Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History



  • Solidus of Justinian I (r. 527–565), 538–565
    Byzantine; Minted in Constantinople
    Gold; Diam. 3/4 in. (1.9 cm)
    Bequest of Joseph H. Durkee, 1898 (99.35.7406)

    Coins connected an emperor to his subjects. Through inscriptions and images, they conveyed imperial ideals and commemorated auspicious events. The emperor paid the army and received taxes in coins, and he was responsible for maintaining their weight and purity. This coin was minted under Justinian, whose preference for a completely frontal portrait—rather than the traditional profile—would set a standard for the rest of Byzantine history.

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    On view: Gallery 301
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  • Solidus of Justinian I (r. 527–565), 538–565
    Byzantine; Minted in Constantinople
    Gold; Diam. 3/4 in. (1.9 cm)
    Bequest of Joseph H. Durkee, 1898 (99.35.7406)

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