Armenian coins and their link to Byzantium

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The oldest Armenian coins found in Armenia date back to the 6th-5th centuries BC. As this was a century of cultural renaissance for Armenia, the earliest coins issued by Armenian rulers were struck for Kings of Sophene the 3th century BCE. The ruler's name and titles were inscribed in Greek letters. The coins of Armenia, both ancient and medieval, were fascinating and very diverse.

Armenian Kings usually inscribed the sign of the cross in various forms on their coins. Originally, references to Divine authority were found on most coins.

The unique status of ancient Armenia was recognised on Ancient Rome coins.

Ancient Armenia also played a notable role in Roman politics as a semi-independent buffer state between Ancient Rome and Parthian Empire.

Several Byzantine emperors minted coins that mentioned or depicted Armenia.

-The first picture shows a coin of the Kingdom of Sophene, King Arsames, third quarter of the 3rd century BC, a copper coin.

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-The second picture shows a coin of the Armenian Kingdom of Tashir-Dzoraget and a Gold coin of King Yervand I (Orontes I Sakavakyats) of the Yervanduni dynasty (Кing of the Orontid Dynasty), 357–352 BC. These coins are similar to Byzantine copper coins but engraved with the name of the King. These are some of the first coins with Armenian inscriptions.

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- The third picture shows: The first inscriptions in the Armenian language were found on this coin. It was the only medieval coin with an Armenian inscription minted in Greater Armenia. This type is directly based on the anonymous Byzantine Folles of John Tzimisces and Basil II, commonly circulated in Armenia at the time.

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- The fourth picture shows the gold coin of King Levon I of the Kingdom of Armenia and Cilicia, enthroned facing, holding a cross in right hand and branch in left / Patriarchal cross flanked by two lions, heads reverted.


King Levon I of the Kingdom of Cilicia in Armenia was so ambitious that he struck twelve types of coins with Latin and Armenian inscriptions and a large copper coin known as a tank.

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READ MORE: The Armenian illuminated manuscripts of Medieval Artsakh and Armenia.

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