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Byzantine Coinage: Constantinople's Commemoratives - Research Paper Example

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Byzantine Coinage: Constantinople's Commemoratives Name Class Professor Date Byzantine Coinage: Constantinople's Commemoratives I. Introduction Byzantine coins are the most collected coins of the past and perhaps this could be attributed to the relative availability of the coin due to the long existence of the Byzantine empire which minted the coin…
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Byzantine Coinage: Constantinoples Commemoratives
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"Byzantine Coinage: Constantinople's Commemoratives"

Download file to see previous pages This paper can be considered as a factual report of the Byzantine coinage and will present the coinage of the empire by its significance to facilitate easier understanding. II. Body The Empire that minted that minted the coins For brevity, the beginning of the Byzantine empire is highly debatable. Many historians however agree that Byzantine was built under the auspices of Constantine I of which it was named after. But it cannot be disputed that during its height, Byzantine was considered as the wealthiest empire in Europe with a civilization that flourished until the 11the century that allowed it to mint coins for a thousand years (Vagi, 2010). There were a lot coins minted during the Byzantine period that could render a student of eastern history confused. The Byzantine civilization existed for a thousand years with different emperors minting their separate coins. But for simplicity, the Byzantine currency can be divided into two main types of coins which are the gold solidus, which are more valuable due to the material it was made and the variety of bronze metal coins. Silver was later issued by the end of the empire called silver stavrata and minor copper coins. Gold coins which were prolific during the height of the Byzantine were no longer issued during the later part of the empire. The Gold coins Gold coins or nomisma were the most valuable currency during the Byzantine Empire for obvious reason. There were also varieties of the gold coins which has less purity and concentration of gold which were the semissis and tremissis which only had half and a third purity of gold. Leo III who reigned from 717 to 741 was the first to mint gold coins under the Byzantine Empire. His variety of coin was the patent cross on the front accompanied by Greek inscriptions on its back of its coins signifying the Christian orientation of the Empire. Justinian III’s coins were more patently Christian because it had the bust of Jesus Christ Himself on the coin with either the portrait of the emperor on the reverse or the other half of the obverse. Michael III (842 to 867) also minted gold coins that are Christian oriented but his version added either the portrait of Jesus Christ or Virgin Mary. In sum, the gold variety of Byzantine coins has the distinction of carrying religious marks on it compared to other coinage which typically carries the portrait of the emperor who ordered it to be minted. While these gold coins never lost its prestige during the duration of the Byzantine Empire, its thickness continue to diminish as the empire went on until the succeeding coins became so thin that it could be bent like wafers. Bronze coins When Emperor Anastasius instituted coinage reform in 498, he introduced the bronze coins called nummi. Nummus were small bronze coins compared to its gold counterpart which can be consideration as having the smaller denomination similar to its usage today. Nummis has several denominations of 40 nummi, 20 nummi, 10 nummi and 5 nummi which were handier in smaller transactions compared to gold. Silver coins Silver coins played a role in the monetary reforms of Diocletian and Constantinople I due to the lower cost of minting the coins making ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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