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Tremissis (Coin) of Justinian II

A work made of gold.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

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  • A work made of gold.




Byzantine, minted in Constantinople

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.


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Arts of the Ancient Mediterranean and Byzantium




Tremissis (Coin) of Justinian II


Byzantine Empire (Minted in)

Date  Dates are not always precisely known, but the Art Institute strives to present this information as consistently and legibly as possible. Dates may be represented as a range that spans decades, centuries, dynasties, or periods and may include qualifiers such as c. (circa) or BCE.

Struck 685 CE–695 CE




Obverse: [...]TIИIVNYS Reverse: VIC.O ΛSV? / CONOB


Diam.: 1.4 cm (9/16 in.)

Credit Line

Gift of Emily Crane Chadbourne

Reference Number


IIIF Manifest  The International Image Interoperability Framework (IIIF) represents a set of open standards that enables rich access to digital media from libraries, archives, museums, and other cultural institutions around the world.

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Extended information about this artwork

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