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 Eastern Roman Empire was also known as the Byzantine Empire during the Middle Ages, centered on the capital of Constantinople. Greek was the main language spoken here and the Empire was a cradle of Christianity and a major trade center. It helped to shield Europe from Muslim expansion and provided a stable currency for the region. The Empire also preserved much of the literary works and scientific knowledge of ancient Greece, Rome and many other cultures.
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.