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NUMISMATIC

NOTES

AND

No.

LIGHT
AND

138

WEIGHT

SOLIDI

BYZANTINE

TRADE
THE

DURING
AND

SIXTH

SEVENTH

CENTURIES

By HOWARD

THE

MONOGRAPHS

AMERICAN

L.ADELSON

NUMISMATIC
NEW

SOCIETY

YORK

I957

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NUMISMATIC

NOTES

AND

MONOGRAPHS

Number 138

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NUMISMATIC NOTES AND MONOGRAPHS


is devotedto essaysand treatiseson subjectsrelating
to coins,paper money,medals and decorations.

PUBLICATION

COMMITTEE

A.Carson Simpson,Chairman
Alfred R. Bellinger
Thomas O.Mabbott
Theodor E.Mommsen
EDITORIAL

STAFF

Sawyer McA. Mosser, Editor


Howard L. Adelson, AssociateEditor

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ALLRIGHTSRESERVEDBY
THE AMERICAN
NUMISMATIC
SOCIETY

PRINTEDIN GERMANY
. GLCKSTADT
AT J.J.AUGUSTIN

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/';-=09

)(8*=-0/']

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Light

Solidi

Weight
Trade

Byzantine
the

and

Sixth

And
During

Seventh

Centuries

BY

HOWARD

THE AMERICAN

L. ADELSON

NUMISMATIC

SOCIETY

NEW YORK
1957

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CONTENTS
FORWORD
THE STATEAND NATUREOF THE PROBLEM

Vii
I

THE COINS

36

FINDS, HOARDSAND MINTS

78

THE BYZANTINETRADEWITHTHE WEST

IO4

CATALOGUE

138

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FORWORD
The commercialrelations of Byzantium with the West during the
early mediaeval period have been the subject of many historical
studies such as those of Henri Pirenne and Alfons Dopsch. As the
older view of a catastrophicbreak in the stream of civilizationduring
the period of the barbarian invasions was relegated to the historyof
historiography,the importanceof the economic changes of the early
Middle Ages assumed greaterand greatersignificance.It is, of course,
true that most of the scholars who have attempted discussions of the
historyof this period have made some use of the numismaticmaterial
available to them,but theyhave in no sense exhausted theinformation
that may be derived from that source. In the study of the early
Middles Ages numismatics has been used largely as illustrative
material to support conclusions based primarilyupon the literary
sources. The archaeological and numismatic studies have therefore
not served their true functionas ancillary sciences of history.Many
reasons for this situation are immediately evident,if a summary
perusal is made of the secondary literature in those fields and the
trainingof most mediaevalists is considered.
This book is not designedto cover this tremendousgap in historical
scholarship,but it is an attempt to indicate that certain facts which
may be derived from the numismatic and archaeological data are
vital to a completesynthesisof the historicalmaterial. It is no longer
possible fora mediaevalist, anymorethan foran ancient historian,to
relegate the vital ancillary sciences to the field of antiquarianism.
From the deductions based on the results of archaeological and
numismaticstudy of the remains of the early mediaeval period a new
view of that epoch may be constructed which will encompass the
literaryevidence as well.
This book itself,however, did not begin as an attempt to correct
this woeful lack of utilization of numismatic evidence. While I was
workingon a much largerstudyon the subject of Byzantine monetary
policy fromDiocletian to Heraclius, it soon became evident that the
vii

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viii

Forword

light weight gold currency,which had received passing interestfrom


numismatists but was generally ignored by historians, was really
deservingof a much more intensivetreatment.No successfulattempt
had been made to integratethis unique series of gold coins into the
economic historyof the sixth and seventh centuries. The amount of
material at the disposal of a researcher had grown considerably in
recent years, and several men of stature in numismatic studies had
begun to collect data on these pieces. A fairnumber of site findsand
hoards were known which had a direct bearing on the problem, and
the general situation had never been so favorable foran attempt at a
solution. In addition the American Numismatic Society was very
fortunate in securing the participation of Mr. Philip Grierson of
Gonville and Caius College of Cambridge Universityforthe Summer
Seminar in Numismaticsof the year 1954. The opportunityto discuss
the many problems which naturally arose in connection with this
study with a man of Mr. Grierson'sstaturein numismaticstudies was
most fortunate.Mr. Grierson's help was invaluable for a number o
reasons not the least of which was the fact that he placed all of the
photographsof the gold coins in his own collectionas well as those of
the light weight solidi which he had encounteredin the course of his
own studies at my disposal. Mr. Griersonalso analyzed his own coins
by the specificgravity technique, and thus he made available data
which was previously unknown. For all of these things and most
importantlyforhis willingnessto discuss individual problems,I wish
to acknowledge a deep sense of gratitude to Mr. Grierson.
Since my own traininghas been in history,it was, of course, vital
that there be some scholar who would aid me in the purelytechnical
aspects of numismatics. In this capacity Mr. Louis C. West of
Princeton University and President of the American Numismatic
Society has been of invaluable assistance. The most technical aspects
of this work have been perused by Mr. West, and many of his
suggestions have been incorporated into this book. If there is any
meritto be foundin that aspect of this work,it is largelythe resultof
the aid and counsel of my teacher, Mr. West, who introducedme to
the value of numismaticstudy while I was a graduate studentand has
done so very much to encourage my researches.
Sole responsibilityfor the hypotheses and historical explanations
put forwardin the course ofthis book must rest withme, but the debt

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Forword

ix

which is owed to my teachers, ProfessorTheodor E. Mommsen of


Cornell University and Professor Joseph R. Strayer of Princeton
University,cannot be calculated. Both of them verykindlyconsented
to read the manuscript,and theirsuggestionshave been incorporated
into the finishedproduct. The techniques and methods which were
utilized in the workwere learned in the seminars conducted by them,
and my interestin this fieldofhistoricalresearchis the resultofmany
most enjoyable hours spent stuyingunder their tutelage.
This book, however, would have been impossible without the aid
of so many scholars who sent me casts or photographs of coins and
notes regarding these pieces. Among these should be numbered
Dr. Theodore V. Buttrey, Jr. of the Classics Department of Yale
Universitywho secured photographs of the coins in the Hermitage
throughthe help of Dr. L. Belov of the staffof the Hermitage, and
who also managed to obtain photographsof the coins in the Poltawa
Museum of Regional Studies from the manager of that museum,
Dr. V. T. Shevtshenko.Dr. Buttrey's kind efforts,
however,extended
even further,and with his help and the assistance of Dr. Maria R.
Alfldiand Dr. L. Huszr, Keeper ofCoins and Medals ofthe collection
in Budapest, casts of all of the light weight pieces in that collection
were also secured. In addition the aid and assistance of Mr. R. A. G.
Carson ofthe Department of Medals and Coins ofthe BritishMuseum,
M. Jean Babelon, Conservateuren chef du Cabinet des Mdailles of
the Bibliothque Nationale, Dr. E. Erxleben of the Staatliche Museen
zu Berlin, Dr. A. N. Zadoks-Jitta of the Royal Cabinet in the Hague,
Dr. W. D. Van Wijngaarden of the Rijksmuseum Van Oudheden te
Leiden, Dr. K. Kraft, Konservator of the Staatliche Mnzsammlung
in Munich, Dr. Eduard Holzmair of the Bundessammlung von
Medaillen, Mnzen und Geldzeichen in Vienna, and Mr. Enrico
Leuthold of Milan have been most important.The gratefulthanks of
the author for all of the specimens, many of them unpublished,
furnishedby these scholars cannot be expressed in terms forceful
enough to convey the full extent of the debt owed to them. My
sincere thanks are also due to the authorities of the Museum in
Nicosia, Cyprus,forpermissionto publish Coin no. 79a.

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THE STATE AND NATURE OF THE PROBLEM


It is to the unusual specimensin coinage that the historianis most
oftendrawn in his search fornew informationregardingthe past. The
continuedrepetitionof older types without any seeminglysignificant
alteration is not likely to catch the eye of the scholar, nor is it
probable that it will excite a great deal of discussion or interest.
Perhaps this is in part the explanation for the fact that a rather
surprisingseries of solidi which are to be distinguishedprimarilyon
the basis of the marks in the exergues have received only passing
numismaticcomment and have never been adequately studied from
the historical point of view.
When it is rememberedforhow long a period of time the study of
coinage has fascinatedmen of cultureit is strangeto note that it was
only in 1910 that a scholar commentedupon the series oflightweight
solidi with unusual exergual markings. Dr. Arnold Luschin von
Ebengreuth,in his study of the denarius of the Salian Law, made use
of the fact that such a series of light weight solidi marked BOXX
existed.1 He was, however, aware of the existence of only a few of
these pieces, and the entirescope of the problem was not evident to
1 Dr. ArnoldLuschinvon Ebengreuth,
"Der DenarderLex Salica," Sitzungsberichte
der KaiserlichenAkademieder Wissenschaften
in Wien, Phil.-hist.
Klasse, CLXIII (1910),Abh. 4, pp. 34-39. See Karl AugustEckhardt,"Zur
derLex Salica/' Festschrift
derAkademiederWissenschaften
Entstehungszeit
in Gttingen
, 1951,pt. II, pp. 16-31; and P actusLegisSalicae I . Einfhrung
und 80 Titel-Text(Gttingen:Musterschmidt,
1954),pp. 186-192,whichis
volumeIII in the Westgermanisches
Rechtseriesof the neueFolge of the
Germanenrechte
publishedby the HistorischesInstitutdes Werralandes.
Eckhardtarguesvery stronglyfor greaterantiquityfor the Lex Salica.
heis rathercavalierinhistreatment
ofthenumismatic
evidence.
Unfortunately
Also see H. Brunner,DeutscheRechtsgeschichte
(2nd edition:Leipzig,1906),
der meroPP- 3I2-3I3> and Hugo Jaekel,"Die leichtenGoldschillinge
Zeitunddas AlterderLex Salica,"Zeitschrift
derSavigny
wingischen
-Stiftung
on
frRechtsgeschichte
yGerm.Abt.,XLIII (1922),pp. 103-216.The literature
this subjectof the date of the Salic law is veryextensive,but it is rather
indirectlyrelatedto the true Roman lightweightsolidi. The barbarian
coinagesare used to date the Germaniclaw codes,but thesecoinagesare
ofRomancoinage.
largelyimitations
i
I

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Light Weight Solidi

him. Only a few emperors, Justinian, Justin II, Phocas, Heraclius


during his sole reign, and Heraclius and Heraclius Constantine
during their joint reign, were represented on the solidi that he
studied.
It is, of course, true that a certain number of these light weight
Byzantine gold pieces had been reportedin sale catalogues on several
occasions prior to the date of Luschin von Ebengreuth's study, and
also it is true that Sabatier as well as Wroth had noted the existence
of a few specimens of this series, but there was still no body of
material collected which warranted any study of the series itself.
Luschin von Ebengreuthcould use these coins in his study ofFrankish
coinage and the Salian Law to indicate a Byzantine adumbration of
the subsequent decline in the weight of the Frankish solidi and
trientes,but he could derive nothingfromthem regardingthe policies
of the Byzantine emperorswhose names appeared on these strange
pieces.
By 1923, however, enough material had been collected to make it
possible for Ugo Monneret De Villard to write the firstnumismatic
study devoted solely to the light weight solidi.2 In the intervening
period a series of finelywrittenand well illustrated sale catalogues
which included a number of such coins had appeared, and the
monumental Byzantine coin catalogue of Count Tolstoi had been
published. Thus it was possible for Monneret De Villard to discern
the true limitsof this series of solidi, and though the catalogue which
is included withthe present study is more than threetimes as long as
that of Monneret De Villard nonetheless the firsttruly significant
collection of the numismaticdata was made by him.
From a search of all of the literature available to him and from
researchin the various major museums of Europe, he discovered that
there was not one series of light weight solidi, but rather that there
set ofmarkings
wereseveral seriesofsuch coins each bearinga different
2 Ugo Monneret
De Villard,"Sui Diversivaloridel Soldo Bizantino/'Rivista
Italianadi Numismatica
, XXXVI (1923),pp. 33-40.Thisarticlemustbe used
with great caution. Several of the coins whichappear twice in separate
are listedas separateand distinctpieces.No accountwas taken
publications
of the conditionof the coins in discussingthe metrological
aspects of the
De Villardare susceptibleto
problem,and the techniquesused by Monneret
thepiecesofbarbarianorigin.
seriouserrors.He did notdistinguish

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State anel Nature of the Problem

in the exergue on the reverse. It was also evident, when the material
had been gathered, that these light weight coins were not issued
intermittently
by several emperorsof the sixth and seventh centuries,
but rather that they formed a series which extended in unbroken
fashion fromthe reign of Justinian to that of Constantine IV Pogonatus.
As a result of this numismaticinquiryinto the nature of these coins
Monneret De Villard concluded that there were at least seven
differentvarieties of markings that appeared in the exergue on the
reverses of Byzantine solidi which would indicate that the coins in
question were light.Unfortunatelyhe did not distinguishbetween the
authenticByzantine gold pieces and those of barbarian manufacture.
His list of markingswould thereforebe somewhat smaller if it were
devoted only to the genuine Byzantine coins. The marks as he listed
them, however, were 1) OB*+*, 2) OB XX or OB'XX, 3) OB+ or
OB+*, 4) BOXX, 5) BOrK, 6) CXNXU, and lastly 7) CX+X-^. The
weights of almost all of the coins bearing these marks in the exergue were clearly below the lowest weights which one mightreasonably expect fromsolidi whichhad originallybeen struckat fullweight.
Of all the markings listed, however, Monneret De Villard felt that
only two series could be grouped in which he was possessed of a
sufficientnumber of weights to postulate any hypothesis regarding
the theoretical weight at which these coins had been struck. The
forty-twocoins which were contained in groups two and four he
consideredas one series. This he mightlogically do because there was
nothing more than a transposition or metathesis of the first two
lettersof the exergual mark involved in distinguishingthem fromone
another. These coins when considered as a single series showed an
average weight of 3.657 grammes according to his calculations. A
second series of coins, he felt, might be constructed of those coins
which had the exergual marks in groups one (OB*+*) and three
(OB+*).3 The three coins that were listed with the mark OB*+* had
a mean weight of 3.866 grammes,while the nine coins with the mark
3 Thereis some discrepancy
betweenthe earlierand the laterpartsof the
articlein the reproduction
of thesemarksin the exerguesof the coins.His
is on all occasionsquiteclear,and the correctformshave
however,
meaning,
beenusedin ourtext.
i*

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Light Weight Solidi

0B+* had an average weight of 3.96 grammes according to the


calculations of MonneretDe Villard.4
The three mean weights which had been obtained by this process
were all well below what might be expected of solidi which had
originallybeen struck at full weight. Theoretically and actually the
solidus had been struck al-pezzo at i/72nd of a Roman pound. This
factwas attested fromthe legal texts in the Theodosian and Justinian
Codes as well as fromthe marks of value which were found on certain
of the earlier solidi. Luschin von Ebengreuth had also demonstrated
most scientificallythat one could hardly expect a weight of less than
4.35 grammes for any undipped solidus. This is in accord with our
knowledge concerningthe weight of the Roman pound. It is now
generallyconceded among numismatiststhat the solidus must have
been struck at a theoretical weight of 4.55 grammes and that the
siliqua auri was theoretically0.1895 grammes.5MonneretDe Villard,
however,had adopted the weight of the Roman pound which Naville
had calculated6. According to the system set forth by Naville
the Roman pound weighed 322.56 grammes, and the siliqua auri,
which it is quite certain was i/i728th of a pound, was 0.1867
grammes. Since there were twenty-foursiliquae or four scruples
in the normal solidus of i/72nd of a pound, the theoretical weight
of the solidus, according to Naville, would be 4.48 grammes. It
can be seen immediatelythat there is only the slight differenceof
seven-hundredthsof a grammebetween the theoreticalweightofthe
4 MonneretDe Villard omittedone of the coins markedOB+ fromhis
and therefore
calculationsbecausetheweightofthepiecewas 4.50 grammes,
it was withintherangeoftruefullweightsolidi.He also omittedtheonecoin
markedOBJ thoughthe weightwas 3.75 grammes.See Coin no. 29 of the
Catalogue.This is not a good methodof procedurebecauseit prejudgesthe
data.
resultby excludingunfavorable
5 Therangeof24-25caratswouldtherefore
and
havebeen4.55-4.74grammes,
thatfrom23-24wouldhave been4.36-4.55grammes.
6 A. Naville,"Fragment
demtrologie
,
antique, RevueoussedeNumismatique
conXXII (1920),pp. 42-60. It mustbe statedthat thereis no unanimity
theweightoftheRomanpound,buttheconsensusofscholarly
opinion
cerning
seemsto favorthe traditionalweightof 327.45grammes.All of the figures
have to
quoted in this discussionof MonneretDe Villardwouldtherefore
discussion
be adjustedto accordwiththis,iftheywereto be usedinanyfurther
oftheproblem.Sincethisis notthecase,it seemedbestto set forthhisideas
as he wrotethemand to use Naville'scalculationsin thedescription.

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State and Nature of the Problem

solidus as calculated by Naville and that accordingto the traditional


view.
Sixty coins were listed in the article by Monneret De Villard
according to the rulers and with notations regarding the peculiar
markingsin the exergue on the reverses. When, however, the coins
weregrouped accordingto the marksin the exerguesit was foundthat
only in one instance, those inscribed BOXX and the like, was there
really a sufficientnumber of coins to warrant an attempt at a
scientifictreatment.In another case, that of the coins marked OB+*,
only some hypotheses could be put forward.
Unfortunately Monneret De Villard did not make use of the
frequencycurve method of statistical analysis of the metrological
data which he had accumulated, but he resortedto the less scientific,
and thereforemore uncertain,practice of calculating mean weights.
As a result he was only able to discuss with any degree of confidence
those coins which he had assembled in his firstgroup, a total of fortytwo specimens.
Monneret De Villard concluded that the solidi of this firstseries,
i.e., those with a mean weight of 3.657 grammes were struck at
twentysiliquae to the solidus (theoreticalweightaccordingto Naville's
system of 3.734 grammes). He was aware of the fact that the siliqua
was mentionedseveral times in the Edictum Rotharias well as in the
Capitula Extravagantia of the Lombard laws,7 and he found, as
Brunnerhad noted much earlier,that in the GlossariumMatricense63
it was stated that Siliqua vicsimapars solidi est, while the Glossarium
Cvense 104 and 163 asserted Siliquas . Id . vicsima pars solidi and
Siliquas , id est vicsima pars solidi, ab arbore,cuius semen est, vocabulum tenens.8 Monneret De Villard held that since the glossators
themselvesbelieved this valuation of the solidus at twentysiliquae it
indicated quite clearly that they knew that it corresponded to the
actual worth of the solidi which circulated during the reign of
Rothari (636-652 A.D.). The reign of Rothari, moreover,was roughly
contemporarywiththat of Heraclius, and the greatestnumberoflight
7Monneret
De Villardcitesthe CapitulaExtravagantia
as theMemoyatorium
It is normally
citedas Merced
.
( de caminata
).
8 Ed. Bluhme,MGH.,
Legumf
IV, pp. 651,655-656.All theseareglossesofthe
samepassage,Roth.,346.

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Light Weight Solidi

weight solidi were struck with the name of Heraclius imprintedon


them. From these facts and premises MonneretDe Villard concluded
that the light weight solidi of twentysiliquae were actually referred
to in contemporarytexts and probably were a part of the monetary
system.
In doing this,however,he erredmost seriously,probablybecause of
the factthathis trainingwas that ofa numismatistand not ahistorian.
His use of the legal texts does not meet the requirementsof historical
technique. The Edictum Rothari, it is true, was issued in 643 A.D.
during the reign of that Lombard king, and the Capitula Extravaganciaare attributedto eitherthe reignof Grimoald (662-671 A.D.)
or Luitprand in the firsthalf of the eighth century.The word siliqua
does occur in both cases, but it is not definedwithinthe text but only
in the two glosses that have been quoted. The glosses which are cited
by MonneretDe Villard in support of his position that these siliquae
were the twentiethpart of the solidus are more recent than the legal
texts themselves. They may safely be put into Carolingian times or
later, when the solidus in westernEurope was uniformlyvalued at
twentysiliquae. The two manuscriptsin which these glosses occur are
related in the stemma.They come froma commonsource.That source
seems to be a relativelylate one, and these texts are more valuable for
the later period of Lombard law. The Codex MatritensisregiusD iiy
was probably writtenin the region of Beneventum or Salerno in the
tenth century.10While the Codex Cavensis was most likely produced
in the region of Beneventum about the year 1005 A.D.11It is probable
that the glossator himself was a Beneventan of about the same
period.1*The actual text of the glosses is apparently derived from
Isidore of Seville (ca . 560-636 A.D.), but Isidore retains the older
valuation of the solidus at twenty-foursiliquae.18Perhaps, as is most
MGH., Legum,IV, pp. XXIX and XXXIII.
1MGH., Legum,IV, p. XXVIII.
11MGH., Lesum,IV, p. XXX.
la MGH., Legum,IV, pp. 651ff.The glossesare reproduced
there.Cf.Edicta
HistoriaPatria Monumenta(AugustaTaurinorum,
RegumLangobardorum,
ArchivderGesell1855)VIII, p. CX, and Bluhme,"Leges Langobardorum,"
V, p. 255.
Geschichtskunde,
frlteredeutsche
schaft
'
13Isidoreof Seville,Etymologiarum,
XVI, 24: Siliquaeid estvicsimaquarta
tenens."
vocabulum
cuius
semen
ab
est,
pars solidi, arbore,

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State and Nature of the Problem

likely,the influenceofthe Frankish monetarysystemwas thestimulus


forthe lower valuation of the solidus among the Lombards.14When
this change was accomplished,however,must remain uncertain. It is
quite definitethat the glossators referredto by MonneretDe Villard
were not giving us exact informationregarding conditions in the
time of Rothari and Grimoald,but ratherthat theywere utilizingthe
valuations knownin theirown time. The glossators' knowledgeof the
monetarysystemin forceduringthe reign of Rothari was very likely
much less than that available to numismatistsand historians today.
In addition these glosses can hardly be used to prove that the
Byzantine government issued such light weight solidi for normal
circulationwithinthe Empire duringthe seventh century,since they
are derived from a later period and they comment on a matter of
Lombard and not Byzantine law.
In studying the second group of coins, those marked OB*+* and
OB+*, Monneret De Villard found himselfseriouslyhampered by an
insufficiencyof data. Three coins marked OB*+* had an average
weight of 3.866 grammes, and the nine pieces marked OB+* had a
mean weight of 3.96 grammes. This seemed to indicate a theoretical
weight of approximately twenty-one siliquae which should have
corresponded to 3.92 grammes according to the system worked out
by Naville and accepted by MonneretDe Villard. If this were so, then
MonneretDe Villard suggested that the mark which he transcribed
as-* might be explained as - +*, and that the two X's would thus
be combined into the single sign *. The total would then be twentyone. Unfortunately such an explanation is hardly satisfactory
because, as will be shown,there are no solidi marked
and, furtherthe
marked
and
those
marked
coins
OB*+*
OB+* or OB%
more,
all belong to a single group. The marks OB+* and OB are merely
abbreviationsof OB*+*. These asterisks cannot thereforebe taken as
the combination of two X's or the total would be in excess of forty
rather than twenty-one.
These solidi, however, were supposedly struck at approximately
3.92 grammes or about 1784th of a Roman pound.15 Monneret De
14Cf.Brunner,DeutscheRechtsgeschichte
, I, p. 313,note7.
16 MonneretDe Villard,"Sui Diversivalori
del Soldo Bizantino,"Rivista
Italianadi Numismatica
alsothatthemiliarense
, XXXVI (1923),p. 38,suggests

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Light Weight Solidi

Villard, followingLuschin von Ebengreuth, pointed out that some


of the pseudo-imperial solidi struck in Gaul during the early Merovingian period were issued at approximately the same average
weight.16 Some of these Frankish gold pieces were issued with
or largesilvercoin priorto the reignofJustinian
was struckat i/84thof a
of the lightweightsolidus.
pound. It would thus be a silvercounterpart
Actuallyhe is in error,forthe silvercoinswerenot struckat a standardof
i /84th
ofa Romanpoundat anytimeduringat leasta twohundred
yearperiod
nor did Justinianhimselfstrikesuch silver
beforethe reignof Justinian,
absentin thefifth
Whenthe
coins.Heavysilvercoinageis noticeably
century.
quantityof silvercoinsissuedbeganto risein the firstquarterof the sixth
ofa
it seemsthata heavycoinof 1/72ndofa pound,thecounterpart
century
fullweightsolidus,was struck,but noneof 1/84thof a poundwereissued.A
solidusat i /84thof a poundwouldactuallybe equivalentto 20.57 siliquae.
De Villardhas apparently
roundedthisoffto twenty-one
Monneret
siliquae.
siliquae wouldweigh3.9207 grammesaccordingto Naville. A
Twenty-one
solidusoftwenty
siliquaewouldactuallybe struckat about i/82ndofa pound
whileone oftwenty-one
siliquaewouldbe struckat about 1/86thofa pound.
Histoirede la monnaieromaine
See also TheodorMommsen,
, trans.Duc de
Blacas (Paris,1873),III, p. 77, note2.
16He citesE. Babelon,"La Siliqueromaine,le sou et le denierde la loi des
The
, VI (1902),pp. 72-73, to that effect.
Francs,"La Gazette
Numismatique
"Der DenarderLex
pointis mostclearlymadeby Luschinvon Ebengreuth,
in Wien,
derWissenschaften
derKaiserlichen
Akademie
Salica," Sitzungsberichte
Phil.-hist.
Klasse,CLXIII (1910),Abh.4, pp. 1-89,but especiallypp. 22-39,
whichindicatesthat sometimeafter580 a.d. the Merovingians
began to
striketheirsolidion a standardof22y2siliquaeand thatthisstandardrapidly
the
fellto twenty-one
siliquaeto thesolidus.Priorto 580a.D., he maintained,
standardoftwentyhad strucktheirgoldon theConstantinian
Merovingians
in theweightofMerovingian
reduction
foursiliquaeto thesolidus.A further
in the firstdecade of the
took
to
coins
siliquae
place
twenty
probably
gold
seventhcentury,but in any event,it was an accomplishedfactduringthe
reignof ChlotarII (613-629A.D.).The exact date of the declineto twenty
siliquae to the solidus,accordingto Luschinvon Ebengreuth,cannotbe
Gaulinthe
established.S. E. Rigold,"An ImperialCoinagein Southern
firmly
Chronicle
Numismatic
Sixthand SeventhCenturies,"
, Series6, XIV (1954)>
thatitwas
goldcoinage.He suggests
pp. 93-133,discussesthispseudo-imperial
begunduringthelast yearsofthereignof JustinII, probablyabout574 a.d.
His worksupersedesthat of Luschinvon Ebengreuth.Cf. MauriceProu,
Nationale
. Les Monnaies
de la Bibliothque
Cataloguedes monnaiesfranaises
XXIV-XXV.
XIV-XXVII,
esp.
pp.
(Paris,
1892),
pp.
mrovingiennes
A. Duchalais,"Poids de 1'aureusromaindansla Gaule,"Revuenumismatique
,
V (1840),pp. 261-265,anclMaximinDloche,"Explicationd'une formule
Etudesde numismatiques
inscritesur plusieursmonnaiesmrovingiennes,"
fromRevuearchologique
,
(Paris,1890),pp. 227-235,reprinted
mrovingiennes
2e srie,XL, providedthebasic information
uponwhichLuschinvon Ebenhis dating.See note1.
greuthdetermined

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State and Nature of the Problem

imperial portraitsand they bore marks of value, XXI in the case of


the solidi and VII in the case of the trientes.These Frankish coins
will be examined more closely at a later point,but it should sufficefor
the presentmerelyto indicate that the existenceof such coinage from
mints in southern Gaul is well attested.17
There was also a certain amount of literaryevidence that bore on
the question of such light solidi which weighed less than i/yzndof a
pound, and Monneret De Villard dealt with a small portion of that
evidence. He cited a Novella of the Emperor Majorian in which that
Emperor required that all solidi of fullweightbe accepted by the tax
collectorwith the one exception of the Gallic solidi, the gold of which
was oflesservalue.18This legal text was issued in 458 A.D.and therefore
precedes the issuance of the peculiar series of light weight solidi in
whichwe are interestedby at least eightyyears and possibly as much
as a century.That the Romans had certain problems connected with
the unofficialstrikingof solidi of light weight duringthe fourthand
fifthcenturiescannot be doubted in view of the extant laws regarding
gold coins, but these laws cannot be used to indicate that an imperial
gold coin was struckat a lighterstandard. The entirebody ofliterary
evidence will be discussed at a later point, but it should sufficeforthe
present merely to point out that the particular Novella just cited
17AnotherseriesmarkedVIII in the case of the trientesindicatesthat the
changewas clearlyunderstood.
18Nov. Maioriani,VII, i, 14 (458a.d.) (ed.Th. Mommsen
and Paul M. Meyer,
"
Codex Theodosianus
ea nullussolidmintegriponderis
, II, p. 171). Praeter
calumniosae
obtentu
recuset
exactor
eoGallico
improbationis
, excepto
, cuiusaurum
minoreaestimatione
taxatur
removeatur
occasio."This
; omnia concussionum
passage and severalothersimilarones have formedthe subjectof a great
numberof articles.AdrienBlanchet,"Les ((sous Gaulois))du Ve sicle,"Le
thatthewordsminore
MoyenAge,2e srie,XIV (1910),pp. 45-48,suggested
aestimatione
indicatedgoldthatwas debasedand notcoinswhichwerenotof
fullweight.He therefore
thispassagein termsofthefewdebased
interpreted
coinsfoundintheDortmund
hoard.WilhelmKubitschek,
"Zum Goldfund
von
neue Folge III (1910), pp. 56-61,
Dortmund/'Numismatische
Zeitschrift}
discussestheviewtakenby Blanchet,and he goesevenfurther
in formulating
thetheorythatbarbarouscoinagesofpoorqualitywerean increasing
problem
fortheRomansduringtheperiodofthemigrations,
butthatbythemid-sixth
centurytheByzantineshad concededdefeatin thismatter.He probablygoes
too far.MauriceProu,Les Monnaiesmrovingiennes
, p. XVI ; and E. Babelon,
"La Siliqueromain,le sou et le denierde la loi desFrancsSaliens,"Journaldes
Savants, Fvrier1901,p. 120,note 1, statetheirbeliefthata lighterweight
discussionofthisNovella
.
coinageis meant.See chapterII fora further

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io

Light Weight Solidi

cannot referto the light weight solidi which formthe subject of this
book.
In addition to that Novella, however,MonneretDe Villard refersto
several other documents which should be treated in connectionwith
a critique of his work. One of the documents to which referenceis
made is the so-called Formula LindenbrogianaLXXXII, but this can
easily be shown to be a spurious referencebecause of the variants.19
Two otherinstancesin whichthe so-called solidusGalliensis mentioned
are known from the correspondence of Gregory the Great, and
Monneret De Villard also makes referenceto them. In one letter
Gregoryspeaks of the solidi Galliarum,qui in terranostraexpendinon
possunt, apud locumpropriumutiliterexpendanturP In another letter
of Gregoryto Dynamius, the Patrician of the Gauls, the sum of four
hundred Gallicanos solidos is mentioned.21These referencesto the
solidi Gallici can easily be explained on the basis of the Frankish
coinage which was truly light weight in the last decade of the sixth
centuryand could not be used within the confinesof the Byzantine
Empire.
MonneretDe Villard, however,recognizedthat his case was all too
weak when bolstered only by referencesto the coinage of Gaul which
Luschin von Ebengreuth had already proven to be of light weight in
19Thisreference
MediaeetInfimae
was firstgivenby C. Du Cange,Glossarium
Latinitatis(Paris, 1733-36),s.v. Solidus, and it has been repeatedby many
et romaines(Paris, 1901),
authors.E. Babelon,Traitdes monnaiesgrecques
fromthecollectionofMarculfe.
Actually
I, pt. I, col. 540,citesit as a formula
is ofSalic originand is givenin de Salis' edition(MGH.,Leges,
thisdocument
no. 16.Thisis equivalentto
SectioV, p. 77) as FormulaSalica Lindenbrogiana
desFrancsdu Ve
usitesdansl'empire
Eugnede Rozire.ReceuildesFormules
editionno. 19. In
au Xe sicles(Paris,1859-71),no. 242 or in the Rockinger
theselaterand morescholarlyeditionsthe crucialphrase,solidosfrancos
, is
editionof 1631
solidostante.In theFrankfurt
givenas solidostantosor valente
and in thatofBaluze whichis
ofLindenbrog
oftheCodexLegumAntiquarum
Conciliorum
includedin ed. J. Mansi,AmplissimaCollectio
(Paris,1901-27),
. This is not
XVIIIbis, col. 536, the phraseappearsas solidosfrancostantos
evengivenas a variantin thebettereditions.
20Gregory
, I, p. 389). The editorsdate
, VI, 10 (MGH., Epistolae
I, Registrum
thisletteras of Sept. 595 a.d.
21Gregory
, I, p. 191).Thisletteris dated
, III, 33 (MGH.,Epistolae
I, Registrum
De Villard
by theeditorsas havingbeenwrittenin April593 a.d. Monneret
Latina,LXXVII,
citesthesetwolettersfromtheMigneeditioninthePatrologia
pp. 799 and 630.

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State and Nature of the Problem

ii

the last two decades of the sixth century.This Frankish coinage had
been adopted after Justinian had instituted the striking of light
weight solidi. As a finalbit of literaryproof that light weight solidi
of approximately i/84th of a Roman pound were issued by the
Byzantine governmentMonneretDe Villard cited a law ofValentinian
I of the year 367. This law, he maintained, stated explicitely that a
solidus of i/84thof a Roman pound was known to the Romans. That
law may be translated as follows:
On account of the miningtax, forwhich
the custom peculiar to it must be retained,
it is determinedthat fourteenounces of gold
dust be broughtfor each pound (of metal).22
22C Th.,V, 19, 4 (ed. Mommsenand Meyer,CodexTheodosianus
, I, pt. II,
Com(item)
p. 558): "Imp. Valentinianuset Valens AA. ad Germanianum
Ob metallicum
in quo proprioconsuetudo
canonem,
S(acrarum)L(argitionum).
est, quattuordecim
uncias ballucaepro singulislibrisconstatinferri
.
retinenda
Dat. VI id. Ian. Rom.Lupicinioet Iovianoconss."Thisis equivalentto C. Just.
XI, 7, 2 (ed. Krueger,CorpusIuris Civilis, II, p. 430). It is a portionofthe
samelaw to whichC. TA.,XII, 6, 13,settingup thestandardofseventy-two
solidito thepoundforbullionpaymentsto theTreasury,
belongs.Becauseof
this A. Soetbeer,"Beitrgezur Geschichtedes Geld-und Mnzwesensin
zurdeutschen
Geschichte
Deutschland/'
, I (1862),p. 295,said that
Forschungen
thepropriaconsuetudo
mentioned
was thecustomoftheFiscusin collections
solidifromthegoldmineoperators.
to takeeighty-four
Miningas an industry
in theRomanstate,however,
was peculiaruntoitself.The entiretitleXIX of
BookX oftheTheodosian
A lawof365
Codeis headedDe MetallisetMetallariis.
themining
(C. Th.,X, 19,3) placesa chargeofeightscruplesonthoseentering
A law of392 (C. Th.,X, 19, 12) taxeseverygoldminer
voluntarily.
profession
in Pontus and Asia seven scruplesper year. Goldmining
was a peculiar
and it is mostlikelythatthe mineoperatorswereusinga peculiar
industry,
solidi. E. Babelon, Trait des monnaiesgrecqueset
pound of eighty-four
romaines
maintained
thatthetextin
(Paris,1901),I, pt. I, col. 539,however,
la mention
aussi implicitement
de la taille 84.'' The textof
question"renferme
a law of 325 a.D. in the TheodosianCode whichwouldindicatelightweight
solidihas beenpreserved
intwoseparatefragments
whicharerecorded
in both
the Theodosianand JustinianCodes, and whose orderis indicatedin the
Theodosianrecension.
C. Th.,XII, 7, 1; XII, 6, 2 (ed. Mommsen
and Meyer,
CodexTheodosianus
, I, pt. II, pp. 722-3; 713) = C. Just.,X, 73, 1; X, 72, 1
the
(ed. Krueger,CorpusIuris Civilis,II, pp. 427; 426). In thelaterrecension
importantstatementregardingthe weighingof solidi has been omitted.
Whetheror not anythingintervened
betweenthe two fragments
as received
cannotbe ascertained,
butthetextas it standsformsan intelligible
whole.It
is a law concerning
the collectionof taxes, and penaltiesforimproper
perin theprocessofcollectionare attachedto thelatterportionofthe
formance

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12

Light Weight Solidi

This law clearly does not mention the strikingof solidi at i/84th
of a Roman pound. It simply insists that mine operators in the
fulfillmentof their leases should continue an older practice of
remittingto the Treasury fourteenounces of gold for each pound.
This law was insertedintothechapterbecause it formedpart ofa longer
law which in another section established the fact that in payments
made in gold bullion a pound was to be valued at seventy-twosolidi.
Since such a regulation would have meant that the treasury would
lose money on its gold leases, a specificexceptionwas made in the case
law. The firstpartofthelaw givestheweightofthesolidusas fourscruples,
i.e., theexacttheoretical
weightofthenormalsolidus,but it thengoeson to
a taxpayer,shouldwishto weighoutsolidi,he
say thatifanyone,presumably
shouldweighoutsevensolidiforoneounceand fourteen
solidifortwoounces.
The latterportionof thisfirstfragment
the
of the law therefore
contradicts
Histoirede la monnaieromaine
, trans.
givenweightofthe solidus.Mommsen,
Duc de Blacas, III, pp. 64-5,says thatthelaw ofValentinian(C. Th.tXII,
thattherewereseventy-two
solidito thepoundwas a
6, 13) whichspecified
restatement
of theConstantinian
law of 325 a.d. It was therefore
necessary
to emendthe readingof the Constantinian
law. Since the law of 325 a.d.
occursin onlyone manuscript,
and thatone is ofFrankishorigin,Mommsen
supposedthat the VII and XIV wereinsertedto accordwiththe Frankish
systemofcoinagein place ofVI and XII. The factthatthesoliduswas still
at four
hemaintained,
wasthetypicalscribalerror.
Mommsen,
quoted
0Frnkische scruples, im Theodosischen
des gemeinen
Codex,"Jahrbuch
Interpolation
deutschen
Rechts
,
, III (i860), pp. 454-456,reprintedin Gesammelte
Schriften
deutschen
desgemeinen
II, pp. 408-409;"Zu Cod. Theod.,12, 7, 1," Jahrbuch
Rechts
inGesammelte
, V (1862),pp. 129-131,reprinted
,II, pp.410-411;
Schriften
"Das theodosischeGesetzbuch/'Zeitschrift
derSavigny-Stiftung
frRechts
XII
in
rm.
Gesammelte
II,
,
Abt.,
Schriften,
geschickte
(1900),p. 157,reprinted
Interp. 378. Cf. G. Hnel, "EinigeBedenkenden Aufsatz(sc): frnkische
Codex(Bd. III, Ur. 21 des Jahrh.)betr./'Jahrbuch
polationimTheodosischen
desgemeinen
deutschen
Rechts
, IV (1861),pp. 309-316.Hnelwrongly
thought
thatsolidiof i/84thofa poundmighthavebeenstruckin thefourth
century.
He was also wrongin attributing
the manuscript
to Italy. See E. A. Lowe,
CodicesLatiniAntiquiores
. A Palaeographical
GuidetoLatinManuscripts
prior
to theNinthCentury(Oxford:ClarendonPress,1950),V, p. 21. Pinderand
Friedlaender,
Beitrgezur lterenMnzkunde
(Berlin,1851),I, p. 15, simply
was possible.
corrected
thetextwithoutexplaininghowsuchan emendation
DiocleAlsosee A. Soetbeer,op. cit., pp. 292-296.O. Seeck,"Die Mnzpolitik
tians und seiner Nachfolger/'Zeitschrift
, XVII (1890),
fr Numismatik
solidiusedbythe
pp. 55-56,saysthattherewas a specialpoundofeighty-four
oftaxesas shownby C. Th., XII, 7, 1 (325a.d.) which
Fiscusin thecollection
was suppressed
bytheedictofValentinian(C. Th.,XII, 6, 13).Alsosee Josef
Wilhelm Kubitschek,"Beitrge zur frhbyzantinischen
Numismatik,"
Numismatische
, XXIX (1897),pp. 177-178.
Zeitschrift

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State and Nature of the Problem

13

of the mine operators. In the fulfillingof mine leases a heavy pound


of fourteenounces was to be used as in the past, but in all other
cases seventy-twosolidi were to be accepted as equivalent to a full
pound of gold.
The acceptance of such a heavy fourteenounce pound, of course,
requires somewhat more proof than has just been set forth,and we
must therefore diverge slightly from the central theme of this
chapter. A situation in which two pounds of differentweights,both
recognized legally, existed need excite no surprise, but great care
must be taken in citingpassages in this connectionto distinguishthe
second variety of pound (i.e. that of fourteenounces) fromthe mere
use of heavy weights. This latter practice was common in the early
mediaeval period, and therewas a good deal of legislationagainst it.23
Some passages are capable of an even wider interpretation.On the
estates of the Church in 591 A.D., it would appear as if 73 */2solidi
were exacted fora pound, but that Gregorythe Great consideredthis
sinfuland orderedthat the rustics pay only a pound of seventy-two.
In doing this, however, he states, "and there ought to be exacted
neither any farthings (siliquae) beyond the pound, not a greater
pound, nor charges above the greaterpound, but each according to
your assessment thereshould be an increase of the rent in proportion
as the resources suffice,and so a shameful exaction may never be
made."24
23Thereis no pointto be madeby citingthemassoftheselaws.Theywould
ofnecessityincludesuchtextsas ChapterXIX ofthe Constitutio
Pragmatica
: Ut autemnullafraudisvellaesionisprovin
(XIX. De Mensuriset Ponderibus
darum nascaturoccasio, iubemusin Ulis mensurisvel ponderibus
speciesvel
Senatuinostri
pecuniasdari velsuscipi, quae beatissimo
Papae velamplissimo
Pietas in praesenticontradidit
werecommoncan be
.) That
weights
improper
shownfromstillotherpassages."Exigentes
veroassempublicum
pergravamina
dicuntur
ut nontamexactioquam
ponderum
premere
patrimonia
possessorumy
Sed ut totiusfraudisabrogetur
occasio, ad libramcubiculi
praedaessevideatur.
nostriquae vobisin praesentia
data est}universasfunctiones
publicasiubemus
inthe
." Cassiodorus,
Variarum
inferre
, V, 39 (MGH., AA., XII, p. 156)written
,
period523-526a.d. Cf. Mommsen,"OstgothischeStudien,"Neues Archiv
XIV, p. 464,note2. AlsoseeCassiodorus,Variarum
, XI, 16 (MGH.,AA., XII,
p. 344),whichis an answerto theLigurianswhohave complainedconcerning
andmeasuresusedbytax collectors.
unjustweights
, I, 42
I, Registrum
Gregory
(MGH.yEpistolae
, I, p. 64), ordersunjustweightsto be brokenand to be
replacedby just weights.
24The italics
are mine.Translatedby WilliamE. Lunt,Papal Revenues
in the

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14

Light Weight Solidi

It is clear that the pound was not eternallythe same weight,and


just as we may speak of the pound Troy or the pound avoirdupois but
in common parlance understand one pound to be meant, so it must
have been among the Romans. A giftof 1,600 pounds of gold forthe
Decennalia of the emperorwas voted by the Senate in 385 A.D., and
that it was to be paid in the urban standard, i.e. a differentone from
the normal one, is carefullystipulated.26
MiddleAges(NewYork:ColumbiaUniversity
Press,1934),II, p. 4. The textof
thisportionof Gregory
, I, 42 (MGH., Epistolae,I, pp. 62-63) is
I, Registrum
valde
etiam,in aliquibusmassisecclesiaeexactionem
important."Cognovimus
ternm
semisquoddici nefasest
iniustissimam
, ita ut libramseptuagenum
fieri
etadhucequehocsufficit
, sed insuperaliquidex usu iam multorum
exigantur
etamputaride patridetestamur
annorum
Quamremomnmodo
exigidicuntur.
sivein hocquodperlibramamplius,
volumus
. Sed tuaexperientia
moniofunditus
a rusticis
oneribus
etquodultrarationis
sivein aliis minutis
accipitur,
aequitatem
utproutviresrusticorum
etomniain summam
portant
pensionisredigati
pensent
vinum(binumcorrigit
libramseptuagenum
et pensantem
integram
pensionem
Hermes
frden SaltusBurunitanus,"
"Decretdes Commodus
, XV
Mommsen,
em
etnequesiliquasextralibras, equelibrammaior
(1880),adn. 2) persolvant,
tuam
equeonerasupra librammaioremexigidebeant,sed per estimationem
etsic turpisexactionequaquam
in summam
pensioniscrescat
proutvirtussufficit
as t(der
loc.cit.,viewstheadditional1 y2solidimentioned
fiat. . . Mommsen,
Thepassage,however,
zumSteuer
speaksof
quantum.'*
ZuschlagderHebegebhr
a greaterpound (73% solidi?) and additionalcharges.B. Hilliger,"Die
, LXII (1937),
SiebenteiligeUnze der Rmer/' Bltterfr Mnzfreunde
pp. 129-131,connectsthispassage withan ouncedividedinto sevenparts
a poundof 1764siliquae
becausehe believedthatthe 73y2solidirepresented
whichwouldbe evenlydivisiblebytwelveand byseven.He appliesthisto the
lightFrankishsolidi.
25Symmachus,
XIII (MGH.,AA., VI, p. 290): Nunc%namorem
RelaUones,
aurilibradecennalibus
Nammillesescentes
tuumstudianostracreverunt.
imperii
endas id esttrutinae
urbanisponderibus
ordopromisit
tui festusdevotus
confer
of Sinuessawhichspeak
examine
." Cf.theActaofthepseudo-council
largioris
to the
ofa libraocciduawhichmaybe eithera "westernpound"ora reference
certain
is
The
libra
occidua
as
libra.
the
zodiac
known
of
however,
,
given
sign
thevaluesgivenin different
valuesin theActa, but unfortunately
numerical
partsof the text do not coincidewithone another.At one pointthe libra
and at anotherto seventy-two,
occiduaseemsto be equivalentto eighty-four,
The textis found
and so forth.
and inthethirdinstanceto lessthanforty-four
concillorum
in ed. Mansi,Amplissimacollectio
, I, cols. 12550. The notesof
editoroftheActaoftheChurchcouncils,
Severinus
Binius,a sixteenth
century
ecclesiasticorum
whoagreeswithC. Baronius(Annalium
1670-7),II,
(Antwerp,
thelibraocciduawiththenormal
pp. 724-5,anno302,no.91-95)inconnecting
it froman easternpoundof
solidiand distinguishing
poundof seventy-two
TheActaofthiscouncilwere
ad
loc.
in
found
are
also
Mansi,
solidi,
eighty-four
vonden
desPapsttums
E. Caspar,Geschichte
forgedin theearlysixthcentury.

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State and Nature of the Problem

15

MonneretDe Villard, on the basis of the passages which have been


discussed, wronglyconcluded that he had demonstrated,both from
the texts and the coins themselves,that different
solidi struckon three
differentstandards were in use in the Byzantine Empire during the
sixth and seventh centuries.There was the normal solidus of twentyfour siliquae or i/72nd of a pound, a lightersolidus of twenty-one
siliquae or approximately1/84thofa pound, and thelightestsolidus of
twentysiliquae or approximately i/86th of a pound.26He even went
so far as to suggest that there might be still other solidi of different
standards and that the study of Greek papyri fromEgypt revealed
the existence of a number of differentsolidi. The very apparent
difficultiesthat would have arisen in the economic life of the empire
as a result of such a virtually haphazard system of coinage were
ignoredby MonneretDe Villard. Of course, it is now clear as a result
ofthe workof Johnsonand West that the calculations in theEgyptian
papyri do not support the existence of solidi struck on different
standards, but that they make use of a systemof accountingwhich is
now comprehensible.27
In evaluating the work done by MonneretDe Villard one might,as
a resultofthe ratherloose use oftexts,easily overlookthe significance
of the fact that his was the firstattempt at establishing the true
limitsof the problem and applyinghistoricaldata to it. A substantial
catalogue ofthe lightweightsolidi had been prepared,and theproblem
of explaining and interpretingthe significanceof their existence was
now clear to all. The years immediatelyfollowingwitnessed a growth
in interest in these strange coins, and even the famed Professor
28
Regling spoke of doing some work on them. UnfortunatelyRegling
never did manage to produce the article or book, but it was a clear
sign of growinginterest.Hoards of these pieces and individual coins
bis zurHhederWeltherrschaft
Anfngen
(Tbingen,1933),I, p. 98. Also see
L. DuchesnefLiberPontificatisi
etCommentaire
Texte,Introduction
(Paris,1886),
I, Introd.,pp. lxxiff.
26Solidi struckat twentysiliquae are actually1
/86.4thofa Romanpound.
The eighty-sixth
partofa Romanpoundequals 20.093siliquae.
27LouisC. WestandAllenChesterJohnson,
in RomanandByzantine
Currency
Egypt(Princeton:PrincetonUniversity
Press,1944).
28R. Mnsterberg,
derNumismatischen
Inedita,"Mitteilungen
"Sptrmische
in Wien, XV, nos. 57-58 (1923),pp. 227-228.
Gesellschaft

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i6

Light Weight Solidi

from stray findsbegan to appear with some frequency.The entire


subject of the quantity of gold in circulationand its movementscame
under scholarly survey in 1933 when ProfessorMarc Bloch wrote a
stimulatingarticle on the problem of gold in the Middle Ages.29
In 1937 anotherstudy devoted to these lightweightsolidi appeared
in whichthe author,FriedrichStefan,put fortha newinterpretation.30
A hoard of coins was found at Hoischhiigel (Maglern-Thrl)which
contained one solidus of JustinII which weighed only 4.07 grammes,
and was thereforeapparently only equivalent to twenty-onesiliquae
This coin bore in the reverse
instead of the more normal twenty-four.
the
mark
Stefan
COX+X which
interpreted as meaning
exergue
twenty siliquae (XX) plus one siliqua (I). The CO he expanded as

Constantinople.31
The existenceof this singularpiece in a hoard that he was studying
led Stefan to survey the entireproblem. He proceeded to collect the
locations of the knownfindsofthese lightweightsolidi, and fromthat
data he concluded that all of these solidi fellinto two groups. Firstly,
there were those coins which had been found,according to Stefan,in
southern France and in Italy, and, on the other hand, there were
those coins which were found in the Balkan peninsula and southern
Russia. UnfortunatelyStefan did not publish a list of the findspots
upon which this conclusion was based, but he indicated very clearly
that he believed that there was such a series of findsin southeastern
France.32Intensive and determinedresearch has failed to yield any

29Marc Bloch, "Le Problmede l'or au moyenge," Annalesd'histoire


with this early
et sociale, V (1933),pp. 8-9, deals specifically
conomique
did nottreatthisByzantineseriesofsolidi,
Bloch,however,
period.Professor
but ratherhe devotedhis articleto a broadsynthesis.
30Friedrich
um 570/71
vonMaglern-Thrl
(vergraben
Stefan,"Der Mnzfund
bis 584/85)und die Fragederreduzierten
,
Zeitschrift
Solidi,"Numismatische
LXX (1937),PP-43-63.
31Thisis Coinno. 73 in ourcatalogue.
32Friedrich
um 570/71
vonMaglern-Thrl
(vergraben
Stefan,"Der Mnzfund
bis 584/85)und die Frage derreduzierten
Zeitschrift
,
Solidi,"Numismatische
bereits
LXX (1937),PP52_53On page 53 he says,"Luschinselbstaberzitiert
zweisolidizu 20 Siliquen(3,68g. und3,64g.) desKaisersJustinian
/.,undaus
HerricheineReihehnlicher
Fundenkonnte
Typendesselben
sdostgallischen
vonRavenna
seinerE xarchatsprgungen
schers
, diealleNachahmungen
feststellen
vonnur3.718 g. bis 4.1y g.
und Romaus derZeit555/563warenundGewichte
."
aufwiesen

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State and Nature of the Problem

17

of the finds of light weight solidi of clearly imperial origin from


southern France. No support can thereforebe found forthe basis of
Stefan's contention.
Nevertheless Stefan believed, on the basis of his examination of
the extant material, that all of the coins which might have been
included in the westerngroup were imitationsof the solidi of Ravenna
whichhad been struckin the reignsof JustinianI, JustinII, Maurice
Tiberius, Phocas, and Heraclius. He maintained that they showed the
characteristicstylisticmarks of Ravenna and that the lightnessof the
coins was usually indicated by eithera sloping cross (X) or a standing
cross (+) in the reverse exergue. Many of them he thought could be
identifiedby their thinnessor the smaller module or smaller portraiture. The exergual marks on these coins would be COX+X or
CONX+X or OBXX or rarely BOXX, and in some cases they were
unmarked. The COX+X and CONX+X pieces he thought were of
twenty-onesiliquae and weighed about 3.78 grammes. He did not
distinguish any of the solidi as being barbarian imitations, and it
thereforeseems likely that he never examined the coins themselves.
Many of them, particularly those marked COX+X and CONX+X,
are clearly of barbaric origin. Stefan, however, as has been said,
merely ignored this feature and pointed out the fact that solidi of
twentysiliquae issued in the names of Justinian, Justin II, Maurice
Tiberius, etc., were known from Gaul, and that there was even a
series of royal Frankish solidi which bore the mark XX to indicate
a value of twentysiliquae. The hoard of Wieuwerd, which contained
two light weight solidi of imperial origin,he contended showed that
such lightweightsolidi circulatedin the lands west of the Rhine while
the fact that the use of these coins spread across the Rhine to the
other Germanic tribes could be shown from the find of a barbaric
imitation of a light weight solidus marked X+X and struck in the
name of Justin II which was found in Grave no. 1 at Munningenin
Bayrisch-Schwaben.33 He admitted, however, the he could not
determinewhetheror not the southern Gallic mints were the source
of all so-called westerntype solidi of the light weight series.
Turning his attention to the series which he had denominated as
eastern in origin, Stefan said that though this latter series showed
38Thesehoardsand findsare discussedin detailin
Chapterthree.
2

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i8

Light Weight Solidi

great similarityto the westerncoins they were more characteristicof


the Constantinopolitanproductions.The typical marks of the coinage
of the Exarchate of Ravenna were lacking on this eastern series. It
was also a more extended series in that it began with Justinianand
extended through the reigns of Justin II, Tiberius Constantine,
Maurice Tiberius, Phocas, Heraclius as sole ruleras well as in his joint
reign with his son Heraclius Constantine, and so on through the
reigns of Constans II and Constantine IV Pogonatus. Another point
of distinctionbetween the two series lay in the fact that all of the
coins of eastern origin bore marks of value in the exergue on the
reversewhile some of those in the West did not. Those in the East of
twenty-onesiliquae of the period fromJustinII throughthe reign of
Phocas were marked +* or+* (*- or -).84 The pieces of this eastern
series which Stefan thoughtwere of twentysilique occurred only for
the reignsfromHeraclius throughthat of Constantine IV Pogonatus
and bore marks similar to those found in the West, i.e. OB XX,
BOXX, or BOrK. The most numerous group of coins of the light
weight type was that composed of those pieces of supposedly
Constantinopolitanfabric of twentysiliquae with the marks of value
OBXX and BOXX which were struck in the names of Heraclius and
Heraclius Constantine.Stefan maintained that these coins, since they
showed the head of Heraclius Constantinein smaller size than that of
Heraclius, could be distinguishedfrom the Ravennese series which
showed both heads in approximatelythe same proportions.Monneret
De Villard had listed nineteen such pieces while twenty-sevensolidi
of the threeemperortype of Heraclius had been foundin the hoard of
Pereschtschepino in 1912, and in that of Novo Sandsherovo or
Zatschepilovo, found in 1928, seven more had been recovered. Both
places were in the districtof Poltawa in southern Russia.
N. Bauer in presentingthe material fromthese findsin 1931 had
suggested that perhaps the coins had been struck in a mint in
southern Russia on the northerncoast of the Black Sea.86 He was,
however, very cautious in proposing this and made certain to
34Thislast seriesofmarks,-* and
is probablyderivedfromtheworkof
have cometo light.
De Villard.No coinsbearingsuchmarkings
Monneret
35N. Bauer, "Zur byzantinischen
Mnzkundedes VII. Jahrhunderts,
II, no. 15 (March1931),pp. 227-229.
Frankfurter
Mnzzeitung,

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State and Nature of the Problem

19

indicate that it was based solely on the location of these hoards and
one other from the Dnieper Delta and not on a stylistic study of
coins from other collections. Stefan went somewhat furtherand
contended that since the solidi of the eastern series which he had
classified were struck in imitation of coins of Constantinopolitan
manufacture,they must have been issued at a site which was clearly
under the influence of the capital. Two finds from the Balkan
peninsula were used to support his view. The Sadowetz hoard in the
districtofPlevna had yielded a coin of JustinII oftwenty-onesiliquae
which, in addition to the easternmark OB*+* in the exergue,bore the
letters0S at the end of the reverselegend while another similarcoin
which was marked CO*+* had appeared in another find from an
uncertainlocation in the Balkans. Tolstoi had described still another
solidus of the same variety as the last in his catalogue. Stefan put
forththe hypothesisthat the S at the end of the reverselegend stood
for the sixth officinaand that the 0 was the mark of the mint of
Thessalonica. This suggestionwas not a whollyoriginalone, forit was
discussed by several compilersof earlier catalogues.36Since the theta
was seen to occur only on those coins which Stefan recognized as of
eastern originand those same pieces supposedlyshowedstrongsignsof
Constantinopolitan influence, Stefan felt that his conclusion that
Thessalonica was one of the sources of the coins of the so-called
eastern series was assured. In the course of a later discussion of these
pieces it will be demonstrated that this is in error and that these
pieces were actually struck in Antioch.
Just as the coins of the western series were carried through the
channels of commerce,those of eastern origin, according to Stefan,
found their way into Germany and were used as money or as pieces
of jewelleryand were even subject to imitation. In support of this he
listed evidence fromfunerarydeposits collected by Joachim Werner
from Mllingsen in the district of Soest, from Wonsheim in the
districtof Alzey, from Sinzig in the district of Ahrweiler,and from
Pfahlheimnear Ellwagen.37In all of these instances pieces of twenty
84The historyofthe
of thelettersS
controversy
regardingthe significance
is tracedin Chapterthree.It nowseemscertainthatit refersto the mintof
Antioch.
37JoachimWerner,Mnzdatierte
austrasische
Grabfunde
(Berlinand Leipzig,
Denkmler
derVolkerwander
I935)>passim, ined. Hans Zeiss,Germanische
ungs7*

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20

Light Weight Solidi

siliquae marked OBXX or BOXX struck in the names of Heraclius


and Heraclius Constantine were found. Finally, Stefan viewed a
ece of barbarian origin from an Alemannic grave with the mark
XVOX in the reverse exergue as an imitation of these light weight
solidi of Heraclius and Heraclius Constantine.38
As a result of Luschin von Ebengreuth's study of the light weight
Frankish solidi it was clear that the Byzantine lightweightgold pieces
were in circulation in the West by 582 A.D. By referringto two
passages from the Anecdota of Procopius in which that author
speaks of the loweringof the value of the gold coins by Justinian,39
Stefan concluded that the Emperor struck his newer gold pieces
appreciably lighteras a measure to bolster his fadingfinances.These
two passages, as well as the coins themselves, sufficedto prove to
Stefan's satisfactionthat the issuance oflightweightsolidi went back
at least as faras 565 A.D.,the date of Justinian'sdeath. In this matter
of dating,however,he was not exacting enough. A closer date forthe
start of this series of lightweightsolidi can be established,if they are
to be connected with the passages fromthe Anecdota.Certainlythe
fact that all of the light weight solidi are of the full-faceportraiture
is a clear indication of a terminuspost quem of 539 A.D., the twelfth
year ofthe reignof Justinian,which the dated bronzes indicate as the
startofthat styleofportraiture.But even greateraccuracyis possible.
Had Stefan been more careful he would have noted that one of the
passages from Procopius connects the monetary change with the
period duringwhich Peter Barsymes was in officeas ComesSacrarum
Largitionum after he had recovered the favor of the Emperor
Justinian,and that as a result the firstissue must have occurred at
some time between 547 A.D. and June 1, 555 A.D.40
desArchologischen
Kommission
zeit,III, issuedbytheRmisch-Germanische
Institutsdes DeutschenReiches.
38AdolphE. Cahn, Versteigerungs-Katalog
y5. AntikeMnzen.Griechische
Besitz.Das frstlich
und norddeutschem
Mnzenaus auslndischem
frstenThissale was heldMay30,
lot
zu
Mnzkabinett
1847.
Donaueschingen,
bergische
1932.Stefangivestheweightofthispieceas 4.002grammes.
aProcopius,Anecdota,
AXii, 38; A'v, 12.
40ErnestStein,Histoiredu Bas-Empire(Paris-Bruxelles-Amsterdam:
JJescIee
de Brouwer,1949),II, p. 766.Cf.Ibid.,p. 762; Pauly-Wissowa,Real-EncycloXIX, s.v.Petrus31.PeterBarsymes
Altertumswissenschaft,
pdiederclassischen
was Countofthe SacredLargessesforthefirsttimefromabout540-543a.d.

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State and Nature of the Problem

21

The detailed explanation forthe existence of these solidi proposed


by Stefan was a simple one. The emperors of the sixth and early
seventh centuries paid large sums of money to the Avars to secure
peace.41 Stefan believed that the fact that the majority of the light
weightsolidi foundin the Balkans, Hungary and South Russia might
be seen to have been struck during the reigns of Heraclius and his
successor added strengthto his general thesis that this light weight
coinage formed a part of the enormous tribute payments to the
Avars. The emperors, he contended, had mixed the light weight
coins in a given percentage with the solidi of full weight in these
payments.He also pointed out as furtherproofof his hypothesisthat
the eastern series of coins which he had constructedcame to an end
during the reign of Constantine IV Pogonatus. Thus they covered
almost exactly the period duringwhich large scale tributepayments
weremade to the Avars. This coincidenceofthe period ofissue oflight
weight solidi with the time of the tributepayments to the barbarians
of the Hungarian plain, he maintained,confirmedhis hypothesisthat
the lightweightsolidi were mixed withthe mass ofgood coinage which
was used forthese subsidies, and they were thus passed along to the
barbarians with a resultantsaving forthe Byzantine government.As
an instance that the practice of issuing poorer currencywith better
coinage was not unknown to Roman governmentsof an even earlier
period,he cited the so-called nummisubaerati. These nummisubaerati
are sometimesfoundto be as much as two-thirdsof the total content
of hoards of an earlier period, and Stefan believed that they were
issued by the Roman governmentin an attemptto avoid the economic
consequences which would have resulted froma general depreciation
of the currency.42
Praetorioper Orientem
.
By July16, 543 he had been raised to Praefectus
in 546 he was dismissedin disgrace,but he was shortlyrestoredas
Sometime
CountoftheSacredLargesses,andby June1,555a.d. hewas againPraetorian
Prefectaccordingto Just.Nov., 159. Also see CharlesDiehl,Justinien
et la
civilization
au VIe sicle(Paris,iqoi). pp. ioof.
byzantin
41Stefangives a reference
to Theophanes,Chronographia
(Bonn edition,
p. 451), to showthat this tributewas customarily
100,000solidi and that
Heracliusdoubledthatamount.Unfortunately
Theophanesnowhere
saysthis.
Thetribute
to theAvars,however,
wererealandwereunquestionably
payments
verylarge.
42FriedrichStefan,Mnzkunde
desAltertums
(Graz,1932),pp. 20-21.

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22

Light Weight Solidi

Stefan concluded his argument by pointing out that the western


findsof these light weight solidi were largely resticted to the coins
of Heraclius and his son Heraclius Constantine.The hoards of France
and Italy supposedly showed only these coins. The reason, according
to Stefan,was a simple one. These coins arrived in the West via the
commercial transactions of the western peoples with the Avars
throughthe Lombards. It was thereforenot surprisingto Stefan that
the hoard of Hoischhgel showed none of the coins of the eastern
series which he had collected but only a single piece of what he had
denominatedas the westerntype. The coins of the westerntype were
clearly in circulationamong the Lombards prior to the inauguration
of theirown coinage. The lightweightsolidi had supposedly travelled
throughthe channels of commercefromsouthernFrance into Italy as
shown by the Lombard graves at Udine and Cividale. Coin no. 2 of
the Catalogue of this monograph was found in a Lombard grave at
Udine, and Coin no. 74 was found in still another Lombard grave at
Cividale.
The basic argument put forthby Stefan has now been traced in
some detail throughthe chain of reasoning set forthby that author.
His was really the firstserious attempt at understandingthe significance of these solidi in connection with the history of the period
during which they were issued. There are, however, several weak
spots in the chain, and some serious reservationsmust be made with
Tegard to this thesis. Several of these weak links have been indicated
in the course of the exposition of Stefan's thesis,but a more complete
critique is certainlywarranted by the fact that Stefan's article is so
often cited. The stylistic differenceswhich Stefan speaks about in
distinguishingthe eastern fromthe westernsolidi are by no means as
obvious and certain in the case of light weight solidi as he seems to
indicate.43The western series erected by Stefan is largely composed
43In describing
he
the solidusof JustinII fromthehoardhe was discussing
SolidusJustinusII. (565-57#){Abb.5) gehrt
, seinem
wrote,"Der Magierner
westlicher
Stil undseinemCharakter
Soliditypen
nachtzu denuntergewichtigen
undItalienvorkommenden
FabrikundMache, wiesiedurchdiein Sdfrankreich
sind. Der beiderseitige
Fundstcke
,
Wulstreif
scharfausgeprgte
gekennzeichnet
Linienerdurchwenigemarkante
die charakteristische
, ziemlichrohstilisiertet
unddie gleich
Brustbildes
deskaiserlichen
aufderVorderseite
Wiedergabe
folgte
mitKreuzkugel
dervonvornsitzenden
Constantinopolis
Darstellung
eigentmliche
Merkdenravennatischen
vollkommen
und SpeeraufderRckseite
entsprechen

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State and Nature of the Problem

23

of solidi which can be shown to be of barbaric origin. That some of


the lightweight solidi were struckin the West and othersin the East
is clear enough in itself from a stylistic examination of the coins
themselves,but unfortunatelythe division of these coins into these
two groups is not exactly that which Stefan proposes. The inclusion
of the barbaricpieces in thewesternserieswithoutany cleardistinction
necessitates a complete restudy of this aspect of the problem. The
barbaric quality of most of the pieces in Stefan's classificationwillbe
demonstratedin the next chapter.
It is in connectionwith the treatmentaccorded to the hoards and
finds,however, that the most serious doubts must be retained,and
this is the main prop for Stefan's hypothesis. He speaks of hoards
containing such light weight solidi from Hungary, southern France
and Italy. Unfortunatelyhe cites no evidence to substantiate this
claim forthe existence of hoards of authentic light weight Byzantine
solidi in those places, nor can they be found listed in the hoard
catalogue compiled by Mosser.44In southernFrance no trace of them
can be found in the secondary literature,while in Italy only the two
coins fromthe Lombard necropoles of Udine and Cividale are noted.
The crux of the situation, however,lies in Hungary, and in this case
two recent studies of the findsof that region give a clear account of
the picture. L. Huszr has prepared a study of the findsfromthe
middle Danube region,and D. Csallny reviewed the evidence of the
coin findsfora surveyof the circulationof Byzantine currencyamong
the Avars.45Only a single light weight solidus of these series noted
malendergleichzeitigen
Exarchatsprgungen
JustinusII, (Abb.21)." Friedrich
vonMaglern-Thrl
um570/71
bis584/85
und
Stefan,"DerMnzfund
(vergraben
die Fragederreduzierten
LXX (1937),P-56.
Solidi,"Numismatische
Zeitschrift,
44SawyerMcA. Mosser,A Bibliography
ofByzantineCoinHoards, NNM 67
Numismatic
(NewYork: The American
Society,1935).The information
given
in thepublishedaccountscitedtheredoesnotpermitcertainty
on thismatter,
butthereis lessreasonto presumetheexistenceofrarepiecesin thesehoards
ratherthantheirabsence.Sincethe articleby Stefanwas written
twoyears
afterthe publicationof thisbibliography
thereis, of course,the possibility
thatsuchcoinswerediscovered
intheintervening
periodorweremissedbythe
compilator,but Stefangives no additionalinformation
beyondthe bald
statement
oftheexistenceofsuchhoards,and researchhas failedto yieldany
positivesupportforhis statement.
45L. Huszr,"Das Mnzmaterial
in den Fundender Vlkerwanderungszeit
im mittlerenDonaubecken,"Acta Archaeologica
AcademiaeScientiarum

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24

Light Weight Solidi

by Stefan dating from the reigns of Heraclius and Heraclius Constatine, that from Szentes, is reported to have been found in the
area. The existence of coins of this type in the Budapest Museum
cannot be taken as overly significantin view of this fact and the
extreme mobility of these little bits of metal in the hands of coin
dealers. It is a fact well attested by the number of hoards and finds
recordedby Csallny that the great period ofinfluxofByzantine coins
into the Avar kingdom was just the same as the time span covered
by the light weight solidi issues, i.e., from the reign of Justinian
throughthat of Constantine IV Pogonatus. In the eighth and ninth
centuriesByzantine currencyis not foundin any appreciable quantity
Hungaricae,V (1955),pp. 61-109. D. Csallny,"ByzantineMoneyin Avar
AcademiaeScientiarum
Finds," Acta Archaeologica
Hungaricae,II (1952),
pp. 235-244(in Russian).Thereis a Frenchsummaryof thisworkentitles
montaire
de la circulation
byzantine
pourleslegsarchologique
"L'importance
desAvares,"publishedonpages245-255ofthesamejournal.On thecoinfrom
Szentes,whichis citedby both of theseauthors,see Chapterthreeof this
monograph.Csallnynotes that duringthe fifthto the seventhcenturies
are foundin thesameregionand thattheydisappearat
Byzantineartifacts
the same timeas the coinsand onlyreappear,as do the Byzantinecoins,
duringthe time of the Magyarconquest.The Byzantineshad active commercialrelationswiththe Avars,as shownby the finds,at least as late as
theyear668/70,and in theyear676/7therewas stilldirectcontactbetween
at
thesepeoplesas shownby theAvarembassywhichvisitedConstantinople
foundinthe
Rhinotmetus
thattime.SincenocoinsofJustinian
were,however,
IV
area,thebreakmusthavecomebetween677and685.No coinsofConstantine
so thatthe
Pogonatusthatcan be datedlaterthan681havebeenfoundeither,
that
to theyears678-681.Csallnysuggests
periodinquestioncanbe narrowed
Avar relationswas the
the eventwhichcausedthe sharpbreakin ByzantineBulgarianinvasionof679whichcreateda barrieralongthelowerDanube.An
analogycan be madeforthebeliefthattheriseoftheAvarkinginteresting
domitselfduringthemiddleyearsofthe sixthcenturyresultedin thesharp
at thesametimeas shown
breakin theScandinaviantradeoftheByzantines
by the hoardsfromsouthernScandinavia.JoachimWerner,"Zu den auf
Fornvnnen
land und Gotlandgefundenen
,
Goldmnzen,"
byzantinischen
XLIV (1949),pp. 257-286,and esp. pp. 275-283,suggeststhattheriseofthe
Avar statecut the Vistulatraderoute.Dirk Jellema,"FrisianTradein the
thevarioustheories
Dark Ages,"Speculum
, XXX (1955),p. 21 recapitulates
regardingthese findsin Scandinaviaand gives the latest bibliographical
trouvesen Romanie,"
C. Moisil,"Sur les monnaiesbyzantines
information.
Bulletinde la SectionHistorique
, XI (1924),pp. 207-211,
, AcadmieRoumaine
and esp.pp. 209-210,showsthatthecoinfindsfromRoumaniaalso commence
in significant
quantitywithdepositsdatingfromthe reignof Justinianand
thatthesefindsbeginto disappearinthesecondhalfoftheseventhcentury.

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State and Nature of the Problem

25

within the borders of the Avar kingdom. The high point of the
penetration or introductionof Byzantine coins into that area was
attained during the reigns of Heraclius and Heraclius Constantine.
The defeat of the Avaro-Slavonic army before Constantinople in
626 A.D., however, really weakened the Avar kingdom,and its importancedeclinedsteadilyuntilits finalextinctionby the Carolingians.
That Byzantine coins continued to enter the region in some
numbers as late as the reign of Constantine IV Pogonatus (668-685
A.D.) and ceased to do so afterwardsis a surprisingfact forwhich no
completelysatisfactoryexplanation has yet been proposed. Still this
coincidencein time between the introductionof Byzantine coins into
the Hungarian plain and the strikingof light weight solidi cannot be
used to indicate that the light weight solidi were part of the tribute
payments. The virtual absence of such light weight solidi fromthat
region militates most strongly against such a hypothesis particularly when one remembersthat the concentrationof Byzantine coins
enteringthe entirecentraland westernhalf ofthe European continent
fell offrathersharply at approximatelythe same time.
Still another point must be made in connection with this basic
feature of Stefan's hypothesis. If the premise is accepted that these
coins were used as a part of the tribute payments to the Avars, but
theirabsence fromsites on the Hungarian plain is to be accounted for
by the fact that they circulated freelyin trade, then there can be no
doubt that numbersof them would be found in the regionof Thessalonica and otherByzantine emporia which were involved in the Avar
and Slavonic trade of the middle Danubian basin. The Avars must
have made a great number,ifnot almost all, oftheirforeignpurchases
fromRoman traders in exactly the same way that other barbarians
did.46If these thingswere true, however, the Avars would have very
quickly become aware of the fraud that had been practiced upon
46Cf. Cosmas Indicopleustes,II
(Migne,PatrologiaGraeca,LXXXVIII,
col. 116; ed. Winstedt(Cambridge,1909), p. 81). See the translationby
TheChristianTopography
MacCrindle,
ofCosmas
, An EgyptianMonk, issued
bytheHakluytSociety(London,1897),XCVIII, p. 73. "Thereis yetanother
signofthepowerwhichGod has accordedto the Romans.I referto thefact
thatit is withtheircoinageall nationscarryon theirtradefromoneextremity
oftheearthto theother.Thismoneyis regardedwithadmiration
by all men
to whatever
in whichthe
kingdom
theybelong,sincethereis no othercountry

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26

Light Weight Solidi

them. The Roman merchants could only have accepted this clearly
marked light weight gold at a discount. There is clear evidence
indicating that the use of such light weight solidi was proscribed
within the boundaries of the Byzantine Empire, and the passages
leading to such a conclusion with respect to the light weight gold
coinage of Gaul have already been cited in connectionwith the work
done by Monneret De Villard. The hoards and finds support that
conclusion, as will be shown in chapter three. It can hardly be
seriouslymaintainedthat the Romans issued lightweightsolidi which
were clearly marked and sent them to the Avar khan as part of their
subsidy agreement,but that the use of a part of the coinage so dislikeofit exists."Cosmastellsus also thatonlythebestgoldcoinswereused
in foreign
It is, ofcourse,wellknownthatCosmasis mostaccurate
commerce.
are likelyto
withrespectto the easterntradeofthe Empire,but merchants
A Historyof
have beenequallycarefulin thewesterntrade.E. A Thompson,
Attilaand His Huns (Oxford:ClarendonPress,1948),pp. 171fL,suggested
thatthe Huns securedmanyof the necessitiesof lifeby purchasefromthe
R. Lewis,NavalPowerand Tradein theMediterraRomans.AlsoseeArchibald
nean, 500-1100A.D. (Princeton:PrincetonUniversity
Press,1951), pp. 37if.
thatmuchofthegold
Lewisexpandsthisthesisintothegeneralproposition
A law of 374 (?)
via commercial
transactions.
paid out in subsidiesreturned
thesupplying
ofgoldto thebarbariansin thecourseof
a.D. notonlyprohibits
trade,butit evenstatesthatifanyis foundamongthem,subtleskillis to be
in goldamongthebarbariansare
whotraffic
usedto bringit away.Merchants
C. Just.,IV,
to be subjectnot onlyto finesbut also to capitalpunushment.
63, 2 (ed. Krueger,CorpusIuris Civilis, II, p. 188).Thisworryon thepartof
inmanypassages.
thelossofmonetary
metalsis reflected
theRomansregarding
themenwhoforprivategainhavetaught
Thus JuliantheApostatecondemns
theprincesto buypeace fromthebarbarianswithgold.Amm.Marc.,XXIV,
thesame
followed
inthesixthcentury
II, p. 10). Justinian
3, 4-5 (ed.Teubner,
of Johntheson ofBasilius
to thegrandmother
permission
policyand refused
to ransomhimfromChosroesfor2,000poundsof silverbecausehe did not
Anecdota
totheenemy.Procopius,
wishRomanwealthtobe transferred
, XII, 8
(ed. Teubner,III, pt. I, p. 78). Justinianeven negotiatedwiththe various
peoplesnorthand southofthePersianEmpireto secureroutesto theEast not
accessto easternluxuriesduringtheperiodofstrife
onlyto ensurecontinued
on Roman
withPersiabut also to preventthePersiansfrommakinga profit
trade. J. B. Bury,A Historyof theLaterRomanEmpirefromtheDeathof
I totheDeathofJustinian(A.D. 3Q5 toA.D. 565) (London,1931)
Theodosius
I, p. 331; A. D. Vasiliev,Historyof theByzantineEmpire(Madison,1928),
to deal withthe
couldbe greatlymultiplied
I, pp. 199-200.Thesereferences
entireproblemoftheso-calledgoldshortagewithinthe RomanEmpire,but
ofthegoldpaid out
thepointhas alreadybeenmadethata largepercentage
to theEmpire.
musthavereturned

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State and Nature of the Problem

27

patched and clearly marked at the mint was proscribed within the
borders of the Byzantine Empire. How can one use such a theoryto
explain the chain of findsextendingall along the northernboundary
areas of the empire? Any interpretationof these light weight solidi
must serve to explain them withinthe general frameworkof history.
On this last point the theory proposed by Stefan is not satisfying.
The first of these light weight solidi were issued in the reign of
Justinian,probably within the period 547-555 A.D. A glance at the
Catalogue will reveal that a respectable number of such light weight
solidi and barbaric imitations of them were struck during the reign
of Justinian.The Avars, however,can only be said to have achieved
real prominence after the death of Justinian. The most important
period of tribute payments to the Avars was the latter half of the
sixth century and the first quarter of the seventh century. The
initiation of the light weight solidi cannot have been directly connected with the paymentsto the Slavs and Avars whichlargelyfollow
the death of Justinian.For all these reasons,whichmightbe expanded
to greater length, the hypothesis put forward by Stefan must be
categoricallyrejected.
In 1941, however, still another very ingenious suggestionwas put
forthby a numismatistof note. Goodacre, on the basis of his study
of a unique solidus of this series containingtwo imperial busts (Coin
no. 79), put forththe view that these light weight solidi were issued
at the mint of Thessalonica so as to accord with the peculiar bronze
monetary system which was used in that city during the reign of
Justinian.47The evidence concerningthe meaning of the mint mark
0S, however, will be shown to yield a differentconclusion. The
unusal bronze denominationsfound at the mint of Kherson during
the reign of Justinian were found to be in conformitywith the
normal Byzantine monetary system.48Suggestions have been put
47Hugh Goodacre,"Justinianand Constantine,"NumismaticChronicle
,
Series6, I (1941),pp. 48-53.Also see CharlesOman,"A Gold Solidusofa.d.
Numismatic
Chronicle
578: A Reattribution,"
, Series6, II (1942),pp. 104-105.
Omanprovesthatthecoininquestionwas issuedduringtheshortperiodofthe
joint reignof JustinII and TiberiusConstantine(Sept. 26, 578-Nov. 14,
ofthepieceandthepertinent
578a.D.). See theCataloguefora fulldescription
literature.
48A. de Longprier,
"La TTevTocvovnniov
,
Byzantin/' Revue numismatique
nouvellesrie,XIV (1869-70),p. 268.AlsoseeE. Babelon,Traitdesmonnaies

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28

Light Weight Solidi

forwardforintegratingthe bronze denominationscurrentat Alexandria at the same time into the imperial system.49The coinage of
Thessalonica is another instance where such agreement must exist
though the coins are too rare to make this immediatelyevident.
The worksalready discussed were not treated criticallyin the most
recent of the large studies devoted to the coinages of this period, and
their effecton the historiansis thereforeexcessive. Le Gentilhomme,
in his masterfulsynthesisof the numismaticevidence concerningthe
barbarian coinages of the West, supported the hypothesis proposed
by Stefan and accepted the view that at least some of these solidi
were struck at Thessalonica.60 The solidi, according to Le Gentilhomme,were struckforthe purpose of using them to pay the tribute
money to the barbarian Avars who, when strikingtheirown currency,
imitated the light weight solidi of Heraclius and Constantine IV
Pogonatus. To prove his point Le Gentilhomme referredto the
discussionby Jnsofthe supposed Avar currencyfoundinHungary.51
The supposed Avar coins, however,cannot be shown to be imitations
of the light weight solidi even though the weights are far below the
Byzantine limits. Where prototypescan be discernedthey are clearly
not the light weightpieces. In some instances the emperoris dressed
in consular garb, but none of the light weight solidi show such
portraiture.In the few cases in which the inscriptionin the reverse
exergue can be deciphered it contains the inscriptionCONOB or a
corruption of that Byzantine formula. Even the weights are not
uniform,and no determinationof the standard is possible. Jns felt
that a weight of approximatelytwentysiliquae was possible, but the
evidence is very weak. It is, however, certain that the Avars, if
, I, pt. I, cols. 616-617.Cf. Mommsen,Histoirede la
grecqueset romaines
monnaieromaine
, trans.Duc de Blacas, III, p. 166.
49Westand Johnson,
in Romanand Byzantine
Egypt, pp. 104-105.
Currency
Histoirede la monnaieromaine
Cf.Ibid,yp. 114,and Mommsen,
, trans.Duc de
Blacas, III, p. 167.
50P. Le Gentilhomme,
montairedans les
"Le Monnayageet la circulation
barbaresen occident
,5esrie,
(Ve-VIIIesicle),"Revuenumismatique
royaumes
VIII (1944-45),pp. 21-22,34-36.P. Le Gentilhomme,
"Aperusurquelques
aspects du monnayagedes peuples barbares/'Mlangesde numismatique
, pp. 137-138.
mrovingienne
61ElemrJns,"Monnaiesdu tempsdes Avaresen Hongrie/'Demareteion
,I
(1935),PP- 130-136.

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State and Nature of the Problem

29

they ever issued coins, could not have begun strikingthem beforethe
thirddecade of the seventh centuryand that most of theircurrencyis
in imitationof pieces struckin the second half of the seventhcentury.
The excavations in Hungary,however,clearlyshow a higherdegree
of civilizationamong that barbarian people than had previouslybeen
assumed. The existence of the balance type of weighingmechanism
among them was well attested by the excavations, and since their
coins varied widely in weight they probably passed by weight. The
"
"
expression sans doute which Le Gentilhommeused in stating that
the lightweightsolidi were primarilyused in the tributepayments is
perhaps too strongin view of the evidence. Jns articledoes not add
materially to the solution of the problem of the light weight solidi
even though it is a very significantcontributionto any study of the
Avars. No authentic Byzantine solidi of the light weight series were
reportedby Jns.
In 1947 Leo Schindler and Gerhart Kalmann studied the light
weight solidi.52Unfortunatelytheir work did not take into account
all of the material available. They maintained that the coins marked
OBXX or retrograde BOXX had a theoretical weight of twenty
siliquae, those marked OB*+* or OB+* a theoretical weight of
twenty-twosiliquae and those marked BOTK a theoreticalweight of
twenty-threesiliquae because the inscription was retrograde. The
coins which did not bear the lettersOB or BO they wisely separated
from the remainder and excluded as probably barbaric imitations.
The conclusion regardingtwenty-caratsolidi was based on the fact
that such coins showed an average weight of 4.069 grammes and the
theoreticalweight of coins at twenty-twocarats was 4.169 grammes.
In their discussion of the bronze coins from Alexandria marked
Ar (33), however, they reverted to the problem of the light weight
solidi. They pointed out that the number of nummi that equalled a
follis remained constant and was indicated by a mark of value.
Whether210 follesor 180 folleswere equivalent to a solidus would not
have changed the relationshipof the nummusto the follis.Procopius,
however, tells of a change in the valuation of the solidus from210
62Leo Schindlerand GerhartKalmann,
"ByzantinischeMnzstudien.I.
Goldmnzen
unter24 Carat von JustinianI. bis ConstantinIV.," Numismatische
LXXII (1947),pp. 107-112.
Zeitschrift,

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30

Light Weight Solidi

follesto i8o folles.Thus thenumberoffolleswhichcould be exchanged


for a solidus was subject to an imperial decree. Since this change in
the relationshipbetween the follisand the solidus is not reflectedon
the follisby differentmarks of value, it would be logical to presume
that it indicates a change in the value ofthe gold coins by one-seventh
of their intrinsicvalue.
ThereforeSchindlerand Kalmann, on the basis of the two passages
in Procopius regardingthe exchange value of the solidus, arrived at
the conclusion that Justinianhad reduced the intrinsicvalue of the
solidus.68Five hundred of the older solidi would have sufficedforthe
strikingof 583 newer ones, but the newer ones must have been given
the same valuation as the older ones or the governmentwould have
derived no benefitfromthe change. Edict XI oftheEmperor Justinian
was wronglyinterpretedby these two scholars as indicating that in
the year 559 A.D. the Emperor used all of the means at his disposal
to maintain the fiat value of his debased currency.This, of course,
does not accord with the latest interpretationof that edict by West
and Johnson.54Schindler and Kalmann viewed this edict as re63"UnterderRegierung
I, fandstillschweigend
eineVerringerung
des
Justinians
statt
Wertes
derGoldmnzen
inneren
, weilderKaiserihrenFeingehalt
fastumV6
alteSolidi
hatte(Procopiianec.22. 38 u. 25, 12). Fnfhundert
heruntergebracht
neuedarauszu schlagen
umsechshundert
, wiemanmitRechtannehmen
gengten
Mnzesollteaberals gleichgut, wiedie alteankann.Die neueverschlechterte
einbekannte
sonst
die
nichtoffen
werden
htte
,
Mnzverschlechterung
genommen
Mnzstudien.
II.
and Kalmann,"Byzantinische
keinenSinngehabt Schindler
LXXII (1947),
Das 33 Nummistck
I.," Numismatische
Zeitschrift,
Justinians
thetwopassagesin Procopiusdo notexplicitly
support
p. 110.Unfortunately
but thevalue ofthe soliduswas loweredby onethisviewof a debasement,
seventh.Insteadof 600 new coinsfromthe same amountof gold that had
for500,however,
sufficed
only583piecescouldbe struckat a lower
previously
to Procopiuswas loweredfrom210
weight.The value ofthesolidusaccording
and not one-sixth.The
follesto 180 whichis a reductionof one-seventh
in thetext.
and Kalmannhave beencorrected
of Schindler
statements
54EdictXI (ed. R. Schoelland G. Kroll,CorpusIuris Civilis, 111,p. 777). lhe
"LhneundPreisein
are given.G. Ostrogorsky,
textand a Latintranslation
, XXXII (1932),p. 296,note3, interprets
Zeitschrift
Byzanz,"Byzantinische
thisedictto mean that solidiwereissuedat 1/8ist of a pound.Mommsen,
Histoire
de la monnaieromaine
, trans.Duc de Blacas, III, pp. 66-67,saysthat
new
defraudedthe publicby exchanging
the mintofficials
onlysixty-three
of559a.D., andbythattime
solidifora poundofgold.The decreeis,however,
Egypthad a bronzecoinagewhichwas peculiaruntoitself.The crucialphrase
in theedictisTTuTCOv
'Atyvrrrnov
Xpayna.It occursonlyinEdictX and in

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State and Nature of the Problem

31

proaching the Egyptian officials because they evaluated gold,


whetherin the formof coins or bullion, solely in termsof finenessand
weight. Thus the Alexandrian mint masters were divergingfromthe
practice of the Constantinopolitanmintwhich in accordance with the
imperialwill had lessened the intrinsicvalue ofthe gold currency.The
authors thereforeassumed that gold was struck in Alexandria, and
that the coins which resulted differedfrom those issued at Constantinople.It was then noted that the lightweightsolidiwerederived
fromofficinale
nine and ten which had previouslybeen attributedonly
to the mintof Constantinople.It was a difficultfeat to attributethese
two officinaeto the Alexandrian mint,but there were no other coins
which could have been attributedto that mint,and accordingto their
interpretationof Edict XI there must have been solidi issued there.
Even though the numbersof the officinaewere such that the mint of
Constantinoplewas indicated stillthe usual formulaCONOB had been
replaced by the OBXX exergual mark. It was proposed therefore
that what Procopius had reported was an actual debasement of the
metal carriedout at the capital, but that at Alexandria puregold coins
approximately one-seventh lighter were issued. The debased solidi
and the lighter solidi would be equivalent in value. Perhaps the
peculiar conditionsin Egypt and the fact that foreigntrade required
pure gold necessitated this peculiarly Egyptian solution of the
imperial proposal.
PapyrusOxyrhynchus
144of580 a.d. The editorsofthepapyrussuggestthat
standardis meant,buttheproposalofWestand Johnson
is
goldat a different
moreprobable.Sincetheyhave successfully
explainedthevariousstandards,
public,private,Alexandrian,
etc., as accountingdevices,they
goldsmith's,
have put forththe view that what was contemplated
in this edictwas an
of Egyptforgold.Originally
there
exchangeofthepeculiarbronzecurrency
was a chargeknownas obryzaset forthisexchangeof base metalEgyptian
coinsintogoldaccording
to thosetwoscholars.Justinian,
it wouldseemfrom
EdictXI, suppressed
thatcharge.Fora fulldiscussion
ofEdictXI seeWestand
Johnson,Currencyin Roman and ByzantineEgypt, pp. igff.Cf. Josef
Wilhelm Kubitschek, "Beitrge zur frhbyzantinischen
Numismatik/'
Numismatische
, XXXIX (1897),pp. 174-177,whotreatsEdictXI
Zeitschrift
as evidencethat therewere solidi of below twenty-four
siliquae of value
in Egypt. CharlesDiehl, "Une crise montaireau VIe sicle,"
circulating
Revuedes tudesgrecques
the t rUTOv
, XXXII (1919),p. 159,identifies
as goldofless fineness
thannormalsolidi.He buildshis entirecase
Xpayncc
aroundthisinterpretation.

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32

Light Weight Solidi

The issuance of folles marked Ar or thirty-threenummi,however,


in place of those of M or fortynummiwould seem to be an attack on
the imperialmonetarypolicy. It would at the same timebe a reflection
of the peculiar Egyptian solution of the problem.
This hypothesisis very ingeniousbut farfromconvincing.There is
not the slightestevidence that the light weight solidi were struckin
Egypt, and the fact that none of them have ever been found in that
provincewould seem to militateagainst such a premise.The passages
from Procopius on which a debasement of the normal twenty-four
siliquae solidi is based cannot be used to support that contention.A
careful scrutinyof the passages at a later stage will show that the
wording supports a light weight coinage and not a debasement.
Studies of the coin alloy are few and in many cases inconclusive,but
they all support the belief that the normal solidi were of relatively
finegold whereas in the fewinstances in which the lightweight solidi
have been subjected to such analysis it is clear that some debasement
had been determinedupon. This alone, of course, would demolish the
thesis put forwardby Schindler and Kalmann, but to proceed a bit
further,Edict XI cannot be used in the manner suggested by these
two scholars. The work of West and Johnson,whichhas already been
cited several times,seems conclusive.The interpretationsupportedby
Schindlerand Kalmann is thereforeno longertenable. Even the view
that Ar indicated thirty-threenummi on the Alexandrian bronzes is
open to suspicion in the light of the new proposed reading of three
lita which may have equalled thirty-sixnummi.65The hypothesis
suggested by Schindler and Kalmann must be discarded.
In 1948, however, Marcel Jungfleischwrote an excellent article on
the subject of isolated letters found on Byzantine solidi of the
seventh century,and his work bears a direct relationshipto that of
Schindler and Kalmann though it was completely independent.56
Jungfleischmade some interestingobservations that are applicable
to the problem of the light weight solidi though he did not offera
65Westand Johnson,
in Romanand Byzantine
, pp. 104-105.
Egypt
Currency
Histoirede la monnaieromaine
Cf.Ibid.,p. 114,and Mommsen,
, trans.Duc de
Blacas, III, p. 67.
56Marcel Jungfleisch,
"Conjecturesau sujet de certaineslettresisoles se
rencontrent
sur les solidi byzantinsdu VIIe sicle," Bulletinde l'Institut
, XXXI (1948-49),pp. 103-120.
d'Egypte

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State and Nature of the Problem

33

complete treatment of the question. He interpreted the exergual


formulaCONOB as meaning "gold of the quality of Constantinople"
rather than "struck at Constantinople." Then he noted that many
mintsof the Byzantine Empire were used forthe strikingof gold, and
that they oftendid so in the names of othermints.This freedByzantine numismaticsfromthe rigidbonds which had largelyimpeded its
full development. The isolated letterswhich are sometimesfound in
the fieldof Byzantine solidi were to be interpretedas eitherdates or
indications of mints strikingcoins for other mints. As just pointed
out, this novel thesis required a completelynew approach to Byzantine gold currency in particular. The legend in the exergue now
became purely an indication of the finenessof the alloy of the gold
coins. On that basis Jungfleischsuggested a table of finenesswhich
was based on findingsutilizingthe touchstoneto determinethe actual
gold content of the solidi. In the next chapter this table of fineness
will be discussed in detail, but it can be stated at this point that
certain objections might be leveled against the methods used by
Jungfleisch.Unfortunatelyno series of chemical, spectroscopic, or
specificgravityanalyses was given to supportthe table, but according
to Jungfleischhimselfthe use of the touchstone indicated that solidi
rarely attained what he considered their theoretical fineness but
showed perhaps an extra half-carat, and sometimes more, of debasement. The precision of the results seem somewhat excessive in
view of the technique employed,but only tests by othermethods can
resolve any doubts. Perhaps the peculiar code used in the exergual
markingsof the solidi to indicate the standard of puritywas designed
so that the baser coins could be used in foreigntrade ? Only a long
series of analyses or the chance findingof a new text could resolve
the problem.
It is hardly possible at this time to evaluate the implications of
the thesis propoundedby Jungfleisch
in all ofits aspects, but it should
sufficeforour purposes to point out that it can hardlybe considereda
complete solution of the problem of the light weight solidi. It is only
forthe sake of completenessthat the work done by Jungfleischand
Philip Grierson can be included in this chapter. These men in no
way attempteda complete study of the problem.They merelysought
to indicate some suggestivepaths based upon theiracute observations,
3

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34

Light Weight Solidi

and it will be shown in the course of this study just how astoundingly
acute their observations and suggestionswere.
In the course of studyingthe St. Martin's hoard of Frankish and
Anglo-Saxon coin-ornaments, Mr. Grierson noted that the light
weight system of gold coins in use in Gaul in the late sixth century
represented"the victoryof a traditional Germanicweight,originally
based on the Roman Republican denarius, over the slightlyheavier
solidus which the invaders had foundin use in the imperialprovinces
which they had occupied- but regarding the circumstances of the
change and the methods by which it was carried out we are almost
entirely in the dark." He furthersuggested that the light weight
solidi were "apparently for use of the merchants trading with the
Germanic world."57These statementswill be expanded upon greatly
in later sections of this study because they seem to indicate particularly fruitfulchannels of investigation.They should, however,also be
judged in the light of Mr. Grierson'slatest statement regardingthe
light weight solidi. In the course of studying a hoard of Byzantine
solidi from North Africa in which a light weight solidus occurred,
Mr. Grierson stated that it was most probably some local demand
within the Empire which called for the issuance of these solidi.58
Again there is not very much that can be done to evaluate the
validity of such a statementwhichis in the nature of an obiterdictum,
but it can be pointed out that it willnot serve to explain the factthat
ofall of the lightweight solidi which have been foundthroughoutthe
length and breadth of Europe only twice have they been found in
clearly Roman sites.
In fine,it may be stated clearly that the situation with regard to
these light weight solidi is more fluid than is generally supposed.
There has up to the presentmomentbeen no explanation put forward
which can be shown to have a firmhistoricalbackground and which
can explain both the lightweight of the coins and the location of the
findsas well as the time period within which they are found. Abso67Philip Grierson,"The Canterbury
(St. Martin's)Hoard of Frankishand
BritishNumismatic
Journal,XXVII (1952),
Anglo-SaxonCoin-Ornaments,"
p. 50.
68Philip Grierson,"A ByzantineHoard fromNorthAfrica,"Numismatic
Chronicle
ySeries6, XIII (1953),pp. 147-148.

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State and Nature of the Problem

35

lutelyno workhas been done on the iconographyof these coins, which


indeed shows some interestingfeatures,as well as upon the alloy of
thes pieces,thoughJungfleisch
does indicate that he believes them to
be of worse alloy than the normal Byzantine solidi. It is because of
these reasons that the currentwork has been taken in hand. But to a
historian,ofcourse,the coins themselvescan onlybe ofinterestinsofar
as they give us some new informationconcerningthe period to which
theyrefer.It may well be impossible to give an explanation ofsome of
the numismaticaspects of the problem. The texts are not sufficiently
explicit to yield absolutely certain conclusions. Rather we should
attemptto use the coins as documentswith which to study the world
at the time of their issuance.

3*

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THE COINS
Probably the most important of the characteristicsof the solidi
under discussion is theirweight. The treatmentaccorded these coins
in the past has always been something less than scientific with
respect to metrology.Pieces of poor condition or of doubtful origin
have been confused and grouped with those of a single authentic
series, and there has been an almost universal dependence upon the
calculated average weightsin the determinationof the standards and
the accuracy of minting.
The brilliantFinnish numismatistand economic historian,Gunnar
Mickwitz,beforehis untimelydeath, demonstratedconclusively the
value of proper statistical technique in the use of the frequencycurve
forgroupingand studyingmetrologicaldata.1 His descriptionof the
technique is sufficientlycomplete to require little elaboration.
Basically the methods of statistical analysis do not differfromone
fieldof learningto another,but the conclusions derived may well be
different.2In numismatics it has been shown that in grouping
metrologicaldata according to the tally or frequencytable, the step
interval must be determinedby the weight standard that was in use
at the mint. Thus, if the tally were made on the basis of a step
interval of three-hundredthsof a gramme while the mint could only
determineweightsto two-tenthsof a grammeaccuracy, the frequency
curve would be lower vertically and would show an unusual degree
of multimodalismwhich mightserve to obscure the actual theoretical
standard at which the coins were struck as well as the measure of
1 GunnarMickwitz,"Die Systemedes rmischenSilbergeldes
im IV. Jhdt.
Methodein
der variationsstatistischen
n. Chr.Ein Beispielzur Anwendung
Humanarum
Fennica.Commentationes
derNumismatik,"
SocietasScientiarum
Litterarum,
VI, 2 (1932),pp. 38-67.
2 Mickwitz,
madeuse ofthreeofthestandardworkson statisticaltechnique.
Statistik
dermathematischen
C. V. L. Charlier,Vorlesungen
berdieGrundzge
Erblichderexakten
Elemente
(Lund,1920; 2ndedition,1931); W. Johannsen,
Variationsstatistik
mitGrundzgen
derbiologischen
keitslehre
(3rdedition:Jena,
Grundriss
derStatistik
(Berlin,1931).He also used G. F.
1926); W. Winkler,
, Series 5, IV (1924),
Hill, "The FrequencyTable/' NumismaticChronicle
pp. 76-85.
36

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The Coins

37

accuracy of the mint. This will be graphicallydemonstratedat a later


point.
The graphic representationof the frequencytable is most correctly
given in the formof a histogramor skylinetype ofbar graph in which
the frequenciesare plotted on the vertical bar and the steps on the
horizontal bar. If the laws of probability were the sole operating
factors,the curve drawn through the histogram followingthe frequencies would be bell-shaped and symmetrical.As a result of the
fact that coins which are struckal-pezzoare adjusted as to weightand
the heavier pieces are returned to the melting pot much more
frequentlythan the lighterpieces, the frequencycurve in numismatics
commonlyshows a higherdegree of skewness than would normallybe
expected. Such skewnessis not statisticallya serious matter,but it is
a graphic representationof the accuracy with which the weight of
individual coins was adjusted at the mint. A more serious defect of
great significancewould be a bimodal curve or one which resembled
the Asiatic camel in showing two humps or zeniths. If such a figure
should result fromthe distributionof the metrologica!data, it would
serve as visual evidence that the data was not homogeneous and that
more than one standard of weight was involved. It would then be
necessaryto distinguishand separate the two series or denominations
beforetreatingthe material further.
The next step, of course, must be to measure in arithmeticterms
the central tendency of the weights to gather around a single point
with increasingfrequency.This figurewill give some indication of the
theoretical weight at which the coins were struck. Clearly whatever
value is determinedwill be below the theoreticalweightby reason of
wear and possibly seigniorage. The firstof such measures of central
tendencyis simplythe mode (Mo) or point ofhighestconcentrationon
the frequencytable. Manifestlythis is a very crude measure because
the modal point does not take into account the mass of metrological
data which deviates fromthe modal step. Still another measure of
central tendencyis the mean (M) or average weightwhich,of course,
is simplythe result of the division of the sum of all of the weightsby
the number of instances or coins. This is a much finermeasure of
central tendencyformetrologicaldata, but it has the drawback that
it weightsthe few coins which deviate widely fromthe central point

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38

Light Weight Solidi

much more heavily than those which are nearer that point. Thus just
a few coins which diverge widely fromthe central point of concentrationcan affectthe result to a degree far out of proportionto their
actual significance.The third measure of central tendency is the
median (Mdn) which is nothingmore than the mid-pointin an array
of weights or more exactly that point above which and below which
fiftypercentof the weightsfall. The median value is more representative than the mean in that all weights enter into its calculation with
exactly the same stress. It can be used with a greater degree of
confidencein those instances in which a few atypical cases would
distortthe picture of the central tendencyas measured by the mean.
If the frequencycurve were bell-shaped and perfectlysymmetrical
as in the case of the normal probabilitydistribution,the mode, mean
and median would all fall at the same point. In numismatics,as has
been shown, this is not to be expected, particularly in the case of
coins struck al-pezzo,thereforethe three values should be calculated,
and the conclusions which are drawn from them must take the
differentvalues into account in terms of the natural or expected
results of the mintingprocess and the state of the coins.
Next, the numismatistmust calculate the measure of deviation or
variability evident in the series of weights. Arithmeticexpressions
which will indicate the extent of variabilityare an absolute necessity
for the numismatist. The simplest of all such numerical values, of
between
course,is the rangewhichis nothingmore than the difference
the highest and lowest weights. It is without question the crudest of
all such measurementsbecause it is calculated solely on the basis of
two weightsand excludes the vast majority of the weightscollected.
The mean deviation (MD) is a much more useful measure for the
numismatist because every single weight in the frequency table
entersinto its determination.It may be brieflydefinedas the mean of
ZIDI
the sum of all the deviationsfromthe mean. The formulaMD = is used to determine its value where Z indicates the sum, N the
number of weights, and D the deviation from the mean in each
individual instance while the plus and minus signs are ignored. It will
result in a value expressed in the same metrologica! units as the
frequency table step interval, and that value when added to and

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The Coins

39

subtracted from the mean will cover the majority of the cases
involved in the constructionof the frequencycurve. When calculated
forthe normalprobabilitycurve the value of the mean deviation will
indicate a range within which approximately fifty-sevenpercent of
the total area under the frequencycurve will be included. If the value
of the mean deviation werehigh, it would serve as a clear indication
that eitherthe coins were struckwith very little or no adjustment of
weight,as in the case of al-marcominting,or else that more than one
denominationor series of coins was involved in the collection of the
data. Where two theoreticalweights that were relatively close were
involved there is the possibility that bimodalism would not be
immediatelyevident fromthe frequencycurve by visual inspection,
but a high value forthe mean deviation would certainlyindicate that
closer study was advisable.
A furthermeasure of deviation or variability is the so-called
standard deviation (a) which is usually too refinedforuse in numismatics. In calculatingthe standard deviation the formulacr= 1/^5!
' N
whichmay be expressed as the square root of the mean of the squares
of all deviations fromthe mean, is used. When the numberof weights
is small thereis no need forsuch refinedcalculations. The value ofa is
always largerthan the mean deviation, and when measured offabove
and below the mean delimits the area for approximatelythe central
sixty-eightpercentof the cases on a normal probabilitycurve.
These measures of deviation or variabilityare not directlycomparable with other measurementsof deviations forother data. There is
a definiteneed for an arithmetical expression to indicate relative
variability. Since the means of two differentseries of coins are likely
to be different,
and this will oftenaffectvariability,the coefficientof
variation (V) has been proposed to make allowance forthe difference
in the means. The formulato calculate the coefficientof variation is
/ = 1000A
a simple one IV
and it makes comparisonspossible. It is best
^ I,
to compare different
series of coins or denominationsto determinethe
accuracy of the mintingprocess in terms of coefficientsof variation
rather than standard deviations or mean deviations. The coefficient
of variation yields a numerical value in terms of a scale beginning

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Light Weight Solidi

40

with a zero point, and since metrological data is involved in the


numismatic use of the frequency table it can be employed with
confidence.
The use of the frequency curve is, of course, covered in much
greater detail in the work of Gunnar Mickwitz which has already
been cited, and many of the examples which are given there forgold
coinage can be used forcomparison. Mickwitz plotted the frequency
curves of gold coins duringseveral periods in most scholarlyfashion.
The numberof coin weightsinvolved can be indicated by the letterN
and the step intervalby the lowercase letterw. It is reallyunnecessary
to constructthe histogramto show thenumericalvalues, and therefore
only the tally and the results of Mickwitz's calculations will be
reproduced.The curves themselvesare readilyaccessible in Mickwitz's
work.
The gold issues fromthe period ofGallienusyieldedsomeinteresting
resultsin that it was evident fromthe calculations that more thatone
standard of weightswas involved.
N = 328 w = 0.3 grammesM = 3.23 grammesa = 1.324 grammes
V = 40.99
STEP

NO. OF COINS

STEP

NO. OF COINS

6.7-7.0
6.4-6.7
6.1-6.4
5.8-6.1
5.5-5.8
5.2-5.5
4.9-5.2
4.6-4.9
4.3-4.6
4.0-4.3

1
3
4
6
5
10
8
16
21
20

3.7-4.0
3.4-3.7
3.1-3.4
2.8-3.1
2.5-2.8
2.2-2.5
1.9-2.2
1.6-1.9
1.3-1.6
1.0-1.3
0.7-1.0

17
22
32
26
31
29
27
13
15
15
7s

3 Theseweights
Die MnzenunddasMnzwesen
weretakenfromK. Menadier,
beidenScripiores
Historiae
Augustae(Diss.Berlin,1913),pp.65fi.Theaccuracy
of a is carriedmuchtoo far.

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The Coins

41

It is immediatelyevident that the frequencycurve constructedon the


basis of the distributiongiven above would be multimodal and that
the average weight of 3.23 grammes would be a meaningless figure.
The standard deviation of 1.324 grammesis betterthan a thirdof the
mean weightof the coins and the coefficientof variation of 40.99 is so
high that it cannot possibly be true fora singlestandard. A frequency
curve constructedon the basis of 278 Roman denarii of the period
fromNero to Septimius Severus yielded a coefficientof variation of
only 6.94 while the silver was probably struckal-marcoand the gold
must have been struckal-pezzo.4The value of the frequencycurve for
detectingnon-homogeneousgold coinage can be clearly seen in this
example. Even though the step interval of 0.3 grammes is not very
fineand Mickwitz may have used the method for calculations from
grouped data, which is not as accurate as for ungrouped data, the
character of the material stands out.
Another example of a frequency curve based on gold coins was
plotted by Mickwitz with the data published by Cesano from the
Via Po hoard of Rome.5 The 373 gold coins in that hoard yielded
results showing the accuracy of the mintingof gold coins at Rome.
It is immediatelyapparent that Mickwitz has refinedhis calculations too much in the light of his data. It is possible that aurei were
weighed to an accuracy of 0.1 grammes, but the calculation of the
probable error in the case of the standard deviation to a value of
0.0057 grammesis quite meaninglesswhen referredto ancient mint
practices. Such refinedcalculations can only give a distortedsense of
4 Mickwitz,
op. cit.yp. 43. The weightswerecollectedby TheodorMommsen,
Geschichte
desrmischen
Mnzwesens
(Berlin,i860),p. 757,note60.Mommsen's
A Descriptive
weightsweregatheredfromJ. Y. Akerman,
Catalogueof Rare
and Unedited
RomanCoinsfromtheEarliestPeriodoftheRomanCoinagetothe
Extinctionof theEmpireunderConstantinus
Paleologus(London,1834),I,
pp. XV-XVII.
6 Mickwitz,
op. cit., p. 45. See also L. Cesano,"Ripostigliodi aureiimperiali
rinvenuto
a Roma,"Bullettino
communale
di RomatLVII (1929),
archeologico
pp. i-i 20, wheretheweightsof the individualcoinsare collected.Sincethe
weightswerein partcalculatedonlyto the tenthof a grammeand in other
instancesto o.o5thsof a grammetherewas somedifficulty
in preparing
the
table witha step intervalof 0.1 grammes,
whichaccountsforits
frequency
form.The curvecannottherefore
be considered
absolutelyaccurate.Mickwitz
calculationsagainseemsomewhatoverlyrefined.

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Light Weight Solidi

42

N = 373 w = o.i grammes M = 7.067 grammesMo = 7.04 grammes


a = 0.16 0.0057 grammes V = 2.26
STEP

NO. OF COINS

STEP

NO. OF COINS

6.05-6.1
6.15-6.2
6.25-6.3
6.35-6.4
6.45-6.5
6.55-6.6
6.65-6.7
6.75-6.8

1
0
1
3
3
0
2
7

6.85-6.9
6.95-7.0
7.05-7.1
7.15-7.2
7.25-7.3
7.35-7.4
7.45-7.5
7.55-7.6

25
108
111
86
19
5
0
2

accuracy, but the results are nevertheless quite revealing. Even


though the coinage involved extends in time fromthe reign of Nero
to the time ofLucius Verus inclusive,and the range from7.6 grammes
to 6.5 grammes as a result ofwear, the coefficientof variation is still
only 2.26 as compared with 40.99 forthe gold coinage of the period of
Gallienus and 6.94 forthe denarii fromthe reignof Nero throughthe
reign of Septimius Severus. These coins were clearly struck al-pezzo
and were most accurately adjusted at the mint. The curve, however,
is unusual in that it shows a remarkable degree of symmetrywhich
Mickwitz quite properlyattributesto the fact that the hoard covers
a full centuryof time and the more recent coins in the findwere in
excellent condition and had not been worn while others were quite
worn. The more typical skewness is evident if only the seventy-nine
N = 79 w = 0.1 grammes M = 7.085 grammes Mo = 7.2 grammes
a = 0.18 0.014 grammes V = 2.5
STEP

NO. OF COINS

STEP

NO. OF COINS

6.25-6.3
6.35-6.4
6.45-6.5
6.55-6.6
6.65-6.7
6.75-6.8

1
1
0
0
1
2

6.85-6.9
6.95-7.0
7.05-7.1
7.15-7.2
7.25-7.3
7.35-7.4

2
15
18
28
9
2

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The Coins

43

coins which are attributedto the reign of the Emperor Hadrian are
plotted on a frequencycurve.
These coins were excellentlypreserved and in a large degree were
fleurde coin. Now the rapid decline of frequencyon the positive side
of the mode is immediately evident as contrasted with the more
gentledecline on the underweightside of the curve. This, of course, is
largelythe result of the fact that the weightof the coins was carefully
adjusted, and the heavier ones were returnedto the meltingpot with
greater frequencythan the lighterones.6 Once again, of course, the
accuracy of the gold coinage is most noticeable.
A good comparison for the frequencycurves of the light weight
solidi is to be found in the curve plotted by Mickwitzon the basis of
the solidi fromthe Dortmund hoard and the Weber Collection.These
solidi are all of the period 307-408 A.D., and as a result they are at
least 150 years earlier in time than the light weight solidi.
N = 150 w = 0.03 grammesM = 4.417 grammesMo = 4.45 grammes
a = 0.092 grammes V = 2.08
STEP

NO. OF COINS

STEP

NO. OF COINS

3.96
3.99
4.02
4.05
4.08
4.11
4.14
4.17
4.20
4.23
4.26

1
0
0
0
0
2
0
1
2
1
3

4.29
4.32
4.35
4.38
4.41
4.44
4.47
4.50
4.53
4.56
4.59
4.62

5
4
12
12
24
25
35
12
6
3
1
l7

6 Cf.Mickwitz,
op. cit.yp. 43, fora fullerexplanation.
7 Mickwitz,
op. cit.yp. 44. The weightsweregatheredby ArnoldLuschinvon
"Der Denar der Lex Salica," Sitzungsberichte
der Kaiserlichen
Ebengreuth,
Akademieder Wissenschaften
, Phil.-hist.Klasse, CLXIII (1910), Abh. 4,
pp. 63ff.,on thebasis oftheweightsrecorded
by K. Regling,Der Dortmunder

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Light Weight Solidi

44

If the distributionwere made on a sounderbasis by usingtheweight


of the half-carator half-siliqua (0.095 grammes) as the step interval
instead of 0.03 grammesthe resultswould be even more strikingwhen
plotted though none of the arithmetic values, which are really
independentof the histogram,would be affected.
STEP

NO. OF COINS

STEP

NO. OF COINS

3.790-3.885
3.885-3.980
3.980-4.075
4.075-4.170
4.170-4.265

0
1
0
2
4

4.265-4.360
4.360-4.455
4.455-4.550
4.550-4.645

24
61
53
5

All of the characteristicsof the curve are accentuated by such a step


interval. The very sharp decline in frequencyon the positive side is
now most evident. If a very large numberof coins were involved this
could eliminate a seeming bimodalism. Such bimodalism could, of
course, be discounted on the basis of the arithmetic or numerical
values calculated to measure the deviations,but if it appeared on the
tally or frequencytable without such calculations it, could be most
disturbing.
A frequencycurve constructedon the basis of the weights of 459
solidi weights gathered by Luschin von Ebengreuth may be used to
demonstratethis (Fig. 1), and at the same time it provides us with
the finestbasis of comparison for the frequencycurves of the light
weightsolidi.8These coins covertheperiodfromthereignofAnastasius
through that of Constans II and are thereforedirectlycomparable
with the solidi studied in this book. Unfortunatelyeach of the three
Fund rmischer
Goldmnzen
(Dortmund,
1908),and Dr. J. Hirsch,Sammlung
ConsulEduardFriedrichWeber
. ZweiteAbteilung:Rmischeund
f Hamburg
Mnzen.Nachtraggriechische
Mnzen. Mnzgewichte
. Numisbyzantinische
matische
Bibliothek
(Mnchen,
1909),whichis HirschSale XXIV, 10May1909.
8Luschinvon Ebengreuth,
from
op. cit.,pp. 70-71.The weightsare gathered
W.W. Wroth,CatalogueoftheImperialByzantine
Coinsin theBritishMuseum
f
(London,1908),2 vols.; Dr. J. Hirsch,SammlungConsulFriedrichWeber
(HirschSale XXIV, 10 May 1909);and JosefWilhelmKubitschek,
"Beitrge
zurfrhbyzantinischen
XXIX (1897),
Numismatische
Numismatik,"
Zeitschrift,
pp. 162-192,whichon pp. 190-191,gives the weightsof the solidi in the
ImperialCabinetin Viennaat thattime.

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The Coins

45

sources involved contained some of the light weight solidi, but since
Luschin von Ebengreuthlimitedthe range of the solidi included in his
frequencytable to those above 4.20 grammesbut below 4.55 grammes,

SolidifromAnastasiusto ConstansII
Fig. i
this difficulty
is largelyeliminated.Only in the rarestinstancesdo any
of the solidi in the several light weight series rise to weights of
4.20 grammes or better. The same may be said for the number of
normal solidi which show weights above 4.55 grammes. Thus of the
150 solidi in the frequencycurve fromthe Weber Collection and the
Dortmund hoard only five weighed more than 4.55 grammes, and
three of those fiveweighed 4.56 grammes.The overwhelmingbulk of
all of the solidi issued in the period 491-668 A.D. certainlymust fall
into the range of 4.20-4.55 grammes.The fewthat are excluded could

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Light Weight Solidi

46

not affectthe results appreciably. A number of coins in the group,


however, have been pierced, but even in this instance less than five
percent of the coins are involved, and since in many instances the
weightsremained fairlyhigh,it may be that the coins were punched
rather than drilled or filed. In any event the exclusion of these
pierced coins would only serve to bringthe few coins in question into
even greateralignmentwith the measurementsof central tendency.
The distributionas givenby Luschin von Ebengreuthis multimodal
with peaks at 4.47, 4.45, and 4.40 grammes.
N = 459 w = 0.01 grammes M = 4.40 grammes Mo = 4.45 and
4.40 grammes with still another peak at 4.47 grammes Mdn
= 4.41 grammes MD = 0.052 grammes a = 0.249 grammes
v = 5-657
Since the coefficientof variation is only 5.657 and the majority of the
coins lie within 0.05 grammes of the mean, there is no question of a
non-homogeneousgroup, and the multimodalismis the result of an
improperstep interval. Changing the step interval to 0.03 grammes
will reduce the multimodalism even futher while the numerical
values calculated to measure the central tendency and deviation
remain constant (Fig. 2). The two histogramsshow this graphically
as do the frequencytabulations.
STEP

NO. OF COINS

STEP

NO. OF COINS

81
9
4.38-4.40
4.20-4.22
16
65
4.41-4.43
4.23-4.25
87
7
4.44-4.46
4.26-4.28
67
20
4.47-4.49
4.29-4.31
14
31
4.50-4.52
4.32-4.34
4
58
4.53-4.55
4.35-4.37
In the period followingConstantine the siliqua auri or Iteration
seems to have been the smallestweightused thoughit is probable that
the Romans could detect and adjust weights to within half of a
siliqua.9 In view of that fact we may assume that in the mintingof
9 Cf. FriedrichHultsch,Griechische
und rmische
Metrologie
(2nd edition:
Berlin,1882),pp. 133f.,and 149-150.Thechalcuswas a weightusedprimarily
thesmallestofweightsin
intheimperial
period.It was certainly
byphysicians
ofthequarterof
use as shownbymanypassageseventhoughthereis mention

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The Coins

47

SolidifromAnastasiusto ConstansII

Fig. 2

Fig-3

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Light Weight Solidi

48

gold the coinage was adjusted to the nearest half-siliqua. Sinc the
siliqua auri was valued at 0.1895 grammesof gold, the coinage would
then have been adjusted to within 0.095 grammes of the theoretical
weight.If that is taken as the step interval,the bimodalismdisappears
completely and the accuracy of the Roman mint is immediately
evident (Fig. 3).
STEP
22-22*4
2214-23
23-2314
2314-24

carats
carats
carats
carats

(4.170-4.264
(4.265-4.359
(4.360-4.454
(4.455-4.549

NO. OF COINS
grammes)
grammes)
grammes)
grammes)

27
96
251
85

If the step intervalused in the constructionof the histogramis the


same as the standard of accuracy at the mint, all of those characteristicswhich have been noted in the frequencycurves studied thus
far are accentuated. Thus the modal step of this distributionis that
from 23-23^4 siliquae (4.36-4.45 grammes). The sharp decline in
frequencyon the positive side of the curve and the skewness of the
curve towards the negative side are most clearly seen. More than
fiftypercent of the coins fall into the modal step which, however,is
slightly larger than the mean deviation while the coefficientof
variation (5.657) is low enough to indicate good adjustment of the
coinage.
That these coins were meant to circulate at a theoreticalweightof
twenty-foursiliquae cannot be doubted. Solidi were definedin law as
coins of four scruples or twenty-foursiliquae.10The deductions for
the carat or anrpiov.(Metrologicorum
, ed. F. Hultsch
Scriptorum
Reliquiae
(Lipsiae: B. G. Teubner,1864-65),I, pp. 89, 222,231,245,248 and 249). In
systemswerecombined.
imperialtimesthe Roman and Greekmetrological
ofthescrupleandthechalcuswas equal
The obolwas madeequal to one-half
of an obol. Thus 2|rds chalci were equal to one carat. The
to one-eighth
chalcuswas occasionallydefinedas theweightoftwochickpeagrainsor two
grainsofpulse.All ofthepertinent
passagesareto be foundin Metrologicorum
kou,calcus,
, ed. F. Hultsch,2 vols.,s.v. Kgprnov,
Reliquiae
yjoiK
Scriptorum
calculus
.
, chalcus
10C. Th., XII, 7, i (325 a.D.) (ed. Mommsenand Meyer,I, pt. II, p. 722),
thesolidusas offourscruples.Thispartofthelaw is notrepeatedin
describes
in C. Just.,X, 73, 1 (ed. Krueger,CorpusIuris Civilis, II,
the abridgement

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The Coins

49

seigniorageand the wear that the coins have undergoneaccount foran


actual weight some two percent below the theoretical weight. The
gold coins in the collectionsfromwhich these weightswere taken are
generallyin good condition,they are collectors' pieces in the fullest
sense of the word and have not undergone quite as much wear as
might be expected. It may thereforebe presumed that the major
can be accounted foras
portionof the two percentweightdifferential
the charge for seigniorage. Undoubtedly the Byzantines did not
calculate this as a percentageof the theoreticalweightof the coin but
simply issued their gold solidi about one-halfof a siliqua light. This
observation may be confirmedby referenceto the fact that the
frequencytable for the solidi of the period 307-408 A.D. from the
Dortmundhoard and Weber Collectionshows approximatelythe same
weightloss. They are also approximatelyhalf of a carat lighterthan
the theoreticalweight.
It is now possible, on the basis of the frequencycurves that have
already been reviewed in some detail, to study the frequencycurves
forthe solidi of the lightweighttype. The Catalogue at the end of this
book contains notes and descriptionsconcerning183 coins. Some of
these pieces, such as Coins nos. 13, 17, 22, 32, 37, 38, 53, 92, 100,
101, 102, 118, 125, 126, 136, 139, 141, 146, 153, 154, 155, 161, 162,
163, 164, 167, 168, 169, 174, 176, 178, and 179, must be excluded from
a frequencytable because they are either pierced, mounted, looped,
or clipped.11With the possible exception of Coins nos. 125, 126, and
166 all of these operations affectthe weight of the piece appreciably,
and as a result these thirty-twosolidi must be excluded from the
p. 427). The reasonsforthishave been discussedin Chapterone. Thereare
manyliteraryand legal texts indicatingthat the solidas whichcontained
twenty-four
siliquaewas i/72ndof a Roman pound.These texts,however,
definethesolidusin termsofjitsrelationship
to theRomanpoundand notto
the siliqua.The textsfromthe variousmetrological
sourcesdo confirm
the
betweenthesiliquaeand thesolidus.Theycan be easilyfoundby
relationship
reference
to theindicesofMetrologicorum
Scriptorum
Reliquiae,ed. F. Hultsch,
s.v. Kepcjiov
and siliqua.
11Coinsnos. 13,22, 32, 53 and 176 are clipped;Coinsnos.
124,131,153, 154,
whileCoinsnos. 125,126,and 167 showtracesof
155,and 169 are mounted,
Coinsnos. 17,37,38,84, 100,101,102,139,141,146,161,162,163,
mounting;
164, 168,174,178,and 179 are pierced;and Coinsnos. 92, 118,and 136 are
looped.
4

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Light Weight Solidi

50

frequencytable. In addition Coins nos. 19, 27, 31, 35, 41, 43, 47, 48,
58, 59, 60, 61, 62, 63, 64, 65, 66, 67, 69, 70, 71, 76, 77, 84, 91, 94, 98,
108, 109, 113, 121, 123, 124, 131, 135, 147, 151, 165, 173, 180, 181,
and 182, are of unknown weight. These forty-twopieces must of
necessity be excluded from the calculations. Thus the frequency
curves can deal with only 109 coins. Certain of these 109 solidi,
however, can be identifiedas barbaric in origin,and this reduces the
number even further.Coins nos. 31, 32, 33, 72, 73, 74, 75, 76, 77, 78,
159, 181, 182, 183, are barbarian or derived fromwestern mints of
the Empire and not part of the light weight series under discussion,
and of these Coins nos. 32 (clipped), 33, 72, 73, 74, 75, 78, 159, and
183 have known weights.Thus the numberof coins forthe frequency
table is reduced even furtherto only 101 pieces. The reasons for
identifyingthese fifteencoins as barbaric or as not belongingto the
light weight series will be discussed somewhat later. The 101 coins
that remain may be divided according to the exergual marks and
presented in the form of grouped data for a frequencycurve. The
weights are calculated to the nearest hundredthof a gramme.
COINNO. WEIGHT EXERGUE
132
4
149
150
23
12
10
177

3.85
3.79
3.76
3.75
3.75
3.74
3.74
3.73

BOXX
OBXX
BOXX
BOXX
OBXX
OBXX
OBXX
BOXX

160

3.73

OBXX

138
137
134
119
108

3.73
3.73
3.73
3.73
3.73

BOXX
BOXX
BOXX
BOXX
OBXX

EMPEROR
Heraclius and Heraclius Constantine
Justinian
Heraclius and Heraclius Constantine
Heraclius and Heraclius Constantine
Justinian
Justinian
Justinian
Constans II, Constantine IV Pogonatus, Heraclius and Tiberius
Heraclius, Heraclius Constantine
and Heracleonas
Heraclius and Heraclius Constantine
Heraclius and Heraclius Constantine
Heraclius and Heraclius Constantine
Heraclius and Heraclius Constantine
Phocas

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The Coins
COINNO. WEIGHT EXERGUE
46
20
148
35
18
14
9
8
5
133
128
21
16
11
166
144
127
122
106
40
34
15
6
120
117
116
2
145
89
88
39
26
25
3
143

3.73
3.73
3.72
3.72
3.72
3.72
3.72
3.72
3.72
3.71
3.71
3.71
3.71
3.71
3.70
3.70
3.70
3.70
3.70
3.70
3.70
3.70
3.70
3.69
3.69
3.69
3.69
3.68
3.68
3.68
3.68
3.68
3.68
3.68
3.67

OBXX
OBXX
BOXX
OBXX
OBXX
OBXX
OBXX
OBXX
OBXX
BOXX
OBXX
OBXX
OBXX
OBXX
OBXX
BOXX
BOXX
BOXX
OBXX
OBXXOBXX
OBXX
OBXX
BOXX
OBXX
OBXX
OBXX
BOXX
OBXX
OBXX
OB-XXOBXX
OBXX
OBXX
BOXX

51
EMPEROR

Justin II
Justinian
Heraclius and Heraclius Constantine
Justin II
Justinian
Justinian
Justinian
Justinian
Justinian
Heraclius and Heraclius Constantine
Heraclius and Heraclius Constantine
Justinian
Justinian
Justinian
Constans II
Heraclius and Heraclius Constantine
Heraclius and Heraclius Constantine
Heraclius and Heraclius Constantine
Phocas
Justin II
Justin II
Justinian
Justinian
Heraclius and Heraclius Constantine
Heraclius
Heraclius
Justinian
Heraclius and Heraclius Constantine
Maurice Tiberius
Maurice Tiberius
Justin II
Justinian
Justinian
Justinian
Heraclius and Heraclius Constantine

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Light Weight Solidi

52

COINNO. WEIGHT EXERGUE


140
110
152
130
7
156
142
36
24
107
109
45
158
157
44
42

3.67
3.67
3.66
3.66
3.66
3.65
3.65
3.65
3.64
3.63
3.62
3.62
3.60
3.52
3.51
3.47

BOXX
OBXX
BOXX
OBXX
OBXX
BOXX
BOXX
OBXX
OBXX
OBXX
OBXX
OBXX
OBXX
BOXX
OBXX
OBXX

EMPEROR
Heraclius and Heraclius Constantine
Phocas
HeracliusandHeracliusConstantine
HeracliusandHeracliusConstantine
Justinian
Heraclius and Heraclius Constantine
Heraclius and Heraclius Constantine
Justin II
Justinian
Phocas
Phocas
Justin II
Heraclius and Heraclius Constantine
Heraclius and Heraclius Constantine
Justin II
Justin II

N = 65 w = 0.095 M = 3.69 grammes Mo = 3.70 grammes Mdn


= 3.70 grammes MD = 0.0393 grammes a - 0.1832 grammes
V = 4.964
As far as can be determined there is no evident relationship
between the so-called officinamarks at the end of the reverse inscriptions and the weights except that the mark 0S does not occur
forthis series. All of emperorsof the period fromJustinianthrough
Constantine IV Pogonatus struck coins of this type except Tiberius
Constantine. Almost eighty-two percent of the coin weights are
within o.o5ths of a gramme of the mean weight, and the coefficient
of variation is only 4.978. Only two of the coins equal the weight of
twentysiliquae fully,but if the same type of deduction ofhalf a carat
is made for seigniorage and wear, then we might assume an actual
weight of 1914 siliquae for these coins when they left the mint. Of
course, the theoretical weight of the coins was meant to be twenty
siliquae, and the interpretationof the inscriptionOBXX is probably
OB (ryzum) XX (viginti) {siliquae).

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The Coins

53

Frequency Table of BOXX and OBXX Solidi

Frequency Table ofOB*+*,


OB*+ and OB+ Solidi

Fig-4

Fig-5

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54

Light Weight Solidi

The next group of coins are those with the mark in the exergue
BOiX or BOrK. Only four weights have been reported for specimens
of these coins in good condition.The coins were onlystruckduringthe
reign of Constans II.
COINNO.

MARK

WEIGHT

170
171
172
175

BOrK
BON
BOrK
BOK

4.27
4.20
4.30
4.37

Obviously there are not enough weights for a scientifictreatment,


but they extend between twenty-twoand twenty-threeand one half
carats. Two of the fourrecordedweightsare between twenty-twoand
one half and twenty-threecarats. The determinationof the standard
on which these coins were minted,however,rests most decisively on
the expansion of the ligature IX or K. One of the letters of that
ligature is clearly a kappa, but is the other one to be read as a pi or a
gamma? Numismatistshave read the inscriptionin both ways, with
a gamma as well as with a fi. It seems fairlycertain that the ligature
in both formswas intended to stand fora single group of two letters,
and fromthe position of the letters BO in relation to each other the
inscriptionis retrograde.It is also to be noted that the firstretrograde
exergual markingson the light weight solidi are to be found during
the joint reigns of Heraclius and Heraclius Constantine and just
precede the reign of Constans II. Other light weight solidi fromthe
reignof Constans II (Coins nos. 176 and 177) have clearly discernible
retrogradeinscriptions,BOXX. If the ligature is read in retrograde
fashion as kappa-gamma,it would be in conformitywith the few
weightsthat we possess and would indicate coinage issued at twentythree siliquae. If, on the other hand, the ligature is read as kappa-pi
in retrogradefashion the anomalous numerical value is twentyplus
eighty or 100, which could only be taken to indicate coinage at
i/iooth of a Roman pound. The practice of indicating the relationship of the solidus to the pound by the figureLXXII in the field is
known forthe Constantinianperiod, but i/iooth of a Roman pound is
17.28 siliquae, and all of the weights for these coins would then be

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The Coins

55

extremelyhigh. Perhaps even more strikingis the fact that since it


has been shown that the inscriptionis retrograde,it should follow
the Greek practice of arithmeticalnotationwhich kappa-gammadoes,
but which kappa-pi does not. The Greek letter rhowould be used to
indicate 100. In writingGreek numerals the larger number usually
precedes the smaller one. The kappa-gammaexpansion of the ligature
satisfies that requirement,whereas even if we presume that the
addition of eighty plus twenty (K) was used to indicate 100 (P),
which in itselfwould be a source of surprise,the retrogradecharacter
of the inscription would show the unusual form of twenty plus
eighty (KTT).12Only the reading BOrK or "twenty-threecarats of
gold of the Constantinopolitanstandard" will satisfy the requirements,ifthis exergual mark is taken to be a notation of the weightor
standard of the coin as seems to be indicated by the lettersBO. The
only other possibilityis that the ligature FK stands for some phrase
which is otherwiseunrecognizable in relation to coins. One cannot
presumethe existenceof such a phrase, and as a result "twenty-three
carats of gold of the Constantinopolitan standard" seems fairly
certain.
The third and last series of coins to be discussed fromthe metrological standpoint are those marked OB*+*, OB+* or BO+. The
range of these coins is from4.21 to 3.35 grammes,and the two coins
marked OB+ and CO+ are at the lower end of the scale, but they
appear to be badly worn. It seems certain that the mark CO + is an
error for OB+. The coins marked OB*+* are distributed in such
fashionthat it is possible that JustinII began this series somewhat
above the indicatedweightforthe coins marked OB+*, but it hardly
seems likelythat thereare two separate denominationsso close to one
anotherthat the series ofweightsforthe heavier one merelycontinues
that of the lighterone. In addition, as will be shown, the measurement of deviation in the case of these coins leads to the conclusion
that a single series is involved and that the individual exergual
marks are simply abbreviations or fullerversions of the same mark.
12Leo Schindlerand GerhartKalmann, "ByzantinischeMnzstudienI.
Goldmnzen
unter24 Karat von Justinian
I. bis Constantine
IV., "Numismatische
LXXII (1947),pp. 107-112,arrivedat thesameconclusion
Zeitschrift,
becauseoftheretrograde
buttheydid notexplainwhytheychose
character,
to readtheligatureas kappa-gamma
ratherthankappa-pl.

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Light Weight Solidi

56

In this case the coins cover only the reignsfromJustinianthrough


the joint reignsof Heraclius and Heraclius Constantine.The striking
of these coins must have ccme to an end before 630 A.D. when
Heracleonas was raised in rank. It should also be noted that the
marks in the exergues are found in all forms during the reign of
Justinian, but that in the reign of JustinII only OB*+ occurs and
that afterwards only OB+* was used. Also the mint mark S is
stronglyassociated with these coins and only with these coins. In the
reign of Justinianone of these coins is found with the mint mark .
Afterthat the mint mark is always given as S save forone instance
where as a result of a double strikingthe mark is SS. Certainlythe
obverse die of Coin no. 79 which on the reversebears the mint mark
S and the exergual inscriptionOB+* was used to strike another
coin with the mint mark A on the reverse and the normal exergual
inscription CCNGB.13 Either one must suppose the unlikely
possibilitythat the obverse die was sent frcmone officinaor mint to
another or that one mint or officinaused used more than one mint
mark forthe purpose of strikingcoins in the name of anothermint or
forseme otherpurpose. This lattersuggestionwould be in accord with
the Jungfleischhypothesis which was explained in the previous
chapter.
COINNO. WEIGHT EXERGUE
60
52
57
54
1
51
129
86
83
81
55
114

4.21
4.14
4.12
4.11
4.11
4.10
4.09
4.09
4.09
4.08
4.08
4.07

OB<*+*
OB+<*
OB+*
OB*+*
OB*+*
OB*+*
OB+*
OB+*
OB+*
OB+*
OB*+*
OB+*

EMPEROR
Justin II
Justin II
Justin II
Justin II
Justinian
Justin II
Heraclius and Heraclius Constantine
Tiberius II Constantine
Tiberius II Constantine
Tiberius II Constantine
Justin II
Phocas

M See Coinno. 79a in theCatalogueundernote45.

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The Coins
COINNO. WEIGHT EXERGUE
112
110
97
99
93
111
90
87
95
85
82
115
80
96
79

4.07
4.07
4.07
4.06
4.06
4.05
4.05
4.05
4.04
4.02
4.02
4.00
4.00
3.98
3.95

OB+
OB+*
OB+*
OB+*
OB+*
OB+*
OB+*
OB+*
OB+*
OB+
OB+*
OB+*
OB+*
OB+*
OB+

68
29
30
56
28

3.90
3.73
3.69
3.63
3.35

OB+*
COJ
OB+*
OB*+
OB+

57
EMPEROR

Phocas
Phocas
Maurice Tiberius
Maurice Tiberius
Maurice Tiberius
Phocas
Maurice Tiberius
Tiberius II Constantine
Maurice Tiberius
Tiberius II Constantine
Tiberius II Constantine
Phocas
Tiberius II Constantine
Maurice Tiberius
Justin II and Tiberius II Constantine
Justin II
Justinian
Justinian
Justin II
Justinian

N = 32 w = 0.095 M = 4.00 grammes Mo = 4.03 grammes Mdn


= 4.06 grammesMD = 0.01 grammesa = 0.1702 grammesV = 4.255
The measurements of central tendency fall about twenty-one
siliquae (mean = 4.00 grammes; mode = 4.03 grammes; and
median = 4.06 grammes),but a relativelylarge number of coins are
twenty-oneand a half siliquae or more, so the theoreticalweight of
these coins must be above twenty-oneand a half siliquae, or the
adjustment of weight forthis particular series of gold coins must be
assumed to have been very poor. The poor conditionof some of these
pieces can be seen reflectedin the broad range of the weights,but the
fact that the coefficientof variation is only 4.255 indicates quite
clearly that the frequencytable was composed of a homogeneous

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58

Light Weight Solidi

group of coins in varying states of condition or wear. With this in


mind,it may be stated that the coins were actually struckat twentyone and a half carats, which, when the half carat is added to cover
seigniorage and wear, as seems to be normal in the case of solidi,
would yield a theoretical weight of twenty-twocarats. This is in
accordance with the findings of Schindler and Kalmann. Fully
twenty-fiveof the thirty-two coins have weights falling above
twenty-oneand below twenty-twocarats.
The theoreticaland actual weights of the ninety-sevenByzantine
solidi that could be discussed in termsof a frequencytable have now
been covered in some detail, but fifteenadditional coins were earlier
referredto as barbaric or not belongingto the lightweightseries,and
in the case of nine of these coins (one of which was clipped) the
weights were known. These coins were excluded because of their
barbaric originwhich must now be shown to be decisive. This issue is
most properly argued on grounds of style, fabric, and numismatic
epigraphy. The authentic Byzantine solidus is generally better
modelled than the barbarian imitations and the letters of the inscription show a greater degree of care. As an example of a clearly
barbarous piece Coin no. 33 may be studied. The bust of Justinianon
the obverse is so poorly done and the legend is so garbelled that there
can be no doubt of its origin. Close observation will show that the
form of the letter B in the exergue on the reverse is western and
probably Italic. The C in the reverselegend is sharply angular while
true Byzantine solidi show a more rounded variety of C. On the
reversethe head of the Victoryis scarcelymore than a slightswelling
with no modellingwhile the wings and draperyof the same figureare
scarcely more than lines, and the upper edge of the wings form a
continuousarc with the upper edge of the body of the Victory.These
qualities stand in sharp contrast the normal Byzantine figureon the
solidus. Lastly, but by no means least important,the Victoryholds a
globe surmountedby a cross whereas onlyveryrarelydo the authentic
light weight Byzantine solidi display the globus crucigerthough the
solidi ofnormalweightalways show it. Stefansuggestedthat this coin
mighthave been struck in Pannonia by the Lombards at some time
around 560 A.D., but definitelyprior to 584/85. The location of the
spot where this solidus was found is unknown.

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The Coins

59

Coin no. 32 shows many of the same traits with the added feature
that the eyes of the Victory are in reality rondules in annulets. For
purposes of comparison 126 separate dies for obverses of authentic
Byzantine solidi known fromactual handling,photographs,casts, or
rubbings are gathered in the plates to this volume. A total of 121
reverse dies fromthe same sources are also gathered there. Unfortunately three sets of die impressionshave been badly mutilated and
should really be excluded from this study, so that the figuresare
reduced to 123 and 118 respectively.The line drawings,ofcourse,must
be excluded from any such study. The peculiar exergual marks of
coins no. 31, 32, 33 in the Catalogue merely confirmthe conclusion
arrivedat froma study of the letterformsand styleas compared with
the authentic Byzantine pieces. Even though Coin no. 31 is only
known froma line drawing and description,it is so similar to Coin
no. 32 that it seems obvious that it must be barbaric as well. The
exergual marks (OBX+X and OBXT) prove conclusively that they
are imitations of the light weight solidi.
The lightweightsolidi of JustinII were also imitated as shown by
six coins of that group (Coins nos. 72-77) which are known from
photographs. Still a seventh may be added, if the exergual mark of
Coin no. 78 may be taken as any indication. Once again, in the case
of the six coins which are known from photographs, the globus
crucigerappears on the reverse in the hand of the personifiedConstantinople wearing the mural crown. The authentic light weight
series,it should be remembered,usually lack thecrosswhich,however,
is always present on the normal Byzantine solidi. Coin no. 75
(Plate VI, 75) displays the garbelled inscriptionas well as the poor
modellingwhich hardly stands comparisonwith the authenticpieces.
The exergual markings (CXNXU, COX+X', COHX+X:*, CONX+
CONX+X", CONX+x, and CX+X--) can only be composed of a
combination of the normal CONOB and the light solidus markings
OBXX or more likely OB*+*.14 In the matter of the coin weights
and the authenticityof the coins Schindler and Kalmann have been
14Leo Schindlerand GerhartKalmann, "ByzantinischeMnzstudienI.
Goldmnzen
unter24 Karat von Justinian
I. bis Constantine
IV.," Numismatische
yLXXII (1947),p. 108, arrivedat the same conclusion
Zeitschrift
thesecoinsstruckin thenameof JustinII.
regarding

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6o

Light Weight Solidi

proven to be correct as opposed to the other authors who have


accepted the views of MonneretDe Villard and Friedrich Stefan.
Since the reversesofthe solidi of the reign of Tiberius Constantine
are distinguishedfromthose of precedingreignsby the fact that the
type is simply a cross potent on foursteps, the discussionofstyle,not
fabric, of course, largely hinges upon the obverse. Portraiture on
most, if not all Byzantine coins, is conventional, and, as a result,
opinions can only be expressed with greath reserve. Coins nos. 180,
181, and 182 of the reign of Tiberius Constantine with the exergual
mark C+N+B, however, can be connected withCoin no. i83 of the
reign of Maurice Tiberius with the same exergual mark and the
reverse of the standingVictory facing frontwhich was restoredby
that ruler.No reproductionsof Coins nos. 181 and 182 were available,
and only a very poor reproductionin a sale catalogue of 1886 could
be secured forthe study of the remainingcoin of Tiberius Constantine
with that exergual mark. Coin no. 183, however, is in the posession
of the British Museum which very kindly furnisheda cast of the
piece and a statement of its weight,the only one available forsolidi
with that mark. It should be noted that though the mint mark S is
very stronglyassociated with at least one series of lightweightsolidi,
so stronglyin fact that all of the solidi of that group struck in the
reignof Tiberius Constantinebear it, it is not foundon solidi with the
exergual mark C+N+B. The only weight available, however,is that
of the coin in the British Museum which is in excellentconditionbut
weighs only 4.04 grammes. The four coins in question are clearly of
westernorigin,if any judgementmay be made on the basis of the two
reproductionsavailable. A sharp almost incised quality ofportraiture
and letteringwith a raised circularborder is the most characteristic
trait of such pieces, and it is very marked on the coins in question. In
addition the letter formsare decisively western, for on the coin of
Tiberius Constantine we find DC*)and on that of Maurice Tiberius
DNC*).The reverse of the solidus of Maurice Tiberius also shows the
western form of the long cross ending with the letter rho, a form
which resembles a bishop's crozier with a cross bar. This piece also
displays the Victoryholding a globuscrucigerwhich is furtherreason
foreliminatingit fromthe lightweightseries under discussiondespite
the fact that it does not approach the normal weight of the solidus.

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The Coins

6i

This last fact, of course, is not at all decisive. From the evidence
presented it may be concluded that the solidi with C+N+B are of
western origin and not part of the light weight series of coins that
formthe subject of this book.
Before leaving these pieces, however, it should be noted that
certain changes in the matterof imperial portraiturewere introduced
during these two reigns. Tiberius Constantine was the firstof the
emperors to discard the traditional helmet head-dress found on
solidi showingthe emperorin armor in favor of a crown surmounted
by a cross while retaining the cuirass and horseman device shield.
Maurice Tiberius revertedto the helmetwith plume but discarded the
horseman device shield which only reappeared during the reign of
ConstantineIV Pogonatus. He also added the imperialfibulawith the
strands of pearls suspended. This fibulahad not been representedon
solidi ofthe full-facefronttype before,but it had been shown on some
of the earlier solidi and on the fractional gold coinage. Solidi of
Maurice Tiberius in militarydress with cuirass and horseman device
shield but wearing a helmet surmountedby a cross and without the
fibulaare known both in the normal series of solidi and in the light
weight group.15Dated bronzes of the type with the cross instead of
the plume occur for several years scattered throughoutthe reign of
Marice Tiberius, and it would thereforebe unsound to regard a piece
such as Coin no. 99 as an intermediatetype beforethe revival of the
helmet with plume type.
Still another solidus of Maurice Tiberius (Coin no. 90, Plate VII,
90) must be discussed. This coin shows the authentic exergual mark
OB+*, but it depicts the Victoryon the reversewith a globuscruciger
in the left hand and the weight of the solidus is 4.05 grammes. The
reversetype would be sufficientfora criticalexamination of the coin.
It is a solidus of westernoriginas shown by the quality of the sharp
reliefand the mintmark P at the end of the reverseinscriptionwhich
is normally,at an earlier date, attributed to Ravenna though this
piece does not appear to be of that mint. The obverse of this solidus
does not seem to be of the finecaliber which is normallyexpected of
15WarwickW. Wroth/
Coinsin theBritish
oftheImperialByzantine
Catalogue
Museum
, I, Pl. XIX, 13. See Coinno. 99 (Plate VIII, 99) of the Catalogue
forone ofthelightweightsolidiofthistype.

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62

Light Weight Solidi

solidi of this period. This is most noticeable in the draperyand on the


cuirass, but it can also be seen in the helmet and face. A circular or
rathersemicircularornamentis found on the frontof the other solidi
which depict the Emperor wearinga helmet with a plume. It is most
noticeably absent on this coin. These featureswould point towards a
barbarian originforthis coin. It is, however,most difficultto decide
the originof a solidus such as this. Certain featuresofthe gold piece
are unique, but the general appearance of the coin may well be too
fineto accept it as an imitation.It is probably an authenticByzantine
piece, but it certainlyhas some unusual features.In any event it has
been included in the frequencytable despite this unique character.
The last of these solidi (Coin no. 159, Plate XII, 159) omittedfrom
the distributionis a quite obvious barbaric imitation of a piece of
Heraclius and Heraclius Constantine.In the exergueofthe reversethe
inscriptionXVOX can be read. This solidus reallyrequiresverylittle
discussion because it is so clearly barbaric in style, inscriptionand
over-all character.
The formsof the frequencytables have thereforebeen adequately
justified, and the results must be considered conclusive. Solidi of
twenty carats theoretical weight were issued marked OBXX or
BOXX in the exergue of the reverse. Still others of twenty-two
carats theoreticalweightwere issued marked OB",OB+*, or OB*+*.
The firstserieswas issued in the reignsofJustinian,JustinII, Maurice
Tiberius, Phocas, Heraclius sole reign, Heraclius and Heraclius
Constantinejoint reign,Constans II, and ConstantineIV Pogonatus.
A gap occurs in this series during the reign of Tiberius Constantine,
but this lacuna was then filled with solidi of twenty-twocarats
theoreticalweight which had also been introducedby Justinian (see
Coins nos. 1, 28, 29, and 30), but whichbecame prominentduringthe
reign of Justin II and continued to be struck with some frequency
throughthe reignof Phocas. Only a single coin of that type is known
forthe reigns of Heraclius and Heraclius Constantine. Finally coins
of approximately twenty-threecarats marked BOfK were struck
in the reignof Constans II. These last pieces occur only forthat reign.
Solidi of reduced weight were not as rare during the sixth and
seventh centuries as has usually been assumed. Bauer reports that
Zograph had seen a hoard ofcoins and otherutensilsfromthe Dnieper

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The Coins

63

Delta, and that the hoard contained six pieces of Heraclius and one of
Constans II. All of the solidi of the three emperortype were marked
BOXX.16 He also tells of sixty-one gold coins found together with
gold and silver utensils discovered by herdsmenin 1912 not far from
Pereschtschepino.Only four of the coins had not been used in the
manufactureof ornaments.Thirty-sixof the coins were of the three
emperortype of Heraclius, and of these only one coin had the usual
CONOB marking in the exergue. Twenty-sevenof these coins were
marked BOXX, and it should be noted that only two obverse dies
and four reverse dies were used to strike the entire twenty-seven
pieces. Four separate die combinations occur because seventeen of
thecoinswerestruckwithone set ofdies, six withanothercombination,
two with a third,and two with still a fourth.The same hoard from
Pereschtschepino yielded eight more solidi of the three emperor
type, in addition to the twenty-sevenmarked BOXX, which were
marked BOXX+. All eight were struck fromthe same pair of dies,
but since no examples of this type are known outside of the Soviet
Union at least one more reverse die may be added to the list of die
impressionsstudied. The same author reportsthat the Pereschtschepino hoard contained sixteen coins of Constans II marked BOXX
struckfromtwo obverse dies and fourreversedies. Eight were struck
with one combination,fivewith a second pair, two with still a third
set of dies, and one with a fourth.17Some of these dies from the
eastern hoards may well be representedin the plates of this monograph, but there is no certaintyof this.
A close study of the solidi listed in the catalogue reveals that there
are a number of die identities. Of the twenty-fivesets of die impressions of Byzantine solidi of the light weight series issued by
Justinianonly twenty-oneobverse dies and twentyreversedies could
be distinguished.18Twenty-nine obverse and twenty-eightreverse
16N. Bauer, "Zur byzantinischen
Mnzkundedes VII. Jahrhunderts,"
Frankfurter
, II, no. 15 (March1931),p. 228.
Mnzzeitung
17Ibid,ypp. 227-229.Thesameauthorreports
thata similarfindoflightweight
solidiofConstansII was madeat Novo Sandsherovo(oratschepilovo)
in the
Government
of Poltawain 1928.No accountofthe dies is given.
18The die identities
wereas follows
: Coinsnos. 5678921
t 1 I

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23
I

64

Light Weight Solidi

dies of lightweightsolidi of JustinII are known as well as one set of


Justin II and Tiberius II Constantine.19Of the eight light weight
series coins of Tiberius Constantine alone which were studied only
two were struckfromthe same pair of dies.20Eleven more sets of dies
of this series are known forthe reignof Maurice Tiberius. During the
reign of Phocas seven coins were struck fromthree sets of dies, and
the other seven coins showed no die identities.21Thus there were ten
separate die impressionsforthe obverse and ten forthe reverseforthe
reign of Phocas. Heraclius sole reignis representedby two more sets
of dies. But the joint reign of Heraclius and Heraclius Constantine
presented only thirty-twoauthentic solidi that could be studied
accurately, and three of these were too multilated for die analysis.
Twenty-sevenseparate obverses were recognizable as were twentyfourreverses.22There were fivespecimens of the three emperortype
that mightbe studied, and fromthese there was one die identity of
the reverse.23Eight sets of dies of Constans II mightbe distinguished
because fourof the solidi of that Emperor were evidentlystruckfrom
two sets of dies.24Two sets of dies of Constans II, Constantine IV
Pogonatus, Heraclius and Tiberius, and two more sets of Constantine
IV Pogonatus, Heraclius and Tiberius complete the series. Thus 123
obverse dies and 118 reverse dies, excluding those too mutilated for
19The die identity
was:
Coinsnos. 58 59
I
I
20The die identity
was:

Coinsnos. 81 86
I
I
21The die identities
:
werewas follows

i
i
Coinsnos. 106 107 108 109 no 112 113
I
I
I
I
I
I
I
22The die identities
wereas follows
:
I
I
I
I
Coinsnos. 118 119 121 122 133 134 148 149
I
I
lili
!
J
23The die identity
was:
i
i
Coinsnos. 162 163
24The die identities
wereas follows:
I

Coinsnos.166 167 170 171


I
I
I
I

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The Coins

65

study,can be set as a miniumfigure.The obverse dies can be omitted


fromfurthercalculation because as was shown in the case of Coin
no. 79 the same obverse mightbe used forthe normal solidi and for
the lightweightseries. Light weightsolidi,however,in the lightofthe
118 separate reverse dies known, cannot have been too rare. Even if
the six reverse BOiK dies are excluded there still remain hi dies of
authentic light weight solidi which may be studied.
It is also obvious that these lightweightsolidi must have been well
known to the barbarians. Most of the barbaric imitations fromthe
West are imitations of the earlier phase of this coinage while the
hoards from the Ukraine are sufficientto demonstrate that in the
seventh century at least, light weight solidi were moving up the
great eastern European rivers. Two sets of die impressions of the
barbarous imitations of light weight solidi of Justinian are known.
Six more for the reign of Justin II with still another for the joint
reigns of Heraclius and Heraclius Constantine prove this beyond
question. The meaning of the exergual mark was not clearly understood, but it was associated among the barbarians with light weight
currencyas shown by the weights of the imitations.25There can be
no doubt of the western origin of these imitations for the characteristic features of such coinage are plainly visible. The authentic
Byzantine light weight solidi, however, were struck chieflyin the
East. Solidi of such undoubted eastern originwith a flat fabric such
as those at the end of the series must be compared with Coin no. 22
which shows westernstyle. This is a point of some importancewhich
will be recalled when a solution to the riddle of these solidi is given in
the last chapter.
Still one furtherfactorregardingthese coins remains to be treated.
The metalliccontentor alloy ofpreciousmetal coinage is ofimportance
at least equal to the weight. There is no question but that changes in
the weight of coins of such widespread distribution as the solidus
would be detected veryrapidly as the coin changed hands. This is not
as true of the alloy particularlyamong the westernbarbarians. The
26Coin no. 32 (OFX+X) = 3.98 grammes
(clipped); Coin no. 33 (O&XT)
= 3-95 grammes;Coin no. 72 (CXNXU) = 3.99 grammes;Coin no. 73
(COX+X-*) = 4.070 grammes;Coin no. 74 (COMX+X:*) = 3.992 grammes;
Coin no. 75 (CONX+) = 3.885 grammes;Coin no. 78 (CX+X-^) = 4.05
grammes;Coinno. 159 (XVOX) = 4.002grammes.
5

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66

Light Weight Solidi

Byzantine government by use of the formula CONOB on its gold


coinage had indicated "gold of the standard or quality of Constantinople." Jungfleisch
suggestedthat the imperialgovernment,however,
carats of purity,and though
also issued gold at less than twenty-four
he gives no series of analyses to support that contentionhe proposes
the followingrelationshipbetween the exergual marks and the gold
content.
EXERGUALMARK

CARATSOF GOLD

CONOB+*
23%
CONOB+
23%
of one percent of copper)
CONOBA (Vo**1
23V4
23
CONOB
2226
OBXX '
BOXX J
In the time of Valentinian I the letters OB were applied to solidi
to indicate that theywere made of refinedgold. It was also duringthe
reignof Valentinian that the firstof a series of laws requiredthat gold
paymentsto the imperialtreasurybe reduced to bullion and tested for
purity as a result of the numerous forgeriesof solidi that were of
improperalloy.27There also seems to have been an officialknown as
the Comesauri in the West whose duty it was to certifythat the gold
was of the proper degree of fineness.28
26Marcel Jungfleisch,
"Conjecturesau subjet de certaineslettresisolesse
sur les solidi byzantinesdu VIIe sicle," Bulletinde l'Institut
rencontrent
adds the perceiving
y XXXI
(1948-49),pp. 118-119. Jungfleisch
d'Egypte
"
atteints
.
comment,Dans la pratique,des titresaussi levstaientrarements
En gnral
(etmemedavantage)
yla pierredetouche
indiqueau moinsundemi-carat
depuret
del'orn'tant
. Les degrs
endessousdu chiffre
plusstrictement
thorique
auraitaboutien fait masquerun
de cetteechellecomplique
observs
, l'adoption
du StandardCONOB; les picesdu plus bas titreauraientt
abaissement
d'untexte
? Les analysesetla rencontre
l'exportation
destines
fortuite
pourraient
cesquestions
seulestrancher
27C. Th.,XII, 6, 12; 6, 13; 7, 3, all of366/7a.d. See ChapterI, note22.
28Notitiadignitatum
is not
occidentalis,
X, 6 (ed. Seeck,p. 148). This official
but some gold bars from
mentionedin the Notitiadignitatum
orientalis,
E. Babelon,Traitdesmonnaies
Sirmiumare markedLVCIANVS'OBR-I-SIG.
etromaines(Paris,1901),I, pt. I, col. 883. SomelaterRomanannogrecques
obriciacaand comitia
tationsto Probusthe Grammarian
speakofthecornicia
Latini, ed. G. H. T. Keil (Leipzig,1857-74),IV, p. 305.
obridiaca
. Grammatici

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The Coins

67

Thus the literary evidence that the Byzantine governmenttook


cognizance of solidi of less than the proper alloy is decisive. But
imitationsof gold could also be produced that were difficultto detect.
Procopiusspeaks of the bronze (xcxk)equestrian statue of Justinian
in the Augusteum at Constantinople and says that this brass was
softerin color than pure gold and was valued not much below an
equivalent weightofsilver.29It was probablybronze ofthis sortwhich
was used in the production of counterfeitssuch as those of gilded
copper (aereum deauratum) with which Clovis bribed the leudes of
Ragnacher.30The fraudwas only discovered sometimelater, afterthe
damage had already been done. Nor is this the only example of such
a fraud perpetrated upon supposedly intelligentpeople during the
early years of the Byzantine Empire. In a later passage Gregoryof
Tours tells of the Saxons paying many thousand pieces of gold to
King Guntram for the privilege of crossing the Rhone. Having
crossed the Rhone, the Saxons came into Auvergnein the springtime,
and there they produced, instead of gold, stamped bars of bronze
(regulaeaeris incisas <proauro). The people who saw these bars did
not doubt that they were tested and proven gold because of the fine
color that had been given to the metal by some clever process. Many
personswere trickedby this device and gave theirgood moneyforthe
bronze and were reduced to poverty.31This bronze is veryreminiscent
of the equestrian statue of Justinian.
The fact that the Dortmund hoard contained pale colored coins of
what was apparently bad alloy confirmsthat such poor coinage
Also see H. Willers,"RmischeSilberbarren
mit Stempeln,"Numismatische
nebst
Zeitschrift
yXXX (1898),pp. 228ff.;and "Nochmalsdie Silberbarren
COMOB," Numismatische
Zeitschrift
, XXXI (1899), pp. 35ff.; A. Evans,
"Notes on Coinageand Currency
in Roman BritainfromValentinianI to
ConstantineIII," NumismaticChronicle,
Series 4, XV (1915), pp. 490ff.;
F. Kenner,"RmischeGoldbarren
mitStempeln,"Numismatische
Zeitschrift9
XX (1888),pp. 19ff.The literature
on themeaningofOB is quite extensive.
29Procopius,De Aedificiis,
I, ii, 4 (ed. Teubner,III, pt. II, pp. 1718i). Cf.
Histoirede la monnaieromaine
Mommsen,
, trans.Duc. de Blacas (Paris,1873)
III, p. 47, notei.
80Gregoryof Tours,HistoriaF rancor
umy II, 42 (MGH.yScriptores
rerum
fromthepooralloycoins
I, p. 105).Theseare quitedifferent
merowingicarumy
oftheDortmundhoard.
81Ibid.yIV, 42 (MGH., Scriptores
rerummerowingicarumy
I, p. 177). He uses
thewordsaurumprobatum
in thecourseofthisnarrative.
5*

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68

Light Weight Solidi

passed in the West. Plated coins were known to have been struck in
the names of several rulers of the later fourthcentury.82Such coins
were most probably forgeriesbecause the debasement of gold was
specificallyprohibited by the Emperor Tacitus, and proscriptions
against it are contained in the Digest.3*Many decrees referto the
counterfeitingof solidi, and several of these use the phrase adulterina
nomismataor the like.84Clearly it was against the interests of the
Byzantine state to have such debased solidi circulate within the
32Mommsen,Histoirede la monnaieromaine
, trans. Duc. de Blacas, III,
pp. 67-8, and especiallyp. 68, notes2 and 3, pointsout thatsuchcoinsare
knownforValentiniantheYounger,forGratian(A. von Rauch,"Ueberdie
Ein Beitragzu den
unddeninnernWerthderselben.
Silbermnzen
rmischen
der numismatischen
lternmetrologischen
Mittheilungen
Untersuchungen/'
in Berlin, III (1857),p. 288),and forArcadius.The last coinhas a
Gesellschaft
whichis nowlost,contained
coreofsilver.TheCleeve'shoard(fourth
century),
somegildedcoppercoins.Cf.B. H. St. J. O'Neil,"The CleevePriorHoardof
Chronicle
1811," Numismatic
, Series5, XVI (1936),pp. 314-316,on thishoard.
in thesecondaryliterature,
e.g.,
Manypooralloycoinshave beenmentioned
Coins in theBritish
WarwickW. Wroth,CatalogueoftheImperialByzantine
Museum
, JustinI, nos. 6 and 10.
33Vopiscus,Tacitus, IX, in theScriptores
. Digest, 48, 13, 1,
HistoriaeAugustae
to above. It
whichdeals withtheLex Iulia Peculatusis thepassagereferred
is equivalentto Basilika, LX, 45, 2. Cf.Babelon,Traitdesmonnaies
grecques
etromaines
, I, pt. I, cols. 536-7,whereC. Th., XII, 6, 12; 7, 13; and 13, 4,
are cited.
34C. Th., IX, 21, i (ed. Mommsenand Meyer,I, pt. II, p. 471). This law is
on thebasisofthevariantsin C. Th.,
actuallydatedin 319a.D., butMommsen
II, 19, i, whichis apparently
joinedto it,datesit as of323/5a.d. C. Th.,IX,
and Meyer,I, pt. II, p. 472), and C. Th.,IX, 21, 5 (ed.
21, 3 (ed. Mommsen
Mommsenand Meyer,I, pt. II, p. 473), also referto this.These last two
passagemustreferto goldbecausetheyare includedin C. Just.,IX, 24, 2,
forcounterfeiting
whichis datedin 326.Theselawssetforththepunishments
andMeyer,I, pt. II, pp. 474-5),
debasedsolidi.C. Th.,IX, 22,1 (ed.Mommsen
debasedsolidiforgoodonesincommercial
thepenaltyforsubstituting
setsforth
This law is dated in 317 a.D., but thisshouldbe correctedto
transactions.
Diocletiansund
ad loc.',and O. Seeck,"Die Mnzpolitik
343 a.d. Mommsen,
XVII (1890),p. 51,note3. By
seinerNachfolger/'
Zeitschrift
frNumismatik,
Epistolae,X, 2 (MGH.,
367a.d. C. Th.,XII, 6, 13,was issued.Cf.Symmachus,
nulloiam
montas
:
larga
purgatio,
decoquit
nequitiam
AA., VI, p. 278) "flandae
inclinei."The late fifth
trutinam
auri incremento
century
spectator
provincialis
goldcoinedintheemperor's
SyrianLaw Bookalso givesa penaltyforimitating
ed. Bruns
Rechtsbuch
aus demfnften
Jahrhundert,
image.Syrisch-rmisches
and Sachau (Leipzig,1880),R. II, 147 (Vol. I, p. 129).Thisis dated457/74?
whichis containedin
the commonlaw againstcounterfeiting
It is, however,
almostall codes.

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The Coins

69

empire,but there can be no question but that they did circulate in


the West. In 458 A.D. the Emperor Majorian issued a Novella which
has already been cited in connectionwith the work done by Monneret
De Villard and Blanchet: Praetera nullus solidm integriponderis
calumniosae improbacionesobtenturecusetexactor, exceptoeo Gallico,
cuius aurum minore aestimatione taxatur; omnia concussionum
removeaturoccasion
This passage can only be taken as referringto Gallic solidi of full
weight (1integriponderis) which were of less value because of poor
alloy. Solidi which were not of full weight did not fall under the
provisionsofthis law, and the phrase cuius aurumminoreaestimatione
taxaturmust be taken as referringto the alloy.36Solidi of improper
gold alloy were circulatingin Gaul in sufficientquantity so that the
imperial governmenttook cognizance of the fact in its laws. This is
undeniable.
In addition to the passages already cited and the debased solidi
whichwere mentioned,a barbarian law code contains a passage which
is most easily interpretedas referringto such debased gold coinage.
The BurgundianCode includes such a passage whichhas excited much
comment: De monetissolidorum[ iubemus] custodire
, ut omne aurum,
, accipiaturpraeterquattuortantummontas, hoc
quodcumquepensaverit
est: Valentiani (Valentiniani in another MS.) Genavensis prioris et
Goticiqui a temporeAlarici regisadaerati suntet Ardaricianos. Quod si
35Nov.Maioriani,VII, i, 14 (ed. Mommsenand
Meyer,CodexTheodosianus,
MGH., Epistolae
III, p. 171).Ewald and Hartmann,
, I, p. 191; Prou,Catalogue
des monnaiesfranaisesde la Bibliothque
Nationale
. Les Monnaiesmrovingiennes
(Paris,1892),p. XVI; E. Babelon,"La Siliqueromaine,le sou et le
denierde la loi des FrancsSaliens,"JournaldesSavants, Fvrier1901,p. 120,
notei, as wellas Monneret
De Villard,as shownin thefirstchapter,believe
thatthisNovellareferred
to a lighterweightofcoinage.H. Brunner,
Deutsche
Rechtsgeschichte
(2ndedition:Leipzig,1906),I, p. 312,note3, says,"Die Vorsichnurauf eineeinzelne
Artgallischer
schrift
Majoriansvon458 .... bezieht
Solidi unbekannter
Provenienz
und dannkannzur Erklrung
deraltsalischen
umso weniger
werden
der
Goldmnzen
Mnzreform
, als dieltesten
herangezogen
Zeitvollwichtig
str."This
much
frnkischen
ausgeprgt
was,ofcourse,written
earlierthanthearticleby Blanchet.
36AdrienBlanchet,"Les ((sous
Le MoyenAge,2esrie,
Gaulois))du Ve sicle/1
XIV (1910),pp. 45-48,interpreted
thisNovellaas referring
to coinssuchas
thepale goldsolidifoundin the Dortmundhoard.Cf.WilhelmKubitschek,
"Zum Goldfundvon Dortmund/'Numismatische
neue Folge III
Zeitschrifty
(1910),pp. 56-61. See ChapterI, note 18.

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70

Light Weight Solidi

quicumque praeter istas quattuor montas aurum pensantem non


acceperit,id quod venderevolebat,non acceptoprettoperdati1
The date of this passage has been a matter of some dispute among
the various editors,but it is sufficientfor our purposes to point out
that it cannot be later than 534 A.D., which year witnessed the
extinction of the independent Burgundian kingdom. De Salis has
dated it in the firstyears of Godomarus, the last Burgundian king,
who ascended the throne in 524 A.D.88This passage, however, says
that all solidi regardless of weight are to be accepted except four
groups which are specificallyexcluded. The fourgroups of solidi excluded are clearlynot omittedfromthe law by reason ofweightbut for
some other cause. This othercause can onlybe the purityofthe metal.
The firstclass of such solidi barred from usage are those called
Valentiani or Valentiniani, depending upon the reading. Here it
should be recalled that it was during the reign of Valentinian I, in
366/7A.D., that it was ordered by imperial decree that all solidi
submitted to the Fiscus be melted down so that the metal could be
tested for purity. The number of so-called adulterated coins in
circulation required drastic measures. At the same time, in the
Notitia dignitatumoccidentals, the Comes auri was recorded as an
officialof the Empire in the West. Imperial solidi began to be marked
OB to signifythe purity of the metal. Indeed the coins themselves
bear out the literaryevidence. In the Dortmund hoard certain pale
gold imitations of Byzantine solidi occur.39These coins of pale gold,
87Leges Burgundionum,
Constitutiones
XXI, 7 (ed. de Salis,
Extravagantes,
MGH.yLeges, SectioI, II, pt. I, pp. 120-1).Bluhmedid an earliereditionin
"Le Monthe foliosection(MGH., Legum, III, p. 576). P. Le Gentilhomme,
nayageet la circulationmontairedans les royaumesbarbaresen occident
, 5e srie,VI (1942),p. 107,note 28,
(Ve-VIIIe sicle),"Revusnumismatique
de recevoir
quece texteordonne
saysofthispassage,"Il n'a jamaistremarqu
les sous d'oryquel que puisseen trele poids, c'est--dire
qu'il s'agissede sous
lessous Anastasede3 gr.80 etde3 gr.90
de24 siliquesou desousrduits
, comme
de Chinon ctde sous pesantle plus souvent
dans la trouvaille
qui figurent
4 gr-40."
38MGH.yLeges, SectioI, II, pt. I, p. 119,note5. Otherauthorities,
including
Bluhmein hisedition,date it in thereignofGundobad.Cf.RichardSchrder,
derdeutschen
Lehrbuch
(6thed.: rev.by E. Frh.v. Knssberg:
Rechtsgeschichte
I,
DeutscheRechtsgeschichte,
Berlin + Leipzig,1922),pp. 256-257;Brunner,
p. 504.
39K. Regling,Der Dortmunder
Goldmnzen
Fundrmischer
1908),
(Dortmund,
p. 20,andnos.30,134,135,188,193-196,235,and 272,citedbyBlanchet,"Les

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The Coins

71

however,have a weightnotbelow 4.30 grammesand thusfallwithinthe


range of the solidus. They occur most numerouslystruckin the names
of Valentinian I and Valens, but are also known bearing the name of
Magnentius and Valentinian II. They are clearly barbaric imitations
of the coins of those rulers. The mint marks are those of Lyons and
Treves. Dortmund, where they were found,is not very far fromthe
Rhine, so that it is likely that these strangepieces could have passed
up and down the Rhine Valley and across the Rhine into the fourth
century Empire and even into the later Burgundian realm to be
memorializedin the manner that has been set forth.
These pieces are clearly not the products of an officialmint of the
Empire. The style is much inferiorto the imperial coinage of the
period. In at least one instance the obverse die of a solidus, bearing
the name of Valentinian, mint marked Lugdunum was used to strike
another imitation with a reverse borrowed fromthe types struck at
Thessalonica. One solidus of Gratian is marked TRPS in the exergue.
This mintmark indicates pure silverof the Treveran mintand cannot
possible have been an errorof an officialmoneyer.40Blanchet would
attribute these pale gold solidi to the Germanic peoples across the
Rhine, most probably the Alemanni. There is no evidence to support
this aside fromthe site of the Dortmund hoard which is not in itself
conclusive. It might well be that the coins are the result of native
Gallo-Roman forgers.
The coins of Valentinian I (364-375 A.D.) are in no sense underweight as compared with solidi of other regions, and it seems fairly
certain that the explanation given above is the correct one. In the
((sousGaulois))duVe sicle,"Le MoyenAge, 2esrie,XIV (1910),p. 46,note3.
Blanchetin a ratherfulldiscussionofthesesolidinevermentions
thispassage
in the Burgundian
Code.Also see P. Le Gentilhomme,
"Le Monnayageet la
circulationmontairedans les royaumesbarbaresen occident(Ve-VIIIe
, 5e srie,VII (1943),p. 58. Anotherpale gold
sicle),"Revuenumismatique
imitationsolidusof ValentinianI weighing4.00 grammeswas foundin the
Ellerbeckhoard,fourteen
kilometers
east ofOsnabrck.K. Kennepohl,"Der
Ellerbecker
BltterfrMnzfreunde,
Goldfund,"
LXVIII, Nr. 6 (June1933),
p. 659,no. 24, Pl. 395,no. 24.
40This entiredescription
is based on Blanchet,"Les ((sous Gaulois))du Ve
sicle,"Le MoyenAge, 2e srie,XIV (1910),pp. 46-47. The coin marked
TRPS is in Regling,Der Dortmunder
Fund rmischer
Goldmnzen
, p. 19,
and no. 235.

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72

Light Weight Solidi

Dortmund hoard 112 solidi of this Emperor have a total weight of


494.73 grammes,and, therefore,an average weight of 4.42 grammes.
In the Weber Collection five solidi (nos. 2719, 2722, 2724, 2726, and
2729) have weights of 4.47, 4.46, 4.48, 4.40, and 4.41 grammes
respectively.41In the case of Valens (364-378 A.D.) forty-sevensolidi
in the Dortmund hoard, fourof which are barbarian pale gold coins,
have a total weight of 207.84 grammes and, therefore,an average
weightof 4.42 grammes.The Weber Collection (nos. 2732, 2737,2739,
and 2743) solidi have weights of 4.46, 4.48, 4.44, and 4.45 grammes
respectively.42In the case of Valentinian II (375-392 A.D.) forty-four
solidi of the Dortmund hoard have a total weight of 195.35 grammes
and an average weight of 4.44 grammes. The Weber Collection (nos.
2760, 2761, 2763, and 2767) solidi weigh 4.46, 4.30, 4.50, and 4.53
grammes respectively.48The Dortmund hoard is of no use for the
weights of the solidi of Valentinian III (425-455 A.D.). The Weber
Collection solidi (nos. 2823, and 2826) have weights of 4.40 and 4.48
grammes.A hoard of fourthand fifthcenturysolidi foundnear Rome
contained seven coins of Valentinian III of which the maximum
weight was 4.51 grammes and the average weight 4.38 grammes.44
41Luschinvon Ebengreuth,
der
"Der DenarderLex Salica/' Sitzungsberichte
in Wien, Phil.-hist.Klasse,CLXIII
derWissenschaften
Kaiserlichen
Akademie
(1910), Abh. 4, p. 65. In additionWeberColl. no. 2725 is a tremissisof
to thenormalweightforthisperiod.
whichcorresponds
1.65grammes
42LuschinvonEbengreuth,
op,cit., p. 65. In additiontwocoinsoftheWeber
Collection(nos. 2735 and 2740) have weightsof 1.88 and 1.66 grammes
whilethesecondhas the
The firstis probablya heavytremissis
respectively.
at thattime.The pale goldcoinsofthe
properweightforthatdenomination
Dortmundhoardare numbers193-196withweightsof 4.55,4.51,4.36,and
4.31 grammes
respectively.
43Luschinvon Ebengreuth,loc, cit. A tremissisin the Weber Collection
Thisis thecorrectweightforsucha
(no. 2765)has a weightof 1.48grammes.
coin.Cf.Luschinvon Ebengreuth,
op,cit,,pp. 72-3.
44Luschinvon Ebengreuth,
gold
op, cit,,p. 68. WeberCollectionfractional
Theseare normal
pieces (nos. 2825 and 2827)weigh2.06 and 1.43 grammes.
The hoardfromRome is reportedby
weightsforthe semissisand tremissis.
GiacomoBoni,"Nuovescopertenellacitte nelsuburbio/'Notiziedegliscavi
di antichit
, 1899,pp. 327fi.and esp. p. 330. This hoardcontained397 coins
of
Thetheoretical
witha totalweightof1.778kilograms.
weightofthisnumber
to
The deviationfromthelegalweightis insufficient
coinsis 1.806kilograms.
"Le Monnayageet
ofthe coins.P. Le Gentilhomme,
indicateany lightening
la circulationmontairedans les royaumesbarbaresen occident(Ve-VIIIe
, 5e srie,VI (1942),p. 25, places mostof the
sicle),"Revuenumismatique

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The Coins

73

Other suggestionshave been made in explanation of the passage


cited from the Burgundian Code. Thus, for example, Keary would
propose that Valentiani is to be taken as indicative of coins struckin
the town of Valence.45This passage does mentionthose coins known
as Genavensisprioris,but this is not indicative of the fact that the
other coins mentioned are also described by the mint. Indeed those
called Goticiquite obviously are not thus denominated. Furthermore,
the Frankish mint of Valence was not opened before the late sixth
century, and the mint of that name in Spain was opened by the
VisigothicrulersSuinthila (621-631 A.D.), Chintila (636-640 A.D.), and
Egica (687-700 A.D.), all ofwhom lived long afterthe promulgationof
thislaw.46Only the explanation suggestedabove seems to fitthe facts.
The second group of solidi, denominated as Genavensis prioris,
present a seeminglyinsoluble problem. None of the variants in the
manuscriptsare of any aid save forthe fact that the word priorismay
not have occurred in the original text. This word prioris has been
taken by Bluhme to signifya group of coins which were supposedly
struckby Godegiselus,thebrotherofGundobad.47But the Burgundian
coinage, as far as can be determined,began only duringthe reign of
Gundobad which,forthe most part, followsthat of Godegiselus. This
explanationis clearlyunsatisfactory.If the Burgundiancoinage is post
imitations
of solidiof ValentinianIII in the secondhalfofthe fifth
century
becausetheyare imitations
ofa typewhichBabelonbelievedcommemorated
thedefeatofAttilaat Chlonsin 451 and hisretreatfromItaly in 452.
45C. F. Keary, The Coinagesof Western
EuropefromtheFall oftheWestern
underCharlestheGreat(London,
EmpireunderHonoriustoits Reconstruction
des Geld-und Mnz1879),p. 67. Cf.A. Soetbeer,"Beitrgezur Geschichte
wesensin Deutschland/'
zurdeutschen
Geschichte
, I (1862),p. 286.
Forschungen
in hiseditionofthiscode,ad loc. De Salis,in his
Alsosee Bluhme'scomments
. LectioVALENTIedition,ad loc., says,"Suntsolidiin Valentiaurbesignati
NI ANI, quam A3 exhibet
, recipinon potest
, cum non traditum
, ab aliquo
sunt, montas
minoris
essesignt
as."
imperatorum,
qui hocnomine
appelati
pretii
46A. Engeland R. Serrure,Traitdenumismatique
du moyen
ge(Paris,1891),
mintofValentiawas locatedin theprovinceofTarraI P*53-The Visigothic
conensisand is modernValencia.The attempted
ofa Visigothic
identification
mintof Valencein the Dauphin(Dpt.Drome)restsuponforgeries.
George
C. Miles,The CoinageoftheVisigoths
ofSpain. LeovigildtoAchila, Hispanic
Numismatic
SeriesII (NewYork: The AmericanNumismaticSociety,1952),
Nos.1352-1357.
pp.89-91,and455-6.Cf.M.Prou.Les monnaies
mrovingiennes.
47Bluhmein MGH.fLegum, III, p. 576,ad loc.Cf.Soetbeer,
"BeitrgezurGeschichtedes Geld-und Mnzwesens
in Deutschland,"Forschungen
zur deutschenGeschichte
yI (1862),p. 288.

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74

Light Weight Solidi

500 A.D. in origin, then this passage can hardly refer to native
currency,and the word priorisshould be part of the text.48The only
explanation which might have some grain of truth in it is that of
Keary. That author suggests that in the payment of taxes in the
early Middle Ages the specie that was collected was oftenbroughtto
the local moneyer who minted it with the distinctive mark of the
town.49Possibly the town of Geneva was noted forthe poor alloy of
the coins struck there. This cannot be proved, and no Visigothic or
Roman coins of Geneva are known,but no other explanation will fit.
Some Genevan coins are attributed to the Frankish period which is
later.50The meaning in this case still remains uncertain.
The thirdgroup of solidi are the Gotici, qui a temporeAlarici regis
adaerati sunt. A letterof St. Avitus, of the year 509 A.D., supports the
contentionthat the passage refersto adulterated or debased coinage
and specificallymentions the Gothic king, who must be Alaric II,
who had very recentlyadulterated the coinage.61
The last of those solidi which are unacceptable are those called
Ardariciani. This single word has excited more comment than any
other in the entire decree. Bluhme would suggest that the coins of
48Engeland Serrure,
Traitdenumismatique
no
dumoyen
ge,I, p. 37,mention
coinsof Godegiselus.They maintainthat the Burgundiancoinagebegan in
Cf.P. Le Gentilhomme,
500 a.D., and thatwas thelast yearof Godegiselus.
"Le Monnayageet la circulationmontairedans les royaumesbarbaresen
occident(Ve-VIIIesicle),"Revuenumismatique
, 5esrie,VII (1943),pp.92-95.
49C. F. Keary,The Coinagesof Western
EuropefromtheFall of theWestern
underCharlestheGreat
, pp. 67-8.
EmpireunderHonoriustoIts Reconstruction
60Engeland Serrure,Traitde numismatique
du moyenge, I, pp. 50ff.Prou,
Les Monnaiesmrovingiennes,
nos. 1329(1.31grammes);1330(1.17grammes);
1331(1.34grammes);1332(1.25grammes);1333(1.19grammes).
61St. Avitus,Epistolae
, LXXXVII (MGH.,AA., VI, p. 96). "Nec quidemtalis
manus
electri,
hausi,in sanctoac sincerssimo
impollutae
qualenuper,utegomet
auri nondumfornace
cui corruptam
nitoresordebat,
potiusquam confectam
rexGetarum
: velillamcerte,quamnuperrime
decocticreder
es inessemixturam
mandaverat."
iumfirmantem
ruinaemonetis
secuturae
pulicisadulter
praesagam
Manueldenumismatique
A. BlanchetandA. Dieudonn,
franaise(Paris,1912),
VII, 6, 5 (MGH.,Leges,SectioI, I, p. 311),
I, p. 186,citeLegesWisigothorum,
thispassagefromthelettersof St. Avitus.Actuallyit is merely
as supporting
a requirement
that solidi offullweightand good gold be acceptedby all.
Cf. Leges Wisigothorum
, VII, 6, 2, whichprohibitsadulteration.Alaric II
ruled at Toulousebetween484 and 507 a.d. Cf. WilhelmReinhart,"Die
Reiches von Toledo," DeutschesJahrbuchfr
Mnzendes Westgothischen
III-IV (1940-41),pp. 74-84.
Numismatik,

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The Coins

75

Aduris or Aturis,the town in which the Breviaryof Alaric was issued,


are meant.52A difficultyarises in this connection, however, for no
Visigothicmintbeginningwiththe letterA, let alone Aturisor Aduris,
whichis notlistedat all, occursbeforethereignofReccared (586-601) .53
A gold triens of the proper weight struck by the Frankish moneyer
Bautharius, which cannot be dated, does bear the mint mark
ATVRRE.This town of Aturre has been identifiedwith Aire in the
Dpartmentde Landes. This Dpartmentis in southwesternFrance
and mightwell come withinthe scope of the legislatorof this Burgundian constitution because of commercial connections. Still the
evidence is insufficientto permit of certainty.
Charles Lenormanthas proposed an emendation of the text so that
the last group of solidi would be called Armoricani.55Numismatists
have quite properlybeen wary of accepting such an emendation. The
coin on which Lenormant reads the monogramforArmoricanishould
most likely be expanded as Amalaric, the Visigothic King.56There
is no proof at all for the view that Armorica at this time issued
currencyin imitation of the imperial gold.57On the other hand it is
52Bluhmein MGH., Legum,III, p. 576, ad loc. Cf. de Salis, MGH., Leges,
SectioI, II, pt. I, ad loc., whomisinterprets
thepassagefromSt. Avitusand
in eo reprehendit
says,"AlaricumregemVisigothorum
[[Avitusepiscopus
], quod
" He
montas
inferioris
ponderis
signandascurassit
suggeststhatAtalaricianosbe usedas an emendation.
CoinsofAthalarictheOstrogoth
wouldthen
be involved,
butthereis no evidenceto suggestthatAthalaricissuedanycoins
ofpale gold.
53See GeorgeC. Miles,TheCoinageoftheVisigoths
toAchila,
ofSpain.Leovigild
Traitde numismatique
du moyen
p. 72. Cf.Engeland Serrure,
ge, I, pp. 5off.
54Thiscoinis listedas ofa mintofan unidentified
locationbyProu,Les Monnaiesmrovingiennes
, no. 2494,and weighs1.30grammes.
Engeland Serrure,
Traitdenumismatique
dumoyen
thetownas Aire.
ge,I, p. 121,haveidentified
65CharlesLenormant,
"Lettres M. de Saulcysurles plusanciensmonuments
de la srie mrovingiennes
numismatiques
V," Revuenumismatique
, XIV
17-39.
(1849),
pp.
56Keary,TheCoinagesofWestern
EuropefromtheFall oftheWestern
Empire
underHonoriustoIts Reconstruction
underCharlestheGreat
, p. 67, and J. de
Ptigny,"Monnoyagede la Gaule au milieudu VIe sicle de 536 560/'
Revuenumismatique
, XVII (1852),pp. 130-134,argue againstLenormant.
Also see WilhelmReinhart,"Die Mnzendes Westgothischen
Reichesvon
Toledo/'DeutschesJahrbuch
frNumismatik
, III-IV (1940-41),pp. 74-84,
whodiscussedtheentireproblemoftheVisigothic
coinagepriorto Leovigild.
in DeutschSoetbeer,"Beitrgezur Geschichtedes Geld-und Mnzwesens
zurdeutschen
Geschichte
view.
land/'Forschungen
, I, p. 288,acceptsLenormant's
67Blanchetand Dieudonn,Manueldenumismatique
, I, p. 185.
franaise

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76

Light Weight Solidi

perfectlyconceivable that if an emendation were made it should be


the name of some Germanic king. Valesius has suggested a king of
the Gepidae, but this is most unlikelyin view of the scant knowledge
concerningthat relativelyminortribe of which we have no definitely
identifiablecurrency. The suggestion of Alaricanos, i.e., Alaric II,
is militated against by the fact that his coins are included in an
earliergroup.68Coins ofAmalaric,theVisigoth,who was approximately
contemporarywith this constitution,however, are known, and it
would seem possible to emend the text to include his name. There is
indeed a letterwrittenby Cassiodorus in which the moneyersof Spain
are accused of having made private profitsout of the coinage even
though they were originallyin the service of the state.69This letter
has been dated by the editors to the period 523-526 a.D., and it may
be that coins of bad alloy were issued at that time. The difficulty
lies
in the fact that insufficientevidence regardingthe nature of some of
the barbaric imitationsis available. Valid results cannot be expected
until a sufficientquantity of analyses of the barbarian imitative gold
coinages is published.
In the light of this situation in the West the conclusion drawn by
Jungfleischand the analyses ofthe lightweightsolidi must be judged.
Mr. Philip Griersonvery kindly has furnishedthe results of specific
gravity analyses of the light weight solidi in his collection:
1. Coin no. 8, in exergue OBXX, struck for Justinian
Weight in Air Weight in Water Density Fineness Carats
21
87%
17.5
3.7184 grammes 3.5020 grammes
2. Coin no. 22, in exergue ODXX, struck for Justinian
Carats
Weight in Air Weight in Water Density Fineness
20.560
86%
3.5843 grammes 3.3784 grammes
17.4
3. Coin no. 93, in exergue OB+*, struck forMaurice Tiberius
Weight in Water Density Fineness Carats
Weight in Air
21
88%
17.6
4.0617 grammes 3.8306 grammes
58Ed. de Salis, LegesBurgundionum
(MGH.,Leges,SectioI, II, pt. I), ad loc.
and authors.
liststhevarioussuggestions
68Cassiodorus,Variarum,
autem
V, 39 (MGH.,AA., XII, p. 165): "Monetartus
didicimus
in
constat
in
usum
inventos,
privatorum
publicum
quos specialiter
sublataproviriumqualitatefunctiotransisse
Qua praesumptione
compendium.
This letteris addressedto Ampelius,virillustris,
nibuspublicisapplicentur."
60Thiscoinis slightly
and Liverio,virspectabilis.
clipped.

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The Coins

77

4. Coin no. 129, in exergue OB+*, struckforHeraclius and Heraclius


Constantine
Carats
Weight in Air Weight in Water Density Fineness
21
4.0936 grammes 3.8619 grammes
17.7
88-5%
in
for
Conno.
Constans
Coin
struck
II,
5.
176,
exergue OBXX,
stantine IV Pogonatus, Heraclius and Tiberius
Weight in Air Weight in Water Density Fineness Carats
21
3.6613 grammes 3.4493 grammes
17.7
88.5%
These are the only fivecoins of the lightweightsolidi that have been
analyzed, but because of the remarkable agreementin the results it
would appear to be a safe conclusion that the metallic content of
these coins as a whole is only approximatelyeighty-eightpercentfine.
This would have the effectof furtherloweringthe intrinsicvalue of
these coins though it is not distinguishable to the naked eye. The
debased coins mentionedin the various passages cited may well have
been of the same variety in that they were not readily detected by
the naked eye and were thereforereferredto as entire groups.
Unfortunatelynumismatistshave not made many analyses of gold
imitationsof imperialcoins. Chemical or spectroscopicanalysis would
necessitate damage to the coin. The specificgravitytechnique which
is surprisinglyaccurate forbinary alloys of gold requires expertness.
It can yield very fine results, but a good deal of patience and experience is a prerequisite.For objects of high gold content it can be
considered reliable.61Newer methods involvingthe use of X-rays are
also available, but, of course,this requiresthe services of a technician.
The published resultsof analyses of Byzantine gold duringthe period
in question, on the basis of all of the techniques, would seem to
indicate finenessgenerally above ninety-fivepercent. This makes it
quite obvious that the lightweightsolidi were deliberatelydebased to
a limited degree so that detection was extremely difficult,if not
virtuallyimpossible,in the early mediaeval world.
61See Earl R. Caley,"Validityof the SpecificGravityMethodforthe Determination
of the Finenessof Gold Objects/1The OhioJournalof Science
,
XLIX, No. 2 (March1949),pp. 73-82; Earl R. Caley,"EstimationofCompo'
'
sitionof AncientMetalObjects.Utilityof SpecificGravityMeasurements
,
Analytical
, XXIV (April1952),pp. 676-681.Caleygivessomewhat
Chemistry
different
valuesforthefineness
forthesedensities.

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FINDS, HOARDS AND MINTS


Coins are essentially articles of commerce, and the area within
which they circulate is vital informationto any understanding of
their significanceforhistorical research. This area can be delineated
in the case of ancient coins on the basis of the locations of stray finds
and hoards as well as imitative copies. The area within which
imitations of a specificseries are known to have been manufactured
must have been in commercial contact with the locality which
produced the originalpieces. The lightweightsolidi provide a case in
point of particular importance.
A table of findsof light weight solidi and imitations of that series
presents some rather startlingfeatures. The imitative pieces can be
considered together with the authentic coins for the moment. (See
pages 80-81.)
Actually the hoards fromthe Dnieper Delta and Pereschtschepino
contained coins of both Constans II and the three emperor type of
Heraclius. Thus only twenty-three
separate localities are knownwhere
or
imitations
of
solidi
those solidi occur. In the overlight weight
whelmingmajority of the cases the findspot was clearly in an area
removed fromeffectiveRoman control.
The coins from Udine and Cividale were from funerarydeposits
found in Lombard graves in those areas which antedate the inauguration of the national coinage of the Lombards in 584/85A.D.1
They may, however, be treated together with the hoards from
Hoischhiigeland Munningen.The hoard foundat Hoischhgel on the
southern border of Carinthia in the neighborhood of the railroad
station of Thrl-Maglernis probably roughlycontemporarywith the
1 FriedrichStefan,"Der Mnzfund
um 570/71
von Maglern-Thrl
(vergraben
bis 584/85)und die Frage derreduzierten
Solidi,"Numismatische
Zeitschrift
,
LXX (1937),PP-56-58.Cf. JoachimWerner,
austrasische
GrabMnzdatierte
funde(Berlinand Leipzig: Walter de Gruyter& Co., 1935), p. 41 in ed.
Hans Zeiss,Germanische
der Vlkerwanderungszeit
Denkmler
, III, issuedby
the RmischGermanischeKommissiondes Archologischen
Institutsdes
DeutschenReiches,wherefurther
these
references
to publications
concerning
sitesare given.
78

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Finds , Hoards and Mints

79

two Lombard graves. A barbarian imitationof a solidus of JustinII,


which is the latest coin in the hoard, and the absence of any coins of
later Byzantine emperors or Lombard coins of the national variety
aids in the dating of the find. The most probable date is sometime
None of the coins had been used in the
between 570/71and 584/85.21
manufacture of jewellery, and it seems fairly obvious that it was
simply a hoard of circulatingmedium.3
At Munningen,near Nrdlingen,Bayrisch-Schwaben, a necropolis
of about fortygraves was discovered, and in the firstof the graves a
hoard of gold coins associated with a relatively long lance head, a
small knife and a simple oval buckle was recovered.4These latter
objects are of little aid in dating the funerarydeposit, and, as a
result, the coins are used for that purpose. Nine gold coins, eight of
which are of clearly barbaric origin, were recovered. A solidus of
Tiberius II Constantinewas the only authenticByzantine piece in the
hoard. Thus the hoard cannot have been buried prior to 578 A.D.
Numismatistshave maintained that some of the barbarian imitations
are even slightlylater in date, so that the burial must be placed in the
late sixth or very early seventh century, but the imitation of a
solidus of Justin II marked CONX+ is probably somewhat earlier
in date of manufacture.The composition of the deposit is such that
it, as well as that of Hoischhgel, probably representsthe currency
that was in use in that area during the late sixth and early seventh
centuries.
These four finds can serve as direct proof that the light weight
solidi were in circulation and were well enough known among the
barbarians at that early date to give rise to a series of imitations.At
2 On this hoard see FriedrichStefan,"Der Mnzfundvon Maglern-Thrl
(vergrabenum 570/71bis 584/85)und die Frage der reduziertenSolidi/'
Numismatische
Zeitschrift
, LXX (1937),pp. 43-63.
3 Ibid., p. 47. Stefangoes so faras to suggestthat the presenceof whathe
describesas Lombardimitationsof the Exarchateof Ravenna coinagesof
Justinianand JustinII as the latestcoinsin the hoardindicatesthat the
hoardwas notburiedas a resultofwar.Thisconclusion
doesnotseemto be a
necessaryone.
4 Werner,
Mnzdatierte
austrasische
, p. 89,liststhecontentsofthis
Grabfunde
hoardand givesthe references
to the literature
it. To his biblioregarding
graphyshouldbe addedthearticleofDr. JuliusCahn,"Ein Goldmnzenfund
des frhen7. Jahrhunderts
aus dem Grabfeldvon Munningen,"
Frankfurter
, neueFolgeII, No. 22 (Oct. 1931),pp. 325-328.
Mnzzeitung

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Light Weight Solidi

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Finds, Hoards and Mints

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82

Light Weight Solidi

least in the instances of the imitations fromCividale, Hoischhgel,


and Munningenthe barbarian imitationscannot be much later than
theirprototypes.This is probably true of the remainingimitationsof
lightweightsolidi of Justinianand JustinII. The surprisingnumber
of examples of the authentic light weight solidi and the number of
differentdies of these coins fromthose two reigns show quite conclusively that the issues of these solidi were not as small as had
previouslybeen supposed. The relative speed with which they were
imitated serves to strengthen the conclusion that these unusual
exergual marks were well known in the West even if they were not
completelyunderstood.
The next group of coins stems froma single large hoard which was
recentlyfoundin the neighborhoodof Hama in Syria. Unfortunately
the hoard fell into the hands of a dealer before it was scientifically
studied with the result that much of it was dispersed. When rubbings
were taken of the coins approximately 326 of them remained in the
possession of the dealer while about 150 pieces had been sold. The
original number of coins in the hoard thereforemust have been in
excess of 450 pieces and was probably about 475, but the fact that so
little is known about the find because it is unpublished makes it
difficultto assess its full significance.Until the hoard is studied and
the material made available only some fewobservations can be made
regardingmint attributions,but it is perhaps best to delay any such
discussion until a later point in this chapter when the entireproblem
can be treated.
The last two light weight solidi of Justin II which were found in
situ were discovered in Balkan sites. The firstof these pieces was in
the collection of Friedrich Stefan, who merely describes the circumstances under which it was unearthed as "Balkanfund unbekannten
Ortes."5Neitherthe contentsofthe hoard nor its exact location can be
discovered. The last piece was supposedly found at Sadowetz, in the
district of Plevna, in northern Bulgaria, and is presently in the
National Museum in Sofia.6This is probably the very same hoard as
6 Stefan,"Der Mnzfund
bis 584/85)
um570/71
vonMaglern-Thrl
(vergraben
unddie Frageder reduzierten
, LXX (i937)>
Zeitschrift
Solidi/'Numismatische
p. 63, No. 17.
6 Ibid.,p. 62,No. 16.

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Finds , Hoards and Mints

83

the one describedby Mosser as being discoveredin 1934 at Sadowetz.7


If so, it has not been published in final fashion, and all judgement
must rest upon the informationfurnishedby Mosser. It was a rather
large composite hoard containing fifty-fourgold pieces and fifty
bronzes extending from the reign of Justinian I through that of
Maurice Tiberius. Since therewere fiftybronzes presentit would have
been interestingto note which mints were representedin the hoard,
but underthe circumstancesthat is impossible. It is, however,certain
that a terminuspost quernfor the burial of this hoard is fixed in
582 A.D. by the presence of fivesolidi, one tremissisand some bronzes
of MauriceTiberius. Since the site of the findlay within the ancient
province of Moesia, a province which was within the boundaries of
theByzantineEmpire until679 A.D. when the EmperorConstantineIV
afteran unsuccessfulcampaign was forcedto cede it to the Bulgrs,
it seems most probable the the terminusante quernfor the burial of
the hoard must be set in 602 A.D., the last year of the reignof Maurice
Tiberius. Roman bronzes and solidi of the reigns of Phocas and
Heraclius could logically be expected in a hoard of later date. If the
bronzes were published it is more than likely that we should be able
to date this burial with greater accuracy during the twenty year
interval. One need not look far afield, however, for the probable
circumstances which necessitated the deposit of this currency.
Moesia, that area between the Danube and the Balkan Mountains,
was in the late sixth century the scene of almost constant AvaroSlavic pressurewhichwas sometimesfeltas farsouth as Thessalonica.
The Byzantine forceswhich were at that time divided as a result of
the Persian wars were unable to cope with this menace. The argument
concerningthe degree of Slavic settlement in Greece proper as an
index of ethnographic changes in the area need not be discussed
because all scholars are agreed that even the tremendous AvaroSlavic attack which carried these barbarians to the very walls of
Constantinople at the beginning of the last decade of the sixth
centurydid not result in the complete elimination of the romanized
population. In a word, Moesia was a frontierregion where the
barbarians and Byzantines clashed repeatedly and where representa7 SawyerMcA.Mosser,A
of ByzantineCoinHoards, NNM , 67
Bibliography
NumismaticSociety,1935),pp. 74-75.
(NewYork: The American
6*

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84

Light Weight Solidi

tives of each group were to be found.8Hoards and stray finds of


Byzantine coins of the period from this area are not uncommon.
Perhaps the other solidus from an unknown Balkan site is merely
another instance of this situation. In any event, when considered in
conjunction with the single coin of Heraclius and Heraclius Constantine found at Szentes in the Middle Danube region,it is obvious
that these few pieces fromthe Balkans as compared with the more
numerous findsfromelsewhere cannot be used to confirmthe hypothesis proposed by Stefan. The coin fromSzentes was simply a stray
find.9How these coins arrivedin the regioncannot be determined,but
the possibilities are innumerable in view of the constant military
activity.
Most of the remainingfindsoflightweightsolidi were made at sites
located in western Europe or in Britain. Within this geographical
grouping the coins from Mllingsen, Wieuwerd, Kent, Cornwerd,
Wilton, Mns, Nietap, Sinzig, Wonsheim, and Pfahlheim as well as
the imitation fromsouthern Germany must be treated. The firstof
this category of western finds from the post-Justinian period is a
solidus of the sole reign of Heraclius which was found at Mllingsen,
in the districtof Soest, in Westphalia. It is described by Bolin as a
Merovingianimitation,but close examinationofthephotographofthe
piece leaves no doubt of its Byzantine origin.10It is strikinglysimilar
to a coin in the Dumbarton Oaks Collectionthough the two pieces are
fromdifferentsets of dies.
In the case of the lightweightsolidi foundin hoards of coins in the
West we are on much firmerground. The hoard fromWieuwerd,
8 Anexcellent
intotheBalkans
ofthebarbarian
incursions
accountofthehistory
at thisperiodhas beenwrittenby KennethM. Setton,"The Bulgrsin the
Balkans and the Occupationof Corinthin the SeventhCentury,"Speculum
,
In thisworkProfessor
XXV (1950),pp. 502-543.He citestheolderliterature.
ofotherpeoplesas wellas theBulgrs.Seenote32.
Settonincludes
theincursions
9 L. Huszr,"Das Mnzmaterial
im
in denFundenderVlkerwanderungszeit
AcademiaeScientiarum
mittleren
HungariDonaubecken,"ActaArchaeologica
on the basis of an
cae, V (1955),p. 97, No. CCIV. The coin was identified
in theoriginalnotesofCsallny.Cf.D. Csallny,"Byzanaccuratedescription
AcademiaeScientiarum
tine Money in Avar Finds/' Acta Archaeologica
HungaricaeII (1952),p. 239. It was foundin 1934.
10StureBolin,Fyndenav Romer
ska mynti detfriaGermanien
(Lund,1926),
O, No. 79 (Bilagor,p. 42). This coin is also treatedby JoachimWerner,
Mnzdatierte
austrasische
, p. 118,No. 75.
Grabfunde

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Finds , Hoards and Mints

85

which contained two light weight solidi of Heraclius and Heraclius


Constantine,has been published in detail and is consequentlybetter
known than any which have already been discussed.11At Wieuwerd
there were found three fingerrings, the ornament of a buckle of a
ornamental pendants which forthe most part
girdle,and thirty-five
consisted of gold coins provided with loops forsuspension. A total of
twenty-ninecoins were included in this hoard. The date of the hoard,
of course, must be arrived at on purely numismaticgrounds. Mosser
gives a date of ca. 612 A.D. on the basis of the works on that hoard
which had appeared by the time he published his bibliography.The
older authorities generally date the actual deposit in the firsthalf
of the seventh century,but the later scholars have lowered the age of
the hoard considerably. Werner, on the basis of the firstedition of
Boeles work on Frisia, gave the date as ca . 675 A.D.,12but in the last
edition of his work Boeles again discussed this hoard. Since many of
the coins had been used in the manufactureof jewellery,he held that
they must have remained in circulationforsome time. The latest of
the coins in the findwere two tremisses of Maastricht,one of which
was struck by Ansoaldus of Maastricht. These coins could not have
been struckbeforethe middle of the seventh centurybecause an older
Ansoaldus type is knownwhich was clearlyissued as late as the third
quarter of the century.On the basis of these facts and comparisons
with other hoards, Boeles dated it merely in the second half of the
seventh century.13
11On thishoardsee J. Dirks,"Trsorde Wieuwerd.Ornaments
et monnaies
et byzantinesen or,"Revuede la numismatique
, XXII
mrovingiennes
belge
"Der merovingische
Goldschmuck
aus
(1867),pp. 149-163,and Dr. S. Janssen,
des Vereinsvon Alterthumsfreunden
im Rheinlande
Wieuwerd,"Jahrbcher
(BonnerJahrbcher
), XLIII (1867),pp. 57-91,as wellas P. C. J. A. Boeles,
Frieslandtotdeelfdeeeuw. Zijn vr-envroege
gescheidnis
(2nded.: 's-Gravenhage: MrtiusNijhof,1951), pp. 312-313. For furtherbibliographica
noticesof thishoardsee SawyerMcA. Mosser,A Bibliography
of Byzantine
CoinHoards, NNM, 67,p. 98.
12JoachimWerner,Mnzdatierte
austrasische
, p. 13, note3. Ibid.,
Grabfunde
becauseall of
p. 71,merelyplacesit in thesecondhalfoftheseventhcentury
the coinswerebadly worn.Cf. Dr. S. Janssen,"Der merovingische
Goldschmuckaus Wieuwerd/'Jahrbcher
des VereinsvonAlterthumsfreunden
im
Rheinlande
(BonnerJahrbcher
), XLIII (1867),p. 62, whomerelydatesit in
thefirsthalfoftheseventhcentury.
13P. C. J. A. Boeles,Frieslandtotde elfdeeeuw,pp. 312-313.Boelesfeltthat

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86

Light Weight Solidi

Verylittlecan be said regardingthe findsfromKent and Cornwerd.


Both, of course,were of coins of Heraclius and Heraclius Constantine.
In both instances it would seem as though stray finds from the
seventhcenturywere recovered.The solidus fromKent was originally
part of the Rolfe-MayerCollection (No. 7383) and is presentlyin the
Liverpool Museum. The solidus fromCornwerdwhich is presentlyin
the Friesch Museum in Leeuwarden (Inv. No. 355) may have been
recoveredin 1887, but it doesn't seem to have been noted until 1935,
when Wernercited it simplyas a solidus fromFrisia because therewas
insufficientinformation regarding its provenance.14 Boeles has
identifiedthe actual locale of the find as Cornwerd, but nothing
substantial concerningthe circumstancesof the findis known.15
With regard to the Wilton Cross, which has been the subject of
much comment, the circumstances of the find are known in more
detail. The cross, which holds a coin of Heraclius and Heraclius
Constantine,was found as a stray object in a chalk pit at Wilton in
Norfolk.16Kendrick feltthat the Wilton pendant was a Merovingian
work of the middle of the sixth century,and that the coin which is
presentlyframedin the pendant and which dated fromthe seventh
centurywas a later addition. It was his view that the cross originally
enclosed a jewel whichwas lost in the course oftime,and the aperture
was then filledby the solidus. This is supportedby the fact that such
mountingsare normallymade to fitthe object to be framed,but in
the case of the Wilton Cross the coin is fullyhalf a centimetertoo
small to fit the aperture and is thereforeheld in place by a double
beaded band of 0.25 cm. in width. Bruce-Mitford,on the basis of a
careful study of the Sutton Hoo find,claims that the entire Wilton
pendant was a local East-Anglian product of the second quarter of
as he
useofhisfirsteditionin datingit as precisely
hadmadeincorrect
Werner
did to ca. 675 a.D.
14JoachimWerner,
austrasische
Mnzdatierte
, p. 15,note1.
Grabfunde
15P. C. J. A. Boeles,Frieslandtotde elfdeeeuw,Bijlge VIII, p. 510,No. 80.
16T. D. Kendrick,
PectoralCross,andtheWiltonand Ixworth
"St. Cuthbert's
XVII (i937)>PP-2%3-293>
esP*PP*289-290.
Journal,
Crosses/'TheAntiquaries
at Lakenheath,
derivedit froma gravel-pit
Earlierwritershave mistakenly
See CharlesRoach Smith,"Saxon Remains,Found
nearBrandon,in Suffolk.
andNoticesofAncient
Collectanea
in Suffolk,"
nearIxworth,
Antiqua,Etchings
Association
Remains,IV, p. 164,as wellas TheJournaloftheArchaeological
(British),VIII (1852),p. 139.

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Finds , Hoards and Mints

87

the seventhcentury.17In eitherevent the coin must have been placed


in the cross during the seventh century and probably during the
actual reign of Heraclius. Like the coins fromKent and Wieuwerd it
was used in the manufactureof jewellery or ornaments.
The evidence regardingthe find at Mns is not completely satisfactorybecause of the nature of the published sources. Mr. Philip
Griersonhas informedme of his belief that a solidus of this type was
found at Mns in a hoard which was discovered about 1820, but he
quite properlyindicated that he had not been able to check this data
completely.Mr. Griersonbelieved, on the basis of the data available
to him that this solidus was sold in the Leclerqz Sale at Brussels on
April 2, 1839.18The mark in the exergue was misread on that occasion
as SOXX. A pencil note in the copy of the Leclerqz Sale Catalogue
in the possession of the Socit Belge de Numismatique in Brussels,
however,indicates that the coin was purchased by M. Lacour, and in
the catalogue of the Lacour Sale which was held in Namur on July24,
1848, several gold coins of Heraclius are listed but not specifically
described.19Since J. P. Meynaertswas a purchaser at the sale of the
collection of Frdric Lacour, and since such a light weight solidus
was foundin the MeynaertsCollection,it was more than possible that
Meynaertshad purchased the piece in question. In his descriptionof
his own collection and in the sale catalogue of that collection such a
solidus is listed.20In the Berlin Collection there is a cast of the coin
fromthe MeynaertsCollection (Coin no. 134) which,if this reasoning
were correct would be identifiableas the coin of the Mns hoard.
17R. L. S. Bruce-Mitford,
"The SuttonHoo ShipBurial.RecentTheoriesand
Some Commentson General Interpretation/'
Proceedingsof the Suffolk
Institute
andNaturalHistory
ofArchaeology
, XXV, pt. I (1950),pp. 36-37.
18p. ii, lot 124,ofthatsale catalogue.The sale catalogueis recorded
byFrits
descatalogues
deventes
intressant
l'artou la curiosit
Lugt,Rpertoire
,
publiques
deuximepriode
, 1826-1860(La Haye: MrtiusNijhof,1953),No. 15360.
The sale catalogueitselfis apparently
in theUnitedStates.
unobtainable
19Thissale catalogueis also unobtainable
in theUnitedStates,butit is cited
by FritsLugt,op. cit., No. 19110. Lot 156 is simplydescribedas "3 or" of
Heraclius.Mr. Grierson
presumedthatthiscontainedtheLeclerqzcoin.
20P. Meynaerts,
dela collection
desmdailles
enor, grecques,
Description
antiques
et visigothest
recueillies
de Louvain
romaines
, byzantines
par J. P. Meynaerts
(Gand, 1852), p. 97, lot 22, and Delbergue-Cormont
Sale, 17-18April1857
(ed. M. de Coster,Cataloguedesmdaillesen or,grecques
, romaines
byzantines
du Cabinetde feuM . Meynaerts
de Louvain), p. 21, lot 146.
provenant

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88

Light Weight Solidi

Such, however,is not the case forwhile the Lacour Sale did not take
place until 1848, Meynaertshad reportedsuch a coin in his collection
some six years earlier.21Only two possibilities remain, if the pencil
notation in the Brussels' copy of the Leclerqz Sale Catalogue is
accepted as accurate. Either the coin fromMns is not to be identified
with the piece formerlyin the Meynaerts Collection or Lacour must
have disposed ofit to Meynaertsat some time between 1839 an(l 1842.
This latter possibility must be taken into account because the gold
coins of Heraclius are not specificallydescribed in the Lacour Sale
Catalogue.
It seems fairly certain that the coin in the original Leclerqz
Collection was derived from the Mns hoard. Unfortunatelythis
hoard was neither adequately described nor scientificallytreated,
but two short notes by Lelewel do give us some idea of the contents.
In addition to jewellery, some of which contained coins, there were
some Merovingian tremisses, several of which were from the same
dies, as well as some gold coins of Heraclius and two pieces of
Suinthila, the Visigothicking. Lelewel, in his short notes concerning
this hoard, adds that several of the coins as well as a ring were
acquired by M. Leclerqz and passed fromhim to the Royal Collection
in Brussels.22 The coins, however, do not actually seem to have
accompanied the ring on that transfer,for Mr. Grierson,who has a
most complete knowledge of the collection in Brussels, informsme
that only the ring is now in the Bibliothque Royale.
In the light of these facts it seems justifiable to suggest that the
Meynaerts solidus, a cast of which is in the Berlin Collection is not
identical with the coin found at Mns. The piece found at Mns was
probable acquired by Leclerqz, and it passed fromhis collection to
that of FrdricLacour, since thereis no reason to doubt the correct21Thereis a note to thiseffectby Meynaertsin Revuede la numismatique
belge
, I (1842),p. 240.
22Joachim
dedistinction
Lelewel,"Anciennes
spulcrales,
plaquesdcoratoires,
I (1842),pp. 115-116.
Revuedela numismatique
etmarqueshonorifiques,"
belge,
coinsof
A fewyearsearlierLelewelhad describedthishoardas containing
among
Phocas, Heraclius,Suinthila,and severalof the Frankishmoneyers,
themElalius of Soissonand Veneniusof Treves.JoachimLelewel,"Vingtet une du roi visigothSwintilla,"
troispicesdes montaires
mrovingiens
Revuenumismatique
, I (1836),pp. 324-325.

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Finds , Hoards and Mints

89

ness of the pencil note in the Brussels' copy of the Leclerqz Sale
Catalogue. From that point on its historyis unknown.
The hoard fromNietap naturallyprovides a complimentforthose
of Wieuwerd and Mns. At Nietap, a town situated about two
kilometersfromGroningen,a hoard of seventeen coins was recovered
in 1901, and it is denominated as Nietap II to distinguishit froman
earlierhoard found at the same site. The hoard contained a Frankish
imitation of a gold piece of Maurice Tiberius, a solidus of Heraclius
and Heraclius Constantine marked BOXX in the reverse exergue
(Coin no. 150), a Merovingian coin of Chalons-sur-Sane (Civitas
Cabilonensium),another Merovingiancoin of Mainz, a Frankish coin
of an unidentifiedmint,threecoins of Maastrichtor imitationsof that
type, one piece of the Dronrijp type C, two of the Dronrijp type D,
three unidentifiedlight weight tremisses,one Frisian coin, and two
otherpieces which are simplylisted as missing.23Accordingto Boeles
this Nietap hoard was buried a little later than those of Dronrijp. It
should most probably be dated in the third quarter of the seventh
century. Since it is most clearly a hoard of circulatingmedium and
does not include jewellery,it formsa part of the general picture of
the trade relationshipsin that cornerofEurope whichwl be discussed
later.
At Sinzig, in the district of Ahrweiler,in the Rheinprovinz, the
double grave of a man and a woman was discovered, and in the
funerarydeposit there was a ring which enclosed a coin of Heraclius
and Heraclius Constantine. The coin showed absolutely clear indications of the fact that it had been fastened into another ring prior
to being placed in its present setting.24Werner, on the basis of this
fact and the worn condition of the coin, considered this as the most
recentgrave ofhis Group V. He feltthat the coin could onlyhave been
put into the grave after a long period of exposure to the circum28On thishoardsee P. C. J. A. Boeles,"Merovingische
Muntenvan hetType
fromGedenkboek
A. E. Van
Dronrijpen de Vondstvan Nietap,"reprinted
eenkwarteeuwOudheidkundig
Bodermonderzoek
in Nederland(Meppel:
Geffen
J. A. Boom & Zoon,1947),*6 PP-Also see P. C. J. A. Boeles,Frieslandtotde
elfde eeuwypp. 309-317,esp. pp. 311-312.
24Joachim
Mnzdatierte
austrasische
Werner,
, p. 105.Thenecropolis
Grabfunde
was actuallyat Helenenberg
nearSinzig.

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go

Light Weight Solidi

stances making forwear. As a result he dated this grave towards the


end of the seventh century.
The findsfromWonsheim and Pfahlheim are logically connected
with that of Sinzig. At Wonsheim, in the district of Alzey, Rheinhessen, another solidus of Heraclius and Heraclius Constantine was
foundin a woman's grave, and once again it was set in a ring. It was
accompanied by a triensfromthe region of Mainz which was struck
in the period between ca. 580-ca. 650 and several other objects which
cannot be dated accurately.25Since the solidus is quite worn and the
other objects as well as the triensseem to indicate a date ratherwell
along in the second half of the seventh century,this deposit may be a
slightlyearlier contemporaryof that of Sinzig.26
At Pfahlheim, in the district of Ellwangen, in Wrttemberg,in
Grave 4 of the necropolis, this time the burial of a man, another
solidus of Heraclius and Heraclius Constantine fastened into a ring
was found associated with some other objects. These remains cannot
be accurately dated. The coin is relativelyunwornthoughit has been
clipped. At least one other object in this funerarydeposit aside from
the solidus was an Italian import.The date oftheburial,as determined
by Werner,is in the second half ofthe seventhcentury,but somewhat
earlier than those of Wonsheim and Sinzig.27
A barbaric imitation of this type was also found in an Alemannic
grave in southernGermany.The exact location ofthe site is not given,
but the coin does seem to be Alemannic in origin.28Even though the
26Ibid,j pp. 102-103.A fullaccountofthebibliographical
materialaboutthis
findis giventhere.
26Ibid.,pp. 60-62.
27Ibid.,pp. 100-101,givesa completedescription
ofthefindand thebibliothe Italian
Ibid.,p. 59, datesthe depositand mentions
graphicalreferences.
characterofthebronzevesselfromthisgrave.
28Cahn Sale 75 (30 May 1932).AntikeMnzen,Griechische
Mnzenaus ausMnzund norddeutschem
Besitz. Das frstlich
lndischem
frstenbergische
der
Teil I. Die SerienderRmer,derByzantiner,
zu Donaueschingen.
kabinett
Die Mnzenderrmiund derKreuzfahrer.
MnzenderVlkerwanderungszeit
Dr. E. J. Haeberlin(FrankdesJustizrats
schenKaiserzeitaus derSammlung
furta. M.: AdolphE. Cahn,1932),No. 1847.This coinis listedas probably
von Maglern-Thrl
Alemannic.FriedrichStefan,"Der Mnzfund
(vergraben
um 570/71bis 584/85)und die Fragederreduzierten
Solidi,"Numismatische
LXX (1937),PP- 55-56, mentionsthis piece as a findfroman
Zeitschrift,
Alemannic
Germany.
gravein southern

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Finds , Hoards and Mints

91

exergual inscriptionin this instance is not exactly the same as the


authenticByzantine one, it is clear that the Alemanni did know these
light weight solidi. Unfortunatelyit is impossible to date the deposit
without furtherinformation.
A most obvious omission in the discussion of these findsfromthe
West up to this point has been the coin fromNorth Africa.This coin
was part of a hoard which came to the attentionof Mr. Griersonwhile
he was in Paris. It was already incomplete at that time, and only
fifteenof the coins were published by Grierson29.These fifteenpieces
covered the period fromthe reignof JustinII throughthe joint reigns
of Heraclius and Heraclius Constantine. The light weight solidus
included in the hoard is clearly not a product of North African
manufacture.In fact it is the only such coin found in that area, so it
must be considered apart fromthe others. The hoard is evidentlyof
the seventh century,but how it came to include the only lightweight
solidus fromthe region remains an unsolved puzzle. It would seem
very improperto place too much weight on the existence of a single
piece froma North Africanhoard in view of the fact that the other
findsfall into recognizable groups. Extreme mobility is one of the
most evident features in the study of coins, and innumerable explanations could be proposed to give significanceto the sole example
of a light weight solidus fromNorth Africa, but they would all be
hypothetical.Underthe circumstancesit would certainlyseem best not
to speculate too much concerningthe exact significanceof the single
coin which found its way into the North Africanhoard.
The remainderofthe lightweightsolidi come fromthe regionto the
north of the Black Sea and may well be considered apart fromthe
other finds. Unfortunatelythese hoards have not been adequately
described or treated and no photographs of their contents were
available. Bauer, however,reportedthat in 1912 some herdsmenhad
discovered sixty-onegold coins which had been buried in a deposit
containinggold and silver utensils as well not far fromPereschtschepino in the Government of Poltawa.30 Only four of these coins
29Philip Grierson,"A ByzantineHoard fromNorthAfrica,"Numismatic
Chronicle
, Series6, XIII (1953),PP- 146-148.
30The information
regardingthis hoard is derivedfromN. Bauer, "Zur
Mnzkunde
desVII. Jahrhunderts,"
byzantinischen
Frankfurter
,
Mnzzeitung
II, No. 15 (March1931),pp. 227-229.

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92

Light Weight Solidi

retained their original appearance as coins while the remainderhad


been used in the manufactureof ornaments.This hoard contained one
piece of Maurice Tiberius, two coins of Phocas, six of Heraclius
and Heraclius Constantine, thirty-sixsolidi o| the joint reigns of
Heraclius, Heraclius Constantine and Heracleonas, and finally
sixteen gold coins of Constans II. Interestingly enough, of the
thirty-sixcoins ofthe three-emperortype fromthe reign ofHeraclius
only one had the normal exergual mark CONOB; of the remaining
thirty-fivesolidi twenty-sevenwere marked BOXX and eight bore
the exergual inscription BOXX+. All sixteen of the coins of Constans II were marked OBXX. The fact that all of the twenty-seven
coins bearing the mark BOXX were struck fromtwo obverse dies and
four reverse dies while all of the eight coins inscribed BOXX+ were
derived from the same pair of dies, and all of the sixteen BOXX
pieces were produced with two obverse and four reverse dies is not
withoutsignificance.Obviously these coins were collected and used in
the manufactureof jewellery at some spot not too far removed from
the place of issue, possibly at the mint itself,and at a period not too
distant from the time they were struck. If these coins had been
chosen by a randomselectionfromthose in circulationabout 650 A.D.,
even ifit occurredin an area whichutilized coinage froma singlemint
to a fargreaterdegreethan coinage fromothermints,it is hardlyto be
expected that the same restrictednumber of dies would occur. Even
in an area which issues coins in quantity and subsists by importing
other goods in returnforits coins, the replacementof worn out dies
would be rapid enough at the mint so that many more dies might
logically be expected. These pieces must thereforehave been used in
the productionofornamentswithinthe Byzantine Empire,possiblyat
officialmints, and the finishedarticles must have been shipped into
southern Russia. Since no coins of Constantine IV Pogonatus were
found with this hoard though he struck light weight solidi, it seems
completely logical to suppose that the articles included in the
Pereschtschepino find were exported from the Empire prior to
668 A.D. That the hoard was necessarily buried as early as 668 A.D.,
however, does not necessarilyfollow. It is certainlyhighlyprobable,
but since the hoard was not actually composed of currencymedia,
that is not a necessary conclusion.

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Finds , Hoards and Mints

93

Bauer furtherreports that his colleague Zograph, while spending


the summerin southernRussia in 1927, was shown seven Byzantine
solidi that were ostensibly found associated with other valuable
utensils in the Dnieper Delta. There were six coins of Heraclius and
one piece of Constans II. All of the coins of the three-emperortype,
and Bauer unfortunatelydoes not record how many there were
included in this hoard, were marked BOXX. There is hardly enough
informationpublished concerningthis hoard to make possible any
very significantinferencesor conclusions, but it is certainly most
probable that the contentsof this hoard were also exported to Russia
between 641 and 668 A.D. Since there is no mention of these coins
being used in the manufactureof jewellery, we may presume that
they were intended forcommercialpurposes, and perhaps the hoard
was buried relativelyquickly afterit left the Empire.
In 1928 a findofstillanotherseven Byzantine solidi associated with
costly utensils was made at Novo-Sandsherovo or Zatschepilovo in
the Governmentof Poltawa. These seven solidi were contemporary
with those of the Pereschtschepino hoard, and the gold coins of
Constans II, which again are not described, had the inscription
OBXX in the reverse exergue.31It would seem most probable that
this hord also dates fromthe second half of the seventh century.
These three eastern hoards may be discussed apart fromthe other
finds.Perhaps the deposit of these treasures is to be connected with
the movements of the Bulgrs in the seventh century.It should be
rememberedthat it was duringthe reignof Constans II that pressure
fromthe Khazars forcedthe Bulgrs to move westwards fromtheir
settlementsin Old Great Bulgaria on the steppes borderingthe Sea
of Azov. Under their leader or king, Asparuch, the Bulgrs moved
slowly westwards across the Ukraine and settled at the mouth of
the Danube. In 679 A.D.,afterthe defeatofConstantineIV Pogonatus,
the Bulgar realm,whichalready includedthe Dobrudja, was expanded
by the absorption of the territoriesbetween the Danube and the
Balkan Mountains. The actual movement of the Bulgrs across
southern Russia must have taken place at some time in the period
between 650 and 668 A.D., if the view of some recent scholars that
they were settled in the Dobrudja prior to the death of Constans II
31Idem.

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94

Light Weight Solidi

is correct.32Obviously the movement of this barbarian horde across


the plains of southern Russia must have caused major dislocations
which resulted in a temporarycessation of peaceful commerce to a
great degree and the burial of treasure. The three hoards containing
light weight solidi are more than likely the natural result of that
migration.
The findsof light weight solidi, insofaras they can be dated with
any degree of accuracy, fallinto the period from570/71to ca . 700 A.D.
These are the extremelimits. No light weight solidi have been found
which because of associated findsmust be recognizedas coming from
sites whichare to be dated afterthereignofConstantineIV Pogonatus.
Apparently the light weight solidi passed out of circulation very
rapidly afterthe last ones were struck. Certainlythe character of the
findsis such that they would seem to be primarilydesigned for use in
border regions and foreignlands. Only the two finds,from North
Africa and Hama respectively,are found in areas removed fromthe
northernfrontiersbut still withinthe Empire. Therefore,since many
Syrians were engaged in commerce,only the coin fromNorth Africa
would require a deeper explanation.
As to the dating of the actual findsit must be rememberedthat the
mere fact that a coin was not placed in a deposit before the latter
part of the seventh centuryis not to be considered as indicatingthat
the coin was not in the region of its final deposit at a*much earlier
period. Indeed the worn condition of the coins fromthe findsis the
32An excellentshortaccountof the historyof the Bulgarinvasionsof the
Balkanshas beenwritten
by KennethM. Setton,"The Bulgrsin theBalkans
and the Occupationof Corinthin the SeventhCentury/'Speculum
, XXV
but
(1950),pp. 502-543. He cites most of the importantolderliterature,
Geschichte
derBulgaren.
attention
shouldbe giventoW. N. Slatarski,
particular
ReichesbiszurTrkenzeit
I. Teil, VonderGrndung
desbulgarischen
(6JQ-1396)
Bibliothek
,
(Leipzig,1918),pp. 10-15,*ne(l. GustaveWeigand,Bulgarische
"Zur Geschichte
derOnoguren,"Ungarische
,
Jahrbcher
V, and J.Moravcsik,
X (1930),pp. 52-90. Cf.PeterCharanis,"On the Captureof Corinthby the
, XXVII (1952),
Onogursand Its Recaptureby the Byzantines/'Speculum
pp. 343-350,opposingSetton'sviewand KennethM. Setton,"The Emperor
ConstansII and theCaptureof Corinthby the OnogurBulgrs,"Speculum
,
XXVII (1952), pp. 351-362,answeringCharanis.This subjectwas treated
of Coins as
once moreby Charanis.See PeterCharanis,"The Significance
Evidenceforthe Historyof Athensand Corinthin the Seventhand Eighth
Centuries/'
Historia,IV (1955),pp. 163-172.

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Finds , Hoards and Mints

95

only reason for dating their deposit so late. The light weight solidi
must have been designed fora specificpurpose and were probablyput
that purpose as soon as possible aftertheywere issued.
to use fulfilling
Thus, iftheywere designed foruse in a specificlocale, theymust have
reached theirdestinationfairlyquickly even though the stresses and
strainsmakingforthe deposit or burial of treasuredid not affectthem
until they had circulated for some years. This is not an abnormal
condition to be encounteredin the study of hoards.
Brieflyput the hoards and finds of light weight solidi and their
imitationsfall into certain natural geographical groups. There is the
western class which includes the hoards from northernItaly,
Carinthia, southern and western Germany, Belgium, Frisia and
England whichis by farthe largest. In this category,therefore,would
be found the coins fromUdine, Cividale, Hoischhgel, Muningen,
southernGermany,Pfahlheim,Wonsheim, Sinzig, Mllingsen,Mns,
Cornwerd,Nietap, Wieuwerd, Kent, and Wilton. These sites forma
chain with only minor deviations extending fromnorthernItaly to
England. In the Balkans there were three finds,that of Szentes, that
of Sadowetz, and one froman unknownsite. In southernRussia there
were the finds from the Dnieper Delta, Pereschtschepino, and
Zatschepilovo. In addition therewas the unique findfromNorthAfrica
and the great hoard fromHama whichmust be consideredseparately.
The sites of the hoards pertinentto the study of lightweightsolidi
may be compared with the other contemporarygold hoards as listed
by Mosser. AdmittedlyMosser's list of hoards is not complete and
does not contain any finds later than 1935 nor the stray finds of
individual pieces, but it does provide a representative selection of
those known.Only the gold hoards buried in the period fromthe reign
of Justinian to that of Constantine IV Pogonatus have been listed.
Justinian

El Djem, Tunis, Africa


Benevento, Italy
Cotrone, Italy
Finero, Domodossola, Italy
Sessa Arunca, Italy
Zeccone, Lombardia, Italy
Alise-Saint-Reine, Cote D'Or, France

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96

Justin II
Tiberius II Constantine

Maurice Tiberius

Phocas
Heraclius

Hyres, France
Viviers, Ardche, France
Frickingen (?), Wrttemberg,Germany
Biesenbrow, Brandenburg,Germany
Deerlyk, Belgium
Velsen, Netherlands
Akebck, Gotland, Sweden
Rovalds, Vnge, Gotland, Sweden
Hadji Sinanlar, Varna, Bulgaria
Tchenghe, Bulgaria
Kapril di Sebenico, Yugoslavia
Zaschowitz, Moravia
Batum, Georgia, Transcaucasia
Smekalovka, Batum, Transcaucasia
Bieloiarovka, Taganrog, Russia
No gold hoards buried during this reign
are mentionedby Mosser.
Ortacesos, Sardinia
Ghertche-Cunar,Bulgaria
Narona, Dalmatia, Yugoslavia
Escharen, Netherlands
Nokalakewi, Georgia, Transcaucasia
Unknown locality, Egypt
Selinti, Adana Vilayet, Asia Minor
Cyprus
Unknown locality, Asia Minor
Osetia, Terek, Transcaucasia
Beth Shan, Palestine
Aydin Vilayet, Asia Minor
Madjid Es, Adana Vilayet, Asia Minor
Chatalja, ConstantinopleVilayet
Rhodes, Isle of Rhodes
Alexandria, Egypt
Thuburbo Majus, Tunis, Africa
Goulette, Tunis, Africa
Henchir-Sidi Amor-Bou-Hadjela, Tunis,
Africa

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Finds , Hoards and Mints

97

Rome, Italy
Campobello, Trapani, Italy
Akalan, Bulgaria
Szengedin, Hungary
Sarre, Kent, England
Constans II
Tschausch, Asia Minor
Athens, Greece
Settimo, Sardinia
ConstantineIV Pogonatus Arkesine,Amorgos
Unknown locality, Africa
Carthage, Africa
Pantalica, Sicily
Lacco Ameno, Ischia, Italy
Torontal, Hungary
The hoards which contained both light weight solidi as well as the
normal variety have, of course, been excluded fromthis list, but the
concentrationof the findswithin the area under effectiveByzantine
controland the rathersharp break in the numberof Byzantine coins
foundin the West afterthereignofHeraclius is immediatelynoticeable
A surveyof the hoards listed by Mosser reveals that afterthe reign of
ConstantineIV Pogonatus there are no Byzantine gold hoards found
in the successor states in the West fora considerable period of time.
This can be furthersupportedby thelist offindsgivenby StureBolin,88
and the same situation was found to exist in the Danubian region
when the findsof that area were studied by Huszr, Csallny, and
Moisil.34The historicalsignificanceofthese factscannot be minimized.
Certainlyit must play an importantpart in the formulationof any
88StureBolin,Fyndenav Romer
ska mynti dei friaGermanien
. Bilaeror.
34L. Huszr,"Das
Mnzmaterial
in denFundenderVlkerwanderungszeit
im
mittleren
AcademiaeScientiarum
Donaubecken,ActaArchaeologica
Hungaricae>V (i955)>PP- 61-109; D. Csallny,"ByzantineMoneyin Avar Finds/'
ActaArchaeologica
AcademiaeScientiarum
Hungaricae
, II (1952),pp. 235-244
ofthisworkpublishedin the same
(in Russian).Thereis a Frenchsummary
issue of this journal.C. Moisil,"Sur les monnaiesbyzantinestrouvesen
Roumanie/'Bulletinde la SectionHistorique
, AcadmieRoumaine
, XI (1924),
pp. 207-211.Moisil notes that the findsin Roumaniaassume significant
in thereignof Justinian
numbers
and falloffsharplyduringthesecondhalfof
theseventhcentury.See ChapterI, note45.
7

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98

Light Weight Solidi

general historicaltheoryregardingthe Pirenne thesis and the general


decline in the West. This aspect of its significance,however,must be
treated in a wider context in the final chapter of this monograph.
Neverthelesssome observationsofa morespecificnaturewithregard
to the findsof light weight solidi are also possible. All of the finds
fromthe West can be traced to the period during which Byzantine
gold coinage was introducedinto the barbarian successor states in a
meaningful quantity. The finds of these light weight coins are,
however, largely limited to the general area of one specific trade
route, i.e., that fromnorthernItaly over the Alps, down the Rhine
and across the English Channel though, of course, they occur
elsewhere as well. Several of the coins have been mounted in loops
after a fashion which is most closely associated with Frisian finds.
This, of course, strengthensthe association of the light weight solidi
with the particular route to Frisia and the general area of northwestern Europe. This route must have been at the height of its
importanceduringthe reign of Heraclius. That is to say that during
the period when the Empire was faced with the Persian menace in its
most acute formthe effortsof Byzantine traders in the West must
have reached the zenith. After the death of Heraclius, Byzantine
interestshiftedsomewhat to southernRussia, but the movementsof
the Bulgrs put a sudden, though temporary,check to this effort.
The threefindsfromthe Balkans are undoubtedlysimplya part ofthe
general trade effortofthe Byzantines in that area whichis merelyone
aspect of the general interestin the West manifestedby the Byzantines in the sixth and seventh centuries.
It is evidentfromthe styleofthe lightweightcoins themselvesthat
only two could have been mintedin the West where most of the finds
were located, and it is thereforea matter of some importance to
discoverwhich mintsissued these solidi. These mintsmust have been
the sources of the Byzantine coins used in the westerntrade. In this
connection the Hama hoard provides some vital evidence. In that
hoard there were three light weight solidi markedOBXX: and eight
more which were marked OB*+* with 0S at the end of the reverse
legend. Althoughin only one instance was there a die identityof the
reversesit seems fairlyobvious that the mintissuingthese pieces must
have been in the general vicinityof the findspot. Only one place in

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Finds , Hoards and Mints

99

Syria will answer as the source of these coins, Antioch, which was
destroyed by an earthquake on Nov. 29, 528 A.D. and was renamed
Theoupolis after its restoration. That Antioch possessed a mint is
certain from the existence of bronze currency of this period with
mintmarks such as THGH*,0HHfr, THHI7, 0YTTOAS, 0YTTO, and
(Xor similarones as well as earliercoins bearing the older name ofthe
city.
The suggestionthat Theoupolis-Antiochwas the mintissuing these
gold coins marked 0S and OB*+* was firstmade in the catalogue
preparedby Sabatier, but this hypothesishas a historyofits own and
new evidence such as that fromthe Hama hoard can now be presented
in supportofit.35Tolstoi in his catalogue ofByzantinecoinage rejected
Sabatier's proposal because the only gold coins of which he had
cognizance from that mint were those which he attributed to the
usurper Leontius.36As an alternative suggestion Tolstoi mentioned
the possibilitythat a barbaric errorhad been made in the course of
cuttingthe die, but he indicated quite correctlyand clearly,that even
this latter explanation did not satisfyhim. It was even less probable
than the hypothesis proposed by Sabatier because there were a
number of coins of Justin II, Tiberius II Constantine, and Maurice
Tiberius with those very letters at the end of the reverseinscription,
and those pieces were not barbaric in any way. Tolstoi, however,went
even furtherin his discussion of this problem in connectionwith still
another coin which showed a reverse legend ending in 0SS.37 This
35J. Sabatier,Description
gnraledes monnaiesbyzantines
frappessous les
orientdepuisArcadius jusqu' la prise de Constantinople
empereurs
par
II (ParisandLondon,1862),I, p. 224.PhilipGrierson,
Mahomet
"The Kyrenia
Girdleof ByzantineMedallionsand Solidi/'Numismatic
Chronicle
, Series6,
XV (1955)P- 65, note38, supportsthe viewthat thishoardfromHama is
evidencefortheAntiochene
originofthesecoins.
36J. Tolstoi,Monnaiesbyzantines
(St. Petersburg,
1913-14),p. 418. Cf.Ibid.,
Coinsinthe
p. 874,andWarwickW. Wroth,
oftheImperialByzantine
Catalogue
BritishMuseum(London,1908),II, p. 346,whereit is clearlystatedthatno
coinsoftheusurperLeontius(695-698a.d.) are extant.In morerecentdays
somecoinagehasbeenattributed
toLeontiustheUsurper.
LudovicoLafranchi,
La Numismatica
di LeonzioII. Studisu un periododella monetazione
ItaloBizantina(Perugia,1940),47 pp. This is reprinted
froma seriesof articles
whichappearedinNumismatica
e ScienzeAffini
, IV (1938),pp. 73-74;V (1939),
of
PP-7-15,91-92;VI (1940),pp. 20-22.Also See J.P. C. Kent,"The Mystery
LeontiusII," Numismatic
Chronicle
. Series6, XIV (19*54).
pp. 217-218.
37J. Tolstoi,Monnaiesbyzantines
, p. 469. See Coinno. 79 of the Catalogue.
7*

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ioo

Light Weight Solidi

coin was quite certainly the result of a double striking,but since


Tolstoi refusedto accept that fact,he reasoned fromthe existence of
the double sigma that the final sigma in all of the other cases could
not be the mark of an officinabut was part of the name of the mint.
He noted that the style and compositionofthe piece seemed to him to
indicate an eastern origin,perhaps Constantinople.At the same time
he once again rejected Sabatier's view that the letters 0S might
contain the abbreviation of the name of the city of TheoupolisAntiochbecause he could not findany contemporaryexamples of the
name of a mintcity occurringat the end of the reverseinscription.
This was the status of the problem until 1937 when Friedrich
Stefan,as has been pointed out in Chapter one, argued on the basis of
the findsin the Balkans and southern Russia that the S was to be
identified with the mint of Thessalonica.38 Byzantine mints, he
maintained, were at this time designated by not more than a single
letterat the end ofthe reverselegend. This contentionitselfis invalid,
but on the basis of it Stefan proposed the view that the S at the end
of the legend stood for the sixth officinaand that the 0 was the
mark of the mint of Thessalonica. By a quite independent route
Hugh Goodacre arrived at the same conclusion fiveyears later.89In
1941 Goodacre noted in connectionwith the British Museum solidus
of Justin II and Tiberius II Constantine that this light weight coin
bore the unusual mark 0S. Since he was well aware that the bronze
currencyofThessalonica duringthe reignof Justinianpresentedsome
unusual denominations,he argued that it was based on a different
weight for the solidus and that the gold pieces marked S were the
solidi of Thessalonica. Thus the view that this mark stood for the
Balkan mint gained currency,and it was repeated in much of the
secondary literature.
The first real attack against this proposal was made by Leo
Schindlerand GerhartKalmann who pointed out that as early as the
reign of Justiniana thetawas known to have appeared at the end of
88Friedrich
um 570/71
vonMaglern-Thrl
(vergraben
Stefan,"Der Mnzfund
bis 584/85)und die Frage derreduzierten
Solidi,"Numismatische
Zeitschrift,
LXX (1937),P- 5538HughGoodacre,"Justinianand Constantine,Numismatic
Senes
Chronicle,
6, 1 (1941),PP-48-53-

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Finds, Hoards and Mints

ioi

the reverse inscription on some solidi.40 According to these two


numismatists the explanation connectingthe 0S with Thessalonica
was untenable because all of the bronzes struck at Thessalonica
during the period in question bore the Latin inscription T6S as a
mintmark. The Greek form 0S firstappeared during the reign of
Heraclius. They thereforetook the position that the thetawas an
officinamark and that the S or SS had to await furtherclarification.
The evidence of the Hama hoard seems to be conclusivelyin favor
of the original suggestion made by Sabatier, but there is still more
evidence to corroboratethat fromthe find. If a close study of Coin
no. 79 is made, the same coin which started Goodacre's study of the
0S ending of the reverse inscription, several interestingbits of
informationcome to light.A coin fromthe Kyrenia hoard on Cyprus,
this time a solidus ofthe fullweighttype (see note 45 ofthe Catalogue),
shows a die identityof the obverse with Coin no. 79. These two coins
were thereforeissued by the same mint.The Kyrenia coin, as has been
said, comes fromCyprus,a locality not to distant fromAntioch,and
Coin no. 79 was purchased in 1938 by the British Museum from a
Syrian coin dealer in Syria itself.Furthermore,Antioch, apart from
Carthage, was the only place during the period which issued coins
with two busts as opposed to the type with two seated figureswhich
is quite common.41Only Antioch, however, issued coins with the
busts of the emperor and his heir apparent or co-ruler. Those of
Carthage are of the Emperor Justin II and the Empress Sophia. In
addition the style of the solidi in question obviates the possibilityof
Carthage as a source. Thus the location and design of these two
pieces can be used to strengthen the conclusions arrived at by
Sabatier and confirmedby the Hama hoard. The fact that Greek
letters were used to indicate bronze coins of Theoupolis-Antiochat
all times and certainly after its restoration during the reign of
Justinianremoves one of the principalobjections raised in connection
with the identificationof Thessalonica as the issuing locality.42
40Leo Schindler
and GerhartKalmann,"Byzantinische
Mnzstudien.
II. Das
LXXII (1947),p. 109.
33Nummistck
Justinians
I./' Numismatische
Zeitschrift,
41JustinI and Justinian
fromAntioch,B.M.C., Byz., plateIV, nos. 7 and 8.
JustinII and SophiafromCarthage,B.M.C., Byz.,I, plate XIII, nos. 6, 7,
9, and 10.
42B.M.C.yByz.,I, plateVIII, nos. and
4
5.

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102

Light W eight Solidi

If the S is understood as indicating Theoupolis then all of the


coins of JustinII marked 0B+* (Coins nos. 50-71) as well as the two
solidi of Justin II and Tiberius II Constantine (Coin no. 79 and the
Kyrenia piece), and those solidi of Tiberius Constantineas sole ruler
marked 0B+* (Coins nos. 80-87), an(i those of Maurice Tiberius
marked the same way with S at the end of the reverse inscription
(Coins nos. 94-99) were necessarilystruckin Antioch. The remaining
coins marked OB*+*, OB+*, or OB+ show somewhat different
characteristics and must therefore have been struck elsewhere.
Where these other pieces were struck depends largely upon a very
close stylisticstudy.
The three coins from the Hama hoard marked OBXX, however,
also present a recognizable characteristicthat is of some importance.
At the end of the reverselegend or followingthe exergual mark there
are a series of dots. These dots are also present on one of the light
weightsolidi of JustinII in Vienna as well as on one which appeared
in the Brder Egger Sale of Nov. 28, I904.48 The provenance of the
coins fromHama again seems decisive in supportingAntioch as the
source ofthese coins. Mr. Griersonhas suggestedto me the possibility
that at about this time the unity of the mint of Antioch showed the
firstsigns of disintegrating,and that as a result it may well be that
this particular series of solidi was not struck in Antioch itselfbut in
one ofthe surroundingtownswhich assumed part of the duties ofthat
mint.It seems fairlycertainthat a significantnumberofthe authentic
light weight solidi were derived fromthe great Syrian emporium or
its environs. The merchants of the Syrian metropolis must have
broughtthese coins to the West because similardots are foundon the
barbarian imitationsthat were recoveredat Hoischhgel and Cividale
as well as on some of the imitations that have appeared in the sale
catalogues.
Only Coin no. 22 (Justinian) and Coin no. 90 (Maurice Tiberius) of
the authentic light weight pieces were almost certainlystruckin the
West though it would be rash to attempt to identifythe particular
mints. All of the remaining coins of the light weight variety were
43Coinsnos. 43,47, and 49 are fromthe Hama hoard.Coin no. 46 is from
Vienna,and Coin no. 48 is fromBrderEgger Sale XL, 28 Nov. 1904,lot
2918.Cf.Coinsnos.44 and 45.

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Finds , Hoards and Mints

103

apparently struck in the East, probably at Constantinople, a city


which was also a center of Byzantine external trade. Other mints
may have participated in the production of these coins, but it is
impossible to identifythem with certainty.
The study of the finds and the issuing mints of the light weight
solidi has revealed a startlingconnectionbetween the external trade
of the Byzantine Empire and this series of coins. The coins appear
most obviously along a specific trade route leading from northern
Italy to Frisia and England, but they also occur in the borderregions
of the Balkans as well as in southern Russia. It may be easily seen
that they were not widely used in internalByzantine trade by simple
comparison of the findspots of normal solidi with those of the light
weight variety. It is equally true that they were not used in the
foreigntrade to the exclusion of fullweightsolidi because examples of
both varieties are found together in many hoards. Since the light
weight solidi were struck during the period of greatest Byzantine
effortin Europe and cease at just the momentwhen findsof imperial
coins are no longer evident in the areas outside the European limits
of Byzantine control, this connection with foreigntrade is further
strengthened.Indeed the very mints which issued these pieces were
the emporia of Byzantine long distance western trade.
The finalexplanation forthe existence of this ratherunusual series
ofcoins must take into account these factsas well as the evidence that
the coins were issued in greater quantity during the reigns of
Justinian, Justin II, and Heraclius than at any other time. The
number of dies clearly indicates a rather large issue, and the imitations ofthe Theoupolis-Antiochtype of JustinII whichappeared so
quickly show that the barbarians were very rapidly made aware of
these coins. It is immediatelyevident that the solution encompasses
a very large field of general economic history and is of some importance in the evaluation of the Pirenne thesis in its more recent
restatements. The general problem of Byzantine trade in Europe
and particularlyin the Rhine Valley must be dealt with in the lightof
this new evidence furnishedby numismatics.

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THE BYZANTINE

TRADE WITH THE WEST

The civilization of Byzantium, marked as it was by interest in


Christianityand in mattersof theologicalimport,was not likelyto be
conducive to treatises on such matters as political economy and
monetary policy. Byzantine authors, perhaps even more so than
those ofclassical antiquity,refrainedfromwritingabout the mundane
affairsof commerceand money. Only occasionally, in a work devoted
to what was the larger topic of a chronicleor in a sermon or in one
of the saints' lives, do we findchance bits of informationwhich can
aid in the reconstructionof the economic history of the Byzantine
Empire. As a result of this reticence on the part of the Byzantine
authors, archaeology and numismatics, as ancillary sciences of
history, must provide the necessary data for a comprehensive
approach to the problem. The remarksof the contemporaryauthors
cannot formthe frameworkwhereby one can interpretthe archaeological and numismatic evidence, but rather the reverse is true, and
the literary remains, insofar as they pertain to economic history,
must be understoodin termsof the physical legacy of the Empire.
Three statementsfromcontemporaryauthors furnishinformation
regardingthe monetarypolicies of the Emperor Justinian.The first
of these is contained in the Chronographiaof the Syrian monk John
Malaias. What Malaias tells us is the testimonyof a contemporary,
and it must thereforebe given greatweight. Since he was particularly
cognizant of the state of affairsat Antioch, a town which was in
commercialcontact with the West, his remarksassume even greater
significance.Malaias says that in the monthof March in the firstyear
of the indiction,there was a disturbance among the lower classes or
poor because of the changing of the value of the kermataor copper
coinage used as small change, and that when the news of this was
brought to the Emperor Justinian,he ordered that the coins be
restoredto theirformervalue.1 This event can easily be dated in the
1 IoannisMalaias, Chronographia
, XVIII, O, 231 C (ed. Bonn,p. 486): M'xv'
vo<5c
tou KppocTOS*
IvSiKTico
KaiKtcvtttcox&v
ctt&jecos
yveTO
pocpTco
iacrTpocpf]
104

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Byzantine Trade with the West

105

year 554 A.D. by virtue of the fact that the preceding section which
speaks of the death of Totila is dated in the fifteenthyear of the
indiction. What actually happened, however, is a somewhat more
criticalmatter.Firstly,it may be pointed out that the statementdoes
not referto an alteration in the gold coinage, but it must indicate a
change in the values of the subsidiary coinage. The use of the word
kermatais decisive in that respect, but this is also supported by the
fact that the disturbance was created by the lower classes whose
contact with currencymust have been largely limited to the use of
the subsidiary coins. It is also evident that the change was only
temporaryin nature and was not in itself a fundamental aspect of
imperial monetarypolicy.
Since this temporarychange in the value of the subsidiarycurrency
whichwas so disadvantageous to the poorerclasses could be remedied
easily by a decree of the Emperor Justinian,it is apparent that the
change in value was accomplished by administrativeaction and was
not the resultof economicpressures.The value of all of the subsidiary
coins in relation to the standard unit, the gold solidus, was regulated
by the imperial government.Bronze coins were purely fiduciaryin
the Byzantine Empire, and theirsize and weightwere determinedby
other factorsthan the intrinsicvalue of the metal. Changingthe fiat
value of the bronze coins, as was done in this instance, would not
necessarilybe reflectedon the actual coinage itselfin any way save
possibly by a change in the mark of value, if that mark of value
expressed the worth of the coin in terms of gold. In fact, however,
the marks of value on Byzantine bronze coins expressed the worthof
the piece in terms of a still smaller bronze unit, the nummus. A
change in the number of bronze units equal to a solidus would affect
the fiat value and the purchasing power of all of the bronze coins,
but it would not be reflectedin the marks of value on the coins. Thus,
if the bronze folliswas marked M and was worth fortynummi,and
the solidus was said to contain 7,000 nummi, each follis would be
equal to i/i75thofa solidus.If,however,the imperialgovernmentwere
to orderby decree that 7,200 nummiwere now to equal one solidus of
the same weight and finenessas before,the value of the folliswould
KalOopvou
tcocutc
tou
Aevae
KalK
yevonvTis
vrivxOr)
aaiAeT*
tjv KOToracnv
kotc
t pxaov0o$.
KpiJOTos
KpaTfaai

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io6

Light Weight Solidi

still be fortynummi, and the mark of value of the follis would still
be M, but the folliswould onlybe equal to i/i8oth ofthe gold solidus.
The bronze fiduciarycoin would have lost some of its value, but this
fact would not be reflectedin any way on the coinage itself.This is a
hypotheticalcase,2 but it does explain what Malaias was describing
in his shortstatement.The evidence to supportsuch an interpretation
of Byzantine monetary practice is derived from early Byzantine
sources though it should be noted that these sources are not coeval
with the quotation fromthe Syrian monk.3
2 In Nov. Valent
., XVI (ed. Mommsenand Meyer,Codex Theodosianus,
II,
p. ioi) of 445 a.D., it is statedthatmoney-changers
maybuythesolidusfor
7,000 nummiand may sell it for7,200 nummi.The law codes specifically
requirethatall obryzasolidibe exchangedat thesameprice.C. Just.,XI, 11,
3, and C. Th.,IX, 22, 1, are onlytwoofthemanyexamplesofthis.A change
in the demandforthe exchangeof gold intoothercurrency
mightmake it
to alterthemarginofprofit
ofthemoney-changers.
Oneoftheletters
necessary
of Symmachus
of384/5a.d. tellsus ofjust sucha change."Vendendissolidis,
quos plerumquepublicususus exposcit,collectariorum
corpusobnoxiumest,
Huic hominumgeneri
quibus arca vinariastatutumpretiumsubministrat.
taxationisexiguaenutantidivus fraternuminisvestritantumpro singulis
solidisstatuitconferendem,
quantumsequitasilliustemporis
postulabat,ddd.
crescente
vis remediidivalisinfracta
est,
imppp.sed paulatimaurienormitate
et cumin forovenaliumrerummaioresummasoliduscenseatur,
nummulariis
pretia minorapenduntur.Petuntigiturde aeternitatevestra pro ratione
praesentiiusta definitionis
augmenta,qui iam tantoonerisustinendopares
esse nonpossunt.Haec est causa quaerimoniae,
quam divinissensibusvestris
fidesgestormplenius intimabit;si petitionisgenus probabileiudicatis,
vestraesalubreremedium
quaesouthuicquoquepartipraeceptomansuetudinis
ofthenummudeferatur."
M.G.H., A.A., VI, pp. 303-4.On theidentification
ined.~Pa,u'y-Wissow3i,
lariiandcollectarii
seevonPremerstein
Real-Encyclopdie
derclassischen
Cf.
IV, pt. I, cols. 376-7,s.v. collectarii.
Altertumswissenschaft,
TheodorMommsen,Histoirede la monnaieromaine,trans.Duc de Blacas
(Paris, 1873),III, p. 173. Also see Cassiodorus,Variarum,I, 10 (M.G.H.,
A.A., XII, p. 19)dated507/511
a.D., inwhichCassiodorus
speaksofthesolidus
whichthe ancientsvalued at 6,000 denarii,so that like the sun it might
theage oftheworld.Even thoughit is clearthatthiswas notthe
represent
value of the solidusin the sixthcentury,it does indicatethat Cassiodorus
understood
thattheratioofthesolidusto thedenariuscouldbe fixedby law
and maintainedat a givenlevel.
3 Manyearlierwritershave assumeda varietyof parallelstandardsto have
"TheMonetary
See HaroldMattingly,
beenusedbytheByzantine
government.
SystemsoftheRomanEmpirefromDiocletianto TheodosiusI," Numismatic
Series6, VI (1946),p. hi, and A. Segr,"Some TraitsofMonetary
Chronicle,
Inflationin Antiquityand the MiddleAges," Seminar
, I (1943),pp. 22-23.
has assumeda systemof parallelstandardsin all of his works.
Heichelheim

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Byzantine Trade with the West

107

It is impossible to judge exactly what was the nature of the change


in the valuation of the small change to which John Malaias refers,
but it does not seem as though it can justifiablybe related to an
incidentrecountedby Procopius. Procopius in the course of detailing
the various devious methods used by Justinian to increase the
profitsfromthe customs and trade says, "Such is the way thingswere
going as regards the administration of affairs.But I think that I
should not omit to mention also what was done by the imperial pair
with referenceto the small change. For while the money-changers
formerlywere accustomed to give to those who bargained with them
in exchange forone gold statertwo hundredand ten obols, which they
call pholleis, these persons, contrivingprivate gain for themselves,
had it arranged that only one hundred and eighty obols should be
given forthe stater. In this way they cut offthe seventh part of the
value of every gold coin
of all men."4
This passage would, at firstglance, seem to indicate that gold coins
which had previously been issued to sell at two hundred and ten
bronze folleswere now intended to be evaluated at only one hundred
and eighty folles. This would mean that the value of the follis was
raised by one-seventh,but it is clear fromthe concluding sentence
that what actually happened was that the value of the bronze pieces
was not changed, and instead the value of the gold piece was lowered
by one-seventh. It is, of course, obvious from this passage that
Procopius did not fully comprehend the mechanics whereby the
value of the fiduciarycurrencywas determined. He simply did not
understandthat loweringthe value of the gold piece as expressed in
terms of follesdid not affectthe value of the subsidiary bronze coins
as well, if the actual intrinsic value of the gold coin was lowered
proportionately.
4 Procopius,Anecdota
'xkv
, XXV, 11-12. 'Atccutoc
tt)8eKonr
tt]Vttoiteccv
8 Kai s T Kppcrra
jaoiTraprrov
to aaiAeuatv
ol|iai
peTO,
pyacrrai
Tcovyp pyupajJLoi(3cv
8Koc
kcc6iockoctous
Evoci.
ou eis
irpTepov
oAous,
tos uupoucnv
kocAoOcjiv,
cotcov,
rrpvoTarfjposXPU(J^
Tipogcrcci
cutoTTiTEX^cnevoi
okecc
Kal Kcrrv
tou oraTfpvousCrrrp
Kp8r|
ySo^Kovra
Kcrrou
po 88oaai tous poosSiercavTo
toti^ 8 voiioyoTOs
XPvctou
uvTcovvOpcoircov.
*TTTE|jiov
p8[jir|v
nopav
The translation
is thatgivenby H. B. Dewingin the Loeb ClassicalLibrary
Mass.,and London,1925),VI, pp. 295-297.
(Cambridge,

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io8

Light Weight Solidi

That this is what happened is clear fromthe third passage, which


again is fromthe pen of Procopius. In the course of describingthe
horrid crimes perpetrated during the tenure of John Barsymes as
treasurerforthe second time,duringthe period from547 to some time
after555 A.D., Procopius says, "And those who had been stripped of
their money sat about in great sorrow,since he saw fitalso to issue
the gold coinage, not at its usual value, but reducing its value
materially,a thingwhich had never been done before/'5This passage
is probably to be connectedwith the same event as the precedingone,
and it is obvious that it is a lowering of the value of the gold coins
and not a change in the fiduciarysubsidiary bronze coinage which is
involved. This result could be achieved by the issuance of gold
currencyof lighterweight.
That the event recorded by Procopius is not the same as that
preserved by Malaias can be shown by a comparison of the dates in
each case. Malaias, it will be remembered,was describingsomething
which transpired in 554 A.D. The date of the composition of the
Anecdota is indicated four times in the course of the work as the
thirty-secondyear of the reignof Justinian.6Since Justiniancounted
his regnalyears on all documents from527 A.D., when Justin I died,
this would place the date of the compositionin 559 A.D., and it would
seem possible that the events of 554 A.D. might be included. Justinian's active administration,however,began in 518 A.D., and if that
were to be taken as the date fromwhich Procopius began his counting
of the regnal years it would followthat the Anecdotawas composed in
550 A.D. Thus the events of 554 A.D. could not have been recordedin
that work. It seems more likely, however, that the first view is
correct,and that the date of compositionwas 559 ratherthan earlier,
and there is thereforeno inherentreason in that regard why the two
authors could not have referredto the same incident. But in the
firstpassage which was cited fromthe Anecdota, Procopius speaks of
6 Procopius,Anecdota
v irvOet
, XXII, 38. O! 5 l xP^MOTCc
rapmprmvoi
slcbei
irglKal t xpvtfov
vhkthoc
i^ou
oxfTTEp
pgycAco
Kpetv
7repiKc6T)VTo
' XacxcTOV
ctt
ote yeyovsirprepov.
cxutKcrracrn(T<5c|jt6vos,
ouSett
irpccyna
The translation
is thatgivenby H. B. Dewingin theLoeb ClassicalLibrary
Mass.,and London,1925),VI, p. 267.
(Cambridge,
6 Procopius,Anecdota
, XVIII, 33; XXIII, 1; XXIV, 29; 33.

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Byzantine Trade with the West

109

the imperial"pair" in the plural and thus indicates that Theodora was
still alive at the time. Theodora's death in 548, therefore,must be a
terminusante quem for the event. Since the same event is connected
with the second tenure of John Barsymes as treasurer,it must be
dated in 547/8.Only by presumingthat Procopius erred in using the
plural can it be assumed that both authors are discussing a single
event ofa temporarynature.This involvesan unnecessaryemendation
of the text which would be unjustified.
It is more than mere coincidencethat Procopius refersto a lowering
of the value of the solidus by one-seventhand that that is approximately the amount by which at least some of the solidi that formthe
subject of this monograph were lightened. It seems obvious that
Procopius is describing in somewhat colored terms the issuance of
these solidi. Malaias apparentlydescribeda temporaryadministrative
attempt to apply this new monetary system to the whole Empire
though this is much more uncertain.
That Justinianas a result of his effortsto reconstructthe Roman
Empire was consistentlyin financialdifficultiesis not in doubt. The
expendituresof the governmentwere enormous,and many attempts
were made to increase the revenue of the Empire and to stretchthe
available amount of good currency as far as possible. Justinian's
effortsin this regardwith respect to the silk trade as well as his other
sources of income have been adequately treated in a great numberof
secondary works. That the westerntrade of the Empire underwenta
transformationat the same time is a matter that has not been
discussed quite as completely. War with Persia had been an acute
problem during the third and fourthcenturies,but the situation on
the eastern frontierseems to have been stabilized to a considerable
degree afterthe death of Julian,and the fifthcenturywas a period of
relative quiet in that area. In the opening years of the sixth century,
however,the problemreappeared in an aggravated formand remained
an everpresent danger until the final victory of Heraclius in the
seventhcentury.Of course the Persian difficulties
in whichtheEmpire
was embroiledmust have made the eastern trade more hazardous and
difficult.The Persians were the intermediarieswho transmittedthe
goods of the Far East to the Roman merchants. Negotiations such
as were carried on with the peoples to the north as well as with the

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no

Light Weight Solidi

Himyarites and Abyssinians to the south of the Persian Empire in


order to secure alternative trade routes to the Far East cannot be
interpretedpurely in terms of Justinian's desire to insure that the
Persians would be prevented from making a profit on all of the
Byzantine eastern trade. Continuedaccess to eastern sources of trade
duringthe periods of Persian difficultiesmust have played a part in
the calculations of the Emperor.
All historians are agreed that the financial difficultiesof the
emperorsofthe sixth and seventhcenturieswereveryreal. The sources
are replete with tales which serve to illustratethis. Massive military
endeavors, however, accentuated the decliningfinancialstructureof
the Empire, but the difficulties
facingthe imperialgovernmentin the
sixth centuryhave their roots in a much earlier period. The Roman
Empire was clearly in decline in the second half of the thirdcentury,
and nowhere is this more lucidly shown than in the papyri from
Egypt. The inflationaryspiral of the late third centurywas not local
is any sense, but it seems to have encompassed the entire Mediterranean world. The literature on this decline is so extensive and
detailed that it would be a patent waste of space to retracethe ground
that has been covered by others. What is important,however,is that
the succeeding early fourthcenturywas clearly a period of economic
growth and recovery. The decline was largely arrested, and the
evidence fromEgypt is overwhelminglyin favor of a general revival
at least duringthe firsthalf of the century.7Some ofthe townswhich
borderedthe Faym were revived and showed signs ofrenewedvigor.
The documentsfromthe valley of the Nile itselfshow, ifanything,an
even healthierpicture than in the Faym.8A stable currencyof both
gold and silver was inaugurated,and the securityof the frontierswas
established by the armies which had been reorganized. But the
recoverywas only temporary,and the second half of the centuryas
well as the dark fifthcentury show all of the signs of increasing
dislocation. Many of the towns of Egypt which had recovered
temporarilydisappeared from the scene. But this time even the
7 A. E. R. Boak, "Irrigationand Populationin the Faym,The Gardenof
Review,XVI (1926),pp. 353-364.
Egypt,"TheGeographical
8 A. C. Johnson
:
Studies(Princeton
andL. C. West,Byzantine
Egypt: Economic
Princeton
Press,1949),p. 3.
University

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Byzantine Trade with the West

hi

frontiersof the Empire could not be adequately defended, and the


Germanic tribes poured into the Roman world.
The appearance of the Germanic tribes on the Roman side of the
limes was not without its effecteven though there was a cultural
continuum.Merchants of western origin had declined in importance
duringthe period of the Roman Empire, and theirposition had been
taken by easterners,Syrians, Jews, and Greeks.9This process, which
began quite early,however,was greatlyaccelerated by the Germanic
invasions.10The importanceof merchantsof eastern originduringthe
Merovingianperiod in Gaul is certainlymore marked than duringthe
preceding Roman epoch or the followingCarolingian period.11This
is not merely a quantitative but a qualitative point as well. The
9 M. Rostovtzef,The Social and EconomicHistoryof theRoman
Empire
(Oxford:ClarendonPress,1926),pp. 158if.
10P. Lambrechts,
"Le Commerce
des ((Syriens))en Gauledu Haut-Empire
l'poquemrovingienne,"
, VI (1937),PP-35-61,probably
L'Antiquit
classique
thatpriorto the Germanicinvasionsthe Gauls
goes too farin maintaining
themselves
carriedon the tradein the westernMediterranean,
but that in
timestheorientalscameintoGaul in numbersand replacedthe
Merovingian
westernmerchants
who had been ruinedby the economicdifficulties
of the
thirdand fourth
as wellas bytheGermanic
centuries
invaders.Cf.V. Prvan,
Die Nationalitt
derKaufleute
imrmischen
Kaiserreiche
(Diss.: Breslau,1909).
G. I. Brtianu,"Une nouvellehistoirede l'Europeau moyenge: La findu
mondeantiqueet le triomphe
de l'orient,"Revuebelgedephilologie
et histoire
,
XVIII (i939)>PP- 252-266,maintainsthatthe troublesofthethirdcentury
causeda declinein thepopulationparticularly
in theWestand a consequent
shiftin the equilibrium
of the Empireeastwardseven moremarkedthan
before.The conquestsofIslam,in hisview,completed
theprocessoftheshift
ofthecenterofeconomicimportance
whiletheantisemitism
ofthe
eastwards,
ofthe Jewishmerchants
which
Byzantinesresultedin a westwardmigration
made possiblethe Carolingianeconomicstabilizationat a lowerpeak than
duringtheperiodoftheRomanEmpire.
11Paul Scheffer-Boichorst,
"KleinereForschungen
zur Geschichte
des MittelaltersIV. ZurGeschichte
derSyrerimAbendlande,"
desInstituts
Mitteilungen
frsterreichische
, IV (1885),pp. 520-550;Louis Brhier,
Geschichtsforschung
"Les Coloniesd'Orientauxen Occidentau commencement
du moyen-ge,"
XII (1903),pp. 1-39.Brhierpointsouttheincreasing
Byzantinische
Zeitschrift,
oftheorientalcommunities
oftheWestduringtheperiodofthe
importance
that the Byzantineconquestsin the West
Empire,and it is his contention
thegrowing
oftheorientals.Beforetheperiod
merelyaccentuated
importance
ofthe Germanic
invasionstheorientalstendedto assimilateintothecommunitieswithinwhichtheylived,but afterthat periodtheywerecontinually
notedas a separateentity.Alsosee C. Piton,Les Lombards
enFranceet Paris
(Paris,1892),pp. 4-6.

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112

Light Weight Solidi

numbersof orientalscannot be estimated other than by making note


of the fact that on certain occasions, such as the entranceof Gontran
into Orleans, the three separate communities, Syrians, Jews, and
Latins, are mentioned individually as though they were all of some
size. A list of cities in which the orientals resided would not in itself
be of any importance,but theirgrowinginfluenceis a matterthat can
easily be traced not only by their frequent assumption of the
ecclesiastical posts of the West, such as the See of St. Peter, but even
in the constant stream of art motifsand works which are oriental in
origin.12
The natural concomitant of this growing importance of a nonnative element in the life of western Europe, of course, was the
gradual decline of the Gallo-Roman element to a point where it lost
its identityin the mlangeof the risingGermanicbarbarians, or more
properlyit may be said the the Germansand the natives fairlyrapidly
approximated one anotherculturallyand in otherways. The granting
of the rightof conubiumamong the Visigoths in the sixth century is
simply a proof of the rapid romanization of the Germanic peoples
throughoutwesternEurope. Not only did the Germans adopt Roman
culture and forms,but the native element in the population declined
in self-consciousnessat the same time, and the common ground was
reached very quickly after the influx of barbarians ceased. This
decline, however, did not cause a break in the unity of the Roman
Mediterranean,and contacts with the seat of Byzantine culturewere
many. Internal decline was evident in the late fourth century,and
the Germanicinvasions hastened the process, so that the supremacy
of the economic order of the East became more and more manifest.
This internaldecline is made somewhat more evidentby the fact that
in the areas which were conquered by the barbarians it was not the
solidus which was the principal coin issued but the triens, which was
only one-third of the Byzantine piece. The eventual cessation of
coinage in gold in meaningful quantities for exchange is in great
measure a result of this continuous decline which accompanied the
12Brhier,loc.cit.Alsosee O. M. Dalton,Byzantine
ArtandArchaeology
(Oxand
ford:ClarendonPress, 1911), pp. 87-88 and HenriPirenne,Mohammed
, trans.BernardMiall (New York: W. W. Norton& Company,
Charlemagne
1939),pp. 129-139.

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Byzantine Trade with the West

113

fragmentationof the political structure,so that no state in western


Europe was strong enough to guarantee currencyfor its coinage as
Rome had done.13
The most outstanding feature of the early Middle Ages is this
cultural and economic decline and the fusion of the Germanic and
Roman peoples. Of course this aspect of life in the early mediaeval
period did not proceedat a constantrate norwas it uniformthroughout
the West. Conditions north of the Loire reached a much lower point
than those found in southern Gaul where the Germanic penetration
was much less real. The Gaul described by Ammianus Marcellinus,
however, was quite differentfrom that described by Gregory of
Tours. Roman civilization, it has beeen shown by Pirenne and
Dopsch, did not disappear in one fell stroke, but certainly the
decadence of ancient culture was accelerated during the bleaker
periods.14The Vandal conquest of NorthAfricamust have been one of
the events which accelerated this process of decline,15and during the
reign of Genseric Vandal fleetsundoubtedly ravaged the shipping of
the Mediterraneanwith impunity,but this was not a conditionof any
permanence.Afterthe death of Genseric in 477 A.D. this momentary
threatpassed.16The economicand basic culturalunityofthe Mediterranean remained,but the supremacy of the East became ever more
marked. Feuding and warfare punctuated the lives of the western
Europeans, but the ubiquitous class of merchants continued to ply
theirtrade so successfullythat duringthe early fifthcenturythe gold
solidus seems to have become the standard coin in use in southern
18Cf. Marc Bloch,"Le Problmede l'or au moyen-ge,"
Annalesd'histoire
etsociale, V (1933),pp. 18-24.Alsosee G. I. Brtianu,"La Districonomique
butionde Toret les raisonsconomiques
de la divisionde l'EmpireRomain,"
Etudesbyzantines
etsociale(Paris: Paul Geuthner,
d'histoire
conomique
1938),
P. 7514HenriPirenne,
andCharlemagne
Mohammed
, p. 119;O. M. Dalton,Byzantine
Artand Archaeology
, pp. 87-88.
16HenriPirenne,Mohammed
and Charlemagne
, pp. 28-29.
16ArchibaldR. Lewis, Naval Power and Trade
in theMediterranean
a. d.
500-JJ00(Princeton:PrincetonUniversityPress, 1951), pp. 18-20. Cf.
NormanH. Baynes,"The DeclineofRomanPowerin WesternEurope.Some
ModemExplanations,"
, XXXIII (1943),pp. 29-35,
JournalofRomanStudies
and a reviewof booksby FerdinandLot, HenriPirenneand M. Rostovtzeff
inJournalofRomanStudies
, XIX (1929),pp. 224-235.Baynescontendsquite
thatthe Vandal fleetbrokethe unityof the Mediterranean
world.
wrongly
8

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114

Light Weight Solidi

Scandinavia. The great period of this Scandinavian trade, however,


lies in the years following 476 A.D. and before the accession of
JustinII.17 These solidi probably came to Frisia by a route down the
Rhine Valley and fromFrisia were sent by sea to Scandinavia. Why
the importationof solidi into Scandinavia ceased after the reign of
Justinian has been the subject of much investigation and many
hypotheses.Its importanceforthe themeofthis monograph,however,
lies in the factthat the actual distributionof solidi in Europe seems to
show that in the period before Justinianthe route was open to trade
fromItaly northwardsthroughMainz and down the Rhine Valley to
the Frisian coast. This is the same route which was so closely related
to the findsof light weight solidi.
In addition the coin findsmay be said to reflectthe intensityof the
trade more clearly than anythingelse. Coin hoarding, of course, has
been shown to mirroraccurately the lack of political and economic
stability. During periods of trouble the number of hoards buried
rises as the inhabitantsofthe regionaffectedattemptto preservetheir
wealth frommarauders.18Such a peak period of hoarding occurred
in westernEurope in the second half of the thirdcentury.In France,
the period from 253-282 A.D., a space of only twenty-nineyears,
resulted in approximately forty-four
percent of all of the hoards in
that region listed by Bolin. In England and in Germany as well as
in Austria the same phenomenonis evident.19The stabilizingeffectof
17B. Nerman,Die Vlkerwanderungszeit
Gotlands(Stockholm,1936),p. 59,
and O. Janse,Le Travailde Voren Sude l'poquemrovingienne
(Orleans,
1922),pp. 14f.givelistsof findsof solidifromScandinavia.Dirk Jellema,
"FrisianTradein theDark Ages,"Speculum
, XXX (1955),pp. 20-22,givesa
anda summary
oftheliterature
it.
concerning
goodshortaccountoftheproblem
18AdrienBlanchet,Les Trsorsde monnaies
romaines
etlesinvasionsgermaniquesenGaul (Paris,1900),has shownthismostconclusively.
19StureBolin,F yndenav romer
. Studieri romer
sk
skamynti detfriaGermanien
historia(Lund, 1926),pp. 203-207.AlfonsDopsch,Wirtochldregermansk
aus der
dereuropischen
und sozialeGrundlagen
Kulturentwicklung
schaftliche
Zeit von Caesar bis auf Karl den Grossen(2nd ed.: Vienna, 1920-23), I,
pp. 142-144,speaksofa distinctgap intheseriesofcoinsfoundinexcavations
near Roman fortsafterthe middleof the thirdcentury.Withthe reignof
theseriesbeginsagain.He usesthisevidenceto support
however,
Constantine,
ofRomansettlement
landstherewasa continuation
theviewthatinthefrontier
. Cf.Ibid.,pp. 296-297,where
evenduringtheperiodofthe Vlkerwanderung
evidenceof the same typeis used to establisha greaterage for
numismatic
semeofthenobleestatesin Old Saxony.

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Byzantine Trade with the West

115

the strong hand of Constantine is immediately evident in a sharp


declinein the numberofhoards buried duringthat reign.In Germany,
the peak of activityin buryingtreasure occurredabout the middleof
the third century,and fromthat point on there was a sharp decline
in the practice until the last years of the reign of Constantine.A rise
during the reigns of Constantius II and Julian the Apostate is
particularly marked in Germany and is also evident in England
though the situation seems to have been stabilized in France so that
a low point in hoarding was reached some time after363 a.D. At the
end of the century,however,there was a distinctrise in the number
of hoards buried in England, Germany and France.
The pressure of the Germanic tribes increased sharply during the
last years of the fourth century and the early years of the fifth
century,and the economic conditions within the Empire declined.
These were factorswhich made forgreater dependence upon the use
of gold rather than fiduciarymoney. At the same time there was a
growing awareness on the part of the Germanic peoples of the
monetary value of gold which led to a steady increase in its use
among them. Silver coinage had fluctuatedtoo much in value as a
result of the financial difficultiesof the emperors of earlier periods.
As a result the marked preferencefor silver currency among the
Germanictribes,which had been noted by Tacitus, died away.20Thus
it happened that the usefulness of gold currencywas fullyrealized
by the Germanic peoples duringtheir invasions of the Empire. Long
contact with the Romans had resulted in this. When they entered
the Empire, of course, there was the steady process of romanization
to give furtherimpetus to the use of gold, if that were necessary.
Pirenne clearly noted this romanization. Payments in terms of gold
are common in the writingsof Gregory of Tours, and the tomb of
Childeric at Tournai revealed that this early Frankish king had
hoarded a respectable number of gold coins.21
20StureBolin,Fyndenav vomer
ska mynti detfriaGermanien
, pp. 286-298,
tracesthis.ArnoldLuschinvon Ebengreuth,
"Der Denar der Lex Salica,"
derKaiserlichen
AkademiederWissenschaften
in Wien,Phil.Sitzungsberichte
hist.Klasse,CLXIII (1910),Abh.4, pp. 8-9,pointedoutthatgoldflowedfrom
theRomanEmpireintoFree Germanyin considerable
quantitiesduringthe
thirdand fourth
centuries.
21J*J*Chiflet,
AnastasisChilderici
I Francorum
, siveThesaurus
regis
sepulchra8*

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ii6

Light Weight Solidi

A recovery from the effectsof the invasions and the economic


decline,however,was imminent,and the firstsigns of this restoration
appeared duringthe reign of Anastasius. His coinage was imitated in
some quantity in the West, and it occurs in the hoard of Bresin in
Germany and in a number of Scandinavian hoards. His coinage and
the imitationsof it also forman importantsegment of the hoards of
Gourdon and Chinon which were actually buried during the reign of
JustinI.22 But the largest increase in the number of Byzantine coins
and imitationsof them found in the West occurs forthe period from
Justinian through Heraclius. Boeles lists 208 coins, mostly of gold,
found in Frisia. Ninety-fiveof these coins are clearly imperial gold
or imitations,and betterthan half of these, or forty-sixof them to be
more exact, are of the period fromJustinianthroughHeraclius. After
that the Frankish currencyseems to have held sway in Frisia.23Since
many of the early imitations which are found probably come from
Italy, it is clear that a route existed in the early years of the sixth
century which brought a steady stream of coinage over the Alps
northwards.The same situation is noted froma survey of the coins
listed by Werner.In that instance 210 coins seen by Wernerare listed
from grave finds in Austrasia of the period from Valentinian I to
Constans II. Of these by far the greatest numberare fromthe period
fromthe reign of Anastasius throughthat of Heraclius.24
lis TornaciNerviorum
etcommentario
illustratus
(Anvers,1655),p. 252,
effosus
thefatherofClovis,containedninetysolidi
claimsthatthetombofChilderic,
ofthe
in 1653.Onlythreeoftheseweresupposedly
at thetimeofitsdiscovery
of the total couldbe dated withcertainty
WesternEmpire,and four-sixths
after457 a.d. C. F. Keary,TheCoinagesofWestern
EuropefromtheFall ofthe
underCharlestheGreat
Western
EmpireunderHonoriusto Its Reconstruction
(London,1879),p. 21, utilizedthisfactto pointout that the Franks,even
to theregionabouttheScheldt,Oise,and Maus,wereusingthe
whileconfined
coinageof the EasternEmpire"whereasthat of SouthernGaul, Spain and
AfricacopiedtypesofAries,Milan,Rome,and Ravenna/'
22Thesehoardsand thepertinent
are citedin SawyerMcA.Mosser,
literature
A Bibliographyof ByzantineCoin Hoards, NNM, 67 (New York: The
AmericanNumismaticSociety,1935).
23P. C. J.A. Boeles,Frieslandtotde elfde eeuw.Zijn vr-en vroege
gescheidnis
Mrtius
1951),BijlageVIII. It is interesting
Nijhoff,
(2nded.: 's-Gravenhage,
to notethatin additionto one genuinesolidusofAnastasiusnineimitations
ofhiscoinage,threeofwhichareprobablyfromItaly,are also knownto have
beenfoundin Frisia.
24JoachimWerner,Mnzdatierte
austrasische
Grabfunde
(Berlmand Leipzig,

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Byzantine Trade with the West

117

It is vital to note that the gradual intrusionof Frankish currency


during the seventh centuryinto Frisia shows that the cities of the
Middle Rhine, the Meuse, and the Moselle regions were in contact
with the Frisian coast. The mints fromthose regions,which are, of
course, closely associated with the trade route fromItaly northwards
are particularly well represented among the finds.25All of the
numismaticand archaeological evidence seems to point to Frisia as a
great point of diffusionfortrade to the northand to the east as well as
to England. The fact that something over 200 gold coins have been
found within Frisia as compared with about 265 from the grave
findsforall of Austrasia confirmsthis view.26
This rather startlinggrowth in Byzantine interest in the West is
naturallyto be associated with the Persian difficultieswhich became
acute during the reign of Anastasius and continued to afflictthe
Romans until 639 A.D. During that period war between these two
peoples was as much the order of the day as peace. Justinian must
have fullycomprehendedthe immense task which faced him, and he
set up a militarypolicy which involved taking the defensiverole in
one region and balancing it against an offensivedrive in another.
His attempt to reconstructthe Roman Empire around the Mediterranean necessitated that a defensiveattitude be adopted towards the
Persians. Justinianused the titleImperatorCaesar Flavius Iustinianus
AlemannicusGothicusFrancicus GermanicusAnticus Alanicus Vanda licus Africanus Pius Felix Inclitus Victor ac TriumphatorSemper
Augustus.The omission of the honorificPersicus is most noticeable.
His claim to some of the other titles was hardly any more merited
than would have been that of Persicus. The interestof the Emperor,
Denkmlerder Vlkeri935)> PP- 107-133,in ed. Hans Zeiss, Germanische
GermanischeKommissiondes
, III, issued by the Rmischwanderungszeit
Institutsdes DeutschenReiches.Thispredominance
ofcoins
Archologischen
ofthesixthand earlyseventhcenturiesis further
strengthened
byaddingthose
whichWernerknewof only fromsecondaryliteratureand whichare not
includedinthe210mentioned
above.Thetotalnumber
ofcoinsfoundwouldbe
about 266. Ibid.,pp. 135-136.Cf.Dirk Jellema,"FrisianTradein the Dark
Ages,"Speculum
, XXX (1955),p. 22.
26Dirk Jellema,"FrisianTrade in the Dark
Ages,"Speculum
, XXX (1955),
p. 22.
26Ibid., pp. 15-24. This veryexcellentarticle
providesmorethan enough
proofforthisstatement.

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ii8

Light Weight Solidi

however,had turnedtowards the westernportionsof the old Roman


Empire, and his conquests must have stimulatedthe activities of the
oriental merchants in that region. These merchants,however, had
begun to play a more vital role in the economic lifeof westernEurope
as early as the reign of Anastasius and the beginningof the Persian
troubles. The Byzantine fleet, which had been rebuilt, certainly
controlledthe entireMediterraneanin the period precedingthe death
of Heraclius, and as a direct result trade in the West became safer
than it had been at any time since the Vandals reached Carthage.27
Because of the importance of the western trade at a period when
emphasis is most likely to be placed upon the Byzantine trade with
the furtherorient it is necessary to point out that in the Pragmatic
Sanction which Justinian addressed to the "Illustrious Grand
Chamberlain Narses and to the MagnificentAntiochus, Prefect of
Italy," specificprovisionswere promulgatedto integratethe currency
which had circulated there into that of the rest of the Empire.
Section 20 of that document is very specificin that regard. Again it
should be noted that in Procopius' description of the actions of the
Emperor with regard to the two customs houses on the straits on
either side of Constantinople he specifically speaks of merchants
travellingbetween the capital and Italy or Libya.28Even the trade of
the greatest of all the Mediterraneanports,Alexandria, with western
Europe and particularlyItaly seems to have been more active after
the reconquest of the West by the Byzantines.29The fact that the
communities of merchants in western Europe were composed
primarilyof Syrians, Jews, and Greeks, however, must have given
Antioch and Constantinoplea predominancewhich Alexandria could
not challenge successfully even during the late sixth and early
seventhcenturieswhen trade relationsbetween the Patriarch and the
Pope seem to have reached a peak.
It is pointlessto repeat all of the evidence collected by Pirenne and
othersforthe existence of very significantsea trade between the two
27ArchibaldR. Lewis, Naval Powerand Trade in theMediterranean
A.D.
500-1100, pp. 21fi.Thisis, ofcourse,a vitalpointin thePirennethesis.
28Procopius,Anecdota
yXXV, 8.
29GeorgeR. Monks,"The ChurchofAlexandriaand theCity'sEconomicLife
in the SixthCentury,"
, XXVIII (1953),pp. 349-362.The tradeof
Speculum
ofAlexandria.
associatedwiththePatriarchate
thiscitywas intimately

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Byzantine Trade with the West

119

halves of the Mediterranean.The case is very clear cut for a great


expansion of that trade duringthe sixth and seventh centuriesafter
a period of decline during the preceding epoch. It is, however,
necessary to returnto the subject of the trade route fromItaly by
land to the Frisian coast. This route actually never seems to have
been closed entirely, and the light weight solidi are intimately
associated with it. Mediaevalists who have restricted themselves
largelyto the literarysources have continuallypointed to the paucity
of pre-Carolingiandocumentation for the use of this route over the
Alps.30A number of pilgrims,however, seem to have journeyed via
this route to Rome, and the evidence is largely in favor of the view
that as early as the second half of the seventh centurypilgrimages
were made between England and Rome which crossed the Frisian
1
coast and occasionally followed the course of the Rhine.31Use of a
route over the Alps and down the Rhine fortrade, however,is quite
another thing than the occasional passage of a pilgrim or even a
marauding army. In 539, Theudebert, the King of the Franks,
entered Italy over the western Alps with an army of Franks, Burgundians and Alemanni. In 553 still another army of Alemanni and
Franks crossed the Alps. In 568 the Lombards passed over the Alps,
and the series of Lombard raids against Frankish territorycarried
parties over the Alps in the opposite direction and resulted in
Frankish countermeasures.Such attacks over the Alpine passes were
made throughoutthe last quarter of the sixth century.They must
have interferredwith trade to a considerable extent, and in this
connectionit should be noted thatthis appears to have been theperiod
during which the Byzantines struck the fewest light weight solidi.
The seventhcenturywas a relativelyquiet period along this mountain
range. An agreementbetween the Franks and the Lombards leftthe
southern passes in the hands of the latter while the more northerly
ones were controlled by the Franks. Fortresses which had been a
part of the old Roman system of militaryworks guarding Italy and
80A. Schulte,Geschichte
zwischen
des mittelalterlichen
Handelsund Verkehrs
Westdeutschland
und ItalienmitAusschlussvon Venedig(Leipzig,1900), I,
PP-54-55.
31Paul Kletler,Nordwesteuropas
Verkehr
im frhen
, Handel und Gewerbe
Mittelalter
(Wien,1924),pp. 26-28,citesquitea fewsuchjourneyswhichwere
madepriorto theeastwardexpansionoftheCarolingians.

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Light Weight Solidi

had been used for the same purpose by the Ostrogoths were now
stronglyheld by either the Lombards or the Franks.82
Archaeologyprovides a more certainbasis forthe use of this trade
route in pre-Carolingiantimes. The Germanicinvasions did not result
in a cessation of trans-Alpinetrade. Theodoric's conquest of Italy and
his preeminenceamong the Germanickingsprovided a long period of
peaceful relationswith the more northerlypeoples. The concentration
of finds of Ostrogothic silver coins and those of the Exarchate of
Ravenna in the middle Rhine regionseems to be conclusiveproofof a
continuous use of that trade route during the pre-Carolingianera.33
The route followedmust have been one which crossed the Alps in
the neighborhood of Lake Constance. Archaeological evidence
gathered by Werner on the basis of findsof specificarticles such as
"Coptic" bronze vessels, ornamental gold crosses, and fibulae of a
close-cell type shows a concentrationin the region north of Lake
Constance along the headwaters of the Danube.34 The coins seem to
have followed a more westerlyroute. Within the limits of southern
and western Germany nineteen siliquae of Justinian struck in
Ravenna as well as fortyOstrogothicsiliquae have been found. The
evidence provided by these findsas well as the coins struck in the
area suggests that the route in question along the Rhine was of
greater importancefor the area to the east of the river than for the
lands to the west of it. The amount of coinage struckin southernand
western Germany during the sixth century must have been very
small, if the numberof pieces recoveredthat may possibly have been
issued there can be used as indicative of the whole. Only a very few
coins can be attributed to Rhenish mints, and even these are from
sites such as Trier which are located on the Gallic side of the river.
32JoachimWerner,
austrasische
M umdatierte
, pp. 24-27,tracesthe
Grabfunde
historyo theAlpineregionduringthisperiodin somedetail.
83Ibid.j pp. 27-29,and plate 36, map 1. Wernercontendsthatthe terminus
northwards
silvercoinsto havebeentransferred
antequemfortheOstrogothic
is 563 A.D.,theyearin whichNarsessiezedthepassesovertheAlps.Thetruce
betweenthe Franksand Byzantinesof 560 a.D. musthave made it just as
easy forthecoinageofByzantineItalyto crosstheAlps.Cf.Ibid.,pp. 12-13,
are foundin the
whereWernerpointsout thatthesecoinsoftheOstrogoths
as well.
northofFrance,Belgiumand Lotharingia
84Ibid., pp. 14, 27-29,41-43,and plates37 and 38. Also see Dirk Jellema,
"FrisianTradein theDark Ages,"Speculum
, XXX (1955),p. 18.

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Byzantine Trade with the West

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In the seventhcenturyFrankishmintsseem to have been in operation


at Windisch, Basel, Strassburg, Speyer, Worms, Alsheim, Mainz,
Boppard, Andernach, Bonn, Cologne, Zlpich, Jlich(?), Trier, and
Pfalzel near Trier, all sites n the left bank of the Rhine. Basel,
Strassburg, Mainz, and Trier were the outstanding mints while
the others only struck coins intermittently.Only occasionally are
coins from these Rhenish mints found on the right bank of the
river.35
In the sixth century the mass of the currencyin southern and
western Germany on the right bank of the Rhine must have been
composed principallyof Italic coinage such as the Ostrogothicsilver
and the later silver currencyof Justinian. In addition Ostrogothic
and Byzantine gold, which must have crossed the Alps in the same
body of commercialtransactionswhich brought the silver, played a
significantrole. The coinages of the Rhenish and more distant Gallic
mints did not occupy a significantposition in the sites on the right
bank. It can only be concluded that the commercialties in this area
on the rightbank were much strongerwith Italy than with the Gallic
lands.36
If anything,the seventh centuryshows an even more perceptible
distinctionbetween the regions to the right and to the left of the
Rhine. It is true that since the importationof silvercoinage had come
to an end, the total numberof coins found is much smaller, but the
same phenomenonof a commercialconnectionwith Italy ratherthan
the Frankish realm on the leftbank is noticeable. The occurrenceof
Anglo-Saxon sceattas and Frisian trientesin the middle Rhine region,
however,marks even furtherthe unityof the valley of that riverin an
economic sense at the later period. Merovingian coins at the same
time are only occasionally found among the Alemanni, Franks, and
Thuringians on the right bank and are totally lacking among the
Bavarians.37
Perhaps Wernerhas gone too farin explainingthis divisionbetween
Austrasia and Neustria in termsof the greatersimplicityof economic
86The detailedevidenceto supporttheseconclusionsis
givenin Joachim
austrasische
Mnzdatierte
Werner,
Grabfunde
, pp. 17-19.
86Ibid.,pp. 19-20.
37Idem.

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122

Light Weight Solidi

life in Austrasia and the existence of an economy which made


extensive use of barter rather than currencywhile in Neustria the
Roman formsof commercepersistedwith the monetarysystem.38The
evidence presented by Dopsch in favor of a money economy on the
rightbank of the Rhine cannot be ignored.89His interpretationof the
Germanic codes cannot be eliminated by citing the secondary
literature. Certainly the right bank of the Rhine enjoyed a more
primitiveeconomy than Gaul proper, but it must not be forgotten
that it too had been in close contact with the Roman world during
the great days of the Empire. It is, however,more logical to note that
the Rhine provides a significantbarrier to lateral East-West trade
while it is a highway for trade running North-South. This factor
means, of course, that it was not in the main stream of Byzantine
trade with Gaul, and that it occupied the position of a subsidiary
arteryof commerce.During the early mediaeval period traders from
the East landing at Marseille would have utilized the Rhone, Garonne, Loire, and Seine much more frequentlythan the Rhine as a
route for carrying on their transactions. The concentration of
Merovingian mints and the activities of eastern merchants in
western, central, and southern Gaul are much more heavily documented than along the distant Rhine. The connection of the Rhine
with Italy, however,throughthe Alpine passes in the region of Lake
Constance is clearly demonstrated from the archaeological and
numismatic finds.
At the extremecontinentalend of this trade, of course, lay Frisia
which, as has been pointed out, was the area fromwhich the trade
about the North Sea radiated. Boeles lists only twenty-sixgold coins
fromFrisia which were struck before the reign of Anastasius. After
that date the expansion in the use of gold in the area is easily traced
by the great increase in the number of coins of the later period that
have been foundthere.The evidence in favorof the importanceof the
light weight solidi is probablybest shown by the fact that of the four
coins of Heraclius and Heraclius Constantinelisted by Boeles three
are of the light weight series.
38Ibid.. pp. 20-22.
39AlfonsDopsch, Wirtschaftliche
der europischen
und soziale Grundlagen
aus derZeitvonCaesarbisaufKarlden(Brossen,
II, pp. 526ff.
Kulturentwicklung

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Byzantine Trade with the West

123

During the period of Germanic expansion covering the fifthand


sixth centuriesthe Frisians, like the Germans of the rightbank of the
Rhine, struck only conscious imitations of Byzantine coin types and
never types of theirown. During the later part of this period two new
series of coins were issued which may be attributedto the Frisians.
The firstwas a group which is identifiedby a symbol known as the
"
boucleperdue" which is frequentlyadded to the legend. Originally
this sign was a part of the fastening at the back of the imperial
diadem or was visible as part of the offeringin the hand of the
Victory on the reverse of imperial trientes,but the Frisians seem to
have developed their use of it from the pseudo-imperial Frankish
trientesand the OstrogothicimitationsofRoman currency.About the
year 600 A.D. the Victory on the reverse was replaced by a cross on
Byzantine and imitative coinages. The second group of Frisian coins
was recently discovered by Boeles. It was lacking the so-called
fortheFrankish
"boucleperdue" and showed a greaterstylisticaffinity
coins than for the Ostrogothicones. Both groups of purely Frisian
coins were issued very commonly in pale gold, and in one case the
coin is of silver.40
The commercial bond between Frisia and the Rhenish regions is
easily established by the findsthat have been made within Frisia of
twenty-sevencoins fromCologne,Mainz, Alsheim,and Worms as well
as related currencies.In addition therewere fivecoins fromthe mints
on the Moselle and ten fromthose on theMeuse,includingimitations.41
Thus of the 208 coins listed by Boeles, forty-twopieces come from
the trade area formedby these riverbasins. At the same time it is to
be noted that a few Frisian and Anglo-Saxon sceattas, probably of
later date, are also found in the Rhineland.42It is, however, to be
expected that the directionofthe flowofcurrencywould be northward
in this region. Frisia must be considered one of the more primitive
40P. C. J.A. Boeles,Frieslandtotdeelfdeeeuw, pp. 258-268,also BijlageVIII,
Nos. 96-105.
41Ibid.,BijlageVIII, Nos. 145-186.
42JoachimWerner,
Mnzdatierte
austrasische
, p. 17. Cf.P. C. J. A.
Grabfunde
Boeles,Frieslandtotde elfdeeeuw, pp. 359-381,and esp. pp. 374-375,forthe
viewthatthesceattaswerecreatedin thelast quarteroftheseventhcentury
and aretherefore
ratherthanthe
evidenceforthistradein theeighthcentury
seventh.

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124

Light Weight Solidi

areas in the West in Merovingiantimes,and it would thereforeimport


ratherthan export currency.Boeles has presented an admirable case
throughouthis book on Frisia forthe view that the Frisians were not
at this time the great tradingpeople and entrepreneursof the North
Sea littoral. That honor he would bestow upon the Anglo-Saxons.43
It is importantto rememberthat duringthe period covered by this
study Frisia enjoyed independence, and that the expansion of the
Frankish realm to include all of Frisia was not accomplished until
Charlemagne's Saxon campaigns. Probably as early as 600 A.D.,
Maastricht on the Meuse became a Frankish town and the seat of a
Merovingian bishop as well as a site for a Frankish mint. By the
middle ofthe seventhcenturyDorestad was also the site ofa Frankish
mint,but in the early years of the last quarter of the seventh century
the Frisians successfully expanded their realm to include both
Utrecht and Dorestad. In 687, however, Pepin defeated the Frisian
rulerRedbad and siezed Dorestad again, and between 691 and 695 A.D.
Utrecht and the mouth of the Rhine were conquered by the Merovingians.There was a shortrebirthof Frisian power afterthe death of
Pepin, and Redbad reached Cologne with a Frisian fleetand defeated
Charles Martel,but afterthe passing of Redbad the Franks returned
to the offensiveand again possessed themselves of the mouth of the
Rhine.44
The expansion of Frankish power duringthe seventh centurywas,
of course, accompanied by the establishmentof Frankish mints.That
at Maastricht began to issue gold coinage about the year 600 and
continuedto do so until about the last quarter ofthe seventh century.
A mint was established at Dorestad about the middle of the seventh
centuryby the Maastricht mint-masterRimoaldus. It was a short
lived mint,however,because of the conquests of Redbad, and it was
only after 689 A.D. that it could be reestablished once again by
drawing upon the resources of the mint at Maastricht. By 716 the
43P. C. J. A. Boeles,Frieslandtotde elfde eeuw>pp. 359ff.Cf.Dirk Jellema,
"FrisianTradeintheDarkAges,"Speculum
yXXX (1955),p. 24,whoseeksto
Earlierwriters
dividethelaurelsbetweentheFrisiansand theAnglo-Saxons.
citedby Boelesand Jellemahave stressedtheroleoftheFrisians.
44P. C. J. A. Boeles,Frieslandtotde elfde eeuw, pp. 3290., and Dirk Jellema,
"FrisianTradein the Dark Ages,"Speculum
, XXX (1955),pp. 15-17,trace
thehistoryofFrisiabriefly
duringthisperiod.

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Byzantine Trade with the West

125

town was once again in Redbas hands and the mint-master


Madelinus II had passed away. The last issues of the series struckby
him at Maastricht,however,were degenerateand were done in silver.
During the firstquarter of the eighth centurygold was withdrawn
fromcirculation as currencyin all of Frisia, and it was replaced by
silver.45
Frisia was a vital link in the chain of findspots forthe lightweight
solidi,and the findsare morecloselyconcentratedtherethan anywhere
else. Through the region along the right bank of the Rhine and
particularlyin Frisia it was a common practice to loop or pierce gold
coins and to use them for ornaments. This practice is present in a
significant number of instances among the light weight solidi.
Perhaps this practice is in some measure connectedwith the fact that
since the economyof the area was certainlybelow that established in
Gaul proper, the true value of gold as a monetary metal was not as
securelyestablished. Using the coins forthe manufactureofornaments
involves a change in the value of the coins. The people residingin this
area were not as accustomed to the use of gold as those who lived
on lands that had formerlybeen Roman. In Frisia at least thirty-one
of the coins listed by Boeles fromthe reign of Anastasius and later
were of poor alloy, and in additon there was one of that unusual
series of earlybracteates. A surveyof the coinage fromthe Austrasian
graves listed by Werner shows exactly the same phenomenon. The
percentagesof coins of poor alloy are too high to be meaningless.The
Germanic peoples who inhabited the region were apparently quite
unskilledin determiningwhich were the coins of poor gold, formany
of the pieces were merelyplated copper, and in one instance therewas
even a core of lead.46
46P. C. J. A. Boeles,op. cit.,pp. 287-308.
46It is interesting
to notethat Clovisbribedthe leudesof Ragnacharwith
The fraudwas onlydiscounterfeits
of gildedcopper(aereumdeauratum).
ofTours,
coveredsometimelater,afterthe damagehad beendone. Gregory
rerummerowingicarum
HistoriaFrancorum,II, 42 (M.G.H.fScriptores
, I,
p. 105).In a laterpassagewearealso toldthattheSaxonspaidmanythousand
pieces of gold to King Guntramforthe privilegeof crossingthe Rhone.
Havingcrossedtheriver,the SaxonscameintoAuvergnein the springtime,
and theretheyproduced,insteadof gold,stampedbars of bronze(regulas
aeris incisasproauro).The peoplewhosaw thesebarsdidnotdoubtthatthey
weretestedand provengoldbecauseofthefinecolorthat had beengivento

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126

Light Weight Solidi

The lightweightsolidi,however,are foundat thefurthestextremity


of this trade route,in England. Of course,the commercialconnections
between England and the continent were quite strong during this
period. A type of fibulawhich may be distinguishedfromothers is
foundin England and Frisia as well as near Cologne and Worms. The
so-called "Coptic" bronzes extend over the entire route from Italy
down the Rhine. Other objects such as a clamped saucer from the
lower Rhine are also foundin Kent, and Anglo-Saxon type belt plates
occur along the Rhine. Pottery and glassware as well as cruciform
brooches serve to indicate the strength of this trade.47 The bond
between the continent and Britain actually appears to have been
strengthenedduring the period of the Anglo-Saxon invasions, and a
common cultural pattern is easily seen in Frisia and England.48The
British contacts with the continent in the early Middle Ages have
been covered in sufficientdetail by many authors, and it is pointless
to repeat such well-knownmaterial.49
Much time has been spent establishing on a sure footing the
continuous existence of a subsidiary trade route fromItaly over the
Alps and down the Rhine Valley to Frisia and England. The character
of trade along this route was influenced by the more primitive
the metalby somecleverprocess.Manypersonsweretrickedby thisdevice
and gavetheirgoodmoneyforthebronzeand werereducedto poverty.Ibid,,
rerum
IV, 42 (M.G.H.,Scriptores
I, p. 177).Cf.Procopius,De
merowingicarum,
I, ii, 4 (ed. Teubner,III, pt. II, pp. 1718i.).Procopiusspeaksofa
Aedificiis,
bronzeequestrian
statueofJustinian
intheAugusteum
at Constantinople
and
saysthatthismetalwas in colorsofterthanpuregoldand in value notmuch
lessthanan equivalentweightofsilver.See TheodorMommsen,
Histoirede la
monnaieromaine
, trans.Duc. de Blacas, III, p. 47, note1, foranotherinterofhoardsalso,suchas that
pretationofthepassagefromProcopius.A number
ofDortmund,
whichwasdiscussedinthefirst
indicatethattheGermans
chapter,
werenottoo wisein distinguishing
goodgoldfrombad.
47Dirk Jellema,"FrisianTradein the Dark Ages,"Speculum
, XXX (1955),
pp. 15-17,has gatheredtheevidenceto indicatethesetradeconnections.
48P. C. J. A. Boeles,Frieslandtotde elideeeuw, pp. 207ff.
49C. H. V. Sutherland,
GoldCoinagein theLightoftheCrondall
Anglo-Saxon
Hoard (London:OxfordUniversity
Press,1948),pp. 22-30,givesan account
ofthenumismatic
and archaeological
evidenceto substantiate
theresumption
oftheflowofgoldintoBritainafterthe establishment
oftheAnglo-Saxons.
Paul Kletler,Nordwesteuropas
Verkehr
im frhen
Mittel, HandelundGewerbe
alter
theliterary
sourcesindicating
, pp. 15-19,citesa gooddealofevidencefrom
thecloseconnections
betweenEnglandand theContinent.

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Byzantine Trade with the West

127

conditionofthe peoples on the rightbank ofthe Rhine throughwhose


territorythis trade passed. These people used gold and engaged in
monetarytransactions,but the coins were also utilized as ornaments
to a greater degree here than elsewhere. The inhabitants of the
region retained the use of silver currencyin an active sense while it
was lost throughoutmost of the Roman world. This is shown by the
findsof Ostrogothicand Byzantine silver coins. Their knowledge of
gold as a currencymedium was limited, and a great many pieces of
poor quality, plated, or heavily alloyed, were in circulation.
Into this trade the Byzantine light weight solidi were introduced.
Originallythey seem to have been struck in Constantinopleand sent
to Italy fromwhence they passed over the Alps and down the Rhine.
This move was part of the Byzantine design to increase the profits
fromthe western trade. The Persian difficultieswhich began in the
early sixth centuryturnedthe tradersof Constantinoplein increasing
numbers westwards. As early as the reign of Anastasius a marked
growth is clearly seen in the activity of the oriental traders in the
West. The colonies of easternmerchantswho were residentin western
Europe and who preservedtheiridentityjealously afterthesettlement
of the German barbarians made this expansion easier in the more
romanized parts of Europe. During Justinian's reign this activity
increased even more sharply since it was aided and abetted by the
victories of Byzantine arms. Negotiations with the Himyarites to
the south of the Persian Empire and the Turkic peoples to the north
during the reign of Justinian could not have compensated for the
severe setback received by the eastern trade of the Byzantines as a
result of the Persian wars. The importance of trade as a factor in
Justinian's defensive wars against the Sassanians can be noted by
simplyreadingProcopius' account of the events. Under these stresses
the imperial government sought to cultivate trade in the West
throughall of the available channels. Procopius who served in Italy
on the staffofBelisarius must have been aware ofwhat was transpiring
there even afterhe left as a direct result of his connectionswith the
militarymen. Thereforeit is in his writingsthat the strikingoflight
weight solidi is mentioned.
It was probably in 547/8that Justinianintroducedthese coins for
use along this specifictrade route. Perhaps the coins were shipped

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128

Light Weight Solidi

into northernItaly directlyfromthe mint; certainlythey were not


used throughoutthe Empire. A purelylocal situationwas answeredby
the striking of this series of coins. It may be, however, that an
attempt was made to introducetheiruse into Antioch,an emporium
of westerntrade, duringthe reignof Justinian,and that JohnMalaias
has recorded the convulsions of the populace which greeted the
proposal. If that is so, and it is purelyhypothetical,the attempt was
not successful,and Justinianquickly reversedhimself.It may well be
that the fewlightweight solidi markedOB*+*, OB+*, and OBf issued
by Justinianrepresenta part of that move to introducethis currency
into the western trade at Antioch because these marks are clearly
associated very stronglywith Antioch in the late sixth century.
Failure to introduce light weight coinage into the main body of
western trade that originated in Antioch in the reign ofJustinian,
if the attempt to do so was made, was not permanent. During the
reign of Justin II, Antioch and its environs included at least one
source ofthese lightweightsolidi. The Hama hoard showsconclusively
that in the reign of JustinII the mint of Antioch issued light weight
solidi. These new light weight solidi were apparently used in the
extensive trade with the cities of southernFrance, and some of them
foundtheirway into the Balkan peninsula. That theyare foundin the
Balkans is not in the least surprising,if the original purpose of their
manufacturewas trade with essentially underdeveloped peoples in
the West. It is certainlynot wise to place too much weightupon three
individual coins foundin the Balkans, but it would be equally foolish
to maintain that theirexistencetherewas inexplicablein termsof the
proposed thesis of this monograph. Aside from the mere fact that
coins are extremelymobile and are constantlybeing transportedfrom
one locale to another,it must be noted that the numismaticevidence
is quite conclusivelyin favor of a great expansion of trade between
the Byzantines and the more primitive Balkan peoples during the
sixth and seventh centuries.50The Slavic tribes and theirAvar allies
60C. Moisil,"Sur les monnaiesbyzantines
trouvesen Romanie,"Bulletinde
Roumaine
la SectionHistorique
, XI (1924),pp. 207-211; D. Csallny,
, Acadmie
AcademiaeScientiarum
"ByzantineMoneyin AvarFinds,"ActaArchaeologica
;
, II (1952),pp. 235-255 (in Russian witha Frenchsummary)
Hungaricae
im
in den Fundender Vlkerwanderungszeit
L. Huszr,"Das Mnzmaterial
Academiae
Scientiarum
'ActaArchaeologica
mittleren
,
Hungaricae
Donaubecken,'

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Byzantine Trade with the West

129

who were engaged in raidingthe Balkan provincesof the Empire were


in an even lower stage of development than the Germanic tribes of
southern and western Germany. Trade in the Balkans was certainly
not as significantas trade in western Europe, but the expansion of
that Balkan trade was greatest during the period when light weight
solidi were being issued. It is conceivable that a few of the light
weight solidi were introduced into the Balkans for that trade, but
this is by no means a necessary conclusion.
On the other hand the evidence that light weight gold was introduced into the main body of western trade along the valley of the
Rhone in the reign of JustinII is well attested.61It is quite true that
there have been no findsof authentic Byzantine light weight solidi
made within the area of Gaul about the Rhone, but a series of socalled pseudo-imperial gold coins of western manufacture which
utilized approximately the same weight standard is known.52It is
V (1955),pp. 61-109.In thissame connection
the ratheracute observations
of PeterCharanisbased uponthe excavationcoinsfoundat Corinthand at
Athensseemto supportincreasedeconomicactivityat thosetwocitiesduring
theperiodfromJustinian
to ConstansII. PeterCharanis,"The Significance
of
Coinsas EvidencefortheHistoryofAthensand Corinthin the Seventhand
Historia
, IV (1955),pp. 163-172.
EighthCenturies,"
61It shouldbe remembered
thatGregory
ofTours,HistoriaFrancorum
, IV, 40
rerummerowingicarum
, I, p. 173) accuses JustinII of
(M.G.H., Scriptores
cupidity.The merefactthata Byzantineemperorcollectedtaxes by a more
efficient
withintheFrankishstatewouldbe enough
systemthanwas current
to gain himsucha description
in the West. Still it is interesting
that light
intoGaul duringthereignoftheverymanwho
weightsolidiwereintroduced
was so markedby Gregory
ofTours.John,BishopofEphesus,in thereignsof
also has someveryunpleasantthingsto
JustinII andTiberiusII Constantine,
is giventhatJustinII
sayaboutJustinII and Sophia.The distinct
impression
was miserlyand accumulateda hoardof preciousmetalswhileTiberiusII
Constantine
wasbynatureverygenerous.
Ed. E. W. Brooks,IohannisEphesini
HistoriaeEcclesiastici
Pars Tertia,bk. Ill, c. 2ff.,in theseriesScriptores
Syri
Christianorum
Orientalium
(vol. 55) in the CorpusScriptorum
(vol. 106)
Orientaliste
L. Durbecq.1952).pp. 88ff.
(Louvain:Imprimerie
52The latestworkon thesepseudo-imperial
coinsfromGaul is S. E. Rigold,
"An ImperialCoinagein SouthernGaul in the Sixthand SeventhCenturies,"
Numismatic
Chronicle
, Series6, XIV (1954),pp. 93-133.See also MauriceProu,
de la Bibliothque
Nationale
. Les Monnaies
Cataloguedes monnaiesfranaises
mrovingiennes
(Paris, 1892), pp. xxix-xxviii; and Arnold Luschin von
"Der Denar der Lex Salica," Sitzungsberichte
der Kaiserlichen
Ebengreuth,
Akademieder Wissenschaften
in Wien, Phil.-hist.Klasse, CLXIII (1910),
Abh.4, pp. 22-39.
9

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130

Light Weight Solidi

quite correct that typologicallythese pseudo-imperialgold coins are


not imitations of contemporaryByzantine pieces, and it is also true
that the trientesofthe pseudo-imperialseries are much more common
than the solidi whereas in the authentic Byzantine series only solidi
are known. There is, however, a satisfactory explanation of this
phenomenon. By the mid-sixth century the triens had become the
standard coin throughoutthe West. Nothing would be more logical
forthe moneyersof southern Gaul than to apply the new standard in
terms of the coins in common use as well as in the series of solidi.
The question of types is also susceptible of similar explanation.
Justinianhad abandoned the three-quarterface portraiturewith the
spear lyingtransverselyon the shoulder about 539 A.D., and this type
did not reappear on the regular Byzantine issues until the reign of
ConstantineIV Pogonatus. The three-quarterface bust, however,was
the type utilized forthe pseudo-imperialpieces. Since the type itself
was quite commonlyused throughoutthe length and breadth of the
civilized world fromthe reignof ConstantiusII therecan be no doubt
that it was better known in the West than the new portraiture
introducedby Justinian.53Thus the inhabitantsof Gaul were given a
coinage with types that were not remarkablydifferentfromthose to
whichthey had become accustomed, but these new coins bore marks
of value which indicated that they were clearly derived from the
authenticByzantine lightweightseries insofaras the weightstandard
was concerned. The solidi were worth twenty-onesiliquae and the
trienteswere valued at seven siliquae. That, of course, is the most
essential featureof the relationshipbetween these new Gallic pieces
and the light weight Byzantine solidi.
Other aspects of the historyof the pseudo-imperialcoins point to
the same close relationship with the Byzantine solidi. The pseudoimperialcoins reflectthe same tendencyto move northwardsthat was
so noticeable in the case of the Byzantine solidi fromthe regionof the
Rhine. The North was less highly developed than the South. A
goodly numberof the hundredor so specimensof the pseudo-imperial
coins have been foundin Britain and othernorthernareas. Thus some
of the pseudo-imperialpieces have been recoveredin the hoard from
53Thereversetypeofthepseudo-imperial
a small
coinsis a crosssurmounting
forthisin Byzantinecoinage.
globe.Thereis no trueprototype

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Byzantine Trade with the West

131

Sarre, near Reculver, in Kent and in the hoard fromNietap. They


also occurred in the Sutton-Hoo ship burial and in the Wieuwerd
hoard as well as in the Bilgaard and Hichtum terps in Frisia. This
would seem to be another instance of the attraction of the more
Germanic, and consequently less highly developed areas, for light
weight gold currency.
Pseudo-imperialgold was issued regularlyat Marseille,Aries,Uzs,
and Viviers and intermittentlyat Venasque, Die, Valence, Vienne,
and possibly Gap as well. All of these cities, of course, are located in
the Rhone Valley, and this valley was a major artery of trade from
the Mediterraneanlittoralinto the interior.From the sea ports along
the coast goods were moved up the Rhone into the heart of Gaul, and
the networkofotherriversthroughoutthe countrymade forrelatively
easy communicationswith the other parts of the land.
It seems most likelythat this pseudo-imperialcurrencyof Gaul was
firstissued during the last years of the reign of Justin II. Rigold
suggests that it was begun about the year 574 A.D. Five trientesare
known which were struck in the name of Justin II, and since they
reveal a similarityto the earliest pseudo-imperialissues in the name
of Maurice, they may confidentlybe placed quite late in the reign.
The reign of Tiberius Constantine is representedby a single solidus
struck at Aries and recovered with the hoard of Wieuwerd, and a
single trienswhich may have been struckat Uzs. Since the mints of
Marseille,Aries, and Viviers were representedon the fivetrientesof
Justin II, it can be seen that the coinage of this variety was known
over half the distance between Marseille and Lyons, but it was not
quantitatively very important as yet. The great period for the
striking of these Gallic coins was the reign of Maurice Tiberius.
Since on these pseudo-imperial pieces the Emperor's name is
given as MAVRICIVS Tib or just MAVRICIVS rather than always
Tib MAVRICIVS, they, as well as the authentic Byzantine light
weightissues in his name, must have been struckin 583 A.D. or later.
Pseudo-imperialcoinage in thename ofMauriceTiberiusis particularly
plentiful,and it is clear than even duringthe reign of Phocas and the
earlyyears of the reignof Heraclius only a veryfewgold pieces of this
series were issued in the names of these rulers. Instead the name of
Maurice was revived, and two groups of coins which were issued
9*

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132

Light Weight Solidi

posthumouslyin his name can be distinguished.By 616, however,the


last traces of the independenceof the cities in southernGaul had been
eradicated, and the pseudo-imperial series was replaced by one of
royal originwhich bore the royal effigybut emanated fromthe same
area.
Historicallythe series of pseudo-imperialcoins reflectsthe political
influenceof the Byzantines in the cities of the Rhone Valley. The
relationship between the various Frankish rulers such as Sigibert,
Childebert,and Chilpericand the Byzantine emperorswere never as
close as during the years fromabout 584 to 594. Subsidy payments
for Frankish aid against the Lombards were regularlymade, and as
late as 601 a.D., when the third Exarch of Ravenna, Callinicus,
renewedthe struggleagainst the Lombards, contacts with the Franks
were necessary. In 606, however,a truce with the Lombards marked
the finalend of the effortby the Byzantine to carry offensiveaction
against the Germanic barbarians. The decline of Byzantine influence
was a concomitantof the enlargementof the realm of Chlotar II, the
successor of Chilperic in Neustria, as an independent sovereign. In
613 Chlotar had seized all of Gaul as his own, and it was not long
before he imposed his savage rule in the Rhone Valley as surely as
elsewhere in Gaul.64There is thus a connection in time between the
decline of the effortsof the Byzantine rulers against the Lombards,
the strikingof the pseudo-imperial series in southern Gaul, and the
rise of the realm of Chlotar II.
84The connection
betweenthe historicalsituationand the pseudo-imperial
coinageis adequatelyestablishedin greaterdetail by S. E. Rigold,"An
ImperialCoinagein SouthernGaul in the Sixth and SeventhCenturies/'
Chronicle
Numismatic
, Series6, XIV (1954),PP- 93-133-Furtherdiscussion
of incidentalfeaturesregardingthe pseudo-imperial
coins, such as the
of
with
the
in
connection
coins
of
these
Gondovald,is not
expedition
meaning
The earlierviewofLuschinvon
to themainthreadoftheargument.
pertinent
der Kaiserlichen
"Der Denar der Lex Salica/' Sitzungsberichte
Ebengreuth,
in Wien, Phil.-hist.Klasse, CLXIII (1910)
Akademieder Wissenschaften
Abh. 4, pp. 28 and 38, was thatthe trientesin Gaul werefirstlightenedto
sevenand one-half
siliquae,andthatonlyafter582a.d. weretheyloweredstill
to sevensiliquae.The evidencecitedto supportthisis veryweak.
further
Luschinvon Ebengreuth,
op. cit.,p. 39, also held that duringthe reignof
ChlotarII the standardwas loweredto twentysiliquaeper solidus,but his
argumentis not completelyconvincing.The fact that most Merovingian
trientescannotbe dated as accuratelyas othercoinsincreasesthe difficulty
in thesubject.
inherent

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Byzantine Trade with the West

133

The success of the Frankish king in establishing his authorityin


southern Gaul is accurately reflected in the replacement of the
imperial effigyand name by that of the king. A new weight standard
had been introduced in the south, and gradually, but surely, it
spread northward.Typologically,as well as in the matter of weight,
the pseudo-imperial coins were the prototypes of most of the later
Merovingian pieces. The "anonymous" local coinages which are so
plentiful were largely produced in imitation of the light weight
pseudo-imperial currency.
It can be said without fear of dispute that the Roman experiment
with the use of light weight gold currencywas a complete success in
the field of external trade. The secondary trade artery along which
most of these coins are found remained somewhat backward as
compared with the more romanized sections of Europe for a considerable period of time as shown by its attraction of the pseudoimperial pieces. This, however, is only a subsidiary aspect. Gold
coinage of lighterweight made it possible to use less of the precious
metal which the Byzantines treasured so closely to carry on their
westerntrade. The tendencyin westernEurope in the earlymediaeval
period was consistently towards lighter and smaller gold coins as
shown by the adoption of the triens as the common gold piece rather
than the much more precious solidus. Economic decline gave gold
coins a much greater purchasing power, and as a result the lighter
coins could perform the economic functions which had required
solidi of full weight during earlier periods. Even afterthe peoples of
the West were fullycognizant of the change which the Byzantines had
introducedinto the gold coinage used in external trade these advantages still remained. It must not be forgottenthat the lighterweight
gold standard was quickly adopted by the cities of the southern
Gallic region, and from there it spread throughout the Frankish
realm and the rest of the European successor states. As long as the
Byzantines had an active interestin the western trade the adoption
of this lighter standard made it possible for them to use a smailei
amount of gold for their transactions, and at the same time it
brought the gold coinage which they were using in this trade into
directalignmentwith the prevailingtrend of monetarypolicy among
the peoples of the West including the Franks, Suevi and Visigoths,
who adopted the lighterstandard.

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134

Light Weight Solidi

But the very success of this Roman innovation created a gap


between the currencyof Gaul, which rapidly influencedthe coinage
of the remainingpeoples ofwesternEurope, and that ofthe Byzantine
Empire in its entirety.Even in Italy, the Pragmatic Sanction issued
by Justinian had created a common currency acceptable for the
entirerealm and thereforedifferent
in standard fromthe more recent
Merovingian pieces. Recently conquered provinces were rapidly
integratedinto the economic life of the Byzantine Empire, and the
commercial activities of the merchants engaged in purely internal
trade were geared to the use of a solidus of twenty-fourcarats.
There is literaryproofthat the lightFrankish gold was not permitted
to circulate within the Byzantine Empire. St. Gregory,in a letter to
Dynamius, the Patrician of the Gauls, mentions a sum of four
hundred Gallicanos solidos which are obviously differentfrom the
imperialvariety.55St. Gregorywas merelyrecognizingthe distinction
between imperial and Gallic solidi in the last decade of the sixth
century. In a second letter written about two years later the same
Pope speaks of the "solidi Galliarum,qui in terranostraexpendi non
."56 This can only
possunt, apud locum propriumutiliterexpendantur
refer to the pseudo-imperial coinage issued in the Rhone Valley.
Since this coinage was on approximatelythe same weightstandard as
the authenticByzantine lightweightgold currency,it is obvious from
the literaryevidence as well as fromthe list of sites wherelightweight
solidi have been found that they were not intended for general use
within the Empire. Gold, on the other hand, would never have been
used for a currencywhich might be limited to a particular market
place such as Antioch. Only foreigntrade with western Europe, a
trade in which Antioch played such an importantpart, provides the
explanation forthe nature and the locations of the findsof this light
weight coinage and its imitations.
The coinage of pseudo-imperial gold in southern Gaul ceased
during the reign of Heraclius, and the influence of the imperial
governmentin Gaul declined sharply at the same time. It was at
66GregoryI, Registrum,
III, 33 (M.G.H., Epistolae,I, p. 191). The letteris
in April593.
datedby theeditorsas havingbeenwritten
56Gregory
, I, p. 389).The editorsdate
, VI, 10 (M.G.H., Epistolae
I, Registrum
in Sept. 595.
thisletteras havingbeenwritten

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Byzantine Trade with the West

135

preciselythe same instant that the pressure of the Persians reached


the zenith. Coinage of light weight solidi at Antioch had come to an
end before the reign of Phocas. During the reign of Heraclius,
Antiochwas actually seized fora shorttime by the Persians. Antioch,
Damascus, Jerusalem,and even Egypt were temporarilyheld by the
Persians. Coevally the Avars launched an attack against the city of
Constantinople, and Heraclius pondered the wisdom of flight to
Africa. Fortunately the Avar attacks were a purely temporary
phenomenon, and the trade in the Balkans was not seriously
hampered. The hoards and finds from the Balkans show that the
Byzantine emphasis on trade there continued through the reign of
ConstantineIV Pogonatus. Trade with the East, however,must have
been seriously affectedby the Persian wars which punctuated the
reignsof Phocas and Heraclius duringthe firstquarter of the seventh
century.The Byzantine victory at the Battle of Nineveh which was
followedby the death of Chosroes and a series of dynasticconvulsions
within Persia exhausted the Persians and made it possible for the
Byzantines to conclude a very favorable peace.
During the reigns of Phocas and Heraclius, as the Frankish realm
was expanding under Chlotar II and Byzantine influencewaned in
Gaul, the number of light weight solidi issued by the Byzantine
governmentappears to have increased. The subsidiary trade route
along the Rhine was probably used to a greater degree than in the
reigns just preceding that of Phocas. Certainly the majority of the
Byzantine coins foundin the sites along this route were struckin the
reign of Heraclius. Thus it seems obvious that while Byzantine
influencein southern Gaul was paramount there was no need to
exert great effortsalong this subsidiary route, but when the Frankish
were pressing,
kingshad complete controland the Persian difficulties
the imperial governmentattempted to extend its activities along the
Rhine.
It is possible that the same forceswhich necessitated the increased
activity of the Byzantines in the West along a subsidiary trade route
also created the need for an expansion of trade in southern Russia.
Russian museums contain a startlingnumber of light weight solidi.
Gold coins, however,are marked by extrememobilityin the hands of
collectors, and it is unsafe to make any deductions on the basis of

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136

Light Weight Solidi

specimens in museums. Certainly the reigns of Constans II and


Constantine IV Pogonatus witnessed the use of these coins in the
Ukraine as shown by the hoards. The movementsof the Bulgrs were
probably the factorthat made foran end of Byzantine effortsat the
use oflightweightsolidi in southernRussia. A new power in the form
of the Khazar state was being erected in southern Russia, and the
Byzantines dealt with the Khazars on differentterms.
Whatever the basic causes, the Islamic conquests, the decline of
stabilityin Gaul and the later growthof the power of the Mayors of
the Palace, the Bulgar pressure in the Balkans, and a succession of
Byzantine emperorsof limited ability about the end of the seventh
and the beginningof the eighth century,there can be no doubt that
the concerted effortat building up the trade of Byzantium with the
West was over by the reign of Constantine IV Pogonatus. It was
indeed decliningsharply as early as the reign of Heraclius. Of course
it did not cease abruptly and completely,and some articles which
were necessaryformaintainingthe prestigeof the chancelleriesof the
western monarchs or the church continued to be imported, but the
fact that Byzantine hoards and coins no longer occur with any
frequencycannot be denied. Byzantine policy,as has been recognized
by all Byzantine historians, was differentin the eighth and ninth
centuryfromthat oftheperiodfromJustinianthroughConstantineIV
Pogonatus.
The Pirennethesishas been commentedupon by a host ofhistorians
and mediaevalists ofsuch statureas Lopez, Dennet, Baynes and many
others, who have modified it in many respects. Many authors, of
course, have gone so far as to reject that thesis completely. The
subject of this monograph,however,is much less extensive than the
external trade of Gaul duringthe Middle Ages. Most of the products
in question in any discussion of the Pirenne thesis were controlledby
the Islamic successors of Byzantium in the near East afterthe reign
of Heraclius. Discussion of many other factors than the finds of
Byzantine coins in the West must enter into a complete analysis of
the Pirennethesis. The hypothesispropoundedin connectionwiththe
light weight solidi, it is true, is of some importance with regard to
that thesis, but it is in no sense a broad commentary.Carolingian
economic conditions are not pertinentto a discussion of the solution

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Byzantine Trade with the West

137

of the problem of the light weight solidi, but a complete agreement


on the nature of the Carolingian world is vital to any discussion of
Pirenne's views. It is precisely in that connection that Pirenne and
Dopsch are most clearly in disagreement. The numismatic and
archaeological evidence presented here adds a new feature to any
discussion, however, by showing that for a period of time which
coincides with the growth of the Persian menace in the sixth and
seventh centuries the Byzantines assiduously attempted to build up
their external trade with peoples at a lower stage of development.
That effortended with the reign of Constantine IV Pogonatus, and
the nature of international trade necessarily changed.

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ABBREVIATIONS USED IN THE CATALOGUE


Akerman

Bauer
Belfort
BMC, Byz.
Boeles

BrderEgger Sale, 21 Nov.


1898

J. Y. Akermann,A DescriptiveCatalogue
of Rare and UneditedRoman Coins from
theEarliest Period of theRoman Coinage
to the Extinction of the Empire under
Constantine
Paleologus(London,1834), HMnzkunde
N.Bauer, 'Zurbyzantinischen
s,' ' Frankfurter
Mnzdes VII . Jahrhundert
II, No. 15(March1931),pp.227-229.
zeitung,
A. de Belfort, Descriptiongnraledes
monnaiesmrovingiennes
par ordrealphaateliers
des
btique
(Paris, 1894), IV.
Warwick W. Wroth, Catalogue of the
Imperial ByzantineCoins in the British
Museum (London, 1908), 2 vols.
P. C. J. A. Boeles, Friesland totde elfde
eeuw. Zijn vr- en vroegeGescheidnis
(2nded. : 's Gravenhage:MrtiusNijhoff,
1951), Bijlage VIII.
dervondemverstorbenen
Auctions-Catalogue
k. k. HofHerrnKarl Latourv. Thurmberg
rathund Direktorder k. k. Lotto-Direction
Mnzen- und
i. P. in Wien hinterlassenen
Brder
(Wien:
Medaillen-Sammlung
Egger,
1898),pt. I.

BrderEggerSale XL, 28 Nov.


Auctions-Catalogueder Sammlung grie1904
Mnundbyzantinischer
chischer
, rmischer
zen des Herrn TheodorProwe in Moskau
(Wien: BrderEgger,1904).
Cahn Sale 75, 30 May 1932
75.
AdolphE. CohnVersteigerungs-Katalog
Antike Mnzen, griechischeMnzen aus
Besitz.
auslndischemund norddeutschem
Mnzkabinett
Das frstlich
frstenbergische
Die Mnzenderrmizu Donaueschingen.
schen Kaiserzeit aus der Sammlungdes
JustizratsDr. E. J. Haeberlin(Frankfurt
a. M.,1932).
138

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Catalogue
Canessa Sale, 28 June1923

Coin GalleriesSale, 17 Aug.


1956

139

Collezionedel fu Comm. Enrico Caruso.


Monetee Medagliein Oro, Greche
, Romane,
Bizantine, Medioevalee Moderne
, Italiane
estereMedaglie Papali , Italiane e Estere
(Paris, Naples, New York: C. &E. Cannessa, 1923).

CoinGalleriesMail Bid Sale. UnitedStates,


Foreign, Ancient Coins. NumismaticLibrary.ClosingDate Augustiy, J956.
8
Dec.
GlendiningSale,
1922 Catalogueof a VeryValuableCollectionof
Byzantine Coins Formed in the XVIIth
- TheProperty
Century
ofa ForeignPrince.
Goodacre
Hugh Goodacre,A HandbookoftheCoinage
of the ByzantineEmpire (London: Spink
and Sons, Ltd., 1928).
L. & L. HamburgerSale, 24Oct.
1898
CataloguederantikenMnzen, derMnzen
von Baden, Braunschweig,
Hanau , Lippe,
Nassau, Sachsen, Schwarzburg
, Wrttem, ItalienySpanien etc.aus demSeltenberg
heitscabineteines berhmtenSammlers
(Frankfurta. M.: BuchdruckereiLouis
Golde, 1898).
Hess Sale, 24 May 1886
MnSammlungTheodorRohde: Rmische
Mnzen, Ostgothen
zen,byzantinische
,FFsJgothen, Vandalen, Venetianer, Ungarn,
Siebenbrgerund Aurelian Doubletten
a. M. : AdolphHess,
Sammlung(Frankfurt
1886).
Hess Sale, 30 April1917
Sammlungdes HerrnfohannHorskyk. k.
Baurat, Ritter P. P. in Wien. Antike
Mnzen, Griechen- Rmer- Byzantiner.
Bibliothek
Numismatische
a. M.,
(Frankfurt
1917).
Hess Sale 194, 25 March1929 SammlungVogel, Griechen
, Rmer
, Byzantiner
, Brakteaten
, Medaillen (Frankfurt
a. M., 1929).
Hess Sale, 24 Nov. 1937
vonGoldmnzen
(Lucerne,1937).
Sammlung
Hirsch Sale XVIII, 27 May
derbedeutenden
1907
Auctions-Catalog
Sammlung
rmischer
und byzantinischer
Mnzen des
Herrn Dr. Friedrich Imhoof-Blumerin
Winterthur
sowieeinerausgewhlten
Samm-

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140

Light Weight Solidi

Hirsch Sale XXIV, 10 May


1909

Mnzen aus dem Besitze


lung griechischer
eines auswrtigen Diplomaten u. A,
(Munich,1907).

Weberf
SammlungConsulEduardFriedrich
. ZweiteAbteilung
: Rmischeund
Hamburg
Mnzen. Nachtraggriechibyzantinische
sche Mnzen. Mnzgewichte.
NumismatischeBibliothek(Munich,1909).
HirschSale XXXI, 6 May1912 Griechische
, rmischeund byzantinische
Mnzenaus demBesitzevonCommerzienrat
H . G. Gutekunst
in Stuttgart
, AlbertNiess
in Braunschweig
, T. W. Barron, Yew Tree
Hall , ForestGate (Essex), und aus hohem
englischenAdelsbesitz(Munichand Paris,
1912).
Kunz Sale II (1885)
SecondoCatalogode oggetti
di Numismatica
vendibilipressoCarloKunz. MoneteBizantine, monetede principi occidentaliin
Orienteec. (Venezia, 1885).
Luschinvon Ebengreuth
Dr. ArnoldLuschinvon Ebengreuth,"Der
Denar derLex Salica," Sitzungsberichte
der
KaiserlichenAkademieder Wissenschaften
in Wien, Phil.-hist.Klasse, CLXIII (1910),
Abh. 4.
Mionnet
T. E. Mionnet,De la raretet du prix des
mdaillesromainesou recueilcontenant
les
typesrares et inditesdes mdaillesd'or,
d'argentet de bronzefrappespendantla
durede la rpublique
etde l'empireromaine
(2nd ed.: Paris, 1827), II.
Monnaieset MdaillesSale XI,
Monnaies et Mdailles, S. A., Ble, Vente
23/24Jan. 1953
PubliqueXI, 23/24Jan. 1953.
Monnaieset MdaillesSale
Monnaies et Mdailles, S. A., Ble, Vente
XIII, 17-19 June1954
aux EnchresXIII, 17-19 June1954.
MonneretDe Villard
Ugo MonneretDe Villard, "Sui Diversi
valori del Soldo Bizantino," Rivista
Italiana di Numismatica
, XXXVI (1923),
PP- 33-40.
R. Mnsterberg,
Mnsterberg
"SptrmischeInedita,"
GesellMitteilungender Numismatischen
schaftin Wien, XV (1923), pp. 227-229.

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Catalogue

141

Naville Sale III, 16 June1922 Monnaies d'or romaines et byzantines


,
de Sir ArthurJ. Evans (Genvre:
collection
Agencedes Tournaux.1022).
Ratto Sale, 9 Dec. 1930
R. Ratto, Monnaies byzantines
et d'autres
Vpoque byzantine
pays contemporaines
(Lugano, IQ30).
. H . Schwing
Collection
Ratto Sale, 1-2 Dec. 1932
, D. C., F. A . C.,
Sries importantaes graves, Monnaies
consulaires
, Monnaiesromaines.
Ratto Sale, 26-29 Jan. 1955 Collezionedel Prof. Dott. GiorgioGiorgi
.
MoneteRomane.Aes Grave- RepubblicaImpero.MoneteBizantinaD'Oro.In Vendita
All'AstaPubblicaI Giorni26-2*7-28- 2g
Gennaio1955 (Milan: Mario Ratto, 1955).
Rollin et FeuardentSale,
Collection
deM. le Vicomte
dePontond'Am24-30 Aprii1887
Monnaiesd'orromainesetbyzantines
courtt
(Paris: Rollin et Feuardent,1887).
Sabatier
J. Sabatier, Description gnrale des
monnaies byzantinesfrappes sous les
d'orientdepuisArcadiusjusqu'
empereurs
la prisede Constantinople
par MahometII
(Paris and London, 1862), 2 vols.
Stack's Sale, 20-22 Jan. 1938 AuctionSale Catalogueof the Rheinhold
FaltenCollectionofAncientCoinstobeSold
January20, 21, 22, 1038 (NewYork,1038).
Stack's Sale, 28 June1948
The Charles Raphael Collectionof South
American and Foreign Silver and Gold
Coins to be Sold at Public AuctionSale
SaturdayfJune28, 1952.
Stefan
Friedrich Stefan, "Der Mnzfundvon
Maglern-Thrl(vergrabenum 570/71bis
584/85) und die Frage der reduzierten
Solidi," Numismatische
, LXX
Zeitschrift
(IQ37), PP. 43-63.
Tolstoi
Comte Jean Tolstoi, Monnaies byzantines
(St. Petersburg,1913-14),8 fase.
Werner
austrasische
JoachimWerner,Mnzdatierte
and
(Berlin
Grabfunde
Leipzig,1935),in ed.
Hans Zeiss, GermanischeDenkmlerder
, III, issued by the
Vlkerwanderungszeit
Rmisch-GermanischeKommission des
ArchologischenInstitutsdes Deutschen
Reiches.

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142

Light Weight Solidi


Justinian

1. Obv.DNIVSTINIANVSPPAVI
Bust of Justinian,helmeted(withplume) and cuirassed,facing
front.An orb surmountedby a cross in the righthand; a shield
bearingthe horsemandevice in the lefthand.
Rev. VICTOIAAVCCCG
Victorystandingfacingfrontwearingchitonand peplos. A globe
in the lefthand; a long cross in the righthand. A star in the
fieldbelow the lefthand.
In the exergueOB*+*
Hermitage1
Weight:4.11 grammesf
2. Obv.DNIVSTINIANVSPPAVI
Similarto the precedingcoin.
Rev. VICTOIAAVCCCI
Similarto the precedingcoin.
In the exergueOBXX
Stefan132
Weight:3.690 grammes
3. Obv. DNIVSTINIANVSPPAVI
Similarto the precedingcoin.
Rev. VICTOIAAVCCCI
Similarto the precedingcoin.
In the exergueOBXX
Hermitage3
Weight:3.68 grammesf'
DNIVSTINI
ANVSPPAVI
Obv.
4.
Similarto the precedingcoin.
Rev. VICTOIAAVCCCI
Similarto the precedingcoin.
In the exergueOBXX
Hermitage4
Weight:3.79 grammesf
5. Obv.DNIVSTINIANVSPPAVC
Similarto the precedingcoin.
Rev. VICTOIAAVCCCI
Similarto the precedingcoin.
In the exergueOBXX
Ratto Sale, 26-29 Jan-I955> 12086
Weight:3.72 grammesf
6. Obv. DNIVSTINIANVSPPAVC
Similarto the precedingcoin.
Rev. VICTOIAAVCCCI
Similarto the precedingcoin.
In the exergueOBXX
Coll. Leuthold6
Weight:3.70 grammes'/

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143

Catalogue
7. Obv. DNIVSTINIANVSPPAVI
Similarto the precedingcoin.
Rev. VIC[TORI]AAVCCCI
Similarto the precedingcoin.
In the exergueOBXX
Weight:3.66 grammesf

Coll. Leuthold7

8. Obv. DNIVSTINIANVSPPAVC
Similarto the precedingcoin.
Rev. VICTOIAAVCCCI
Similarto the precedingcoin.
In the exergueOBXX
Weight:3.7184 grammes

Coll. Grierson8

9. Obv. DNIVSTINIANVSPPAVI
Similarto the precedingcoin.
Rev. VICTOIAAVCCCI
Similarto the precedingcoin.
In the exergueOBXX
Weight:3.72 grammes

Cahn (1951)9

10. Obv. DNIVSTINIANVSPPAVI


Similarto the precedingcoin.
Rev. VICTOIAAVCCCI
Similarto the precedingcoin.
In the exergueOBXX
Weight: 3.74 grammesf

Hermitage

11. Obv. DNIVSTINIANVSPPAVI


Similarto the precedingcoin.
Rev. VICTOIAAVCCCI
Similarto the precedingcoin.
In the exergueOBXX
Weight:3.71 grammes'/

Hermitage10

12. Obv.DNIVSTINIANVSPPAVI
Bust of Justinian,helmeted(withplume) and cuirassed,facing
front.An orb surmountedby a cross in the righthand; shield
bearingthe horsemandevice in the lefthand.
Rev. VICTOIAAVCCCI
Victorystandingfacingfrontwearingchitonand peplos. A globe
in the lefthand; a long cross potentin the righthand. A star in
the fieldbelow the lefthand.
In the exergueOBXX
Weight: 3.74 grammesf
Hermitage

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144

Light Weight Solidi

13. Obv. DNIVSTINIANVSPPAVC


Similarto the precedingcoin.
Rev. VICTOIAAVCCCI
Similarto the precedingcoin.
In the exergueOBXX
Weight:2.20 grammes
BibliothqueNationale11
14. Obv. DNIVSTINIANVSPPAVC
Similarto the precedingcoin.
Rev. VICTOIAAVCCCI
Similarto the precedingcoin.
In the exergueOBXX
Weight:3.72 grammesf
Hermitage
15. Obv. DNIVSTINIANVSPPAVI
Similarto the precedingcoin.
Rev. VICTOIAAVCCCI
Similarto the precedingcoin.
In the exergueOBXX
Weight:3.70 grammes'/
Hermitage
16. Obv.DNIVSTINIANVSPPAVI
Similarto the precedingcoin.
Rev. VICTOI[AAVC]CCI
Similarto the precedingcoin.
In the exergueOBXX
Hermitage
Weight:3.71 grammesf
ANVSPPAVI
DNIVSTINI
17.06t;.
Similarto the precedingcoin.
Rev.VICTOIAAVCCCI
Similarto the precedingcoin.
In the exergueOBXX
Hermitage12
Weight:3.71 grammes'/
18. Obv. DNIVSTINIVNVSPPAVI
Similarto the precedingcoin.
Rev. VICTOIAAVCCCI
Similarto the precedingcoin.
In the exergueOBXX
Ratto Sale, 9 Dec. 1930,45013
Weight:3.72 grammes
19. Obv. Inscriptionprobablysimilarto the precedingcoin.
Similarto theprecedingcoinbut notfullydescribedorillustrated.
Rev. Inscriptionprobablysimilarto the precedingcoin.
Similarto theprecedingcoinbut notfullydescribedorillustrated.
In the exergueOBXX
BrderEgger Sale XL, 28 Nov. 1904,2910
Weight:not given

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145

Catalogue

20. Obv. DNIVSTINIANVSPPAVI


Bust of Justinian,helmeted(withplume) and cuirassed,facing
front.An orb surmountedby a cross in the righthand; shield
bearingthe horsemandevice in the lefthand.
Rev. VICTOIAAVCCCI
Victorystandingfacingfrontwearingchitonand peplos. A globe
in the lefthand; a long cross endingin the letterP (the Christogram)in the righthand. A star in the fieldbelow the lefthand.
In the exergueOBXX
BritishMuseum14
Weight:3.73 grammes
21. Obv.0NIVSTINIANVSPPAVI
Similarto the precedingcoin.
Rev. VICTOIAAVCCCI
Similarto the precedingcoin.
In the exergueOBXX
Weight:3.71 grammes
22. Obv. DNIVSTINIANVSPPAVI
Similarto the precedingcoin.
Rev. VICTOIAAVCCCI
Similarto the precedingcoin.
In the exergueODXX
Weight:3.5843
23. Obv.D[NIVS]TINIANVSPPAVC
Similarto the precedingcoin.
Rev. VICTOIAAVCCCI
Similarto the precedingcoin.
In the exergueOBXX
Weight:3.75 grammes

Monnaieset MdaillesSale XI,


23/24Jan. 1953,22115

Coll. Grierson16

Cahn (1951)17

24. Obv. Inscriptionnot givenbut probablysimilarto the precedingcoin.


Similarto the precedingcoin.
Rev. Inscriptionnot givenbut probablysimilarto the precedingcoin.
Similarto the precedingcoin.
In the exergueOBXX
Hirsch Sale XXIV, 10 May 1909,3016
Weight:3.64 grammes
25. Obv. Inscriptionnot givenbut probablysimilarto the precedingcoin.
Similarto the precedingcoin.
Rev. Inscriptionnot givenbut probablysimilarto the precedingcoin.
Similarto the precedingcoin.
In the exergueOBXX
Hirsch Sale XXXI, 6 May 1912,2099
Weight:3.68 grammes
10

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146

Light Weight Solidi

26. Obv. Inscriptionnot givenbut probablysimilarto the precedingcoin.


Descriptionnot givenbut probablysimilarto the precedingcoin.
Rev. Inscriptionnot givenbut probablysimilarto the precedingcoin.
Descriptionnot givenbut probablysimilarto the precedingcoin.
In the exergueOBXX
Luschinvon Ebengreuth,p. 3618
Weight:3.68 grammes
27. Obv.Inscriptionnot givenbut probablysimilarto the precedingcoin.
Similarto the precedingcoin.
Rev. Inscriptionnot givenbut probablysimilarto the precedingcoin.
Similarto the precedingcoin.
In the exergueOBXX
L. & L. HamburgerSale, 24 Oct. 1898,91
Weight:not given
28. Obv.DNIVSTINIANVSPPAVC
Bust of Justinian,helmeted(withplume) and cuirassed,facing
front.An orb surmountedby a cross in the righthand; shield
bearingthe horsemandevice in the lefthand.
Rev. VICTOIAAVCCCI
Victorystandingfacingfrontwearingchitonand peplos. A globe
in the lefthand; a longcrossin therighthand. A starin thefield
below the lefthand.
In the exergueOB^
Coll. Kapamadji
Weight:3.35 grammesf
29. Obv. DNIVSTINIANVSPPAVC
Similarto the precedingcoin.
Rev. VICTOIAAVCCCI
Similarto the precedingcoin.
In the exergueCO"
Weight:3.73 grammesf
30. Obv. DNIVSTINIANVSPPAVC
Similarto the precedingcoin.
Rev. VICTOIAAVCCCI
Similarto the precedingcoin.
In the exergueOB+*
Weight:3.69 grammes

Hermitage19

DumbartonOaks20

Barbarian Imitationsof Justinian


31. Obv.DNIVSTINIANVSPPAVC
Bust of Justinian,helmeted(withplume) and cuirassed,facing
front.An orb surmountedby a cross in the righthand; a shield
bearingthe horsemandevice in the lefthand.

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147

Catalogue

Rev. VICTOH AAVCCH


Victorystandingfacingfrontwearingchitonand peplos. A globe
surmounted
by a crossin thelefthand; a longcrossendingin the
letterP (the Christogram)in the righthand. A star in the field
below the lefthand.
In the exergueOBX+X
Belfort523821
Weight: not given
32. Obv. DNIVSTINIANVSPP
Similarto the precedingcoin.
Rev. VICTOIAAV<r
Similarto the precedingcoin.
In the exergueOPX+X
Weight:3.98 grammes

BibliothqueNationale22

33. Obv.NVSTIWVTVrPPM
Similarto the precedingcoin but of muchcruderworkmanship
and style.
Rev. VICTOVAVTCT.
Similarto the precedingcoin but of muchcruderworkmanship
and style.
In the exergueOBXT
Stefan1423
Weight:3.95 grammes
Justin II
34. Obv.DNI VSTINVSPPAVI
Bust ofJustin,helmeted(withplume)and cuirassed,facingfront.
In his righthand an orb surmountedby a smallVictorystanding
facingthe Emperorand holdinga crownin its extendedhand.
The horsemandevice shieldin the lefthand ofthe Emperor.
Rev. VICTOIAAVCCCI
seated,head right,holdinga staffin therighthand
Constantinople
and a globein thelefthand.
In the exergueOBXX
Tolstoi 1624
Weight:3.7 grammes
35. Ovb.DNI VSTINVSPPAVI
Similarto the precedingcoin.
Rev. VICTOIAAVCCCI
Similarto the precedingcoin.
In the exergueOBXX
Weight:3.72 grammesf'
10*

Budapest25

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148

Light Weight SoHdi

36. Obv. DNI VSTINVSPPAVI


Similarto the precedingcoin.
Rev. VICTOIAAVCCCI
Similarto the precedingcoin.
In the exergueOBXX
Weight: 3.65 grammesf-

Hermitage

37. Obv. DNI VSTINVSPPAVI


Similarto the precedingcoin.
Rev. VICTOIAAVCCCI
Similarto the precedingcoin.
In the exergueOBXX
Weight:3.55 grammesf

Hermitage2

38. Obv.DNI VSTINVSPPAVI


Similarto the precedingcoin.
Rev. VICTOIAAVCCCI
Similarto the precedingcoin.
In the exergueOBXX
Weight:3.58 grammesf

Hermitage*7

39. Obv.DNI VSTINVSPPAVI


Similarto the precedingcoin.
Rev. VICTOIAAVCCCI
Similarto the precedingcoin.
In the exergueOB-XX*
Hirsch Sale XXXI, 6 May 1912, 2121
Weight:3.68 grammes
40. Obv.DNI VSTINVSPPAVI
Similarto the precedingcoin.
Rev. VICTOIAAVCCCI
Similarto the precedingcoin.
In the exergueOB-XX*
Hirsch Sale XXIV, 10 May 190937^
Weight: 3.70 grammes
41. Obv.DNI VSTINVSPPAVC
Similarto the precedingcoin.
Rev. VICTOIAAVCCCI
Similarto the precedingcoin.
In the exergueOB.XX.
Weight:not given

Rollin et FeuardentSale,
24-30 April1887,879

coin.
42. Obv. Inscriptionnot givenbut probablysimilarto the preceding
to
the
similar
but
precedingcoin.
probably
Descriptionnot given

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Catalogue

149

Rev. Inscriptionnot givenbut probablysimilarto the precedingcoin.


Descriptionnot givenbut probablysimilarto the precedingcoin.
In the exergueOBXX
Luschinvon Ebengreuth,p. 328
Weight:3.47 grammes
Mint ofAntioch
DNI
VSTI
Obv.
NVSPPAVI
43.
Bust ofJustin,helmeted(withplume)and cuirassed,facingfront.
In his righthand an orbsurmountedby a smallVictorystanding
facingthe Emperorand holdinga crownin its extendedhand.
The horsemandevice shieldin the lefthand of the Emperor.
Rev. VICTOIAAVCCCI
seated,head right,holdinga staffin therighthand
Constantinople
and a globein thelefthand. A smallcrosspotentin theleftfield.
In the exergueOBXX:
In trade29
Weight:not givenf
44. Obv. DNI VSTINVSPPAVI
Bust ofJustin,helmeted(withplume)and cuirassed,facingfront.
In his righthand an orb surmountedby a smallVictorystanding
facingtheEmperorand holdinga crowninitsextendedhand.The
horsemandeviceshieldin the lefthand of the Emperor.
Rev. VICTOIAAVCCCIConstantinopleseated, head right,holding a staffin the right
hand and a globe in the lefthand.
In the exergueOBXX
Weight:3.51 grammesf'
Budapest30
45. Obv. DNI VSTINVSPPAVI
Similarto the precedingcoin.
Rev. VICTOIAAVCCCISimilarto the precedingcoin.
In the exergueOBXX
Weight:3.62 grammesf
Hermitage
46. Obv. DNI VSTINVSPPAVI
Similarto the precedingcoin.
Rev. VICTOIAAVCCCI:
Similarto the precedingcoin.
In the exergueOBXX
Weight:3.73 grammes

Vienna81

47. Obv. DNI VSTINVSPPAVI


Similarto the precedingcoin.

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150

Light Weight Solidi

Rev. VICTOIAAVCCCI:
Similarto the precedingcoin.
In the exergueOBXX
Weight: not given

In trade

48. Obv.DNI VSTINVSPPAVC


Similarto the precedingcoin.
Rev. VICTOIAAVCCCI:
Similarto the precedingcoin.
In the exergueOBXX
BrderEgger Sale XL, 28 Nov. 1904,2918
Weight:not given
49. Obv.DNI VSTINVSPPAVI
Similarto the precedingcoin.
Rev.VICTOIAAVCCC::
Similarto the precedingcoin.
In the exergueOBXX
In trade
Weight: not given' /
50. Obv.ONI VSTINVSPPAVC
Bust ofJustin,helmeted(withplume)and cuirassed,facingfront.
In his righthand an orb surmountedby a smallVictorystanding
facingthe Emperorand holdinga crownin its extendedhand.
The horsemandevice shieldin the lefthand of the Emperor.
Rev. VICTOIAAVCCCeS
seated,head right,holdinga staffin therighthand
Constantinople
and a globein the lefthand.
In the exergueOB*+*
BritishMuseum
Weight:4.21 grammes
51. Obv.DNI VSTINVSPPAVI
Similarto the precedingcoin.
Rev. VICTOIAAVCCC0S
Similarto the precedingcoin.
In the exergueOB*+*
Weight:4.095 grammes
52. Obv.DNI VSTINVSPPAVI
Similarto the precedingcoin.
Rev.VICTOIAAVCCC0S
Similarto the precedingcoin.
In the exergueOB*+*
Weight:4.140 grammes
53. Obv.DNI VSTINVSPPAVI
Similarto the precedingcoin.

Stefan1732

Stefan1633

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151

Catalogue
Rev. VICTOIAAVCCC0S
Similarto the precedingcoin.
In the exergueOB*+*
Weight:3.54 grammes

Coll. Leuthold34

54. Obv.DNI VSTINVSPPAVI


Similarto the precedingcoin.
Rev.VICTOIAAVCCC0S
Similarto the precedingcoin.
In the exergueOB*+*
Weight:4.11 grammes

Coll. Leuthold

55. Obv. DNI VSTINVSPPAVI


Similarto the precedingcoin.
Rev.VICTOIAAVCCC0S
Similarto the precedingcoin.
In the exergueOB*+*
Weight:4.08 grammes

Ratto Sale, 9 Dec. 1930,76o35

56. Obv.DNI VSTINVSPPAVI


Similarto the precedingcoin.
Rev.VICTOIAAVCCC0S
Similarto the precedingcoin.
In the exergueOB*+*
Weight:3.63 grammesf

Hermitage36

57. Obv.DNI VSTINVSPPAVI


Similarto the precedingcoin.
Rev. VICT[ORI] AAVCCC0S
Similarto the precedingcoin.
In the exergueOB*+*
Weight:4.12 grammes

Vienna

58. Obv.ONI VSTINVSPPAVI


Similarto theprecedingcoin.
Rev. VICTOIAAVCCC0S
Similarto the precedingcoin.
In the exergueOB*+*
Weight: not givenf

In trade37

59. Obv.DNI VSTINVSPPAVI


Similarto theprecedingcoin.
Rev. VICTOIAAVCCC0S
Similarto the precedingcoin.
In the exergueOB*+*
Weight:not givenf'

In trade38

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152

Light Weight Solidi

60. Obv.DNI VSTINVSPPAV[I]


Similarto theprecedingcoin.
Rev. VICTOI[AA]VCCC0S
Similarto the precedingcoin.
In the exergueOB*+*
In trade
Weight: not given
61. Obv. ONI VSTINVSPPAVI
Similarto the precedingcoin.
Rev. VICTOIAAVCCC0S
Similarto the precedingcoin.
In the exergueOB*+*
In trade
Weight:not given
62. Obv. ONI VSTINVSPPAVI
Similarto the precedingcoin.
Rev. VICTOIAAVCCC0S
Similarto the precedingcoin.
In the exergueOB*+*
In trade
Weight:not givenf
63. Obv. DNI VSTINVSPPAVI
Similarto the precedingcoin.
Rev. VICTOIAAVCCC0S
Similarto the precedingcoin.
In the exergueOB*+*
In trade
Weight:not given
64. Obv.DNI VSTINVSPPAVI
Similarto the precedingcoin.
Rev. VICTOIAAVCCC0S
Similarto the precedingcoin.
In the exergueOB*+*
In trade
Weight:not given
65. Obv.ONI VS[TI] NVSPPAVI
Similarto the precedingcoin.
Rev. VI[CTO]RIAAVCCC0S
Similarto the precedingcoin.
In the exergueOB*+*
In trade
Weight:not givenf
66. Obv.DNI VSTINVSPPAVC
Similarto the precedingcoin.
Rev. VICTOIAAVCCC0S
Similarto the precedingcoin.
In the exergueOB*+*
Hess Sale 194, 25 March1929, 1016
Weight:not given

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Catalogue

153

67. Obv.Inscriptionnot givenbut probablysimilarto the precedingcoin.


Descriptionnot givenbut probablysimilarto the precedingcoin.
Rev. VICTOR!AAVCCCeS
Descriptionnot givenbut probablysimilarto the precedingcoin.
In the exergueOB*+*
BrderEgger Sale, 21 Nov. 1898,933
Weight:not given
68. Obv. DNI VSTI NVSPPAVC
Similarto the precedingcoin.
Rev. VICTOIAAVCCC0S
Similarto the precedingcoin.
In the exergueOB*+*
Hirsch Sale XXXI, 6 May 1912, 2120
Weight:3.90 grammes
69. Obv. Inscriptionnot givenbut probablysimilarto the precedingcoin.
Descriptionnot givenbut probablysimilarto the precedingcoin.
Rev. VICTOR[l]AAVCCC0S
Descriptionnotgivenbut probablysimilarto the precedingcoin.
In the exergueOB*-f*
Hess Sale, 24 May 1886,655
Weight:not given
70. Obv. ONI VSTINVSPPAVI
Similarto the precedingcoin.
Rev. VICTOIAAVCCC0S
Similarto the precedingcoin.
In the exergueOB*+*
Coin GalleriesSale, 17 Aug. 1956,900
Weight:not given
71. Obv.DNI VSTINVSPPAVC
Bust ofJustin,helmeted(withplume)and cuirassed,facingfront.
In his righthand an orb surmountedby a smallVictorystanding
facingtheEmperorand holdinga crownin its extendedhand.The
horsemandevice shieldin the lefthand ofthe Emperor.
Rev. VICTOIAAVCCC0S
seated,head right,holdinga staffin therighthand
Constantinople
and a globe in the lefthand. In the fieldto the left the letterI.
In the exergueOB*+*
Sabatier 2
Weight: not given
Barbarian Imitationsof JustinII

72. Obv. DNI VSTINVSPPAVC


Bust ofJustin,helmeted(withplume)and cuirassed,facingfront.
In his righthand an orbsurmountedby a smallVictorystanding
facingtheEmperorand holdinga crownin its extendedhand.The
horsemandevice shieldin the lefthand of the Emperor.

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154

Light Weight Solidi

Rev. VICTOIAAVCP
seated,head right,holdinga staffin therighthand
Constantinople
and a globesurmountedby a crossin the lefthand.
In the exergueCXNXU
Hermitage39
Weight:3.99 grammes
DNI
VSTI
NVSPPAVC
Obv.
73.
Similarto the precedingcoin.
Rev. VICTOIAAVCCCS
Similarto the precedingcoin.
In the exergueCOX+X**
Stefan540
Weight: 4.070 grammes
74. Obv.DNI VSIINVSPPAVC
Similarto the precedingcoin.
Rev. VICTOIAAVCCCS
Similarto the precedingcoin.
In the exergueCOI/IX+X:Stefan1540
Weight:3.992 grammes
VSTIINVSPPAV
75. Obv.
Similarto the precedingcoin.
Rev. VICONAIAAVCCCM
Similarto the precedingcoin.
In the exergueCONX+
Werner6142
Weight:3.885 grammes
NVSPPAVC
Obv.
DNI
VSTI
76.
Similarto the precedingcoin.
Rev. VICTOIAAVCCCZ
Similarto the precedingcoin.
In the exergueCONX+X"
Fixed Price List XIII
Basel Mnzhandlung,
Weight:not given
(Nov. 1938), 12343
77. Obv.DNI VSTINVSPPAVC
Similarto the precedingcoin.
Rev. VICTOIAAVCCCZ:
Similarto the precedingcoin.
In the exergueCONX+x
Cahn Sale 75, 30 May 1932, 1580
Weight:not given
78. Obv. Inscriptionnot givenbut probablysimilarto the precedingcoin.
Descriptionnotgivenbut probablysimilarto the precedingcoin.
Rev. Inscriptionnot givenbut probablysimilarto the precedingcoin.
Descriptionnot givenbut probablysimilarto theprecedingcoin.
In the exergueCX+X-fCastello Sforzesco44
Weight:4.05 grammes

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155

Catalogue
JustinII and Tiberius II Constantine

79. Obv.DNIVSTINICTCONSTAN
Busts of Justinand Tiberius Constantinewearingcrownsand
paludamento,
facingfront.A small cross above the heads.
In the exerguePPAVC
Rev. VICTOIAAVCCC0S
Victorystandingfacingfrontwearingchitonand peplos. A globe
surmountedby a small crossin the lefthand; a longcrossending
in the righthand.
in the letterP (the Christogram)
In the exergueOB*+*
BritishMuseum45
Weight:3.95 grammes
Tiberius II Constantine
Mint ofAntioch
80. Obv. emTlbCONSTANTPPAVI
Bust ofTiberiusConstantinefacingfrontwearinga cuirassand a
crownsurmountedby a cross. An orb surmountedby a crossin
therighthand; shieldbearingthehorsemandeviceinthelefthand.
Rev. VICTOIAAVCCeS
Crosspotenton foursteps.
In the exergueOB+*
Coll. Kapamadji
Weight:4.00 grammesf
81. Obv.mTlbCONSTANTPPAVI
Similarto the precedingcoin.
Rev. VICTOIAAVCC0S
Similarto the precedingcoin.
In the exergueOB+*
Weight:4.08 grammes

BritishMuseum46

TANTPPAVI
82. Obv. DiTTIbCONS
Similarto the precedingcoin.
Rev. VICTOIAAVCC0S
Similarto the precedingcoin.
In the exergueOB+*
Weight:4.02 grammesf

Hermitage47

TANTPPAVC
83. Obv.DfTITIbCONS
Similarto the precedingcoin.
Rev. VICTOIAAVCC0S
Similarto the precedingcoin.
In the exergueOB+*
Weight: 4.09 grammes

Hermitage48

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156

Light Weight Solidi

TANTPPAVI
84. Obv.DITTIbCONS
Similarto the precedingcoin.
Rev. VICTOIAAVCCeS
Similarto the precedingcoin.
In the exergueOB+*
Weight:not given

Hess Sale, 24 May 1886,68149

85. Obv. emTlbCONSTANTPPAVI


Similarto the precedingcoin.
Rev. VICTOIAAXC0SS
Similarto the precedingcoin.
In the exergueOB+*
Weight: 4.02 grammesf

Hermitage50

86. Obv.dilTIbCONSTANTPPAVI
Similarto the precedingcoin.
Rev. VICTOIAAVCC0S
Similarto the precedingcoin.
In the exergueOB+*
Weight: 4.09 grammes

Vienna61

87. Obv.dilTIbCONSTANTPPAVI
Similarto the precedingcoin.
Rev. VICTOIAAVCC0S
Similarto the precedingcoin.
In the exergueOB+*
Weight:4.05 grammes'/

Coll. Leuthold

Maurice Tiberius
TlbPPAVC
88. Obv.DNITAVRC
Bust of MauriceTiberius facingfront,helmeted(with circular
ornamentin front and plume) and wearing a cuirass with
clasped by fibulaon the rightshoulder.An orb
paludamentum
surmountedby a crossin the righthand.
Rev. VICTOIAAVCCI
Victorystandingfacingfrontwearingchitonand peplos. A globe
in the lefthand; a long cross endingin the letterP (the Christogram)in the righthand.
In the exergueOBXX
Budapest52
Weight:3.68 grammes'/
TlbPPAVI
89. Obv. DNITAVRC
Similarto the precedingcoin.

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Catalogue
Rev. VICT[ORI]AAVCCI
Similarto the precedingcoin.
In the exergueOBXX
Weight:3.68 grammesf'

157

Budapest63

90. Obv.DNmAVRCTlbPPAVC
Bust ofMauriceTiberiusfacingfront,helmeted(withplume)and
wearinga cuirasswithpaludamentum
clasped by a fibulaon the
rightshoulder.An orb surmountedby a cross in the righthand.
Rev. VICTOIAAVCCP
Victorystandingfacingfrontwearingchitonand peplos. A globe
surmountedby a crossin thelefthand; a longcrossendingin the
in the righthand.
letterP (the Christogram)
In the exergueOB+*
Coll. Leuthold64
Weight:4.05 grammesf
91. Obv. oNOAVRC TlbPPAVI
Bust of MauriceTiberius facingfront,helmeted (with circular
ornament in front and plume) and wearing a cuirass with
paludamentum
clasped by fibulaon the rightshoulder.An orb
surmountedby a cross in the righthand.
Rev. VICTOIAAVCCB
Victorystandingfacingfrontwearingchitonand peplos. A globe
in the lefthand; a long cross endingin the letterP (the Christogram)in the righthand.
In the exergueOB+*
Hess Sale, 24 May 1886, 704
Weight:not given
TlbPPAVI
92. Obv. oNCOAVR*
Similarto the precedingcoin.
Rev. VICTOIAAVCCB
Similarto the precedingcoin.
In the exergueOB+*
Weight:7.30 grammesf
BibliothqueNationale56
TlbPPAVI
93. Obv. oNilAVR*
Similarto the precedingcoin.
Rev. VICTOIAAVCC6
Similarto the precedingcoin.
In the exergueOB+*
Weight:4.0617 grammes

Coll. Grierson66

Mint ofAntioch
Obv.
TlbPPAVI
DNmAVRC
94.
Bust of MauriceTiberius facingfront,helmeted(with circular
ornamentin front and plume) and wearing a cuirass with

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158

Light Weight Solidi

paludamentum
clasped by fibulaon the rightshoulder.An orb
surmountedby a cross in the righthand.
Rev. VICTOIAAVCCGS
Victorystandingfacingfrontwearingchitonand peplos. A globe
in the lefthand; a long cross endingin the letterP (the Christogram)in the righthand.
In the exergueOB+*
Ratto Sale, 1-2 Dec. 1932,741
Weight:not given
95. Obv.ONilAVRCTlbPPAVI
Similarto the precedingcoin.
Rev. VICTOIAAVCCeS
Similarto he precedingcoin.
In the exergueOB+*
Coll. Leuthold
Weight:4.04 grammes
TlbPPAVI
96. Obv. DNITAVRC
Similarto the precedingcoin.
Rev. VICTOIAAVCCGS
Similarto the precedingcoin.
In the exergueOB+*
Weight:3.98 grammes
Hermitage57
Obv.
0NT1AVRC
TlbPPAVI
97.
Similarto the precedingcoin.
Rev. VICTOIAAVCC0S
Similarto the precedingcoin.
In the exergueOB+*
Vienna
Weight:4.065 grammes
98. Obv. Inscriptionnot givenbut probablysimilarto the precedingcoin.
Similarto the precedingcoin.
Rev. VICTOIAAVCCGS
Similarto the precedingcoin.
In the exergueOB+*
Kunz Sale II (1855),I4268
Weight:not given
TlbPPAVI
99. Obv.oNITlAVRIC
Bust of MauriceTiberius facingfrontwearinga cuirass and a
helmetsurmountedby a cross. An orb surmountedby a cross in
therighthand; shieldbearingthehorsemandeviceinthelefthand.
Rev. VICTOIAAVCCGS
Victorystandingfacingfrontwearingchitonand peplos. A globe
in the lefthand; a long cross endingin the letterP (the Christogram)in the righthand.
In the exergueOB+*
BritishMuseum69
Weight:4.06 grammes

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Catalogue

159

Phocas
100. Obv.oNFOCASP6RPAVC
Bust ofPhocas withpointedbeard facingfrontwearinga crown
with a circularornamentin frontand surmountedby a cross.
The Emperorwears a cuirassand a paludamentum
clasped by a
fibulaon therightshoulder.An orbsurmountedby a crossin the
righthand.
Rev. VICTOI AAVCCA
Victory standing facing front wearing chiton and peplos.
A globe in the lefthand; a long cross in the righthand.
In the exergueOBXX
Weight:3.67 grammesf/
Budapest60
101. Obv.0N FOCAS P6RPAVC
Similarto the precedingcoin.
Rev.VICTORI[A]AVM
Similarto the precedingcoin.
In the exergueOBXX
Weight:3.74 grammes
Hermitage61
102. Obv. DNFOCASPRPAVC
Similarto the precedingcoin.
Rev. VICTORIAAVM
Similarto the precedingcoin.
In the exergueOBXX
Weight:3.60 grammesf
Hermitage62
Obv.
N
D
FOCAS
PRPAVC
103.
Similarto the precedingcoin.
Rev. VICTOIAAVCC)
Similarto the precedingcoin.
In the exergueOBXX
Hess Sale, 30 April1917,475463
Weight:not given
104. Obv.. .FOCASP6RPAVC
Bust ofPhocas withpointedbeard facingfrontwearinga crown
with a circularornamentin frontand surmountedby a cross.
The Emperorwears a cuirassand a paludamentum
clasped by a
fibulaon therightshoulder.An orbsurmountedby a crossin the
righthand.
Rev. VICTOIAAVCC
Victory standing facing front wearing chiton and peplos.
A globe in the lefthand; a long cross endingin the letterP (the
in the righthand.
Christogram)
In the exergueOB+*
Turin,Academyof Sciences64
Weight: not given

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i6o

Light Weight Solidi

105. Obv.SNFOCAS PRPAVI


Similarto the precedingcoin.
Rev. VICTORIAAVM
Similarto the precedingcoin.
In the exergueOB+*
Weight:4.07 grammes
106. Obv. 0N FOCAS PRPAVC
Similarto the precedingcoin.
Rev. VICTORIAAVM
Similarto the precedingcoin.
In the exergueOBXX
Weight:3.70 grammes
107. Obv. 0N FOCAS PRPAVC
Similarto the precedingcoin.
Rev. VICTORIAAVM6
Similarto the precedingcoin.
In the exergueOBXX
Weight:3.63 grammesf
108. Obv. 0NFOCAS PRPAVC
Similarto the precedingcoin.
Rev. VICTOIAAVCCS
Similarto the precedingcoin.
In the exergueOBXX
Weight:3.73 grammesf
109. Obv. 0N FOCAS P6RPAVC
Similarto the precedingcoin.
Rev. VICTOIAAVCCS
Similarto the precedingcoin.
In the exergueOBXX
Weight:3.62 grammes
no. Obv. 0N FOCASPRPAVC
Similarto the precedingcoin.
Rev. VICTOIAAVCCS
Similarto the precedingcoin.
In the exergueOBXX
Weight:3.67 grammes'/
iii. Obv. oNFOCASPRPAVC
Similarto the precedingcoin.
Rev. VICTOIAAVCCM
Similarto the precedingcoin.
In the exergueOB+*
Weight: 4.05 grammes

Vienna65

Coll. Knobloch66

Budapest67

Hermitage68

Budapest69

Budapest70

Vienna71

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i6i

Catalogue
112. Obv.oNFOCASP6RPAVC
Similarto the precedingcoin.
Rev. VICTORIAAVMI
Similarto the precedingcoin.
In the exergueOB+*
Weight: 4.07 grammes

BritishMuseum72

113. Obv. oNFOCASP6RPAVC


Similarto the precedingcoin.
Rev. VICTORIAA. . .1
Similarto the precedingcoin.
In the exergueOB+*
Weight:not given

Goodacre,p. 90

114. Obv. Inscriptionnotgivenbut probablysimilarto theprecedingcoin.


Similarto the precedingcoin.
Rev. VICTOIAAVCCI
Similarto the precedingcoin.
In the exergueOB+*
Weight: 4.07 grammes
Mnsterberg,
p. 228
115. Obv.oNFOCASPRPAVC
Similarto the precedingcoin.
Rev. VICTOIAAVCCI
Similarto the precedingcoin.
In the exergueOB+*
Weight:4.00 grammes

Ratto Sale, 9 Dec. 1930,1199

Heraclius
116. Obv.dNhRACLI
MSPPAVC
Bust ofHeracliuswithshortbeard facingfrontwearinga crown
with a circularornamentin frontand surmountedby a cross
whichis withina plume. The Emperorwears a cuirass and a
fialudamentum
clasped by a fibulaon the rightshoulder.An orb
surmountedby a crossin the righthand.
Rev. VICTORIAAVM6
Crosspotenton threesteps.
In the exergueOBXX
DumbartonOaks74
Weight: 3.69 grammes
MSPPAVC
117. Obv.dNhRACLI
Similarto the precedingcoin.
ii

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I2

Light Weight Solidi


Rev. VICTORIAAVM
Similarto the precedingcoin.
In the exergueOBXX
Weight:3.69 grammes

Werner75'

Heraclius and Heraclius Constantine


118. Obv.ddNNhRACLWSTh[RACONSTPPA]
Bust of Heraclius (on left)withshortbeard and smallerbust of
youthfulHeraclius Constantine(on right) facingfront;each
wearsa crownwitha circularornamentin frontsurmountedby
a cross; each also wears the paludamentum
clasped by a fibula
on the rightshoulder.A smallcrossabove and betweentheheads.
Rev. VICTORIAAVMB
Cross potenton threesteps.
In the exergueBOXX
Leiden76
Weight:3.89 grammes
119. Obv. 00NNhRACLWSThRACONSTPPA
Similarto the precedingcoin.
Rev. VICTORIAAVMB
Similarto the precedingcoin.
In the exergueBOXX
Weight:3.73 grammes

BritishMuseum77

120. Obv. ddNNhRACLWSThRACONSTPPA


Similarto the precedingcoin.
Rev. VICTORIAAVMB
Similarto the precedingcoin.
In the exergueBOXX
Luschinvon Ebengreuth,p. 35
Weight:3.69 grammes
121. Obv.00NNhRACLWSThRACONSTPPA
Similarto the precedingcoin.
Rev. VICTORIAAVMB
Similarto the precedingcoin.
In the exergueBOXX
Weight:not given
122. Obv. ddNNhRACLNSThRACONSTPP
Similarto the precedingcoin.
Rev. VICTORIAAVMB
Similarto the precedingcoin.
In the exergueBOXX
Weight:3.70 grammes

Goodacre,p. 9779

Budapest80

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163

Catalogue

123. Obv. Inscriptionnotgivenbut probablysimilarto theprecedingcoin.


Descriptionnotgivenbut probablysimilarto theprecedingcoin.
Rev. VICTORIAAVMB
Similarto the precedingcoin.
In the exergueBOXX
Hess Sale, 24 May 1886,772
Weight:not given
]
124. Obv. [ddNNhRACLIMSThRACONSTPPA
Similarto the precedingcoin.
Rev. VICTORIAAVMr
Similarto the precedingcoin.
In the exergue[BO]XX
Weight: not given
LiverpoolMuseum81
125. Obv. [d]dNNhRACLIMS[ThRACO]NSTPP[A]
Similarto the precedingcoin.
Rev. VICfTO]RIAAVMr
Similarto the precedingcoin.
In the exergueBOXX
Weight:3.065 grammes Fries Museum,Leeuwarden,Inv. No. 35582
126. Obv.ddNNhRACLIMSThRACONSTPPA
Similarto the precedingcoin.
Rev. VICTORIAAVMr
Similarto the precedingcoin.
In the exergueBOXX
Naville Sale III, 16 June1922,305*
Weight:3.67 grammes
127. Obv.ddNNhRACLI[MSTh]RACONSTPPA
Similarto the precedingcoin.
Rev. VICTORIAAVMr
Similarto the precedingcoin.
In the exergueBOXX
Weight:3.70 grammes'/

Budapest84

128. Obv.ddNNhRACLIMS[T]hRACONSTPPA
Similarto the precedingcoin.
Rev. VICTORIAAVMA'
Similarto the precedingcoin.
In the exergueOBXX
Weight:3.71 grammes

Budapest86

129. Obv.ddNNhRACLIMSThRACONSTPPA
Similarto the precedingcoin.
ii*

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164

Light Weight Solidi


Rev. VICTORIAAVM6
Similarto the precedingcoin.
In the exergueOB+*
Weight:4.0936grammes

130. Obv.ddNNhRACLNSThRACONSTPPAV
Similarto the precedingcoin.
Rev. VICTORIAAVM6
Similarto the precedingcoin.
In the exergueOBXX
Weight:3.66 grammes'/
MSThRACONSTPPA
131. Obv.ddN
Similarto the precedingcoin.
Rev. VICTORIAAVM
Similarto the precedingcoin.
In the exergueBOXX
Weight:not given

Coll. Grierson86

Budapest87

BritishMuseum88

132. Obv. Inscriptionnotgivenbut probablysimilarto theprecedingcoin,


Similarto the precedingcoin.
Rev.VICTORIAAVM
Similarto the precedingcoin.
In the exergueBOXX
Szentes Museum89
Weight:3.85 grammes
133. Obv.00NNhRACLMSThRACONSTPPA
Similarto the precedingcoin.
Rev. VICTOIAVMS
Similarto the precedingcoin.
In the exergueBOXX
Weight:3.71 grammes

BritishMuseum90

134. Obv.00NNhRACLIMSThRACONSTPPA
Similarto the precedingcoin.
Rev. VICTORIAAVMS
Similarto the precedingcoin.
In the exergueBOXX
Weight:3.73 grammes

Berlin91

135. Obv.00NNhRACLIMSThRACONSTPPA
Similarto the precedingcoin.
Rev. VICTORIAAVMS
Similarto the precedingcoin.
In the exergueBOXX
Weight:not given

Lacour Sale92

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165

Catalogue
ThRACONS.PPA
136. Obv.TOIV
Similarto the precedingcoin.
Rev. VICT[OR]IAAVMS
Similarto the precedingcoin.
In the exergueBOXX
Weight: 3.88 grammes
137. Obv.ddNNhRACLNSThRACONSTPP
Similarto the precedingcoin.
Rev. VICTORIAAVMZ
Similarto the precedingcoin.
In the exergueBOXX
Weight:3.725 grammes
RACONSTPP
138. Obv.ddNNhRACLMSTh
Similarto the precedingcoin.
Rev. VICTORIAAVMZ
Similarto the precedingcoin.
In the exergueBOXX
Weight:3.73 grammes
Obv.
ddNNhRACLIMSThRACONS[TPP]
139.
Similarto the precedingcoin.
Rev. VICTORIAAVMZ
Similarto the precedingcoin.
In the exergueBOXX
Weight:3.63 grammes'/
140. Obv.ddNNhRACLIMSThRACONSTPPA
Similarto the precedingcoin.
Rev. VICTORIAAVMZ
Similarto the precedingcoin.
In the exergueBOXX
Weight: 3.67 grammesf
141. Obv. [ddNNhRACLIMSTh]RACONSTPPAV
Similarto the precedingcoin.
Rev. VICTORIAAVMH
Similarto the precedingcoin.
In the exergueCB03XX
Weight:3.69 grammesf
Obv.
ddNNhRACLIMSThRACONSTPPAVI
142.
Similarto the precedingcoin.
Rev. VICTORIAAVMH
Similarto the precedingcoin.
In the exergueBOXX
Weight: 3.65 grammes'/

Leiden98

Munich94

Vienna

Budapest95

Hermitage

Budapest96

Budapest

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i66

Light Weight Solidi

143. Obv.00NNhRACLMSThRAONSTPPAV
Similarto the precedingcoin.
Rev. VICTORIAAVMH
Similarto the precedingcoin.
In the exergueBOXX
Vienna
Weight:3.67 grammes
ThRACONSTPPAV
144. Obv.00NN
Similarto the precedingcoin.
Rev. VICTORIAAVMH
Similarto the precedingcoin.
In the exergueBOXX
Munich
Weight:3.700 grammesf
145. Obv.ddNNhRACLNSThRACONSTPPAV
Similarto the precedingcoin.
Rev. VICTORIAAVCMI
Similarto the precedingcoin.
In the exergueBOXX
Canessa Sale, 28 June1923,675
Weight:3.68 grammes
ddNNhRACLWSThRACONSTPP
Obv.
146.
Similarto the precedingcoin.
Rev. VICTORIAAVMI
Similarto the precedingcoin.
In the exergueBOXX
Copenhagen97
Weight:3.68 grammes
147. Obv.ddNNhRACLIMSThRACONSTPPAV
Similarto the precedingcoin.
Rev. VICTORIAAVMI
Similarto the precedingcoin.
In the exergueBOXX
Hess Sale, 24 Nov. 1937, 229
Weight:not given
PPAV
148. Obv. ddNNhRACLIMS
Similarto the precedingcoin.
Rev.VICTORIAAVMI
Similarto the precedingcoin.
In the exergueBOXX
Hermitage98
Weight:3.72 grammesf
149. Obv.ddNNhRACLIMSThRACONSTPPA
Similarto the precedingcoin.
Rev. VICTORIAAVMI
Similarto the precedingcoin.
In the exergueBOXX
Hermitage99
Weight:3.76 grammes'/

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Catalogue
CRACLNS.. .RA
Similarto the precedingcoin.
Rev. VICTORIAAVMI
Similarto the precedingcoin.
In the exergueBOXX
Weight: 3.75 grammes

167

150. Obv

151. Obv.ddNNhRACLNSThRACONSTPPAVC
Similarto the precedingcoin.
Rev. VICTORIAAVMI
Similarto the precedingcoin.
In the exergueBOXX
Weight: not given

The Hague100

Sabatier48101

152. Obv.Inscriptionnotgivenbut probablysimilarto theprecedingcoin.


Similarto the precedingcoin.
Rev. VICTORIAAVM
Similarto the precedingcoin.
In the exergueBOXX
Coll. Windisch-Grtz102
Weight:3.66 grammes
153. Obv. Inscriptionobliteratedbutprobablysimilarto theprecedingcoin.
Similarto the precedingcoin.
Rev. Inscriptionobliteratedbutprobablysimilarto theprecedingcoin.
Similarto the precedingcoin.
In the exergue[BOX]X
Werner77103
Weight:12.45 grammes
154. Obv. ddNNh
Similarto the precedingcoin.
Rev. V[ICT]OR[IAAVM.1
Similarto the precedingcoin.
In the exergueOBXX
Weight:6.02 grammes

Werner76104

155. Obv

NhRA
Similarto the precedingcoin.
Rev. VICT[ORIA]AVC.
Similarto the precedingcoin.
In the exergueBOX[X]
Weight:3.74 grammes

Werner78105

156. Obv. Inscriptionnotgivenbut probablysimilarto theprecedingcoin.


Descriptionnotgivenbut probablysimilarto theprecedingcoin.

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i68

Light Weight Solidi


Rev. Inscriptionnotgivenbut probablysimilarto theprecedingcoin.
Descriptionnotgivenbutprobablysimilarto theprecedingcoin.
In the exergueBOXX
MonneretDe Villard,p. 35106
Weight:3.65 grammes

157. Obv. Inscriptionnotgivenbut probablysimilarto theprecedingcoin.


Descriptionnotgivenbut probablysimilarto theprecedingcoin.
Rev. Inscriptionnotgivenbut probablysimilarto theprecedingcoin.
Descriptionnotgivenbut probablysimilarto theprecedingcoin.
In the exergueBOXX
MonneretDe Villard,p. 35107
Weight:3.52 grammes
158. Obv. Inscriptionnotgivenbut probablysimilarto theprecedingcoin.
Descriptionnotgivenbut probablysimilarto theprecedingcoin.
Rev. Inscriptionnotgivenbut probablysimilarto theprecedingcoin.
Descriptionnotgivenbut probablysimilarto theprecedingcoin.
In the exergueOBXX
Castello Sforzesco108
Weight:3.60 grammes
Barbarian Imitationof Heraclius and Heraclius Constantine
159. Obv.HOC
Bust of Heraclius(on left)withshortbeard and smallerbust of
youthfulHeraclius Constantine(on right) facingfront;each
wearsa crownwitha circularornamentin frontsurmountedby
a cross; each also wears the paludamentum
clasped by a fibula
on therightshoulder.A smallcrossabove and betweentheheads.
Rev. NDlOOMVnOIIA
Crosspotenton threesteps.
In the exergueXVOX
Cahn Sale 75, 30 May 1932, 1847109
Weight:4.002 grammes

Heraclius, Heraclius Constantineand Heracleonas


160. Obv. Anepigraphic
Heraclius (in center), Heraclius Constantine(on right),and
Heracleonas (on left)standingfacingfront.The last twofigures
are of equal heightwhile that of Heraclius is slightlylarger.
Each wearslong robes and a crownsurmountedby a cross and
holdsin his righthand an orbsurmountedby a cross. Heraclius
alone has a largemustacheand a long beard.

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Catalogue

169

Rev. VICTORIAAVM
Cross potent on three steps. In the field to the left-{1(the
monogramof Heraclius).
In the exergueOBXX
Weight:3.73 grammesf
Hermitage110
161. Obv.Anepigraphic
Similarto the precedingcoin.
Rev. VICTORIAAVM6
Similarto the precedingcoin.
In the exergueOBXX
Weight:3.65 grammesf /
Hermitage111
162.Obv.Anepigraphic
Heraclius (in center), Heraclius Constantine(on right),and
Heracleonas(on left)standingfacingfront.The last two figures
are of equal heightwhile that of Heraclius is slightlylarger.
Each wears long robes and a crownsurmountedby a cross and
holdsin his righthand an orb surmountedby a cross.Heraclius
alone has a largemustacheand a long beard.
Rev. VICTORIAAVM6
Crosspotenton threesteps. In thefieldto the left-R(themonogramof Heraclius) and in the fieldto the rightthe letterA.
In the exergueBOXX
Poltawa Museum112
Weight:3.600 grammes
163. Obv.Anepigraphic
Similarto the precedingcoin.
Rev. VICTORIAAVM
Similarto the precedingcoin.
In the exergueDOXX
Weight:3.200 grammes

Poltawa Museum113

164. Obv.Anepigraphic
Heraclius (in center), Heraclius Constantine(on right),and
Heracleonas (on left)standingfacingfront.The last two figures
are of equal heightwhile that of Heraclius is slightlylarger.
Each wears long robes and a crownsurmountedby a cross and
holdsin his righthandan orb surmountedby a cross. Heraclius
alone has a largemustacheand a long beard.
Rev. VICTORIAAVM
Cross potent on three steps. In the field to the left -R (the
monogramofHeraclius)and in thefieldto therighttheletterB.
In the exergueBOXX
Weight: 3.38 grammesf
Hermitage114

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170

Light Weight Solidi

165. Obv. Probablyanepigraphic


Descriptionincompletebut probablysimilarto the preceding
coin.
Rev. Inscriptionnotgivenbut probablysimilarto theprecedingcoin.
Descriptionnotgivenbut probablysimilarto theprecedingcoin.
In the exergueBOXX+
Bauer, pp. 227-229115
Weight:not given
ConstansII
166. Obv. 0NCONSTAN riNMSPPAV
Bust ofConstansII withshortbeard facingfront.The Emperor
wearsa crownwitha circularornamentin frontsurmountedby
a cross. He also wears the paludamentum
clasped by a fibulaon
the rightshoulder.An orb surmountedby a cross in the right
hand.
Rev. VICTORIAAVM
Crosspotenton threesteps.
In the exergueOBXX
Poltawa Museum116
Weight:3.700 grammes
167. Obv. 0NCONSTAN riNMSPPA>
Similarto the precedingcoin.
Rev. VICTORIAAVM0
Similarto the precedingcoin.
In the exergueOBXX
Weight:3.250 grammes

Poltawa Museum117

168. Obv. eNCONSTTANTINMSPPA


Similarto the precedingcoin.
Rev. VICTORIAAVMI
Similarto the precedingcoin.
In the exergueOBXX
Weight:3.71 grammes

Hermitage118

169. Obv.dNCONSTAN
Bust ofConstansII withlargemustacheand a longbeard facing
frontwearinga crown surmountedby a cross. The Emperor
wears thepaludamentum
claspedbya fibulaon therightshoulder.
An orb surmountedby a cross in the righthand.
Rev. VICTOR[l]AAVMA
Crosspotenton threesteps.
In the exergueBOTC
Hermitage119
Weight:4.27 grammes'/

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Catalogue

171

170. Obv.dNCONSTAN TINMSPPAV


Similarto the precedingcoin.
Rev. VICTORIAAVM
Similarto the precedingcoin.
In the exergueBOITC
AmericanNumismaticSociety120
Weight:4.27 grammes
171. Obv.dNCONSTAN TINMSPPAV
Similarto the precedingcoin.
Rev. VICTORIAAVM6
Similarto the precedingcoin.
In the exergueBOI"K
Weight:4.20 grammes

Hermitage121

172. Obv.dNCONSTAN TINMSPPAV


Similarto the precedingcoin.
Rev. VICTORIAAVMS
Similarto the precedingcoin.
In the exergueBOIX
Monnaieset MdaillesSale XIII,
Weight:4.30 grammes
17-19 June1954,824122
173. Obv.dNCONSTAN TINMSPPAV
Similarto the precedingcoin.
Rev. VICTORIAAVMS
Similarto the precedingcoin.
In the exergueBOITC
Ratto Sale, 26-29 Jan-I955 I244
Weight:not given
174. Obv.dNCONSTAN TINMSPPAV
Similarto the precedingcoin.
Rev. VICTORIA[AV]MS
Similarto the precedingcoin.
In the exergueBOITC
Hirsch Sale XVIII, 27 May 1907, 1989123
Weight:3.58 grammes
175. Obv.dNCONSTAN
Similarto the precedingcoin.
Rev. V[ICTO]RIAAVMS
Similarto the precedingcoin.
In the exergueBOI"K
Weight: 4.37 grammes f

Hermitage124

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Light Weight Solidi

172

ConstansII and ConstantineIV Pogonatus


and
Heraclius and Tiberius
176. Obv.dNC. . . . AN. . . .
Bust of ConstansII, withlong beard and large mustache,and
smallerbust of ConstantineIV beardless.Both are facingfront
and wearingpaludamenta
whichare claspedon therightshoulder
. ConstansII wears a plumedhelmetwith a circular
by a fibula
ornamentin frontsurmountedby a cross.ConstantineIV wears
a crownsurmountedby a smallorbbearinga cross.Betweenthe
two heads a small cross.
Rev. VICTORIAAVCMA
Long cross potenton threesteps. Figure of Heraclius (on left)
and somewhatsmaller figureof Tiberius (on right) standing
facingfront.Each wearslongrobesand a crownsurmountedby
a crossand holdsan orbsurmounted
by a crossin his righthand.
In the exergueBOXX
Coll. Grierson125
Weight:3.6613grammes
AN
Similarto the precedingcoin.
Rev. VICTORIA[AV]M0
Similarto the precedingcoin.
In the exergueBOXX
Weight:3.73 grammes

177. Obv

Hermitage

ConstantineIV Pogonatus
178. Obv. 0NCONST INMSPP
Bust of ConstantineIV beardless facing.He wears a cuirass
and a helmetwith a crest. In his righthand he holds a spear
transverselyso that the tip extendsupwardsto the leftbehind
his head. In his lefthand he holds a shieldbearingthehorseman
device.
Rev. VICTORIAAVMA
Long cross potenton threesteps. Figure of Heraclius (on left)
and somewhatsmaller figureof Tiberius (on right) standing
facingfront.Each wearsa longrobeand a crownsurmountedby
a crossand holdsan orbsurmounted
by a crossin his righthand.
In the exergueBOXX
Weight: 3.59 grammes
Hermitage126

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173

Catalogue

179. Obv.0NO A NMSP


Bust ofConstantineIV, beardedfacingfront.He wearsa cuirass
and a helmetwith a crest. In his righthand he holds a spear
so that the tip extendsupwardsto the leftbehind
transversely
his head. In his lefthand he holdsa shieldbearingthehorseman
device.
Rev. VICTORIAAVMI
Long cross potenton threesteps. Figure of Heraclius (on left)
and somewhatsmaller figureof Tiberius (on right) standing
by
facingfront.Each wearsa longrobeand a crownsurmounted
a crossand holdsan orbsurmounted
by a crossin his righthand.
In the exergueBOXX
Hermitage127
Weight:3.64 grammes1

APPENDIX OF C+N+B COINS


Tiberius II Constantine
180. Obv.DOTIbCONS TANTPPAVC
Bust ofTiberiusConstantinefacingfrontwearinga cuirassand
a crownsurmountedby a cross. An orb surmountedby a cross
in therighthand; shieldbearingthehorsemandevicein the left
hand.
Rev. VICTOIAAVCCT
Crosspotenton foursteps.
In the exergueC+B+N
Hess Sale, 24 May 1886,682128
Weight:not given
181. Obv. Inscriptionsimilarto the precedingcoin.
Similarto the precedingcoin.
Rev. Inscriptionsimilarto the precedingcoin.
Similarto the precedingcoin.
In the exergueC+N+B
Weight:not given

Mionnet,II, p. 425

182. Obv. Inscriptionsimilarto the precedingcoin.


Similarto the precedingcoin.
Rev. Inscriptionsimilarto the precedingcoin.
Similarto the precedingcoin.
In the exergueC+N+B
Akerman,II, p. 407
Weight:not given

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174

Light Weight Solidi


Maurice Tiberius

183. Obv. DNWAVRCTIbPPAVC


Bust of MauriceTiberiusfacingfront,helmeted(withcircular
ornamentin frontand plume) and wearing a cuirass with
paludamentum
clasped by fibulaon the rightshoulder.An orb
surmountedby a cross in the righthand.
Rev. VICTOIAAVCCI
Victorystandingfacingfrontwearingchitonand peplos.A globe
surmounted
by a crossin thelefthand; a longcrossendingin the
in the righthand.
letterP (the Christogram)
In the exergueC+N+B
BritishMuseum129
Weight:4.04 grammes

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NOTES TO THE CATALOGUE


1 Thisparticular
coinis also listedin theTolstoiCollection,
thegreaterpartof
whichwasacquiredbytheHermitage.
Tolstoipurchased
thiscoinin St. PetersHe suggested
thatthestyleof
burg,and he listeditsweightas 4.00 grammes.
boththeobverseand reverseindicatedthatthepiecewas struckin Constantinople. In his view the workmanship
clearlydid not pointtowardsItalian
mintmasters.
Tolstoi,p. 295, No. 22. See note 19. This was the onlylight
weightsolidus of the EmperorJustinianwhichwas struckin the ninth
.
officina
Sinceitis customary,
thefigure
onthereversehasbeendescribed
throughout
thetextand catalogueas a Victory,
but it shouldbe pointedout thatinstead
of the high-girdled
standingfemalefigurefoundon the coinagepriorto the
reignof JustinI thisis a frontal
archangelclad in tunicand pallium.The late
Prof.AlbertFriendsuggestedthattheremightbe someconnection
between
thenewmale figureof an archangelwhichwas introduced
on the coinagein
thereignof JustinI and the extantpanelofan ivorydiptychin theBritish
Museumshowingan archangelholdinga staffin his righthandand a globus
in hisleftstandingon thestepsofan archeddoorway.A. A. Vasiliev,
cruciger
theGreat(Cambridge,
totheEpochofJustinian
JustintheFirst. An Introduction
Mass., 1950),P. 384.
2 This coin was foundin a Lombardgraveat Udine. Stefanlistsit as Coll.
Gigoi,ii39bis in the MuseoCivicoof Udine.He suggeststhat it may have
beena southernGallicimitation
ofthecoinageoftheExarchateofRavenna.
to himit was probablystruckafter555a.d. The reverseofthecoin
According
as wellas theobverseactuallydo notshowanytracesofbarbarianinfluence,
and it is, therefore,
mostlikelythatthiscoinis ofofficial
Romanorigin.
3 Thispiecewas formerly
in theTolstoiCollection.
Tolstoiboughtthiscoinin
Odessaand gave itsweightas 3.7 grammes.
He surmised
thatit was issuedin
theEast. Tolstoi,p. 295,No. 23. See note19.
4 This piecewas also formerly
but it was not
part of the TolstoiCollection,
illustrated
in thepublishedcatalogue.Tolstoigivestheweightofthiscoinas
and describesit as thesameas thepreceding
coinbut a variant
3.65grammes
designofbothobverseandreverse.He purchasedthissolidusin St. Petersburg
andfeltthatithad beenstruckintheEast. Tolstoi,p. 295,No. 24. See note19.
6 This coinis presently
in the collectionofMr. EnricoLeutholdofMilan.It
has a die identity
on thereversewithCoinsnos. 6, 7, 8, and 9. The obverseis
fromthesamedie as Coinno. 7.
6 This piecehas a die identityon the reversewithCoinsnos. 5, 7, 8, and 9,
on theobversewithCoinsnos. 8 and 23.
and a die identity
7 Thispieceis fromthesamepairofdies as Coinno. 5.
8 This coin was analyzedby the specificgravitytechniqueforfinenessby
The resultsare reported
in ChapterII. The obverseofthispiece
Mr.Grierson.
is fromthesamedie as Coinsnos. 6 and 23, and thereverseis fromthesame
die as Coinsnos. 5, 6, 7, and 9.
175

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176

Light Weight Solidi

9 A cast ofthiscoinwas takenin 1951 by Mr.PhilipGrierson.


At thattimeit
a
was in the possessionof Dr. HerbertCahn.Mr. Griersonkindlyfurnished
ofthatcast.The obverseofthispieceis fromthesame
copyofthephotograph
die as Coinno. 21, and thereverseis fromthesame die as Coinsnos. 5, 6, 7,
and 8.
10Tolstoi,p. 295 liststhiscoin and the nextone. He gives the weightsas
betweenthe twocoinsor
but he does not distinguish
3.15 and 3.6 grammes,
to eachspecifically.
attribute
theweights
Onlyoneofthesecoins,thenextone,
in Tolstoi'scatalogue.Dr. Belov of the staffof the Hermitage
is illustrated
notedthat thispiece was No. 25 in Tolstoi'scatalogue.One of thesecoins
was puchasedbyTolstoiin Odessaand theotherin theCaucasus.Tolstoisays
thatthesetwocoinsarethesameas hisNo. 24 (Coinno. 4) butwitha different
showthatboththeobverseandreverse
designon theobverse.Thephotographs
ofthispiecearesimilarto Coinno. 4, butthatthecrossin thehandofVictory
It was Tolstoi'sbeliefthatthese
on thereverseofthenextpieceis different.
coinswerestruckin theEast. See note19.
11Thissolidus,as can be seen,has beenbadlyclipped.
12Thiscoinis pierced.
13The obverselegendcontainsa malformed
A whichis upside down (V).
is clearlyan authenticByzantinepiece.Ratto includeda
The coin,however,
whether
this
thathe was unableto determine
notein hiscatalogueindicating
particularserieswas destinedfora specificarea withintheEmpireor forthe
Empireas a whole.He does say, however,that the rarityof these coins
indicatesa smallissue.In addition,he pointsout thathe knowsof no other
lightweightsolidiafterthereignofMarcianuntilthisserieswas inaugurated.
if not impossible,
to provethatpriorto Marcianlight
It wouldbe difficult,
series.
issuedas a distinctive
weightsolidiwereregularly
14Mr.R. A. G. Carson,whoverykindlyfurnished
theinformation
regarding
its provenancewas
thiscoin,pointedout thatall thatwas knownregarding
thatit came to the BritishMuseumfromthe Royal Collection(GeorgeIII)
in 1823.
16Theobverseshowsa dieidentity
withCoinno.9, andthereversecomesfrom
thesamedie as Coinno. 23.
16This coin was analyzedby Mr. Philip Griersonby the specificgravity
in ChapterII.
and theresultsarereported
itsfineness,
techniqueto determine
Particularnote
The coinhas beenslightly
clippedaccordingto Mr. Grierson.
shouldbe takenoftheItalic D in thereverseexerguein place of B. It is one
ofthefewcoinsofwesternoriginin thisseries.
17As in the case of Coinno. 9, a cast of thiscoinwas takenin 1951 by Mr.
At thattimeit was in the possessionof Dr. HerbertCahn.
PhilipGrierson.
ofthatcast.The
a copyofthephotograph
Mr.Grierson
verykindlyfurnished
obverseofthispieceis fromthesamedieas Coinsnos.6 and 8, and thereverse
is fromthesamedie as Coinno. 21.
18Luschinvon Ebengreuth
citesthiscoinas beingin the ImperialCollection
in Vienna,but it does not seem to be in Viennaat present.MonneretDe
Villard,p. 33, also citedthiscoinas beingin Vienna.
19Tolstoi,pp. 295-296,No. 26,givestheweightofthispieceas 3.75grammes.
theobverseas similarto hisNo. 23 (Coinno. 3) and thereverseas
He describes
thesameas thatverycoinsave forthemostunusualmarkin theexergueof

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Notes to the Catalogue

177

thisspecimen.According
to Tolstoi,Coinsnos. i, 3, 4, 11, 12, and 28 were
struckin the East and notin the West.This conjecture,
whichhe based on
style,was supposedlysupportedby the fact that all of these pieces were
acquiredin Russiaand threeofthemin thesouthern
portionofthatcountry.
Sincecoinsare amongthe mosteasilytransported
objects,and thesecoins
werenot foundin situ, thiscan hardlybe considereda proofof any great
consequence.Gold coins move veryeasily throughthe channelsof trade.
that sincethe inscription
in the exergueson the
Tolstoifurther
conjectured
andthestyleoftheindividual
reverses
as
piecesdidnotindicateConstantinople
inAsiaMinor.
theplaceofmanufacture,
somewhere
theymighthavebeenstruck
20The markin the exergueis foundonly on this coin beforethe reignof
TiberiusConstantine.
Afterthatit is relatively
common.
21A. de Belfort,IV, p. 75, givesthe markin the exergueof the reverseas
OBX-X.The line drawing,
s bookand is
however,whichis foundin Belfort'
in theplatesofthismonograph,
containsthecorrectformofthe
reproduced
mark.Thismaybe confirmed
withCoinno.32 inthiscatalogue.
bycomparison
Thesetwocoinsseemto be strikingly
similar,but it is hardlylikelythatan
identification
can be established.
Belfort
ontheedgeofthe
speaksofa swelling
coin (renflement
au portour)
whichhe describesas in the Cabinetde France
whereasCoinno. 32, whichis also in the BibliothqueNationale,appearsto
have beenslightlyclipped.
22Thispieceappearsto have beenslightlyclipped.
23Notetheformof theB in themarkin theexergue.Thisformfortheletter
is normally
attributed
to Italy.The garbelledlegendis senseless.Stefanreads
theinscription
as NVSITIM--ST.
VhPPN.on theobverseand VICTOVAVTO"
onthereverse.He also suggests
thatthecoinmayhavebeenstruckinPannonia
bytheLombardsat sometimearound560a.D., but definitely
priorto 584/85.
The site ofthefindis unknown,
butthecoinwas keptin theKaiserFriedrich
Museumin Berlinat thetimethat Stefanwrotehis article.
24Thiscoinwas purchasedby Tolstoiin Paris.The styleofthereverseis not
to Johnof
good,but it seemsto be an authenticByzantinepiece.According
ofConstantinopolis
Ephesus,Hist. Eccl.fIII, 14,thisseatedfigure
personified
on the coinageof JustinII was confusedin the popularmindwithVenus.
26This piece is probablythe one referred
to by Monneret
De Villard,p. 34,
as havinga weightof3.737grammes.
26Coinno. 37 is piercedtwice.
27Coinno. 38 is pierced.
28LuschinvonEbengreuth
mentions
thiscoinas beingin theRoyalCollection
in Berlin,but theredoes not seen to be a coin in Berlinat presentwhich
to it. Monneret
De Villard,p. 34, also citedthispieceas beingin
corresponds
Berlin.
29Thiscoinis fromthegreathoardofByzantine whichwas
found
gold
recently
in theregionofHama in Syria.Unfortunately
thehoardveryrapidlypassed
intothehandsofa dealerand thechannelsofthecointrade.The hoardwas
therefore
neverstudiedin its entirety.
150 of the pieceshad
Approximately
beendisposedofby the dealerbeforerubbingsweretakenofthe remainder,
about 326 pieces,by Professor
HenriSeyrig.The rubbingsweresentto Mr.
whoverykindlyforwarded
thoseofthelightweightsolidifor
PhilipGrierson
thisstudy.Coinsnos.47, 49, 58-65,are also fromthesamehoard.
12

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178

Light Weight Solidi

80Thiscoinis probablytheone referred


to by Monneret
De Villard,p. 34, as
havinga weightof3.514grammes.
81This coinalso appearedin the Hess Sale of 24 May 1886.The photograph
in the sale catalogueis verypoor,but thereseemsto be no doubtof the
The pieceis certainly
identification.
genuine.
88Stefan,p. 63, liststhiscoin as part of his own collectionin Graz. It was
foundat an unknownlocationin the Balkans. Stefansuggeststhat it was
struckin Thessalonicaafter565 a.d. as an imitationof the typesstruckat
The photograph
indicatesthatthecoinis somewhatwornon
Constantinople.
but Stefanmerelynotesthatthereverseis worn.
boththeobverseand reverse,
83Stefan,p. 62, liststhispiece as in the NationalMuseumat Sofia.It was
ofPlevna,innorthern
foundat Sadowetz,inthedistrict
Bulgaria.Likethelast
piece,Stefansuggeststhatit was struckin Thessalonicaafter565 a.d. as an
He also noted that it is
imitationof the typesstruckat Constantinople.
would
somewhatwornon boththe obverseand reverse,but the photograph
coin.
thanthatofthepreceding
seemto indicatea betterstateofpreservation
84The coinhas beenclipped,and theweightis therefore
oflittlevalue.
86The photograph
showsthecointo be badlyworn.
86Thiscoinwas formerly
in thecollectionofCountTolstoiwhopurchasedit
He listeditsweightas 3.7 grammes.
in St. Petersburg.
Tolstoi,p. 418,No. 17.
87Coinsnos. 58 and 59 showa die identity
on thereverse.
88See thepreceding
note.
89Tolstoi,p. 418,No. 19,givestheweightofthispiece,whichwas formerly
in
He pointsout
as 4.00 grammes.He boughtit at Amsterdam.
his collection,
thatthereis no readingofthemarkin theexerguewhichmakessense.It was
thatthiscoinwas mostprobablynotofbarbarianworkmanship,
hiscontention
ofthereverseand
butthatit was struckin Italy.Actuallythepoormodelling
theletterformsseemto indicatea clearlybarbarianoriginforthispiece.It
fitsin wellwiththefollowing
pieceswhichare moreobviouslybarbaric.The P
theRavennamint,
takenas indicating
is normally
at theendoftheinscription
but thispieceis obviouslynotfromthatmint.Cf.Coinno. 90.
40Stefan,p. 60, saysthatthiscoin,whichis excellently
was found
preserved,
museumat Villach.
It is in themunicipal
nearMaglern-Thrl.
at Hoischhgel
struckafter565 a.d. The
Stefanbelievedit to be a southernGallicimitation
barbaric.
is
on
the
reverse
of
clearly
Constantinople
figure
41Thiscoinwas foundin theLombardgraveyard
at Cividale,and it is in the
but thephotograph
museumofthatcity.Stefandescribesit as Stempel
frisch,
seemsto indicatesignsof wear.As in the case of thepreceding
coin,Stefan
ofa coinofRavenna.It is clearly
Gallicimitation
thatit is a southern
suggests
ofbarbarianmanufacture.
42Thiscoinwas foundat Muningen
northofthe
in thedistrictofNordlingen,
and Munich.It was partofa funerary
DanubebetweenStuttgart
depositand
Wernerdescribesthe conditionof
is now in the museumat Gnzenhausen.
des frhen
. Cf.Dr. JuliusCahn,"Ein Goldmnzenfund
thispieceas fastfrisch
von
aus
dem
Grabfeld
,
Mnzzeitung
Frankfurter
Munningen,"
7. Jahrhunderts
II, No. 22 (Oct. 1931),p. 326, and Abb. i, 2. Cahn describedthiscoinas a
ofa solidusof JustinII.
imitation
barbaricsouthGermanic
slightly
48The finalsymbolin thereverselegendmaybe readas . The pieceis clearly
barbaric.

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Notes to the Catalogue

179

44Thispieceis citedby Monneret


De Villard,p. 34. It has beenimpossible
to
obtaina cast or a photograph
ofthiscoin,butit wouldseemto belongin this
seriesofbarbaricimitations.
46H. Mattingly,
"A New ByzantineCoin,"BritishMuseumQuarterly
, XIII,
No. i (1939),p. 16.Mattingly
notedtheremainsofthecrosssurmounting
the
but
globeon the reverse.Theseremainsare discernableon the photograph,
theywereoverlooked
by laterauthors.Actuallythetracesofthecrossare so
thecross
slightthatit seemspossiblethatan attemptwas madeto obliterate
fromthe die. Mattingly
also attributedthe coin correctly
to JustinII and
TiberiusII Constantine.
The coinwas acquiredbytheBritishMuseumin 1938
bypurchasein Syriafroma Syriancoindealer.Cf.HughGoodacre,"Justinian
and Constantine/'
Numismatic
Chronicle
, Series6, I (1941),pp. 48-53, and
CharlesOman,"A Gold Solidusof a.d. 578: A Reattribution,"
Numismatic
Chronicle
j Series6, II (1942),pp. 104-105.This coin has been doublestruck,
but theobverseoccurswitha die identityon a coinofthe Kyreniatreasure.
A spatulaand chainwhichmaybe connected
withthecoinfromCypruswere
recoveredfromthe same peoplewho had the so-calledKyreniagirdle,but
thereis no proofthattheyweredefinitely
associatedin thefind.The mounted
coinis in themuseumat Nicosiaand is publishedherewiththepermission
of
theauthorities
ofthatmuseum.
79a. Obv.DNIVSTINI6TCONSTAN
Busts of Justinand TiberiusConstantinewearingcrownsand
paludamenta
facingfront.A smallcrossabove theheads.
In theexerguePPAVC
Rev.VICTOR!AAVCCCA
Victorystandingfacingfrontwearingchitonand peplos.A globe
surmounted
by a smallcrossin thelefthand; a longcrossendingin
theletterP (theChristogram)
in therighthand.
In theexergueCO NOB
NicosiaMuseum
Weight:notgiven
On therelationship
betweenthesetwocoinsand theentirequestionofthe
Kyreniafindand theunusualgirdlethatformsa partofit see PhilipGrierson,
"The Kyrenia Girdle of ByzantineMedallionsand Solidi," Numismatic
Chronicle
citesall oftheimportant
, Series6, XV (1955),pp. 55-70. Grierson
earlierliterature.
Thereis a possibility
thatbothCoinno. 79 andtheKyreniacoinwerestruck
in Antiochin Syria,forasidefromtherelatively
closefindspotoftheKyrenia
coinandthepurchaselocationsofthetwocoinsthereis corroborating
evidence.
Antiochwas theonlyplace apartfromCarthagewhichstruckcoinswithtwo
busts.Otherplaces struckcoinswithtwoemperors
or the emperorand heirtwinbustsfacingfrontat this
apparentseated,but thetraditionforstriking
timeseemsto have existedat Antioch.See ChapterIII.
Thesecoinscan be accuratelydated. JustinII duringthelatterpartofhis
reignhad lost his reason,and as earlyas December574 a.d. TiberiusII
Constantine
had been createdCaesar and had administered
the Empirein
conjunctionwith the EmpressSophia. Duringa shortperiodof lucidity,
however,JustinII was prevailedupon to associateTiberiusII Constantine
withhimselfas Augustuson September26, 578. He even wentso faras to
crownthenewAugustuswithhisownhandon thatday. On October5 ofthe
12*

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i8o

Light Weight Solidi

sameyear,however,JustinII died,so thatthisgroupoftwocoinsmusthave


been struckbetweenSeptember26 and October5, 578 a.d. CharlesOman,
op. cit,,pp. 104-105.
It is worthnotingthatthetypeofVictorystandingfacingfrontasidefrom
MauriceTiberius,and
thesetwo pieces occursforthe reignsof Justinian,
Phocas.Thesetwosolidiaretheonlyknowninstancesofthattypeduringthe
reignsofeitherJustinII or TiberiusII Constantine.
46Thereis a die identityof boththe obverseand reversewithCoinno. 86.
BMC, Byz.yI, p. 106,No. 9.
47Thiscoinand thenextonewereincludedin Tolstoi,p. 416,No. 12. Tolstoi
one of
foreach ofthem,buthe onlyillustrated
givesa weightof4.1 grammes
them,the first.This is probablythe one fromhis own collectionwhichhe
whenTolstoi
purchasedin Vienna.Coinno. 83 was in theImperialHermitage
are to be foundtherenow.
compiledhis catalogue,and bothspecimens
48See thepreceding
note.
49Thiscoinhas beenpierced.
60This piecewas formerly
in the TolstoiCollection.Tolstoi,p. 479,No. 12a,
saysthatthispieceis thesameas hisNo. 12 (Coinsnos.82 and 83) exceptthat
the legendof the reverseends withthe lettersSS. This is actuallynot so
becauseonlythebaresttraceoftheV inthelatterpartofthereverse
inscription
whichcan serve
remainson thiscoin.Thereare clearsignsofdoublestriking
oftheV. Tolstoiboughtthis
to explainthe secondS andthepeculiarcondition
coin at St. Petersburg.See ChapterIII for a furthertreatmentof this
piece.
51Thiscoinshowsa die identity
on theobverseand reversewithCoin no. 81.
52Monneret
twolightweightsolidifromthereign
De Villard,p. 34, mentions
at Budapest,and he givestheirweightsas
ofMauriceTiberiusinthecollection
3.695 and 3.703 grammes.He recordsthe exergualmarkson thesepiecesas
OB+ *, butit seemsmorethanlikelythathe has madean errorin transcribing
with
thismark.The twopiecesrecordedabove are probablyto be identified
thosecitedby him.
53See the preceding
note.
64The styleof this piece is quite rough.The P at the end of the reverse
is oftentakento indicatethemintofRavenna.Thepieceappearsto
inscription
fabricthoughthemintcannotbe
solidusofwestern
be an authentic
byzantine
with certainty.That the Victoryon the reverseholds a globe
identified
surmounted
by a crossis unusual.
55Thiscoinis mountedwitha loop at thetop oftheobverse.It is thetypeof
Franceduringthe
mountwhichis familiarin Frisiaor Englandor northern
sixthand seventhcenturies.
66This coin was examinedby the specificgravitytechniqueby Mr. Philip
in ChapterII.
and theresultshave beenreported
Grierson,
57Thispiecewas formerly
and itsweightis givenby
in theTolstoiCollection,
Tolstoias 3.95 grammes.
Tolstoi,p. 515,No. 35, notesthatthispiececameto
himfromthe BarronCollection.The BarronCollectionwas sold as part of
thecoinDr. Hirsch
HirschSale XXXI, 6 May 1912,(lot 2137).In describing
the mark in the exergueas 0S+* and gave its weightas 3.96
transcribed
De Villard,p. 34,givesthecorrectreadingofthemarkin
Monneret
grammes.
theexergueas shownby thephotograph.

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Notes to the Catalogue

i8i

58Themarkin theexergueis givenas D B+* in thecatalogue,buttheD should


obviouslybe an O .
69Thiscoinwas formerly
It was soldas lot
partoftheCantacuzeneCollection.
in the
Sale of8 Dec. 1922.According
to thedescription
50 ofthe Glendining
sale cataloguethe Emperoris wearinga crown,but the illustration
clearly
indicatesa helmetsurmounted
by a cross.This is veryunusualbecausethe
othersolidi,bothofnormaland lightweight,struckduringthisreignshowa
helmetwitha plume.
60Thispieceappearsto have a smallpunchhole.
61Tolstoi,p. 586, No. 24, mentionsthispiece fromthe Hermitage,but he
Thiscoinhas beenpierced.
givesits weightas 3.75 grammes.
62On thebasisofthegeneraloutlineofthecoinand thelocationofthepunch
hole,thiswouldseemto be thesamecoinas thatillustrated
by a linedrawing
by Sabatier.See Sabatier,pl. XXVI, 27-28.
63The reverseinscription
was apparently
transcribed
becausethe
improperly
finalsymbolis meaningless.
64I do not believethat the markabove the globe in the hand ofVictory
on the reverseis the remnantof a crosswhichsurmounted
that globe.
Thegapbetweenthemarkandtheglobewouldbeinexplicable
intermsofwear.
66This coin is citedby Mnsterberg,
p. 228. Mnsterberg
givesthe reverse
as VICTORIAAVCHC and the weightas 4.05 grammes.
inscription
66Mr.FrederickS. Knoblochinforms
me thathe purchasedthiscoinat the
Stack'sSale on 28 June1938.If thatis correctit musthavebeenlot 1737of
thatsale andis incorrectly
inthecatalogue.Thecoinwas also partof
described
theFaeltenCollection.Stack'sSale, 20-22 Jan.1938,lot 1813.Thiscoinwas
struckfromthesameset ofdiesas thenextpiece.
67See thepreceding
note.
88Thiscoinwas struckfromthesameset ofdiesas Coinsno. 109and no.
69See thepreceding
note.
f
70See note68. Monneret
De Villard,p. 35,citesfourcoinsofPhocasfromthe
collection
at Budapestwiththe exergualmarkOBXX. He givestheirweights
as 3.642,3.666,3.693,3.703grammes.
TheseareprobablyCoinsnos. 100,107,
109,and no oftheCatalogue.
71Mnsterberg,
pp. 227-228,citesa coinwhichhe acquiredin 1922,and which
is probablyto be identified
withthispiece.
72BMC,Byz.,I, p. 164.Wrothattributes
thiscointothemintofConstantinople.
It is also citedby Tolstoi,p. 586. Thiscoinis fromthesameset ofdiesas the
nextone.
73Mnsterberg
liststhiscoinas beingin London,and it maywellbe thathe is
Coinno. 112orpossiblyCoinno. 113.On theotherhand,sincethe
describing
formofthereverseinscription
givenbyhimappearsto be somewhat
different,
it maywellbe thathe was describing
anotherpiece.
74Wroth(BMC, Byz., I, p. 185) dates these coins in the
periodfromca.
610-ca. 613.Thisis doneon thebasisofthecomparisons
madewiththedated
bronzecoins.In 613 HeracliusConstantine
was crowned.These coinsmust
antedatethatevent.Theyare,however,
notthefirstseriesofsolidiissuedby
Heraclius,forsomecoinsoccurshowingtheEmperorwiththetypicalpointed
beard of Phocas. The chronological
limitsare thus fairlycertainlyestablished.

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i82

Light Weight Solidi

76Thiscoinwas foundas a strayfindat Mllingsen,


in the districtof Soest.
Werner
listsitas No. 21277intheBerlinCabinet,butitis apparently
nolonger
there.It was citedas beingtherebyLuschinvonEbengreuth,
p. 36,as wellas
De Villard,p. 35. Thispiecemaybe datedin precisely
thesame
by Monneret
manneras thepreceding
one.
76This seriesof coinsmay be dated by comparison
withthe dated bronzes.
Wroth(BMC,Byz.tI, p. 186)placesthemin theperiodca. 613/14-ca.630 or
later. This serieswas probablybegunabout the timeof the coronationof
in 613.The datedbronzesshowthatin theyeartwenty
HeracliusConstantine
witha beardand as equal in
was represented
(629/30)HeracliusConstantine
staturewithhis father.See note 98. Cf. J. Dirks, "Trsorde Wieuwerd.
Ornamentset monnaiesmrovingiennes
et byzantinesen or," Revuede la
, XXII (1867),p. 160, and Dr. S. Janssen,"Der merobelge
numismatique
des Vereinsvon Alteraus Wieuwerd,"Jahrbcher
vingischeGoldschmuck
im Rheinlande
thumsfreunden
(BonnerJahrbcher
), HeftXLIII (1867),p. 71.
is of littlevalue.
This coin has a loop attached,and the weight,therefore,
Dirks,however,seemsto indicatea weightof 3.89 grammes.Dr. Janssen
thecoinas beingofonlytwenty-two
caratgoldfineness
and theloop
described
ofonlyseventeen
caratgoldfineness.
Thiscoinand Coinno. 136werepartof
in Frisia.Bothcoins
foundat Wieuwerd
thehoardofgoldcoinsandornaments
are listedby Boeles,p. 510. The reverseofthiscoincomesfromthesamedie
ofthispieceand Coin
as thatofcoinsnos. 119,121,and 122.The photographs
no. 136are apparently
enlarged.
77BMC, Byz., I, p. 186,No. 14. Wrothattributedthiscoin to the mintat
The coinis also citedbyTolstoi,p. 657.Thispiecewas struck
Constantinople.
coin
fromthesamesetofdiesas Coinno. 122,and thereverseofthepreceding
is also fromthesamedie.
78Luschinvon Ebengreuth,
thiscoinas recently
acquiredby
p. 35, mentions
as the
him.The linedrawingat the end of theworkis not clearlyidentified
is very
coin in the Luschinvon Ebengreuth
Collection,but the probability
strongthathe copiedhis ownpiece.
79See note76.
80See notes76 and 85.
81A photograph
ofthiscoinwas verykindlyfurnished
byMr.PhilipGrierson
who notedit as Coll. RolfeMayer7383. It is mountedand has a loop. The
edgeofthecoinhas beentooled,and on theobverseonlyillegibleremainsof
noteindicatedthat
havesurvivedthistreatment.
Mr.Grierson's
theinscription
thepiecewas foundin Kentin a seventhcenturysite.
82Thispiecewas probablyfoundat Kornwerd(Cornwerd)
in Friesland.It is
cited by Boeles,p. 510. Traces of the mountingare clearlyvisiblein the
photograph.
83The photograph
seemsto showtracesofa loop mounting.
84Thispieceis doublestruck.See note85.
86MonneretDe Villard,p. 35, lists fivecoins of Heracliusand Heraclius
fromthe collectionin BudapestmarkedBOXX. He givestheir
Constantine
weightsas 3.647,3.684,3.689,3.675,and 3.727 grammes.These piecesare
probablyincludedin the sevenfromBudapestlistedin theCatalogue(Coins
nos. 122,127,128,130,139,141,and 142). SeeCoinno.176 foranotherpiece
.
fromthefourth
officina

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Notes to the Catalogue

183

86Philip Grierson,"A ByzantineHoard fromNorthAfrica,"Numismatic


Chronicle
, Series6,XIII (1950),pp. 147-148.Thiscoinwas boughtby Grierson
inPariswitha groupofsolidifromCarthageofMaurice,Phocas,andHeraclius.
coinhas been
All ofthemwereprobablypartofa singlehoard.Thisparticular
and the resultsare
analyzedby the specificgravitytechniqueby Grierson,
in ChapterII. Thisis theonlyinstanceofthisexergualmarkduring
reported
theentirereignofHeraclius.
87See note85.
88The WiltonCross,whichformsthe settingforthis coin,is discussedby
T. D. Kendrick,"St. CuthbersPectoralCross,and theWiltonand Ixworth
, XVII (1937), PP- 283-293,and esp.
Crosses," The AntiquariesJournal
relatingto it is
pp. 289-290.A fullerdiscussionofthisfindand theliterature
to be foundin ChapterIII.
89L. Huszr,"Das Mnzmaterial
in denFundenderVlkerwanderungszeit
im
AcademiaeScientiarum
mittleren
ActaArchaeologica
Donaubecken,"
Hungarion the basis of an
cae, V (1955),p. 97, No. CCIV. The coin was identified
in theoriginalnotesofCsallny.Cf.D. Csallny,"Byzanaccuratedescription
AcademiaeScientiarum
tine Money in Avar Finds," Acta Archaeologica
, II (1952),p. 239. It was foundin 1934.
Hungaricae
90BMC,Byz.fI, p. 187,No. 25. Thispieceis also citedby Tolstoi,p. 657. It is
fromthesameset ofdiesas thenextone.
91A photograph
ofthecast ofthiscoinwas verykindlyfurnished
by Dr. ErxCollection.
leben,whonotedthefactthatit had beena partoftheMeynaerts
oftheMnshoardinChapterIII. Alsoseethepreceding
note.
See thediscussion
92See the discussionof the Mnshoardin ChapterIII. This coin mayhave
beena partofthathoard.
98Cf.J. Dirks,"Trsorde Wieuwerd.
et monnaiesmrovingiennes
Ornaments
et byzantines
en or," Revuedela numismatique
, XXII (1867),p. 160,and
belge
aus Wieuwerd,"
Dr. S. Janssen,"Der merovingische
Goldschmuck
Jahrbcher
des VereinsvonAlterthumsfreunden
im Rheinlande
(BonnerJahrbcher
), Heft
XLIII (1867),pp. 71-72.Thiscoinhas a loop attached,so theweightwould
be oflittlevalue.Dirksseemsto indicatea weight3.88grammes.
Dr. Janssen,
caratgoldfineness.
however,describedthe coinas beingof onlytwenty-two
ofstriking
Thepressure
has forceda partofthereverselegendto be impressed
thecoinwhilea partofthe obverseinscription
has been
completely
through
obliterated.
ThiscoinandCoinno,118werepartofthehoardofgoldcoinsand
ornaments
foundat Wieuwerdin Frisia. Both pieces are listedby Boeles,
ofthispieceand Coinno. 118 includedin theplates
p. 510. The photographs
are apparently
largerthanlifesize.
94This is probablythe same coin as that forwhichMonneretDe Villard,
P*35givesa weightof3.74 grammes.
96Thiscoinis piercedwithtwoholes.
96Thiscoinis pierced.
97Thiscoinis piercedand worn.
98Thiscoinwas formerly
in theTolstoiCollection,
and Tolstoigivesa weight
of3.7 grammes
forit. Tolstoi,pp. 657-658,No. 169. He suggestsad loc.that
all ofthecoinsofthistype,i.e.thoseonwhichthebustofHeracliusConstantine
is smallerthanthatof Heraclius,werestruckin the period613/14-630.
See
note76. In 613/14theyoungHeracliusConstantine
was elevatedto Augustus,

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184

Light Weight Solidi

and in 630he reachedhismajority.


His bustwas thendepictedas equal in size
to that of his father.Tolstoialso claimsthat thispiece was struckin ConSee note99.
stantinople.
99Thiscoinshowsa die identity
ofthereversewithCoinno. 148.
100Dr. P. C. J. A. Boeles,"Merovingische
Muntenvan hetType Dronrijpen
A. E. VanGiffen
eenKwart
de Vondstvan Nietap,"extractfromGedenkboek
inNederland
EeuwOudheidkundig
Bodemonderzoek
(Meppel:J.A. Boom& Zoon,
ofthecityofGroningen
1947),p. 12.Thiscoinwas foundat Nietap,southwest
in the provinceofDrenthe.Boeles givesthe inscription
on the obverseas
HI and on the reverseas VICTORIAAV^fl,but thephotoHI RACR(?)VIS
graphsupportsthereadinggivenabove.
101Sabatier,I, p. 274. A linedrawingof this coin is to be foundin Sabatier,
romaines
d'unecollection
choisiedecinqmillesmdailles
, byzantines
Iconographie
etceltibriennes
(St. Petersburg,
1847),pl. X, 5.
102CollectionErnstFrstzu Windisch-Grtz
beschreiben
von TheodorRohde
coinis made in
to thepreceding
(Wien,1904),VII, pt. 3, p. 17. A reference
Monneret
De
is different.
connection
withthisone,butthereverseinscription
Villard,p. 35, givestheweight.
103Werner,
p. 118.Thiscoinwas foundin a graveat Sinzig,in thedistrictof
between
Ahrweiler.
Wernersuggestedthat it was struckin Constantinople
in
613/14-630.He listedit as in the MuseumfrVor-und Frhgeschichte
Berlin,I, i, 1448.It is mounted.
104Idem.Thiscoinwas foundin a gravat Wonsheim,
in thedistrict
ofAlzey.
The weightis oflittlevaluebecausethecoinis mountedin a ringand theedge
thatthecoinwas struckin Constantinople
has beentooled.Wernersuggested
At thetimethathe wrote,thepiecewas in themusuem
between613/14-630.
at Worms.Themarkintheexergueis unusualduringthejointreinofHeraclius
butit is similarto thecoinsstruckduringthesole
and HeracliusConstantine,
reignofHeracliusor duringtheperiodwhenhe ruledwithhistwosons.
105Idem.This coinwas foundin a graveat Pfahlheim,
in the districtof Ellbetween
wangen.Wernersuggeststhat it was struckin Constantinople
or somewhatlater.It has beenbadlyclippedand is mountedin a
613/14-630
oflittlevalue. Wernerlistsit as in
ring.The weightofthepieceis, therefore,
the Germanische
Nationalische
Museum,Nrnberg,
1149.
106Monneret
De Villard,p. 35, citesthiscoinas in Graz.Luschinvon Ebenin Graz,
Joanneum
greuth,
p. 37,also citesthiscoinas in theLandesmuseum
thepiece
but inquiriesrevealthatthepieceis no longerthere.In describing
mitBOXX
derdie Rckseite
Luschinvon Ebengreuth
says, "Ein Fehlschlag
zeigt"
, aufderanderenvertieft
aufeinerSeiteerhaben
107Monneret
De Villard,p. 35,liststhiscoinas in Berlin,butinquiriesreveal
thatit is no longerthere.Luschinvon Ebengreuth,
p. 36, liststhispiece as
pierced.
108
De Villard,p. 35.
Monneret
109Stefan,pp. 55-56,mentions
thiscoinas beingderivedfroman Alemannic
funerary
depositin SouthGermanyand givesthe weightas 4.002 grammes.
The markin theexergueis givenby Stefanas XOOX , butit is clearfromthe
in thesale cataloguethattheformgivenaboveis thecorrectone.
photograph
the piece as a Germanicbarbarianimitationof the light
Stefanidentified
The incompreweightsolidiissuedby Heracliusand HeracliusConstantine.

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Notes to the Catalogue

185

oftheinscriptions
on thiscoinwouldseemto showthatthe
hensiblecharacter
and anyconclusions
based uponthelegendswould
die engraver
was illiterate,
be opento gravedoubts.It is onlybecauseofthemarkin thereverseexergue
thatStefancan evensuggestthatthispieceis an imitation
ofthelightweight
solidi.
110Tolstoi,p. 707,No. 422,citesthiscoinandgivesitsweightas 3.75grammes.
Wroth(BMC,Byz.yII, p. 189)datesthesecoinsas ca. 629/30and later,noting
that "The longbeardand moustachewornby Heracliuson thesecoinsfirst
appearson datedM of the year20 ( = a.d. 629/30).The issue of thesegold
coinsmay,therefore,
havebegunin thatyear.At Ravennaa similargroupof
threeoccurson the M coins,a.d. 631/2to 639/40.On the bronzeM coinsof
thegroupofHeraclius,HeracliusConstantine
and Heracleonas
Constantinople
is foundin theyear30,i.e. 639/40(Cp. Pernice,L'Imperatore
Eraclio, pp. 294,
295)." See note114.
111Thispiecewas purchasedin 1913inthevillageofZhabotinointheOblastof
Kiev. It is pierced.
112Unfortunately
thePoltawaMuseumofRegionalStudieswas burnedbythe
GermansduringthecourseofWorldWar II, and all oftheinventory
records
werelost.It is therefore
impossibleto say whetherany oftheselightweight
solidiin that museumwerein the hoardsfromPereschtschepino
or NovoSandsherovo.
The probability
is verystrongthat all fourof thelightweight
solidifromthePoltawaMuseumwerefoundin thosetwohoards.Thiscoinis
piercedtwice.Theobverseofthispieceis derivedfromthesamedieas thenext
coin.
113See note112.Thiscoinis piercedtwice.
114Tolstoi,p. 707,No. 423,citesthispiece.He holdsthatneitherthisnorthe
He also notesthat
piecelistedas Coinno. 160werestruckin Constantinople.
coppercoinsofthesametypewiththemarkofthemintof Ravennadating
fromthetwenty-second
yearofthereign(631/2)are known.In additioncoins
ofa different
ofHeracliuswithhistwosonswere
typewithhalf-length
portraits
struckin Romebeginning
withthethirteenth
yearofthereign(622/3).Tolstoi
werestruckin 631/2whenHerasuggeststhatthesesolidiwiththreefigures
cleonaswas sixteenyearsold. The weightof this specimenis of no value
becausethe coinhas beenpierced.Tolstoi,however,givesthe weightas 3.4
thatZographhad seena hoardofcoins
grammes.
Bauer,pp. 227-229,reported
thathad beenfoundwithotherutensilsin theDnieperDelta, and thatall of
the coins of the threeemperortype were markedBOXX. See ChapterIII
on thishoardand thehoardfromPereschtschepino
whichcontainedsolidiof
thesametype.
115Bauer,pp. 227-229,says thateightsolidimarkedthis
way in theexergue
werefoundin thehoardfromPereschtschepino.
All werefroma singlepairof
dies. See ChapterIII on thishoard.
116See note 112. This coin is derivedfromthe same set of dies as the next
piece.Wroth(BMC,Byz.,I, p. 255,note1) datesthesolidiofConstansII on
the basis of the bronzeissues."The gold and silvercannotbe dated with
exactness.Theprincipal
cluesarethefirst
IV
perfect
appearanceofConstantine
and ofHeracliusand Tiberiusin companywiththeirfather,
probablyin a.d.
The datesassignedto theAV withthesinglebustof
654 and 659 respectively.
Constansaremoreconjectural.
Thebeardlessheaddoubtlessbeginsina.d. 641,

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i86

Light Weight Solidi

whenthe Emperorwas onlyeleven.In a fewyears (about 646?) his face


displaysa close beard and whiskers.Then followsthe longbeardtype,the
firstappearanceof whichmay be assignedto a.d. 651/2,as in that year
witha longbeardon thedatedM ofConstantinople.
Constansis represented
At this timehe was onlyabout twenty-one
yearsold, and the portraitis
conventional
and closelymodelleduponthatofHeraclius.
obviouslyentirely
. int.,1904,p. 143),which
The Athens(Asklepieion)
finds(see Svoronos,Journ
mayhave beenburiedcirc.662,the date of thevisitof Constansto Athens,
includethe solidi of the Emperorin conjunctionwithhis threesons (two
types)."
117See thepreceding
note.Thiscoinhas probablybeenclipped,and it shows
ofnometrological
Its weightis therefore
definite
signsofhavingbeenmounted.
significance.
118Thiscoinhas twoverysmallpunchholes.
119Thiscoinis fixedto thehandleofa vessel.
120Thiscoinwas purchasedin 1916.It showsa die identity
ofthereversewith
thenextpiece.
121See thepreceding
note.
122The sale catalogueliststhisspecimenas fleurde coin.
123The samecoinwas also in HirschSale XXXI, 6 May 1912,2172.Thiscoin
be oflittlevalue.
has beenpierced,and theweightwouldtherefore
124This coinwas formerly
in theTolstoiCollection.Tolstoihad purchasedit
in Italy,and he gave itsweightas 4.45 grammes.
Tolstoi,p. 736,No. 60.
126This coinwas at one timemounted,and it has beencut downin size,so
thattheweightis of littlevalue. Griersonanalyzedthiscoin by the specific
inChapterII. It mustdatefrom
technique,andtheresultsarereported
gravity
659 a.d. or laterbecauseHeracliuswas madeCaesarin 654 and Tiberiuswas
elevatedto the same rankin 659. The hoardfromPereschtschepino
yielded
sixteencoinsof ConstansII markedOBXX,and a similarfindoflightweight
in the
solidiof ConstansII was made at Novo-Sandsherovo
(Zatschepilovo)
ofPoltawain 1928.Bauer,pp. 227-229.See ChapterIII on these
Government
hoards.See Coinno. 128 foranotherpiecefromthefourthofficina.
126Tolstoi,p. 800,No. 15,citesthiscoinand givesitsweightas 3.6 grammes.
Wroth(BMC, Byz.tII, p. 313), places thesecoinsunderthe years668-669.
IV supposedlyacquiredthe nicknamePogonatusfromthe fact
Constantine
to avengethe
that thoughhe was beardlesswhenhe leftConstantinople
murderof his father,by the timethat he returnedhe had growna beard.
be earlyin the
These coinswhichportrayhim as beardlessmusttherefore
reign.See Ibid.,I, p. xxix.Thiscoinis pierced.
127Thiscoinwas formerly
in theTolstoiCollection.It was boughtby Tolstoi
and he givesits weightas 3.75 grammes.Tolstoi,p. 802,
in St. Petersburg,
No. 32. Wroth(BMC, Byz., II, p. 314),listscoinsofthistypefortheperiod
demandoftheAnatolianforces,
670-680a.d. In answerto theextraordinary
IV had associatedhis youngerbrotherwithhimon the throne.
Constantine
The troopshad demandedthatsincetheyweretruebelieversin the Trinity
About680,however,Constanofemperors.
theyshouldbe ruledby a trinity
tine IV deposedhis youngerbrothersfromthisimperialdignity.Thus the
presenceofthebeardon theEmperorplacesthiscoinafter669 a.d. whilethe
a date anteriorto 680 a.d.
necessitates
presenceofthetwoyoungerbrothers

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Notes to the Catalogue

187

Wroth,op. cit.,I, p. XXX,


suggeststhattheattitudeoftheAnatoliansoldierythatinspired
thefrequent
maythrowsomelight"on thefeeling
representation
in Imperialcoinageof groupsof three(e.g. Heracliusand familyand later
1Thiscoinis
Emperors).'
pierced.
188Thesecoinsare authenticByzantineissuesofwesternorigin.Theyare not
ofthelightweightseries,buttheyareincludedinthisappendixtothecatalogue
becauseofthepeculiarmarkin theexergue.
ssWroth(BMC, Byz., I, p. 155, No. 276) givesthe weightas 62.3 grains.
Wrothattributed
thiscointo themintofRavenna.The longcrossin theright
handoftheVictoryon thereversehas theformofa crozier.Thiscoinis also
citedby Tolstoi,p. 515,No. 32.

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PLATES

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II

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III

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IV
ffi

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VI
fc.

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VII

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VIII

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IX

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XI

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XII

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XIII

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XIV

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