Description:After legalizing Christianity in AD 313, Constantine I transferred the Roman capital to Constantinople in AD 324. Constantinople became a bastion of Christianity which flourished under their protection. After the fall of Rome, the Eastern Roman Empire became known as the Byzantine Empire and as this cup shaped coin shows, Byzantine art was mainly devoted to the Christian faith.
This Medieval Byzantine coin features Jesus Christ with a nimbus crown, wearing pallium and colobium, while raising his right hand in benediction and holding a scroll in his left hand. The reverse shows the Emperor Alexius III to the left with the bearded and nimbate Saint Constantine to the right. Both are crowned and each wear divitision and loros while holding a labarum. Together, they hold a globus cruciger which was a Christian symbol of authority during the Medieval period.
Alexius III was Byzantine emperor from 1195 to 1203. He was an inept ruler which led to the financial ruin of the state along with the loss of territories from all sides of the borders. The Byzantine Empire however, would eventually recover and Constantinople continued to be the home of the Eastern Orthodox Church until the mid 15th century.