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Constantinople, Ca. AD 741-775

Constantine V Av. solidus, Constantinople. G N CONSTANTINU NC; crowned bust facing, with short beard, wearing chlamys, holding cross potent and akakia. Rev. G LE-ON PA MUL; crowned bust facing of Leo IV, with short beard, wearing chlamys, holding cross potent and akakia. DOC 1c; BN 5; SB 1550. 

The literary tradition surrounding Constantine V paints a very negative picture, as most surviving sources were against the emperor’s persecution of monks who opposed his iconoclastic leanings. This obscures his contemporary popularity, occasioned by his series of military victories over the Arabs and Bulgurs. The influence of the Byzantine Empire over much of Italy was, however, lost during his reign when the Lombards invaded and took Ravenna in AD 751.

The reverse design continues the long-established practice at this time of Imperial family portraits, in this instance representing Leo IV, the son of Constantine V. This design becomes common from AD 751 onwards. The busts on this coin are fashioned in a linear manner with no individualising features, in keeping with the ethos of the Iconoclast period.

For additional information see:
Giakalis, A., 2005, Images of the Divine: The Theology of Icons at the Seventh Ecumenical Council - Revised Edition. Leiden.


  • Dimensions 

    D: 20mm ; 4.46g


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