The iconography of Dusan’s imperial coins

Dusan’s imperial coinage bearing the image of the enthroned ruler was influenced by the coin types of his predecessors who produced coins with this image (the so called Robertin type). Parallel to the appearance of the new iconography – a crown in the closed Byzantine style, the stemma, the imperial divitision, the imperial title, the ruler’s throne with a high back – which was reflecting the prevailing imperial ideology, the need arose to introduce an iconographic method in studying it.
On the basis of specimens from the Belgrade National Museum’s collection of medieval coins, in the basic image one perceives three iconographic types:
- the first with the ruler seated on a throne without a back holding a sword across his knees,
- the second holding a sceptre in his right hand,
- the third, a completely new type depicting the emperor seated on a throne with a high back.
All the images of the emperor enthroned were a symbolic representation of imperial power by divine right is confirmed in the image of Christ on the reverse of the coin. The symbol of rule by divine right is also seen in the proud title “Emperor and Absolute Ruler of Serbia and Romania” inscribed on the coin, and the cult of imperial majesty is seen to have reached its peak in the image of the enthroned emperor on Dusan’s imperial coinage.

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