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Tremissis (Coin) of Leo III

A work made of gold.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

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  • A work made of gold.




Byzantine, minted in Constantinople

About this artwork

Coins were an ideal way for Byzantine emperors to circulate their images throughout the empire and beyond, since they were used to pay for imported merchandise and to pay foreign mercenaries. They could also be employed as powerful vehicles for propaganda, promoting dynastic succession and emphasizing the earthly emperor’s god-given right to rule. Leo III (r. 717–41) chose to have an image of himself holding a globe surmounted by a cross on both sides of his coin.

From the fourth century on, the solidus was the preferred gold coin issued by Byzantine emperors. The solidus remained essentially unaltered in weight and purity until the tenth century. This coin depicting Leo III is a tremissis, worth one-third of 1 solidus.


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Arts of the Ancient Mediterranean and Byzantium




Tremissis (Coin) of Leo III


Istanbul (Minted in)

Date  Dates are not always precisely known, but the Art Institute strives to present this information as consistently and legibly as possible. Dates may be represented as a range that spans decades, centuries, dynasties, or periods and may include qualifiers such as c. (circa) or BCE.

Struck 720 CE–741 CE




Diam.: 1.7 cm (11/16 in.)

Credit Line

Gift of Emily Crane Chadbourne

Reference Number


IIIF Manifest  The International Image Interoperability Framework (IIIF) represents a set of open standards that enables rich access to digital media from libraries, archives, museums, and other cultural institutions around the world.

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Extended information about this artwork

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