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More on Two Coins, Two Lines, Two Questions

February 12, 2011

A reader writes:

imageFirst of all when specifying the date of a Justinian II or most any Byzantine coin, you should always say circa. You might have more than one issue in any given approximate year. Nobody knows for sure how many different coins were produced during JII’s two reigns. The two issues you show don’t seem to be the same one used by Whanger in his analysis. I’ve attached a copy of that one and also an interesting one, ca. 705, with very strange hair. Jesus is on the obverse and the emperor is on the reverse. If you want to see more examples, just google for images with JUSTINIAN II COINS.

imageAccording to Philip Grierson, “Catalogue of the Byzantine Coins in the Dumbarton Oaks Collection and Whittemore Collection, the likeness of the Christ from Justinian coins was taken from the  the Golden Pavilion, the emperor’s throne room. You as much as say so on one of your websites.

I do. I also say, on that very same page, that we don’t know exactly when the Golden Pavilion (the Chrysotriclinos) was built and we don’t know anything about the original image of Christ. The original image was reportedly replaced at a later date. It is possible that the first pavilion image was created about the time that the St. Catherine Pantocrator was painted, about A.D. 550, and we might speculate, therefore,  that it and the icon were both inspired by the Image of Edessa, which is probably the Shroud of Turin.  The historical problem is that we don’t have enough information.

Yes, that is a completely different looking hair on Jesus. Interesting! I notice the double lines (a garment neckline, perhaps) is also found on this coin.

Categories: Art, News & Views
  1. domenico
    February 12, 2011 at 3:01 pm

    about this topic:
    “CSOCSAN DE VARALLJA, Eugene – The Turin Shroud and Hungary”.

    According to De Varallja are not the Justinian II coins related with the Shroud but the bezantes subsequent the 944 AD when the Edessa Mandylion came to Constantinople.

    http://epa.oszk.hu/01500/01536/00015/pdf/UJ_1987_001-049.pdf

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