The Last Roman

Emperor Justinian I (527 – 565 AD), the so-called ‘Last Roman Emperor’, rose from peasant beginnings in Serbia to become the most powerful man on Earth.

Crowned Emperor of the Romans at Constantinople in 527 AD, Justinian’s reign saw a surge in the might of the Roman Empire – land in the West was reclaimed from the Goths, Vandals and Franks, a new law code was written and an ambitious programme of building was undertaken. During his rule, the fiscal economy was reformed, leading to some of the largest and most impressive coins the Empire had ever seen. This exhibition tells his fascinating story through treasures from the Barber’s world-class collection of coins.

Below are the audio tour tracks you can listen to as you move around the gallery.

As this is the first time the Barber has used an audio tour for an exhibition, we would very much like to hear your thoughts about it. Please either request an audio tour feedback form from the member of security staff at the end of the Red Gallery, leave some feedback in the exhibitions comments book, or email Thank you.

The short tour of the entire exhibition (total run time 21 minutes, 50 seconds):

This audio will pause for ten seconds between cases, giving you time to orient yourself within the gallery, or pause to continue viewing the same case.

The extended audio tour (total run time 1 hour, 57 seconds) is broken down by case segments, giving you the ability to dip in and out of the tour. The case numbers can be found located at the top of each case.

In the extended tour you can hear words from Justinian’s contemporaries.

Case 1 (whole case):

Case 1.1 – From humble beginnings:

Case 1.2 – Marriage and becoming emperor:

Case 1.3 – The Nika Riots:

Case 2 (whole case):

Case 2.1 – The East Romans:

Case 2.2 – The Sasanians:

Case 2.3 – The Vandals:

Case 2.4 – The Ostrogoths:

Case 2.5 – The Visigoths:

Case 3 (whole case):

Case 3.1 – Constantinople:

Case 3.2 – Alexandria:

Case 3.3 – Antioch:

Case 3.4 – Athens:

Case 3.5 – Carthage:

Case 3.6 – Rome:

Case 3.7 – Ravenna:

Case 4 (whole case):

Case 4.1 – Gold coins in the Roman economy before Justinian:

Case 4.2 – Silver coins in the Roman economy before Justinian:

Case 4.3 – Base metal coins in the Roman economy before Justinian:

Case 4.4 – Justinian’s reforms to the base metal coins:

Case 4.5 – Justinian’s reforms to numismatic iconography:

Case 5 (whole case):

Case 5.1 – The Corpus Iuris Civilis:

Case 5.2 – The Lichfield Codex:

Case 5.3 – The page you see before you:

Case 5.4 – Justinian’s new laws (and the backdrop images):

Case 6 (whole case):

Case 6.1 – Saint Justinian the Great, ‘Last of the Romans’:

Case 6.2 – Constantine IV, imitating Justinian:

Cases 7 & 8 (together):

Case 7 – Reading the obverse of a reformed solidus of Justinian:

Case 8 – Reading the reverse of a reformed solidus of Justinian:

13 April 2018 - 14 April 2019

Coin Gallery

Free admission

Gallery Talk

Introduction to ‘The Last Roman’

Maria Vrij, Coin Curator

Tuesday 17 April, 11.30am & 1.15pm

Read more