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Solidus (Coin) of Basil I with Christ Enthroned

A work made of gold.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

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  • A work made of gold.

Date:

868–870

Artist:

Byzantine, minted in Constantinople

About this artwork

The imagery of Byzantine coins, as well as their use—or not—of religious imagery, reflects the different attitudes toward representation of divine figures as a result of the Iconoclastic (from the Greek eikon, or image, and klao, to break) Controversy, a fierce debate among Byzantine theologians over the appropriate role of images in religious worship that raged in Byzantium for over 100 years from about 730 to 843.

In a radical departure from the numismatic imagery of iconoclast emperors, the coin of Basil I (r. 976–1025) has an image of Christ Enthroned on its front, along with an inscription proclaiming the heavenly ruler “King of Kings.”

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Arts of the Ancient Mediterranean and Byzantium

Culture

Byzantine

Title

Solidus (Coin) of Basil I with Christ Enthroned

Origin

Byzantine Empire

Date

Struck 868 CE–870 CE

Medium

Gold

Inscriptions

Obverse: bASILIOSETCONSTANTI AUGGb Reverse: +IhSXPSSREX REgNANTIuM+

Dimensions

Diam. 2 cm; 4.37 g

Credit Line

Gift of Emily Crane Chadbourne

Reference Number

1940.23

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 . Information about image downloads and licensing is available here.

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