The last Byzantine coin

Type: Coins
Date: 1449–53
Location or Findspot (Modern-Day Country): Turkey
Medium: Silver
Dimensions: 1.3 cm
Description: This low-value silver coin, one-eighth of a stavraton, was issued by Constantine XI Palaiologos (r. 1449–53), the last Byzantine emperor before Constantinople fell to the Ottoman Turks. Very few such coins, minted in Constantinople, have survived. On the reverse is the bust-length emperor; the prependoulia of his crown are still visible in the schematic rendering. On the obverse is a cross-numbed bust of Christ, flanked by the abbreviation for "Jesus Christ" (IC XC) in Greek. As had been the case for centuries, the Byzantine emperor on one side of the coin was implicitly protected by Christ on the other. Nevertheless, contemporary sources report that the emperor had to melt down sacred church vessels to provide coins to pay his ill-fated soldiers.
Relevant Textbook Chapter(s): 11
Image Credits: Classical Numismatic Group, Inc.; (GNU Free Documentation License)

« Back

Coin of Constantine XI Palaiologos, 1449–53, obverse with Christ Coin of Constantine XI Palaiologos, 1449–53