Description:This 11th century Byzantine gold coin features Jesus Christ Pantokrator “Christ in Majesty” with a cruciform nimbus crown, while he is holding the Book of Gospels and raising his right hand in benediction. The Latin inscription IҺS XIS RЄX RЄGNANTIҺM translates to "Jesus Christ King of Kings." The reverse side depicts the Emperor Constantine VIII standing, wearing a cross crown and loros while holding a labarum in his right hand.
The Byzantine Empire was the Eastern Roman Empire during the Middle Ages, centered on the capital of Constantinople, "New Rome." Although Greek was the main language spoken here, the Byzantine citizens still referred to themselves as Romans. The Eastern Romans helped to shield Europe from Muslim expansion and the Empire was a major trade center, which provided a stable gold currency for the region. With the eventual decline of the Western Roman Empire, Constantinople became the richest and most influential center of the Christian world. As this coin shows, art here was mainly devoted to the Christian faith.
This coin was minted during the rule of Constantine VIII, who was emperor from 1025-1028. Constantine had no interest in politics, statecraft or the military and his brief reign was unsuccessful. The Byzantines however, endured for another four centuries and the Christian faith flourished under their protection.