Description:In AD 324, twelve years after legalizing Christianity, the Roman Emperor Constantine I transferred his capital to Byzantium which became Constantinople "New Rome". The Eastern Roman Empire, also known as the Byzantine Empire during the Middle Ages, was centered on the capital of Constantinople and ruled by Emperors in direct succession to the ancient Roman Emperors.
In the 6th century, Justinian I created the authority of the Eastern Orthodox Church which firmly established Christianity throughout the Empire. As a cradle of Christianity, the Empire helped to shield Europe from Muslim expansion. They also preserved much of the literary works and scientific knowledge of ancient Greece, Rome and many other cultures.
The obverse of this Byzantine bronze coin shows the portrait of Jesus Christ Pantokrator “Christ in Majesty” wearing a cruciform nimbus crown while holding a scroll in his left hand. The reverse side depicts the Virgin Mary wearing a nimbus crown and praying in the orans position. This coin was hand struck during the rule of Romanus IV, over 7 centuries after Constantine announced toleration of Christianity in the Edict of Milan, which removed penalties for professing Christianity. As this coin shows, Byzantine art was mainly devoted to the Christian faith which flourished under their protection.