(136) Constans II - AV solidus, A.D. 647-651, 4.38 g. (inv. 91.276).
Obverse: Facing bust of Constans with short beard, wearing chlamys and crown with cross, holding globus cruciger in r.; D(OMINVS) N(OSTER) CONSTANTINVS P(ER)P(ETVVS) AV(GVSTVS): Our lord Constans, perpetual Augustus.
Reverse: Cross potent on four steps; VICTORIA AVGV(STI) E: Victory of the Augustus, officina mark E; in exergue, CONOB: gold of Constantinople.
Provenance: Hesperia Art, 1959.
Bibliography: P. Grierson, Byzantine Coins (London 1982).

Constans II, the son of Heraclius Constantine and grandson of Heraclius (see no. 135), was co-emperor with his uncle, Heraclonas, and became sole emperor at the age of eleven when Heraclonas was deposed by the senate. Although he is called Constantinus on his coins, Byzantine writers called him Constans. In his reign the Arabs made inroads into Byzantine territory, and anxiety over threats from the Lombards in Italy caused him to move to Syracuse. He attempted without success to resolve theological and political differences with the Western Church. He was murdered in A.D. 668.

Constans modelled his coins after those of his grandfather, Heraclius (see no. 135), changing his portrait as he aged from beardless to wearing a short beard, as here, and finally to wearing a long, full beard. He also retained the cross potent on the steps on the reverse.


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