Although not all Christians celebrate Christmas Day on December 25 (some still use the Julian Calendar date corresponding to January 7), as we are, in either case, a few days away from Christmas this seemed an appropriate time to examine a few ancient coins on our website that carry early Christian symbols, all created after the Roman Empire had adopted Christianity as the state religion.
We begin with a bronze Centenionalis of Aelia Flacilla (died AD 386), wife of the Emperor Theodosius I. The reverse of this fairly large medium value coin bears an image of the formerly Pagan personification of Victory seated and inscribing a shield with the “Chi-Rho” symbol that had been used by Constantine I, the first Emperor to adopt Christianity some 50 years earlier, as his standard at the Battle of the Milvian Bridge.
Despite popular belief the Chi-Rho, formed by combining the Greek capital letters…
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