Author Topic: Procopius- his pagan beard and the Chi-Rho  (Read 1675 times)

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Offline Victor

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Procopius- his pagan beard and the Chi-Rho
« on: September 01, 2013, 02:56:22 PM »
I am currently reading Failure of Empire Valens and the Roman State in the Fourth Century A.D. by Noel Lenski which is a good read for people interested in this period. It got me thinking about Procopius and his beard. On his coinage, Procopius is portrayed with a philosopher’s beard, much like his cousin Julian II was portrayed with on his coinage.

This type of beard is associated with paganism, but Procopius was most likely a Christian, as evidenced by the Chi-Rho’s commonly found on the reverse of his coinage. Procopius wanted to gain the support of Julian’s old supporters, many of whom had been persecuted to some extent by Valentinian and Valens. Procopius also did not want to alienate Christians and tried to embellish his relationship to Constantine, whom he was not actually related to. Procopius did a great job of propaganda and managed to pull together two groups that might seem strange together; but they were united against a common perceived enemy. Ultimately Procopius failed, maybe because he did not have the complete confidence of his military, despite his claims to be carrying on Constantine’s legacy.