Heraclius celebrated his miraculous deed of recovering the Holy Cross relic from the Sassanians by placing on the back of his gold coins the image of a long cross set upon a three-step base with an accompanying inscription that declared ‘victory to the emperors.’ his immediate successor, Constans II, who struck this beautiful gold solidus, continued this practice and the long cross became the standard design for the gold coinage of the Byzantine (Eastern Roman) Empire.
Officially named Constantine, his name was shortened early in his life, and he was called Constans forever after. Constans II became co-emperor at the age of 11, as the Byzantine Empire was facing the aggression from various directions. By 654 he had regained some control of the empire, putting down rebellions in both North Africa and Italy, and successfully campaigned against the Slavs. Towards the end of his reign Constans took the unprecedented step of removing his residence to the west. His journey took him to Syracuse, never to return to Constantinople.