JeandAcre Posted December 12, 2022 · Member Share Posted December 12, 2022 (edited) Among 11th-century coins of western and central Europe, the Salian denars of the German empire probably take the prize for the elaborateness and sheer diversity of their designs. These run from ships, to neo-Byzantine iconography, to a wide range of architectural motifs, including schematic cityscapes. Even when the flans are noticeably smaller than the pennies and deniers of England and France, the contrast to the competition is pronounced. The sad irony is that this pitch of inventiveness coincides with the frankly sloppy minting for which the series is justly notorious. In any given example, it’s common for only half of the design and legend to be struck up. Many have little or no trace of the border legends. Which is why, when I finally landed a Salian denar that was struck on the opposite side of the flan as one I already had, ‘filling in’ a good part of the missing motifs and legends, it was a big day. Here are both sides of each of them, in order of acquisition. Heinrich III (German emperor 1046-1059) as ‘King of the Romans’ (heir designate to the German Empire), 1039-1046. Denar /Marienpfennig of Speyer, 1042-1046, celebrating the ongoing construction of the cathedral there, initiated by his father, the emperor Konrad II. Obv. Cathedral facade, tower to right; “CHON[RADVS]” –or variant (cf. first example)-- inside. (Again with variations; here drawing mainly from the second example, from 11 o’clock:) H[ENRIC? …SPIRA] CIVITAS [‘S’ retrograde]. (Several related issues use the original Roman place name, ‘NEMETIS’ (cf. Dannenberg 830-839, passim), but that’s no obvious help in interpreting the variant legend in the first example.) Rev. Neo-Byzantine ikon of Mary, haloed, orans, with Jesus’ haloed face on her breast. (Cf. Panagia, Our Lady of the Sign - Wikipedia.) (From 9 o’clock: various elements of) +S[AN]CTA MARIA. Dannenberg 838, apparently with several legend variants. Cf. this listing: NumisBids: Alfa Numismatics ApS Auction 8, Lot 111 : Germany. Speyer. Heinrich III 1039-1056. AR Denar. (For Anglophone amateurs like yours truly, Dannenberg’s conscientiousness becomes an inconvenience in its own right. I can’t even identify the source(s) of the examples he draws from. (.Pdf format doesn’t like to cooperate with Google Translate!) But they’re clearly individual coins, along the lines of a corpus des monnaies. The ensuing range of incomplete legends, in a series known for legend variants, is, well, less than optimal. But from the fragmentary legends of this and related types (cf. esp. Dannenberg 829-839), it’s possible to tentatively reconstruct the full legends of a given type as initially intended, along the lines of ‘authorial intent.’ Given which, the obverse legend of the first example remains irreducibly problemmatic.) This next collective instance involves the more recent acquisition. The issue is actually a little earlier, coissued with Konrad II at the end of his reign as emperor. But only over the past week, it got the same treatment. Same as above; pictures are of each side, in order of acquisition. Yes, it has the same neo-ikonic reverse. But the way the obverses complement and ‘complete’ eachother is only more dramatic. Konrad II as Emperor, with Heinrich III as ‘King of the Romans.’ Denar of Speyer, 1039 or shortly before. (Aggregately:) Konrad and Heinrich, facing, separated by a double arch; cross above. Here I’ll just summarily combine the two renderings of the legend; in this instance, there’s no obvious variation between them. +CHO[NRAD I[M?]P. HEINRICI R[EX]. Reverse: The Panagia, as in the previous, later examples; +SC[A MARIA]. Dannenberg 829. It’s worth noting that while the second one here has almost no trace of legend, the face of Jesus is the best strike of the four. …It’s really the luck of the draw with this stuff. Especially from Heinrich III onwards, the Salians strongly identified their own dynasty, and its perpetuation, with Speyer and its patron saint, Mary. Under Heinrich III (who called Speyer his “beloved place”), and his successor Heinrich IV, the cathedral saw two dramatic expansions, leaving it unrivalled in Latin Christendom for sheer size and, according to prevailing esthetics, magnificence. (Cf. esp. Weinfurter 87, 158.) Between the end of 1045 and his coronation as Emperor in 1046, Heinrich III commissioned an especially lavish book of the Gospels, donating it to Speyer Cathedral. It includes the caption, “‘Speyer shall shine in splendor through the favors and gifts of King Henry’” (158). This is the de facto title page. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Golden_Gospels_of_Henry_III The convergent legal and visual rhetoric coincided with Salian adaptation of Byzantine legal theory, back to the Code of Justinian. This accorded the monarchy near-absolute powers, verging on a kind of imperial theocracy. (See esp. Weinfurter 156, in the context of Heinrich IV.) Henry III, in particular, sought to appropriate this precedent for the sake of his own rule and the future of the whole dynasty, which he envisioned as continuing in perpetuity. He proceeded to “sequester an entire third of the [...] central nave [of Speyer] as a royal burial site, a project that in the eyes of the bishop seriously impaired the cathedral’s function as a [...] church” (111). Following his burial there in 1059, “drastic measures were taken to reduce the size of the royal burial place,” under the aegis of the bishop, Konrad I, “dash[ing Heinrich]’s ambitious dream of of establishing a monumenal burial place to celebrate Salian royalty into the indefinite future” (ibid.). The imperial necropolis would remain a prominent part of the nave, but fewer people would have to step over graves on their way to celebrating Mass. Bishopric of Speyer. Konrad I, 1056-1060. Obv. Konrad facing. (From 8 o’clock:) [CVNR]ADVS EP[S]. Rev. Cathedral facade; central tower, topped by a cross and flanked by two turrets; gate below. +N[EM[E]TIS CI]VIT.--. Dannenberg 839 (this example, rather than his, providing the end of the reverse legend). This issue returns to the original, Roman name for Speyer, noted above. Funly, the schematic facade here succeeds in evoking the west entrance of the cathedral, refaced in the 19th century, but along the original lines. https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Dom_of_Speyer_(catholic_cathedral).jpg This aerial view shows the same facade in the context of the entire cathedral. https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Aerial_image_of_the_Speyer_Cathedral_(view_from_the_southwest)_(cropped).jpg Heinrich III’s aspirations for his dynasty would soon fall victim to his own implementation of them, in collusion with accidents of history. His increasingly isolated, autocratic rule alienated the German baronage, including several of the major ‘stem’ duchies. Likewise, his aggressive assertion of imperial control over the appointment (‘investiture’) of bishops could not but antagonize Papal interests. In the eyes of Rome, the Great Schism of 1054, dividing the Greek Orthodox and Roman Catholic communions, did nothing to bolster his Byzantine-inspired agenda. Notwithstanding the triumphs of his own reign, he left a whole, big world of hurt to his son and successor, Heinrich IV. …Right, that gets to be a different story. The principal reference in print that I looked at (highly recommended, even in translation) is Weinfurter, Stefan. The Salian Century: Main Currents in an Age of Transition. Tr. Barbara M. Bowlus. 1991; U of Pennsylvania P, 1999. If anyone wanted to add anything --No, tell me why; I won't tell you-- that would be terrific fun. ...And if someone could do anything with the .pdf graphics, along the lines of visual mixing and matching, that would elicit serious gratitude. Edited December 22, 2022 by JeandAcre 10 Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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