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a collage of Byzantine coins of various sizes

Striking Designs: Communicating Through Coins

May 1, 2024–January 12, 2025

For as long as humans have minted coins, they have used their imagery and inscriptions to spread information. In premodern societies, they offered governments unique access to peoples’ daily lives. Coin designs were carefully crafted to convey just the right message, whether they were managing the public image of a usurper, declaring an emperor’s piety, or proclaiming the military might of the empire. Striking Designs: Communicating Through Coins explores how the Roman and Byzantine empire used money to spread powerful ideas about legitimacy, faith, and power to imperial subjects and to neighboring lands.