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Tremissis of Constans II

Unknown641 - 668

The J. Paul Getty Museum

The J. Paul Getty Museum
Los Angeles, United States

Constans II, emperor of Byzantium in A.D. 641-668, is figured on the front of this gold tremissis. With a crown on his head, Constans is shown in military dress, wearing a cloak over his chest armor. At birth he was named Heraclius, but at his coronation he was given the name Constantine, which appears in the middle of the Latin inscription DNCONSTANTINUSPPA, meanig "our Lord, Constantine, eternal Augustus."

On the back, the words VICTORIAAVGUS, or "Victory of Augustus" surround a distinctive cross. Below the cross appears the abbreviation CONOB, which stands for Constantinople, the capitol of Byzantium, where this coin was minted. In contrast to Constans' coins minted elsewhere, those produced at Constantinople were not of high artistic merit, as the sketchy portrait of the emperor testifies.

This coin depicts Constans in profile, following the traditions of ancient Roman coinage; most Byzantine coins, however, depicted the emperor in frontal view. His title, Augustus, formerly belonged to the pagan Roman emperors. These Roman features contrast with the Christian cross on the back.

Details

  • Title: Tremissis of Constans II
  • Creator: Unknown
  • Date: 641 - 668
  • Location Created: Constantinople, Asia Minor
  • External Link: Find out more about this object on the Museum website.
  • Medium: Gold
  • Object Type: Coin
  • Number: 80.NH.2.132
  • Inscription: On the obverse, in Latin, "DNCONSTANTINUSPPA" (our Lord, Constantine, eternal Augustus). On the reverse, in Latin, "VICTORIAAVGUS" (Victory of Augustus) and CONOB (Constantinople).
  • Culture: Byzantine
  • Credit Line: Gift of Chester B. Franz
  • Classification: Coins

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