Description:The Byzantine Empire existed for more than a thousand years, from AD 306 to 1453 and was one of the most powerful economic, cultural, and military forces in Europe and Asia Minor. The Empire was also the cradle of Christianity and home of the Eastern Orthodox Church. This Maurice Tiberius gold solidus, depicts an standing Angel holding a long staff along with a globus cruciger, which was a Christian symbol of authority used throughout the Middle Ages. The solidus (the Latin word for solid), was a gold coin originally issued by the Romans, that weighed 4.5 grams.
Maurice Tiberius, shown on the reverse of this coin, was the Byzantine Emperor from 582 to 602. He won a major war with Persia, which expanded the eastern frontier dramatically and he also had great military success in the Balkans. Maurice's famous manual of war "Strategikon" influenced European militaries for nearly a millennium. His demise in 602 was a turning point in history, as the Empire soon weakened with a new war with Persia, paving the way for Muslim expansion. Today, Maurice stands out as the last Byzantine Emperor whose Empire strongly resembled the Roman Empire. The Byzantines however, endured for another 8 centuries and the Christian faith flourished under their protection.