Byzantine coin guide

The Western Roman Empire finally fell in AD 476 when the last emperor, Romulus Augustulus, was deposed by a barbarian general. However, the Eastern Roman Empire, with its capital at Constantinople, continued to flourish. Although it lost territory to the Islamic invasions in the 7th century AD, it did survive until 1453 when Constantinople finally fell to the Ottoman Turks under Mehmet the Conqueror. Because Constantinople was founded by Constantine on the site of a Greek city originally called Byzantium, historians have called the Eastern Empire the Byzantine Empire.

Because Byzantine coins were struck after 476 and because they were mostly minted in the Eastern Mediterranean, they are rarely found in Britain. On the database you will find several gold solidi (solidus). These coins are not that unexpected as finds in Britain because gold often travels long distances because it retains its value across different societies. However, there are an increasing number of copper Byzantine coins being found. There is an early group of coins, dating between around AD 498 and 650 which are generally found in coastal areas.

This does suggest that they reflect continuing maritime links between Britain and the Mediterranean, especially on the west and south coasts. For more information, see: Sam Moorhead, ‘Early Byzantine copper coins found in Britain – A review in light of new finds recorded with the Portable Antiquities Scheme’

The following guide provides a list of rulers, mints and denominations. In due course, illustrations will be added.

Latest notable coins

Latest examples recorded with images

We have recorded 73 examples.

PAS record number: SUR-EF7429

Record: SUR-EF7429
Object type: COIN
Broadperiod: BYZANTINE
Description: A copper alloy half follis of Justinian I (527-65) Mint of Constantinople, AD 550-1 Obv. (D N IVSTINIANVS P P AVG or similar); Facing c…
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PAS record number: LVPL-376CA1

Record: LVPL-376CA1
Object type: COIN HOARD
Broadperiod: BYZANTINE
Description: Five copper alloy Roman and Byzantine Coins. 1. Alexandrain tetradrachm of Maximiamus AD286-7 Obverse: ]IMAIANOC CEB; laureate, draped …
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PAS record number: BERK-A366F7

Record: BERK-A366F7
Object type: COIN
Broadperiod: BYZANTINE
Description: A worn copper alloy Byzantine follis of Heraclius (AD 610-41), struck at Constantinople, c. AD 629-31. The obverse shows Heraclius and Heracl…
Workflow: PublishedFind validated and published by finds advisers

PAS record number: SUR-F1C3E6

Record: SUR-F1C3E6
Object type: COIN
Broadperiod: BYZANTINE
Description: Copper-alloy decanummium of Justinian I (AD 527-65) Mint of Carthage, AD 540/1 Obv. [D N IVSTINIANVS P P AVG]; Pearl-diademed, draped and c…
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PAS record number: SUR-F1AD16

Record: SUR-F1AD16
Object type: COIN
Broadperiod: BYZANTINE
Description: Base-silver (billon) trachy of the Latin Rulers of Constantinople (AD 1204-61) Constantinople Obv. [IC XC]; Facing bust of Christ, nimbate …
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