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The Changing Iconography of Byzantine Gold Coinage
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The Changing Iconography of Byzantine Gold Coinage
By Elena Stolyarik

The Byzantine Empire, which lasted more than a thousand years, had one of the most monetized economies in medieval Europe. The coinage of Byzantium was an essential element of this unique civilization, which preserved Roman law and state structures and inherited not only the Hellenistic cultural tradition, but also a powerful organizing force—Christianity.

From the beginning Byzantine coins followed the Late Roman iconographic tradition, which took shape gradually under Constantine I (306–337). At the accession of the emperor Anastasius I (491–518) there were three denominations of gold coin—the solidus (in Greek nomisma) and its fractions, the semissis (half) and tremissis (third)—along…

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