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HOME : Byzantine Coins : Emperor Constans II : Byzantine Gold Coin of Emperor Constans II
Byzantine Gold Coin of Emperor Constans II - C.419
Origin: Mediterranean
Circa: 641 AD to 668 AD

Collection: Numismatics
Medium: Gold

Additional Information: Found in Jaffa, Israel
Location: United States
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Obverse: Bearded Bust of the Emperor Facing Forward, Holding Cross

Reverse: Cross Potent on Steps

Constans II, the son of Heraclius Constantine and grandson of Heraclius, was co-emperor with his uncle, Heraclonas, and became sole emperor at the age of eleven when Heraclonas was deposed by the senate. Although he is called Constantinus on his coins, Byzantine writers called him Constans. In his reign, the Arabs made inroads into Byzantine territory, and anxiety over threats from the Lombards in Italy caused him to move to Syracuse. He attempted without success to resolve theological and political differences with the Western Church until he was murdered in A.D. 668. Constans II modeled his coins after those of his grandfather, Heraclius, changing his portrait as he aged from beardless to wearing a short beard, as he is shown here, and finally to wearing a long, full beard. Constans also retained the cross potent on the steps on the reverse employed by Heraclius.

How many hands have touched a coin in your pocket or purse? What eras and lands have the coin traversed on its journey into our possession? As we reach into our pockets to pull out some change, we rarely hesitate to think of who might have touched the coin before us, or where the coin will venture to after it leaves our hands. More than money, coins are a symbol of the state that struck them, of a specific time and location, whether contemporary currencies or artifacts of a long forgotten empire. This stunning hand-struck coin reveals an expertise of craftsmanship and intricate sculptural detail that is often lacking in contemporary machine-made currencies. This ancient coin is a memorial to the Constans II, passed from the hands of civilization to civilization, from generation to generation that still appears as vibrant today as the day it was struck.
- (C.419)


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