Tremissis (Coin) of Leo III

A work made of gold.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

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  • A work made of gold.

Date:

AD 720–741

Artist:

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. Leo III (r. 717–41) chose to have an image of himself holding a globe surmounted by a cross on both sides of his coin.

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 depicting Leo III is a tremissis, worth one-third of 1 solidus.

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Ancient and Byzantine Art

Artist

Byzantine

Title

Tremissis (Coin) of Leo III

Origin

Constantinople

Date

720 AD–741 AD

Medium

Gold

Dimensions

Diam. 1.7 cm; 1.87 g

Credit Line

Gift of Emily Crane Chadbourne

Reference Number

1940.20

Extended information about this artwork

Object information is a work in progress and may be updated as new research findings emerge. To help improve this record, please email .

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