Byzantine Empire, Tiberius III Aspimarus, Solidus

Byzantium went through difficult times in the 7th century: The Persians invaded Syria, Palestine, Egypt, and repeatedly raided Asia Minor. The Arabs penetrated North Africa. While the Visigoths conquered the Byzantine possessions in Spain, the Lombards did likewise in Italy. At the same time, Slavic peoples occupied large parts of the Balkans. With all these different incursions, the Eastern Roman Empire was reduced by two-thirds. These losses had also drastic impacts on the economy. The circulation of Byzantine coins was reduced to Asia Minor and parts of Greece and Italy. Some mints fell into enemy hands, others had to be closed following a reduced demand for Byzantine money. The monetary system collapsed: the bronze follis shrunk to a pitiful tiny coin, and silver coins were used merely for sacrificial purposes. Only the golden solidus, the trade coin of the time, still circulated in abundance.