BIRMINGHAM, UK.- The Barber Institute of Fine Arts at the University of Birmingham presents Encounters: Travel and Money in the Byzantine World. The Byzantine gold solidus has been described by modern historians as ‘the Dollar of the Middle Ages’, and was in use from Britain in the west to China in the east. The story of Byzantine coins is essentially one of people meeting in city markets and rural communities, along pilgrimage routes, as ambassadors in foreign lands and in customs offices at the empire’s harbours and borders. Byzantine coins found beyond the realm are evidence of its enormous influence, direct and indirect, while motifs found on the currency of other lands echo the progress of Byzantine culture and ideas of kingship, as Byzantium fluctuated in influence and power through the middle ages.
Encounters is the first part of an exciting partnership between the Barber Institute and the British Museum and, by presenting 210 superb objects from British and foreign collections, celebrates important aspects of artistic, religious, social and economic encounters between Byzantium, western medieval Europe and the Middle East.