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    Description

    Brilliant Early Christ Portrait

    Justinian II Rhinotmetus, second reign (AD 705-711). AV solidus (20mm, 4.32 gm, 6h).  Constantinople, AD 705-706. ? N IhS ChS RЄX RЄGNANTIЧM, facing bust of Christ Pantocrator, with slight beard and tight, curly hair, holding up right hand in gesture of benediction and holding book of gospels cradled in left arm; cross behind / ? I N IЧS-TINIA-NVS MЧLTЧS AN', crowned facing bust of Justinian, wearing loros, holding in right hand cross potent set on three steps, and in left globus cruciger inscribed PAX. Sear 1413. DOC 1. MIB 1. Crisply struck from dies of fine style, and fully lustrous. One edge a tad trimmed. NGC MS 5/5 - 4/5, clipped.

    Upon his return to power, Justinian II immediately resumed his innovative coinage featuring an obverse portrait of Christ. The new sacred image, however, was distinctly different from the "classic" Christ of Justinian's first reign. Jesus is shown in a seemingly more youthful guise, with a head of tight, curly hair and a close-cropped beard, in place of the long tresses and medium-length beard on coins of the first reign. Various theories have been put forth to explain this abrupt change in iconography, but it remains mysterious. At any rate young, curly headed Christ proved a short-lived depiction. It would not be until the end of the iconoclastic era in the late 9th century AD that Christ would again be depicted on Byzantine coins, and the image would revert to the more traditional long-haired visage of Justinian II's first reign.


    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    April, 2015
    9th-14th Thursday-Tuesday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 3
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