Art/ Collection/ Art Object
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Gold Solidus of Justinian I (527–65)

Date:
538–565
Geography:
Made in Constantinople
Culture:
Byzantine
Medium:
Gold
Dimensions:
Overall: 3/4 x 1/16 in. (1.9 x 0.1 cm)
Classification:
Coins
Credit Line:
Bequest of Joseph H. Durkee, 1898
Accession Number:
99.35.7406
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 301
Justinian in 539 was the first Byzantine emperor to adopt a completely frontal portrait, the imperial standard pose for the rest of Byzantine history.

Coins connected an emperor to his subjects. He paid the army in coins, received taxes in coins, and was responsible for maintaining their weight and purity. These coins of early Byzantine emperors conveyed imperial ideals through inscriptions and images.
Joseph H. Durkee
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