About this artwork
Coins were an ideal way for Byzantine emperors to circulate their images throughout the empire and beyond, since they were used to pay for imported merchandise and to pay foreign mercenaries. They could also be employed as powerful vehicles for propaganda, promoting dynastic succession and emphasizing the earthly emperor’s god-given right to rule. Justinian II (reigned 685-695 and 705-711) chose to have an image of himself holding a globe surmounted by a cross on the front (obverse) of this coin. On the back (reverse), a Greek cross is shown.
From the fourth century on, the solidus was the preferred gold coin issued by Byzantine emperors. The solidus remained essentially unaltered in weight and purity until the tenth century. This coin here the depicts Justinian II is a tremissis, worth one-third of 1 solidus.
- Currently Off View
- Arts of the Ancient Mediterranean and Byzantium
- Tremissis (Coin) of Justinian II
- Byzantine Empire
- Struck 685 CE–695 CE
- Obverse: [...]TIИIVNYS Reverse: VIC.O ΛSV? / CONOB
- Diam. 1.4 cm; 1.38 g
- Gift of Emily Crane Chadbourne