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 and ruled by Emperors in direct succession to the ancient Roman Emperors. Greek was the main language spoken here and the Empire was a cradle of Christianity and a major trade center. The Byzantines helped to shield Europe from Muslim expansion and provided a stable gold 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 11th century Byzantine gold nomisma coin, features Jesus Christ enthroned and wearing a nimbus crown, while raising his hand in benediction and holding Gospels. The reverse depicts the Emperor Constantine X standing and holding a labarum and a globus cruciger, which were Christian symbols of authority during the Medieval Period. As this coin shows, art of the Byzantine Empire was mainly devoted to the Christian faith which flourished for over a thousand years under their protection.