ANA - The segue of the Western Roman Empire to the Eastern Roman Empire (aka Byzantine Empire) was gradual—numismatists pinpoint A.D. 491 as the start of the Byzantine Empire because the new emperor, Anastasius I, reorganized the money system at that time. The Western Romans were pagans and used imagery of gods and goddesses on their money, while the Byzantines were Christian and employed crosses and orbs.
However, the most radical change—for the purposes of this discussion—was the addition of women rulers on the coinage struck during the reign of Justin II (A.D. 565-78). The title of "empress" did not come with the right to produce coins, so there is significance in their likenesses appearing on the money. Using contemporary sources, this talk will explore how the empresses' and other regents' relationships with the emperors and other powers helped them to achieve this recognition.