The Byzantine Empire, sometimes referred to as the Eastern Roman Empire, was first started when Constantine I moved the Capital of Rome to Constantinople, or, at is was originally known, Byzantium. He also began the widespread usage of the gold Solidus, a small but very valuable pure gold coin. Without this highly trusted coinage, it is likely that the Byzantine Empire would have fallen just like the Western Roman Empire. It did not, however, and it lasted over 1,000 years after Rome’s collapse.
The main denomination used by the Byzantine Empire was the gold solidus. At approximately 4.5 grams of nearly pure gold, this small coin was the backbone of Byzantine economy. It was soldiers’ pay, debt fulfillment, and financial backing to the Empire. It was eventually debased until it was replaced by the Hyperpyron, a similar coin with the same weight, but less gold content.
Many bronze and silver coins were issued as well. While silver coins like the Denarius or Antoninianus had long since faded from production, a variety of silver coins such as the Miliarense and Silique were issued. Many Bronze coins were still referred to as Nummi, like in early Rome, although many other denominations were created during the course of the Byzantine Empire.