Description:In AD 324, twelve years after legalizing Christianity, the Roman Emperor Constantine the Great transferred his capital to Byzantium, which became Constantinople, "New Rome." The Byzantine Empire was the Eastern Roman Empire during the Middle Ages, centered on the capital of Constantinople and ruled by Emperors in direct succession to the ancient Roman Emperors. Although Greek was the main language spoken here, the Byzantine citizens still referred to themselves as Romans.
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.
This Byzantine bronze coin was minted during the rule of Romanus IV, who became emperor in 1068, but was overthrown by the Doukas family in 1071. The obverse side of this coin shows the Virgin Mary wearing a nimbus crown and praying in the orans position. The letters MPOV are the Eastern Orthodox abbreviation for “Mother of God.” The reverse side depicts the portrait of Jesus Christ Pantokrator “Christ in Majesty” wearing a nimbus crown, pallium and colobium, while he is holding a scroll. The letters ICXC shown are the abbreviation for Jesus Christ.