Byzantine Gold Coins and Jewellery: A Study of Gold Contents
By Andrew Oddy and Susan La Niece
Gold Bulletin, Vol.19:1 (1986)
Introduction: When the capital of the Roman Empire was transferred from Rome to Constantinople in 330AD, a new ‘Rome’ was created in the Eastern half of the Empire which was initially to rival, and very soon eclispe, the original one. The city became the capital of one half of a divided Empire, and as most of the Western half was gradually overrun and fell to ‘barbarians’ from outside the Empire during the next 150 years, Constantinople became the centre for the survival of ‘classical’ culture.
The Byzantine Empire slowly changed, of course, being effected by the emergence of Medieval Europe to the West and of Islam to the East and South, but despite the pressures from these two potential enemies, the essential culture of early Byzantium adhered to Roman traditions, particularly in art, architecture, and all other applied arts, such as coinage.