence, we may now postulate a chronology for the types of Justinian II's coinage, always allowing for overlapping and continuation of issues within the reigns beyond the rough boundary dates we have indicated:

Type I 685–692 A. D.34
Type II 692–695 A. D.
Type III 705–706 A. D.
Type IV 706–711 A. D.

End Notes

1 L'empereur, p. 165, é propos of the two "historical" images of Christ on these coins.
2 Esp. Ladner in D. O. Papers VII, 1953, P. 22 (much stronger than in Mediaeval Studies II, 1940, p. 137).
3 Cf. above, pp. 10ff.
4 See now the discussion by Grabar, L'iconoclasme, pp. 77–91, which however does not obviate our own analysis, since Grabar arrives at such different conclusions in regard to the physical evidence.
5 Op. cit. XI, cols. 921–1006.
6 Op. cit. III1, pp. 562–75.
7 For the points of specific offense to Rome, cf. above, pp. 11f.
8 For an evaluation of the part played by Jewish attitudes in the outbreak of Iconoclasm both in Islam and Byzantium, cf. Ladner in Mediaeval Studies II, 1940, pp. 123–34; and Grabar, L'Iconoclasme, pp. 99–103, on contemporary Jewish practices in art and decoration.
9 That the Iconoclastic Controversy is essentually the last of the great Christological controversies is substantially the finding of all the scholars cited in note 2, p. 2, above.
10 Tоῦ ζωоπоιоῦ σταυρоῦ δείξαντоς ἡμῖν τò σωτήριоν, πᾶσαν σπоυδὴν ἡμᾶς τιθέναι χρὴ τоῦ τιμὴν τὴν ἀξίαν ἀπоδιδóναι τῷ, δίʾ оὔ σεσώσμεθα τоῦ παλαιоῦ πτώματоς. ὅθεν ϰαὶ νῷ ϰαὶ λóγῳ ϰαὶ αἰσθήσει τὴν πρоσϰύνησιν αὐτῷ ἀπоνέμоντες, τоὺς ἐν τῷ ἐδάφει τоῦ σταυρоῦ τύπоυς ὺπó τινων ϰατασϰευαζоμένоυς ἐξαφανίζεσθαι παντоίως πρоστάττоμεν. ὡς ἀν μὴ τῆ τῶν βαδιζóντων ϰαταπατήσει τò τῆς νίϰης ἡμῖν τρóπαιоν ἐξυβρίζоιτо. τоὺς оὖν ἀπò τоῦ νῦν τоῦ σταυρоῦ τύπоν ἐπὶ τῷ ἐδάφει ϰατασϰευάζоντας ὁρίζоμεν ἀφоρίζεσθαι. Mansi, op. cit. XI, col. 976. Actually, this follows a similar prohibition in an Edict of Theodosius II, dated 427: Cod. Justinian I: viii, and perhaps for this reason has been generally overlooked by commentators on the Quinisexte Council.
11 On this, cf. particularly Kitzinger, D. O. Papers VIII, 1954, pp. 95–115 and Grabar, Martyrium II, pp. 343–57.
12 The use of the word ἀναστηλоῦσθαι here has led to a misunderstanding of the Canon on the part of Dom Leclercq (Hefele-Leclercq, op. cit. III1, p. 573, n. 3), who, translating it as "erected," states that it indicates in consequence that we are dealing here exclusively with images of the cross, i. e., the Crucifixion. The word, however, is never used in the sense of "raising" the Cross, insofar as we can determine, but applies instead to the "erection" of images themselves; it became the specific term referring to the restoration of the images after the end of the Iconoclasm.The error seems to have arisen from the defective text of the original in Mansi, wherein the accusative article τòν has no noun (see below). In our translation, we have supplied the noun as "figure" or "image"; Leclercq, however, read the clause to the effect that it was "the Lamb, Christ our God" Who was erected (actually a phrase in the genetive), leading him into his mistake.This Canon has nothing to do with the specific scene of the crucifixion as such, and had no effect upon the artistic tradition of that scene, except in the general sense that it influenced all subsequent Byzantine representations of Christ. In any case, as Kitzinger has shown, loc. cit., the creative powers and theoretical interests of this period were directed not toward the narrative side of Christian art, but toward the more purely iconic.
13 Ἔν τισι τῶν σεπτῶν εἰϰóνων γραφαῖς ἀμνòς δαϰτύλῳ τоῦ πρоδρóμоυ δειϰνύμενоς ἐγχαράττεται, δς εἰς τύπоν παρελήφθη τῆς χάριτоς, τòν ἀληθινòν ἡμῖν διὰ τоῦ νóμоυ πρоϋπоφαίνων ἀμνòν Xριστòν τòν θεòν ἡμῶν. τоὺς оὖν παλαιоὺς τύπоυς ϰαὶ τὰς σϰιὰς, ὡς τῆς ἀληθείας σύμβоλά τε ϰαὶ πρоχαράγματα παραδεδоμένоυς τῆ ἐϰϰλησίᾳ ϰατασπαζóμενоι, τὴν χάριν πρоτιμῶμεν ϰαὶ τὴν ἀλήθειαν, ὡς πλήρωμα νóμоυ ταύτην ὺπоδεξάμενоι. ὡς ἄν оὖν τò τέλειоν ϰἄν ταῖς χρωματоυργίαις ὲν ταῖς ἀπάντων ὄψεσιν ὺπоγράφηται, τòν τоῦ αἴρоν τоς τὴν ἁμαρτίαν τоῦ ϰóσμоυ ἀμνоῦ Xριστоῦ τоῦ Θεоῦ ἡμῶν ϰατὰ τòν ἀνθρώπινоν χαραϰτῆρα ϰαὶ ἐν ταῖς εὶϰóσιν ἀπò τоῦ νῦν ἀντὶ τоῦ παλαιоῦ ἀμνоῦ ἀναστηλоῦσθαι ὁρίζоμεν, διʾ αὐτоῦ τò τῆς ταπεινώσεως ὕψоς τоῦ Θεоῦ λóγоυ ϰατανооῦντες, ϰαὶ πρòς μνήμην τῆς ἐν σαρϰὶ πоλιτείας, τоῦ τε πάθоυς αὐτоῦ ϰαὶ τоῦ σωτηρίоυ θανάτоυ χειραγωγоύμενоι, ϰαὶ τῆς ἐντεῦθεν γενоμένης τῷ ϰóσμῳ ἀπоλυτρώσεως. Mansi, op. cit. XI, cols. 977–80. This translation and that on p. 81 are the work of Dr. C. A. Mango, to whom I am deeply indebted for this and other assistance.
14 It is obvious that we cannot accept Grabar's argument, L'iconoclasme, p. 220, that Christ replaces and is the equivalent of the Cross on these coins. As we have demonstrated, we believe conclusively, on pp. 22ff. and 27 above, Christ on these coins replaces the emperor on the obverse, rather than the cross of the reverse; the cross still appears, in its customary form, in the hand of the emperor. Grabar's mistake is the result of his unawareness of the importance of the distinction between obverse and reverse on coins in general, and on Byzantine issues in particular, on which we have already remarked.
15 This is in line with the general characteristics of the art of the period, as described by Kitzinger in D. O. Papers VIII, 1954, loc. cit., and Studies in Honor of Friend, pp. 132–50.
16 For the importance of the distinction made between the Old and the New Dispensations, cf. Grabar, L'iconoclasme, pp. 79f.
17 Cf. Ladner, in D. O. Papers VII, 1953, pp. 1–34 as well as Kitzinger, D. O. Papers VIII, loc. cit.
18 Cf. above, p. 62, and Morey, op. cit., pp. 81–2.
19 Mansi, op. cit. XI, cols. 633–40, esp. col. 637.
20 Cf. above, note 9, p. 80.
21 Antirrheticus III, in Migne, P. G. 100, col. 421; also Apologeticus Minor pro sacris imaginibus, P. G. 100, col. 836.
22 I. a. Pseudo-John Damascene, Adversus Constantinum Caballinum, Migne, P. G. 95, col. 320.
23 Mansi, op. cit. XIII, cols. 40–1.
24 The synodical letter was read aloud during Actio III of the Seventh Council: Mansi, op. cit. XII, cols. 1119–27, esp. cols. 1123–6. In both of these citations at the Seventh Council, this Canon is described as an action of the Sixth Council, which as we have indicated above, p. 79, was the way in which it was regarded when it was held. The fact that the Quinisexte's Canons were not ratified in the West is perhaps what has led Hefele-Leclercq, op. cit. III2, pp. 745 & 767 to "correct" Tarasius and the Eastern bishops, who might have been expected to know what they were saying.
25 Cf. above, p. 78 and n. 1. More recently, of course, Grabar has changed his mind: L'iconoclasme, pp. 41f, for iconographical reasons sees the Christ of our Type III as related to the reference to the "Lamb" of the Quinisexte Canon, and hence most directly issued in consequence of the Council's action. While our findings about the relations and meaning of the Christ-type (cf. below) are close to those of Grabar, this analogy with the "Lamb of God" concept seems to us unnecessarily rigid. More conclusively, we believe that the chronology of the types precludes the possibility that coins of Type III were issued at the time, or in consequence of the Quinisexte Council and its rulings.
26 Cf. above, pp. 25f.
27 Mosser, op. cit., pp. 49, 62, 92. Not, of course, that the occurrence of a few instances of such coupling would destroy our thesis; but we feel that the present evidence is significant.
28 Cf. above, p. 12.
29 Cf. above, pp. 14.ff.
30 The use of the legend "PAX" is curiously restricted on Byzantine coins—curiously so considering its wide currency during the Roman Empire. It appears, other than on these issues, on the earlier bronze issues of Justinian II (n. 6, p. 21, above) and on a bronze issue which, to judge by the length of the imperial beard, dates fairly early in the reign of Constans II (641–668) (Sabatier, op. cit. I, p. 296, No. 10). The only generalization which it seems to us possible to make about the use of the word is that it seems to occur, in the Heraclian Dynasty, more or less at the outset of reigns which begin with dynastic troubles (Constans II and his brothers—Constantine IV co-ruled with his for a dozen years instead—and possibly Justinian II and his putative brother Heraclius, not to mention Justinian II's later troubles), and hence implies a reassurance of the "Pax-Romana-Christiana" restored with legitimacy. Cf. below, pp. 91ff.
31 Cf. above, pp. 22f.
32 Op. cit., note 9.
33 These two folles are now in Dumbarton Oaks; the clearest is acc. no. 52.13.386. These are of the type of Ricotti Prina, op. cit., No. 172, on which the date is not legible. On the interpretation of the dates on coins of Justinian II, cf. above, n. 9, p. 22.
34 Our sub-group Type I-A would presumably fall at the beginning of this period, but it is a little difficult to state positively when it ceases and Type I takes over. Type IV-B, on the other hand, can be assumed to have been issued concurrently with Type IV.


In our study of the coins of Justinian II, which gradually has narrowed consideration to Types II and III as representing the significant innovations of this emperor in numismatic iconography, we have been led step by step to the statement of most of the conclusions which it is possible to draw from them. In the course of this study, we have been able to indicate in detail many of the determinations which may be made with assurance as to the precise meaning of the coins– insofar as, at the time of issue even, one would have been correct in attributing to each a single meaning, whether precise or otherwise. It remains for us, however, to gather this somewhat scattered evidence together in view of our larger problems.

In doing so, we should keep in mind the significant point emphasized by Grabar, that on both of these coin issues it is necessary, more than with almost any others in the field of numismatics, to consider both obverse and reverse types together, as complementary images forming one iconographic whole.1

The reverse of Type II ( Plate I, 5), representing the standing emperor holding the stepped cross, takes its point of departure, as we have indicated, from the symbolism of the imperial victory; the consular costume serves to carry out this symbolism still more clearly. Yet the legend, as Grabar remarked,2 does not really complement this iconography; instead, it employs an expression of humility to show the emperor as the subject of Christ.3 We have before us, then, a subtle transition from the previous iconography, in which Christian symbols were the instruments of the imperial power in achieving an essentially secular triumph, to a new conception, in which the emperor himself is but the instrument of the Divine Will in achieving Its own victories.

Our research on the background of the "servus Christi" legend has shown that its determining formative element was that of the apostolic tradition. That this is the connotation of our type as a whole may be suggested by the chapter of the Book of Ceremonies referred to earlier, which explains why the emperor and the twelve high dignitaries wore the loros on Easter Sunday: The magistrates do so as types of the Apostles, says the text, while the emperor in his golden costume represents, insofar as it is possible for a mere human being to do so, Jesus Christ Himself!4

This Christomimesis was thus a conscious element of the mid-Byzantine imperial ceremonial; are we justified in projecting its origins back to the seventh century? Quite possibly not, as far as an overt intention is concerned; yet the study of our coin types makes it all but indisputable that these were ideas present at that time: the emperor, standing before his Master, appears to men both as the image of the Divine Pambasileus on earth,5 and as the apostle of the true Faith, of orthodoxy itself, bearing the true word of dogma to all men.

If this coin type represents the emperor, therefore, as a living apostle, how would the function of his apostleship have been conceived by these men of the seventh century?

Three hundred years later, when the Holy Roman Emperor Otto III employed the same titulature, it was on the occasion of a campaign in Poland, against a heathen people.6 Otto found it expedient to propagandize his war as a crusade of evangelism against the pagans, so that he used the title "servus Christi" to suggest his campaign's missionary, hence apostolic, nature. Justinian II also engaged in a war against the barbarians, in the Balkans in 688, and it has been suggested7 that this "apostolic" coin type might well refer to this campaign. The muted triumphal symbolism of the type might be understood to favor this interpretation; yet it must be considered doubtful either that the campaign of 688 assumed sufficient importance to justify such a radical innovation in numismatic iconography, or that the mission of the campaign was conceived, even for purposes of propaganda, as being of an evangelical nature. There are no signs that the Byzantines of this period ever sought to justify their periodic raids against the Slavs and the Bulgars on the grounds that they were bringing light to the heathen; on the contrary, these were purely defensive excursions, and until the ninth century little or no effort seems to have been expended in the direction of effecting the conversion of these enemies to Christianity.8

Much more directly connected with the apostolic function in the attitude of the day, on the other hand, was the idea of establishing orthodoxy within the Christian community itself. Constantine, first of the imperial apostles,9 appears to have had this very much in mind when he assembled the first oecumenical council to define the orthodox faith, for in his preamble to the Council of Nicaea, reported in several sources, the emperor addressed the assembled bishops as the servants of God, nominating himself as their fellow-slave, and called upon them all to be apostles of peace within the Christian community by their actions at that council.10 Preserved, therefore, in the acts of the prototype of all church councils was this statement, incorporating the integral elements of our coin image. That this attitude toward the councils was not forgotten may be demonstrated by the letter of Eutychius to Pope Vigilius, included in the Acts of the Fifth Council of 553. which describes the councils as continuing the work of the propagation of the Faith begun by Christ and His Apostles.11

It must not be forgotten, moreover, that the church councils were considered in themselves, and in their published acts, as fundamental symbols of the orthodox faith; this is borne out by the history of the diptychs and of the images of these councils, at the very period we are studying. When the ephemeral emperor Philippicus Bardanes came to the throne following Justinian II, he sought to restore the condemned Monothelete heresy;12 one of his most significant acts while striving to achieve this aim was the destruction of the images of the Six Oecumenical Councils, which had hitherto stood in the vestibule of the Great Palace between the Fourth and the Sixth Schola. Philippicus proceeded to erect at the Milion, the civic heart of Constantinople, a new image which included only the first five of the councils, those which had not anathematized his theology. When he sent to Rome to command Pope Constantine (who had barely returned from his visit to Justinian II at Constantinople) to perform the same purge on the similar images of the councils which existed there, the Pope refused to act, and an enraged populace substituted the image of the Sixth Council for the customary "sacred" portrait which had been set up to represent the heretical emperor.13

What, then, of the Christ before Whom the apostolic emperor stands in reverence? We have seen that the history of this Rex Regnantium image was prolonged into the post-Iconoclastic period, and that there is an excellent possibility that its history prior to the time of the issue of these coins can be determined. This is Christ the King of Those Who Rule, Christ in His aspect of Pambasileus, with His power related directly to that of the emperor, ruling through the emperor over the races of men. The Rex Regnantium concept has never been more accurately defined than it was by a Pope, Leo II, writing to Constantine IV in May of 682 to acknowledge receipt of the Acts of the Sixth Council, and to indicate his endorsement of their contents.14 Pope Leo was, of course, reminding the emperor of his responsibilities to his Heavenly superior; but what could be more fitting to our interpretation of the image than the first words of his letter: "Small and great we thank the king of those who rule, in whose power are the kingdoms of this world, and who has thus invested you with the earthly empire..."?15 "You rule by virtue of the mandate which has been sent to you by God."16

Herein lies the distinction between the Pantocrator, the Sovereign of all men, and the Rex Regnantium. This is not God the Father, visible through the form of His Son, on these coins, as the Iconophiles described the concept of the Pantocrator when they evolved tfyeir aesthetic of representation in the eighth century;17 this is the Son Jesus Christ Himself, Whose servant Justinian II proclaims himself to be.

The words of Leo II seem, indeed, to combine in a most happy way the concepts with which we have been dealing. Using almost the very words of Justin II,18 on the occasion of the conclusion of an oecumenical council, within the very lifetime of Justinian II the Pope gives expression to the meaning of the Rex Regnantium image in the most cogent way possible. It is not surprising to find that Justinian II adopted this sponsorship of the emperor's Christ, the Second Person of the Trinity, Who makes His power felt on earth through the basileus, His representative and regent.19

Justinian II's council concerned itself with defining the nature of the worship to be offered through images to Christ the Son. It is this Son of God Whom Justinian served, therefore, in regulating the faith of the orthodox, and in publishing the Canons of his Church Council; and this act of service, or apostleship, is the one commemorated on Justinian II's coins of Type II.

Type III, ( Plate I, 7) on the other hand, seems not so clearly defined, and in a certain sense may always defy any absolutely precise interpretation. The emperor no longer addresses Christ, but speaks to men,20 and all aspects of the reverse type serve to confirm our suggestion that these coins were issued after Justinian II's recapture of the throne in 705 A. D. He appears to his subjects, clad as before, but holding, in place of the mappa-anexikakia, a globus cruciger which proclaims that Peace has been restored to the world by the vindication of the legitimate dynasty. So his subjects receive him with the fitting salutation, "Lord for many Years," an invocation of a long and fortunate reign for the restored basileus. The sense of dynastic continuity is stressed, shortly, by the inclusion of Justinian II's infant son Tiberius, who was raised to the rank of Augustus at an uncommonly early age. In the idea of legitimacy, the reestablishment of the rightful dynastic succession, if we are correct in our dating and in our interpretation of this type, lies the key to an understanding of these coins.

The changed Christ indicates the passage of time since the minting of Type II. The information which we possess on this portrait-type, complete though it may be in one sense, does not tell us why it should have been used on this coin; it certainly does not represent any stricter adherence to the Eighty-Second Canon of the Quinisexte Council than the previous Rex Regnantium portrait, since the Canon simply calls for the representation of Christ "in human form,"21 and not according to any given portrait-tradition.

This is a different Christ, however, from our Pambasileus, the Christ of the emperors, for despite the persistence of the legend Rex Regnantium, He does not stand for the divinely-sanctioned aspect of the Byzantine imperium in the same sense as does the Christ of our Type II. Justinian II here rules in his own right, directly over his people; the obverse legend recalls the principle of the super-magistracy of Christ, but the coin as a whole does not assert this so much as the power of the emperor himself; in a sense, therefore, it may be still more imperialistic a conception, in the strictest sense of the word, than was Type II.

No more than it prescribes a single specific portrait-type of Christ, does Canon 82 limit to a single fashion the manner in which Christ may be depicted. We are already familiar with occasional instances of the appearance of more than one portrait-type of Christ within the same iconographic formula, as if in order to illustrate the multiple theological concepts involved in the personality of the Son of Man.22 We have no evidence, however, that such an idea was operative in the creation of these new coin-types; still it is not beyond the realm of possibility that some such conception was present within their creators' minds.

While this concept may only be suggested, we have already indicated that the Syrian parentage of the Christ-portrait of Type III may have played a part in its selection for this issue, at a time when Justinian II had in mind a reconciliation with the papacy (even though it must be remembered that his method was not one of mere appeasement—vide his sending the blinded ex-Patriarch Callinicus as one of his ambassadors to Rome). Beyond this we know too little of the history and associations of this portrait-type to arrive at a positive conclusion about its significance on this coin.

One possibility suggests itself, however, in view of the nature of the reverse type, and the general content of the coin as a whole: The idea of the image "from the life" is closely linked with a series of other portraits or images of Christ, such as the Sacred Image of Edessa and that of Camuliana, which had become famous in the preceding century,23 and which were part of a whole family of portraits which either were supposed to be physical imprints of Christ's living body made during His lifetime, or miraculously brought into existence at a later date. It has already been suggested that these images, which came from the general region of Syria and Palestine, were related to the numerous descriptions of the appearance of Christ "more familiar in the time of the Saviour,"24 and which seem to originate in about the same period as that of the rise of the "acheiropoietai," as the miraculous images themselves were called.25

These images were regarded in the seventh century, furthermore, as having palladian or apotropaeic powers. The Image of Edessa was credited with saving that city in the great Persian siege of 544;26 while the Camuliana portrait was used in 586 to instil courage in the imperial troops before battle.27 But most significant of all, Heraclius, founder of the dynasty to which Justinian II belonged, seems to have been a particularly fervent believer in the efficacy of such miraculous auxiliaries:28 He displayed the icon of the Virgin during his naval expedition to overthrow Phocas; he used the miraculous image of Christ–it has been suggested29 that this may have been the very image of Camuliana which had been brought from Syria to Constantinople in 574, during the reign of Justin II 30–as a palladium in his Persian campaign; and he had the same image carried around the walls of Constantinople during the Avar siege of 626. As late as the Moslem siege of 717, in the reign of the future Iconoclast Leo III, the image of the Virgin, as well as the relics of the True Cross, were carried around the walls of Constantinople in an effort to obtain spiritual aid against the enemy.31

We have already suggested that Justinian IPs Christ-type B might represent one of these miraculous images; yet we face the fact that none of the surviving copies of these images show the curly-haired "Syrian" Christ portrait; on the contrary, they are of a long-bearded wavy-haired type derived, like the normal mid-Byzantine type which they closely resemble, ultimately from our Christ-type A and its Greco-Roman antecedents.32 Our coin-type does correspond, however, with the written description of one of these pre-Iconoclastic acheiropoietai, the one in S. Sophia in Jerusalem which was described by Anthony of Placentia in the sixth century.33 We should like to offer the hypothesis that this coin image does, in fact, copy one of the pre-Iconoclast miraculous images which played so large a part in the early development of the cult of the icons.

The most famous of these pre-Iconoclastic acheiropoietai was the Image of Camuliana, of which no replica has been preserved. It would appear to have been lost or destroyed during the iconoclastic period; its place in the popular imagination as a "living" facsimile of Christ's appearance was taken by the Edessan image, which was brought to Constantinople in its turn in 944.34 This image, insofar as we are able to infer its probable appearance,35 seems to have conformed to the normal mid-Byzantine Christ-portrait, as exemplified by the enthroned Christ of Hagia Sophia, the coin-types of the tenth century, and the many familiar icons of this and later times. All this is in contrast with the pre-Iconoclastic era, when there apparently was no feeling of difficulty in reconciling multiple types of Christ-image, youthful and mature, beardless and bearded, and so forth.

Despite the apparent standardization which took place in visual imagery after Iconoclasm, we have seen that at least a literary tradition persisted concerning the "familiar" appearance of Christ, corresponding in no way with the customary pictorial image, and apparently connected with the region where the miraculous images themselves originated. It is our hypothesis, then, that Justinian II's Christ-type B, which corresponds to this description, is linked to these miraculous images–most probably to the Camuliana portrait, since that was present in the capital at this time–and was used, as much as anything else, because of its strongly palladian connotations, as a "figure" of Christ invoked in aid of the rightful dynasty.

The association of such miraculous images with the name of Heraclius, as we have seen, also suggests that this may be another aspect of the strongly "dynastic" feeling of Justinian II's coins of Types III and IV; and there is one other detail of these coins which might also indicate this. We refer to the "patriarchal" cross with double crossbar, the history of which, together with its original meaning, seems never to have been thoroughly studied.36 What we do know about it is that all the earliest surviving reliquaries for fragments of the True Cross take this shape: The Poitiers Reliquary, which legend says was sent to St. Radegund by Justin II about 569;37 the Fieschi-Morgan Reliquary, which Rosenberg dated in the pre-Iconoclastic period;38 and the Staurothek of Limburg, which surely dates from the tenth century.39 (Although there remain unresolved disagreements among students of the problem as to the pre-Iconoclastic dating of the first two reliquaries, no one has questioned the fact that these three are all Eastern cross-reliquaries preserved from before the year 1000 A. D., and that the two-barred form seems to be the one normally taken by such early Eastern reliquaries.)

It is significant, in this connection, that this form may be the one described by the pilgrim Arculf when speaking of the reliquary of the True Cross which he saw during his visit to Constantinople about the year 670.40 Arculf writes of the extreme veneration shown by all, and particularly by the imperial family, for the relics which were preserved in an unnamed round church, and then gives an involved description of the way in which these relics were enshrined. Unfortunately, the details of his description are too confused for the modern mind to be able to reconstruct the precise shape of the reliquary; but what Arculf makes clear is that the relics of the Cross were in three pieces, which were somehow shown in combination. A cross with double bars would seem one of the few possible ways in which such a combination of three pieces of a cross could be mounted together.

Once more we are reminded of the actions of Heraclius, for it was that emperor who brought back these very relics of the True Cross to Constantinople after his first Persian campaign.41 If we are justified in thinking that there is some connection between Heraclius transfer of the cross relics to his capital, and Justinian II's use of a type of cross which seems to have been particularly associated with the True Cross to surmount the globus of world dominion on his coins, this would relate to two interconnected ideas: that this emblem of the True Cross was another symbol evoking dynastic associations with the glories of the founder, Heraclius, upon which Justinian II wished to fall back with his own return to power; and that the Holy Cross, too, had strong palladian powers to protect the Empire and its ruler–this latter fact being confirmed by the use of the relics a few years later, during the siege of 717.

The "life" image of Christ, then, would appear as a suitable complement to that of the emperor on the third issue of coins by Justinian II, at the outset of his second reign. While the emperor is acclaimed by his subjects, and presents himself to them as the legitimate heir of the Heraclian dynasty, the bestower of peace upon a world troubled by rebellion, usurpation and heresy within, paganism and barbarity without the Empire, the image of the miracle-working Christ is invoked to protect Justinian, his family and his realm from these threats, and to assure the Peace which is as much requested as proclaimed by the legend.

This interpretation makes comprehensible the acceptance of this issue in papal territories, despite its potent assertion of the imperial right to world dominion. Type II represents the emperor's sacerdotal office together with his secular one, and hence seemed to the Italians to challenge the freedom of the Holy See to interpret orthodoxy according to its own lights. On Type III, on the other hand, the emperor, however divinely endowed with power, is shown as purely a lay sovereign, who appeals to Christ rather than represents Him invoking the aid of the Son of God to protect his Empire from danger and to continue his imperial house in power.42

A review of the "after-life" of these types, in the light of Grabar's recent discussion,43 serves to emphasize the importance they had for later periods of Byzantine art and numismatics. The immediate successors of Justinian II, of course, rejected these types with their strong dynastic associations; shortly afterward, Iconoclasm removed the possibility of such iconic representations on official issues. Nor is it perhaps as strange as Grabar seems to feel44 that, during the brief periods under Artavasdus and Irene when iconophile sentiments once more were resurgent,45 the major step of replacing Christ on the official coinage did not take place. Only some time after Michael III and Theodora had finally overthrown the Iconoclastic policies was this done.

In the meantime, however, the formulation of iconophile doctrine, in the face of Iconoclast attacks, had brought to the fore the whole problem of the sovereignty of Christ; one of the major points inveighed against the Iconoclast emperors by their opponents was their denial of Christ's overlordship,46 and the most concrete evidence brought to bear in support of this was the fact that these emperors, on their coins, had "replaced" the image of Christ with their own!47 And in the famous letter of the Three Eastern Patriarchs to The-ophilus, last of the Iconoclast emperors, there was described a coin of Constantine the Great on which the first Christian emperor depicted not only himself, but Christ and the Cross as well.48 While this coin (or seal), if it really existed at the time, must have been a fabrication,49 it surely was evoked, and its description inspired, by surviving coins of Justinian II.

When the time came that the Byzantines could once more venerate religious images, it was in imperial circles that the most prompt action would seem to have been taken,50 and on the coins that one of the earliest reappearances of the image of Christ took place.51 To account for the fact that one of Justinian's Christ-types, and not the other, or both of them, was used, we may suggest several complementary reasons: the disappearance of the Camuliana icon, and the general suppression of religious images over more than a century, which led to a lack of familiarity with the wealth of pre-Iconoclastic imagery; at the same time, the permanent separation from Syria and Palestine, now of long standing; and the fact that iconophile theory, as worked out, by John of Damascus and his followers, tended to favor the establishment of one standard portraittype as the "true" one. In the outcome, the more familiar "pambasileus" image –closer in physical type to the bulk of the population and evoking the sovereignty of Christ which had become so important –won the favor of the first artists, and became the norm.52

Thus, while it is incontrovertible that the new types of Justinian II were not conceived originally with any relationship to the problems of the Iconoclastic Controversy–were not, essentially, vehicles of theological ideas at all, but purely of political doctrine53–they nevertheless played a key part in the resolution of that Controversy, and thus in the working out of the orthodox program of the place of religious art in the practice of the Christian Faith. Few, if any, numismatic issues can have had at any time so important a part to play in the history of human thought.

End Notes

1 Well stated in L'iconoclasme, p. 37.
2 L'empereur, pp. 19–20.
3 Emphasized by Grabar, and by P. L. Koch, "Christusbild–Kaiserbild," Benediktinische Monatsschrift XXI, 1939, pp. 91ff., esp. pp. 92–3. It is curious that Koch mistakenly describes the Christ-image on Justinian II's coins as "enthroned" (p. 91), the type introduced after the Restoration of the Images.
4 De Cer. II, 40, ed. de Reiske, p. 638.
5 For the Christian use of the Neo-Pythagorean concept of the emperor as image of God (distinct from the analogy between the use of the imperial portrait and that of the images of Christ), which was developed particularly by Eusebius for application to Constantine I, cf. Ladner, "The Image Concept," D. O. Papers VII, 1953, pp. 20ff., referring especially to N. H. Baynes, "Eusebius and the Christian Empire," Mélanges Bidez (Annales de l'Institut de Phidlologie et d'Histoire Orientales II, 1934), pp. 13ff. A cogent study of the later interpretation of the relationship between the emperor and Christ is given by Déer, Schweizer Beitrége XIII, 1955, pp. 98–108.
6 Cf. above, p. 65.
7 Verbally, by Prof. Grabar; he did not develop the suggestion in L'iconoclasme, despite the fact that, since he links Type III with the Quinisexte Council and believes Type II to precede it, a connection between the latter and the Balkan campaign would be chronologically convenient.
8 Cf. F. Dvornik, Les Slaves, Byzance et Rome au IX e siécle, Paris, 1926.
9 Cf. in addition to the citations already made, notes 11 and 12, p. 64 above, H. P. L'Orange, op. cit., pp. 126–7, and p. 150, n. 2–16.
10 The version in the Vita Constantini II, 12 (ed. Heikel, pp. 82–3) is generally considered the most accurate. As regards the disputed problem of the reliability of the Vita Constantini as a whole, it must be remembered that, whatever the reservations of modern scholarship concerning the precise date of its authorship, the text was in existence well before the time with which we are dealing, and was then considered genuine.
11 Mansi, op. cit. IX, cols. 185–8.
12 Cf. above, p. 17.
13 The best study of these images is H. Stern, "Les représentations des conciles dans l'Eglise de la Nativité é Bethléem," Byzantion XI, 1936, pp. 101–52, and XIII, 1938, pp. 415–59; the conflicting evidence from the sources for this particular episode are unravelled with great skill in Vol. XI, pp. 144–5, and p. 144, n. 3. Grabar, L'iconoclasme, pp. 48–61, reviews the evidence and demonstrates that these images stood conceptually quite specifically for the person of Christ as Second Person of the Trinity.
14 Mansi, op. cit. XI, cols. 725–36.
15 Ibid. XI, col. 725: τῷ βασιλεῖ τῶν βασιλευόντων οὗτινοζ ἐν τῆ ἐξουσίᾳ είοὶν αί τοῠ ϰόσμου βασιλεῖαι, αὐτῷ μιϰροί τε ϰαὶ μεγάλοι εύχαριστοῦμεν, τῷ οűτως εἰς ὺμᾶζ μεταγαγóντι τήν ἐπίγειоν βασιλείαν...
16 Loc. cit.: ὅτι ἐϰ τῆς θεóθεν ὺμῖν προσπορισθείσης τιμῆς βϰσιλεὴετε.
17 Cf. inter alia John of Damascus, De Imaginibus Oratio III, 18, Migne, P. G. 94, cols. 1337–40. For discussion on the identification of the Pantocrator, cf. Grabar, L'iconoclasme, pp. 40–1.
18 Cf. above, p. 55.
19 Grabar, L'iconoclasme, pp. 21ff., discusses previous evidence of the purposeful association of imperial with religious images.
20 As remarked by Grabar, L'empereur, p. 19, n. 4. Of course Grabar has since changed his mind to some extent on this, and, having linked our Type III coin with the Quinisexte Council, has a less firm position for our coins of Type II.
21 Cf. above, p. 83.
22 An outstanding instance is the appearance of two contrasting figure-types of Christ in the narrative mosaics of S. Apollinare Nuovo at Ravenna, discussed by O. von Simson, in Sacred Fortress: Byzantine Art and Statecraft in Ravenna , Chicago, 1948, pp. 73–4 & passim. Grabar, pp. 18f. and 42ff., adduces several examples of this doubling of Christ-images, some of which, however, are rather more inferential than otherwise.
23 Cf. Dobschétz, op. cit., the best and most thorough study of the evidence on this subject; but Kitzinger, in D. O. Papers VIII, 1954, pp. 100–15, uses it in a way much more directly germane to our problem.
24 Cf. our discussion above, pp. 59ff.
25 Cf. Koch, Ben. Mon . XX, 1938, pp. 34–6, and Grabar, L'iconoclasme, pp. 19–21 and 30ff.
26 Cf. Dobschétz, op. cit., pp. 68**–85**.
27 Theophylactus Simocatta, Historiae II, 3, 4ff., ed. de Boor, Leipzig, 1887, pp. 73–4. Cf. Dobschétz, op. cit., pp. 51–2 and 127*–128*.
28 Cf. the evidence cited by Kitzinger in D. O. Papers VIII, 1954, pp. 111f., supplementing Dobschétz, op. cit., pp. 52–4 and 128*–134*.
29 Kitzinger, loc. cit., following the presumption made by Dobschétz, op. cit., p 54.
30 Dobschétz, op. cit., p. 47; Cedrenus, Historiarum compendium, ed. Bekker I, p. 685.
31 Migne, P. G. 92, col. 1365.
32 Cf. Dobschétz, op. cit., pp. 166–7 and p. 166, n 1; cf. also the earliest certain example, ill. by Grabar, Martyrium, Pl. LX, 2, a fresco at Spas Nereditsy near Novgorod, dating from 1198–99 A. D. Possibly earlier may be the MSS. illus. by Grabar, L'Iconoclasme, fig. 67–8, and discussed on pp. 19–21, both of the Mandylion type.
33 Cf. above, pp. 60f.
34 Dobschétz, op. cit., pp. 58–9.
35 Cf. above, note 32. Now A. Blanchet, "L'influence artistique de Constantin Porphyrogenéte," Παγϰάρπεια (Mélanges Grégoire: Annales de l'Institut de Philologie et d'Histoire Orientales et Slaves IX, 1949), pp. 97–104, advances the theory that the impressive Christ image on the gold coins issued by Constantine VII alone in 945 (BMC II, Pl. LIII, 7; subsequently on coins of Constantine VII and Romanus II, Pl. LIII, 12–4, & by other emperors) represents the Edessan Christ-image, brought to Constantinople a year before and placed in the Blachernae church. He sees the anomalous issue of Leo VI with the Virgin (ibid. II, Pl. LI, 8) as a posthumous one struck at the same time—with the Blacherniotissa image as its source for the Virgin type. The theory is a striking one, which merits consideration, especially since it offers the first reasonable explanation of the issue of Leo the Wise, so out of character with his other coins.
36 Mr. P. Verdier has brought to my attention a group of studies of the "Cross of Lorraine" or Anjou, stimulated in France by the events of World War II. These include: L. Courant, La vraie Croix de Baugé. . ., Baugé, 1945; A. Couson, L'histoire de la croix de Lorraine, Lille, 1945; F. de Grandmaison, L'héroique épopée de la croix de Lorraine et d'Anjou , Saumur, 1945; C. du Mesnil, "Emblémes et drapeaux. La croix de Lorraine," Revue de l'histoire de l'Armée I, 1945 pp. 9–22; idem., "La croix Lorraine," Bulletin de la Société nationale des Antiquaires de France, 1945–47, pp. 42f. Of these, only Couson has been available to me in other than summary form; but the tenor seems to follow one line: The cross of Lorraine, originally the double-barred cross on the arms of Anjou, derives from a cross reliquary made for the Byzantine emperor Manuel Comnenus (1143–1180), which was brought back from the Crusades by Jean d'Alluye, and is now in the chapel of the Hospice at Baugé. Thus we would appear to have another example to add to those cited below, of cross-reliquaries of the double-barred form, linked directly with Constantinople. A. Frolow has now undertaken a general study of the early cross-reliquaries which, when completed, should clarify many of the problems in this area.It may be noted that Grabar, L'iconoclasme, p. 40, connects the doublebarred cross on the coins of Justinian II with the one customarily held by Christ in mid-Byzantine and later scenes of the Anastasis, the Harrowing of Hell. While there is undoubtedly a connection, we should prefer to think of a link through the common source, i. e., that in both instances it is meant to emphasize the fact that it is the True Cross, the actual instrument of the Crucifixion, which is being used.
37 Published by Martin Conway, "St. Radegund's Reliquary at Poitiers," Antiquaries Journal III, 1923, pp. 1–13, & Pl. I, accepting fully the traditional history. This reliquary is currently being studied by Mr. M. C. Ross, who may be able to shed further light upon the question of its date.
38 Marc Rosenberg, Niello bis zum Jahre 1000 nach Christus, Frankfurt-am-Main, 1924, pp. 61–7; cf. esp. fig. 52, p. 62.
39 Marc Rosenberg, Geschichte der Goldschmiedekunst auf technischer Grundlage III1, Frankfurt-am-Main, 1921, pp. 67 & 72; Pl. I (4) & III (1). Interesting also in this connection is the cross within a halo in the MS. of the Sacra Parallela of John of Damascus, Paris gr. 923, illus. by Grabar, L'iconoclasme, fig. 163, and discussed by Schapiro, loc. cit., which may be double-barred or simply endowed with an unusually pronounced titulus.
40 Arculfus, De Locis Sanctis III, 3, in T. Tobler, Itinera et Descriptiones Terrae Sanctae I, Geneva, 1877, pp. 193–5. I am indebted to Prof. Kitzinger for this and other important references bearing upon this problem.
41 Nicephorus, ed. de Boor, p. 22.
42 Although Grabar, L'iconoclasme, pp. 41ff., is led to different conclusions about the meaning and purpose of our two types of coins, his analysis of the Christ-types is not far from the one arrived at here. He sees our Christ-type B, with curly beard, as the "historical" Christ, the Prince of Peace, the Incarnate Son, Christ of the Redemption; while our Christ-type A, with long flowing beard, is the King of Glory, Christ of the Second Coming. Thus there is a sort of dichotomy present between the human and the divine aspects of the personality of Christ, as between one and the other portrait. While we doubt that contemporary orthodox theology would have permitted an intention to represent one aspect of Christ's Person exclusively without the other, we can agree upon the nature of the emphasis in each case.
43 L'iconoclasme, pp. 120ff., Chapter VI, passim, and pp. 209ff.
44 Ibid., p. 120.
45 Grabar illustrates, ibid., fig. 51, a seal published by Ebersolt, Revue Numismatique, 1914, pp. 207ff. & Pl. VII, 3, which bears on one side the image of Christ in the version of our Type A (cross behind head but no apparent nimbus), and on the other a youthful emperor of the name Constantine, portrayed in the style of Iconoclast coins of the eighth century. Grabar argues, p. 129, that this is most probably an issue of Constantine VI, under his mother, Irene, and this would seem most probable; on the other hand, we know that Artavasdus struck coins on which he shared place with his rival Constantine V (cf. Boyce, op. cit.), and it is not impossible that this sort of anti-Iconoclast emblem might have been issued by him also, in the name of the Copronymus. In either case, this is an official use of the image of Christ during the interim between Justinian II and Michael III.
46 Cf. Grabar, op. cit., Chapter VI, esp. p. 152, and pp. 161ff.
47 Ibid., p. 124
48 Migne, P. G. 95, col. 348.
49 Cf. Grabar, op. cit., pp. 37–8 & 124.
50 Emphasized by Grabar, ibid., p. 127.
51 Ibid., pp. 209ff.
52 Grabar, ibid., p. 45, having linked our Christ-type B with the Quinisexte Council, suggests that it was dropped after 843 because the problems of the Quinisexte were no longer pertinent to the post-Iconoclastic period. This view seems to us questionable at best, regardless of our interpretation of the coin type; church canons do not go out of fashion or become obsolete in any case, and the pronouncements of the Quinisexte would seem to have been very much alive only a very short time earlier.
53 Here we may agree whole-heartedly with Grabar, ibid., pp. 126–7.




I - 1


1. Justinian II. Solidus, Type I-A. Constantinople Mint. A.N.S.

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2. Justinian II. Solidus, Type I. Constantinople Mint. A.N.S.

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3. Justinian II. Semis, Type I. Constantinople Mint. Tolstoi J. Monnaies Byzantines. Pl. 61, No. 42.

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4. Justinian II. Triens, Type I. Constantinople Mint. Dumbarton Oaks, Whittemore Collection.*

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5. Justinian II. Solidus, Type II. Constantinople Mint. Dumbarton Oaks.

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6. Justinian II. Triens, Type II. Constantinople Mint. Dumbarton Oaks.

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7. Justinian II. Solidus, Type III. Constantinople Mint. Dumbarton Oaks.

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8. Justinian II. Semis, Type III. Constantinople Mint. Dumbarton Oaks, Whittemore Collection.*

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9. Justinian II. Solidus, Type IV. Constantinople Mint. Dumbarton Oaks.

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10. Justinian II. Semis, Type IV. Constantinople Mint. Dumbarton Oaks.

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11. Justinian II. Solidus, Type IV-B. Sardinian mint. Dumbarton Oaks.

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12. Justinian II. Follis, Type IV-B. Constantinople Mint. Dumbarton Oaks.

* Courtesy of the Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University, Thomas Whittemore Collection.


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13. Leontius. Solidus. Constantinople Mint. Dumbarton Oaks, Whittemore Collection.*

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14. Justinian II. Follis, Type III. Constantinople Mint, Year 21. Dumbarton Oaks.

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15. Tiberius III. Solidus. Constantinople Mint. Dumbarton Oaks, Whittemore Collection.*

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16. Constantius II. Solidus. Constantinople Mint. Dumbarton Oaks.

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17. Justinian I. Solidus. Constantinople Mint. Dumbarton Oaks.

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18. Heraclius. Solidus. Constantinople Mint. Dumbarton Oaks.

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19. Heraclius. Solidus. Constantinople Mint. Dumbarton Oaks, Whittemore Collection.*

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20. Constantine IV. Solidus. Constantinople Mint. Dumbarton Oaks.

* Courtesy of the Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University, Thomas Whittemore Collection.


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21. Constans II. Solidus. Constantinople Mint. Dumbarton Oaks.

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22. Leo IV. Solidus. Constantinople Mint. Dumbarton Oaks.

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23. Theodosius II. Solidus. Constantinople Mint. Dumbarton Oaks, Whittemore Collection.*

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24. Constantius II. Gold Medallion. Antioch Mint. Dumbarton Oaks.

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25. Theodosius II. Solidus. Constantinople Mint. Dumbarton Oaks.

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26. Justin I. Solidus. Constantinople Mint. Dumbarton Oaks.

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27. Tiberius II. Solidus. Constantinople Mint. Dumbarton Oaks.

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28. Phocas. Solidus. Constantinople Mint. Dumbarton Oaks.

* Courtesy of the Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University, Thomas Whittemore Collection.

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29. Consular Diptych of Anastasius, 517 A.D. Ivory. Paris, Bibliothéque Nationale, Cabinet des Medailles.


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30. Justinian II. Solidus, Type II: Obverse. Enlarged from Fig. 5.

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31. Michael III. Solidus. Constantinople Mint. A.N.S.

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32. Michael III. Solidus. Constantinople Mint. Dumbarton Oaks.

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33. Basil I. Solidus. Constantinople Mint. Dumbarton Oaks, Whittemore Collection. (Courtesy of the Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University, Thomas Whittemore Collection.)

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34. Justin I and Justinian I. Solidus. Constantinople Mint. Dumbarton Oaks.


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35. Christ as Holy Wisdom, adored by an Emperor. Mosaic from the Narthex, Hagia Sophia, Istanbul.


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36. Christ Pantocrator. Mosaic from central dome, Church of Daphni.


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37. Head of Zeus. Marble, found at Mylasa, Caria. Boston, Museum of Fine Arts.


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38. Justinian II. Solidus, Type III: Obverse. Enlarged from Fig. 7.

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39. Christ. Fresco found at Abu Girgeh, Egypt.


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40. Christ Enthroned with Saints. Dedication Miniature of Rabula Gospels Florence, Laurentian Library.