This Ancient Coin Has Been Set in a Modern 18 Karat
Decorating the obverse of this coin is an image of
Christ Pantokrator, or Christ depicted as the
awesome ruler of the universe. His head is encircled
by a cross nimbus as he holds a Bible in his hand.
This image was introduced on Byzantine coinage
during the reign of Justinian II and would remain the
main style for the next one hundred years.
Constantine VII and Romanus II appear in the
conventional imperial portrait on the reverse, with
Constantine designated senior emperor by his
position on the left, by his more elaborate dress,
and by his slightly larger scale.
Constantine VII Porphyrogenitus spent more than
thirty years on the throne before he was able to take
power from his regents in A.D. 945; shortly
afterward he made his son, Romanus II, co-
emperor. Like his father, Leo VI, Constantine was a
scholar, and he is best known not for his political or
military exploits but for his encyclopedic
scholarship and patronage of intellectual pursuits.
This gorgeous ring conveys the splendor and
majesty of the Byzantine Empire. Christianity
flourished during this era and matured as a
religious and social institution as this coin confirms.
The beauty of the gold coin is enhanced by the soft
hue of the gold ring, engraved with abstract floral
decorations on the sides. This splendid ring is a
reminder of a time when Christianity dominated the
Western world, a time when rulers were as pious as
the populace, a time when scholarship, not warfare,
was the main focus of the ruling elite.