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The Byzantine Emperors on Coins

A new online exhibit highlighting the Dumbarton Oaks coin collection
The Byzantine Emperors on Coins

Aspron trachy of Theodore I Laskaris (1204-1221), Magnesia. Silver. BZC.1960.88.4244

The Byzantine Emperors on Coins exhibit provides high-resolution images of one hundred and twenty seven coins drawn from the Dumbarton Oaks coin collection, which numbers twelve thousand coins and includes all Byzantine rules and denominations. The selection featured here, with one coin from each reign, provides a portrait gallery of all the emperors and usurpers that governed Byzantium over the eleven centuries of its existence. At the same time, the selection suggests major changes that affected the Byzantine coinage, both in numismatic and iconographic terms (for example, the growing presence of Christian themes and symbols).

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Solidus of Romanos II (959-963), Constantinople. Gold. BZC.1948.17.3117

The high-resolution photographs, in combination with a state-of-the-art zooming tool, offer an extremely detailed view of each specimen, a viewing experience unattainable in traditional on-site exhibitions of coins. In order to maintain accurate relative sizes all the coins are shown on a single scale. A cm-scale accompanies all the images.

The online presentation of the coins is broken into six sections that follow the chronological unfolding of imperial rule and the various governing dynasties. In each section the coins are placed in a sliding bar; clicking on the image gives the viewer information about the coin and activates the zoom feature. The slider serial view renders immediately apparent the similarities and dissimilarities among coins, as best seen in significant numismatic changes that affected the coinage over its course. Each coin is accompanied by information about its issuing and properties. More content will be added in the future.

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