The History of Byzantine Coinage
Uses of Coins
Christianization of the Coin
Representation of Christ
Representation of the Virgin
Although its capital had been moved from Rome in the Latin West to Constantinople in the Greek East, the Byzantine Empire regarded itself as a continuation of the Roman Empire, differing from it only in being Christian in religion and Greek in speech. No elements in its coinage, however, apart from the use of Latin in its inscriptions, are earlier than the 4th century A.D.

The Byzantine monetary system was based on the solidus (nomisma in Greek), a coin of pure gold weighing 4.5 grams that was introduced by Constantine I in 309 (photo upper right). It remained virtually unchanged in weight and purity for six centuries, down to the reign of Constantine VII (913–59) (photo lower right), and then continued in various slightly debased forms until the 1350's. At the bottom end of the currency scale was the copper nummus, which was valued in the 4th century at about 7,000 to the solidus; between solidus and nummus a varying number of denominations were struck.

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Solidus of Constantine VII and Romanus I
Solidus of Constantine VII and Romanus I