Dechristianised Byzantine Arab

Gold Solidus

Obverse

Standing figures of the Emperor Heraclius in centre with two sons, Heraclius Constantine and Heraclonas, both of equal size flanking their taller father. Heraclius has a long beard and moustache while his sons are clean-shaven. All three hold orbs with pellets in place of the former crosses in their right hands, wear chlamys and diadems surmounted by pellets

Reverse

Within serrate circle: transformed cross potent on three steps. Around blundered VICTORIA AVGU with officina B; monogram I to left and A to right. Below CONOB

This is a dechristianised version of the Byzantine gold solidus, which bears copies of the figures of Heraclius and his two sons, Heraclius Constantine and Heraclonas. It is a crude but virtually identical copy of the Byzantine original, but lacks the crossbars seen on the Christian cross. The bar at the top of the pole turns it into a version of the Tau cross, most often found on the coinage of North Africa. As such it represents a move away from conventional Byzantine iconography. This coin, which is very rarely encountered today, is well struck and one of the best preserved specimens recorded. One expert has suggested that the three figures may represent the three magi from the east bearing tribute, in this case to Constantinople, where the gold would have been melted and restruck into conventional Byzantine solidi.

Dechristianised Byzantine Arab

MaterialGold
TypeSolidus
RulerAnonymous
MintUnknown
DateUndated
Weight4.23g
Diameter19mm