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    Description

    First Christ Portrait

    Justinian II, first reign (AD 685-695). AV solidus (20mm, 4.43 gm, 7h).   Constantinople, 5th officina, AD 692-695. IhS CRISΤDS RЄX RЄΣNANΤIЧM, facing half-length bust of Christ Pantocrator, raising right hand in gesture of benediction, book of Gospels cradled in left arm, cross behind / D IЧSTINI-AN-ЧS SERЧ CHRISΤI, full-length figure of Justinian standing facing, dressed in loros, holding cross potent on steps in right hand and akakia in left; Є//CONO-P in exergue. Sear 1248. DOC 7g.1. MIB 8. NGC MS 3/5 - 5/5.

    This is the first numismatic depiction of Jesus Christ. Justinian II was ostentatiously devout and placing the divine image on his coinage was a reflection of this. The appearance of Christ  on the Byzantine coinage also may have spurred the Caliph 'Abd al-Malik to decree that no images offensive to the Muslim faith should appear on coins struck or used by the Arabs, an edict of AH 74 / AD 693. This first numismatic portrait of Christ is remarkably naturalistic and lifelike, and was likely based on the mosaic image of Christ in the apse of the Great Palace of Constantinople, which was itself influenced by Hellenistic depictions of Zeus. 


    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    January, 2015
    4th-5th Sunday-Monday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 11
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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