Denomination: Byzantine Bronze, AE
Circa: 491-1453 AD
Advantages: This pendant is completely unisex and could appeal to anyone from a student to a history buff, to people that love antiques, to anyone who appreciates beauty and historic events. This pendant makes for a great conversation piece as well as a meaningful gift.
History: The Byzantine Empire is a fascinating aspect of history to study. It arose when the Roman Empire fragmented in the 5th century AD and survived all the way until the fall of Constantinople to the Ottoman Turks in 1453.
Coins were minted by a wide range of empires, often considered to begin with Anastasias (491-518 AD) and end with Constantine XI (1448-1453). Their coins started out resembling the later Roman bronzes, but quickly developed a distinctive look, starting with the coinage reform of Anastasias in 498. The denominations were:
Some early coins, before the reform, were marked with roman numerals, i.e., 'V' for 5 nummi, 'X' for 10 nummi, 'XX' for 20 nummi, and 'XXXX' for 40 nummi.
Byzantine coins have the interesting feature that many coins have the regnal year of the emperor. It will be written as, for example, ANNO (often vertically) meaning 'year', and a roman numeral date, such as XX IV for '24'. To interpret this date, look up the emperor (if you can identify him!), find out when his reign started, and add the regnal year to that year - you now have the year that your coin was minted!