Histamenon (Coin) of Romanus III Argyrus with Christ Enthroned

A work made of gold.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

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  • A work made of gold.

Date:

1028/34

Artist:

Byzantine; minted in Constantinople (now Istanbul)

About this artwork

Romanos III Argyros (c. AD 968–1034, r. 1028–34) was marked for succession to the throne by his father-in-law, Constantine VIII, whose reign lasted only three years. Romanos managed a six-year reign that was riddled with ill-conceived and poorly executed policies, including a disastrous attempt to reform taxation that left the empire’s finances in disarray and drove the less fortunate into enforced servitude. In an effort to halt the growing threat posed by Arabs along the eastern frontier, Romanos personally led the army to confront them, only to be thoroughly routed in a surprise attack. Later conquests and victories did little to improve his reputation, and he died, possibly at the hands or order of his entirely disillusioned wife, Zoe. On the front of this histamenon, the enthroned and haloed Jesus holds the Gospel book in his right hand. The inscription reads “Jesus Christ, King of Kings.” On the reverse, the Virgin Mary crowns the richly bedecked Romanos, who holds a globus cruciger, indicating that the emperor wields earthly power on behalf of the Christian God.

On View

Ancient and Byzantine Art, Gallery 153

Artist

Byzantine

Title

Histamenon (Coin) of Romanus III Argyrus with Christ Enthroned

Origin

Constantinople

Date

1028–1034

Medium

Gold

Inscriptions

OB: ΘΕΟDΟΝΟ RωΜΑnω MΘ REV: +IhSXRSREX REgNANTlnm (sic)

Dimensions

Diam. 2.5 cm; 4.40 g

Credit Line

Gift of Emily Crane Chadbourne

Reference Number

1940.25

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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