From its origins to the height of its glory, Byzantine coinage bearing the Cross of Christ, celebrated the faith of the Christian empire. And most prized among its coinage is the early era Gold Solidus featuring the Cross Potent - said to represent the Jeweled Cross of Calvary placed on Golgotha Hill by Roman Emperor Theodosius II. Pure Gold, shinning and heavy, this gleaming Solidus is a testament to the coin maker's art... and faith.
The Byzantine Empire was firmly rooted in its Greek past. Byzantines were mainly Greek-speakers throughout Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages. Their capital city was Constantinople, which was also known historically as Byzantium. After the 5th century collapse of the Western Roman Empire, the Byzantine Empire continued to thrive and grow in influence, and while we refer to the “Byzantine Empire” or “Eastern Roman Empire,” they referred to their country as simply the “Roman Empire.”
Byzantine money – the money used in the Eastern Roman Empire after the fall of the West – was made up of two very different types of coins: the gold solidus and a variety of bronze coins with clearly defined values. By the end of the empire, coins were issued in silver and bronze only.Coin Notes: VICTORIA signifies that ruler is victorious in Christ. Why are there two rulers on this coin? In order to assure proper succession, emperors associated their sons with them as co-emperors, and the coinage was intended to advertise the dynasty. Officina letter signifies a subdivision of the mint - used to keep control of the quality of a coin, just like mint and assayer marks on Spanish coins. The cross on steps is believed to represent the great jeweled cross erected on Golgotha Hill (Calvary) by Theodosius II (408–450).
Grierson notes, in the Dumbarton Oaks catalog, “the inscriptions [on this type] are very variable, since it was difficult to get so much on the coin.”
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