Description:This ancient gold coin features Jesus Christ Pantokrator “Christ in Majesty” wearing a nimbus crown, pallium and colobium, while holding a gospel book and raising his right hand in benediction. The Latin inscription IҺS XIS RЄX RЄGNANTIҺM translates to "Jesus Christ King of Kings." The reverse depicts the Emperor Basil II with his younger brother and heir to the throne, Constantine VIII. Both are crowned, while Basil, shown to the left, is wearing loros and Constantine, shown to the right, is wearing jeweled chlamys. They are holding a long patriarchal cross between them.
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. 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, which flourished under their protection.
This coin was minted during the rule of Basil II, who reigned from 976 to 1025. He was one of the most effective Byzantine rulers and oversaw a great expansion of the empire. At his death, the empire stretched from southern Italy to the Caucasus and from the Danube to the borders of Palestine. Despite near-constant warfare, Basil also showed himself to be a capable administrator by reducing the power of the great land-owning families, while filling the empire's treasury.