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Tejas

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I was looking at my Gothic collection and realized that I am possibly the only person since the fall of the Gothic kingdom who held 4 Theodahat folles simultaneously in his hand. 

I know this is not very scholarly, but still kind of weird. 😜

1.PNG

 

PS: No Photoshop involved 🙂

Edited by Tejas
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2 hours ago, Tejas said:

I was looking at my Gothic collection and realized that I am possibly the only person since the fall of the Gothic kingdom who held 4 Theodahat folles simultaneously in his hand. 

I know this is not very scholarly, but still kind of weird. 😜

1.PNG

 

PS: No Photoshop involved 🙂

Let me know if you decide to part with one of those coins 😉.

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Thank you @Tejas 

These four coins represent one of the world's biggest collections of this impressive and desirable type.

British Museum has only seven! Berlin holds a bit higher number. 

In 2004, Arslan E.A. and Metlich M.A. published 'A die study of Theodahad Folles' in The Coinage of Ostrogothic Italy (Spink), pp. 125-134; plates A-F. As part of the project, they have assembled a corpus of 187 coins from 20 obverse and 64 reverse dies, a large proportion being in public museums.

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The quality is light years ahead of the itsy-bitsy monograms issued by the Eastern empire. Similar to the coins of Postumus who had high quality issues compared to the coins from Rome. Wonder how these usurpers got hold of better engravers than the official establishments. 

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5 minutes ago, JayAg47 said:

The quality is light years ahead of the itsy-bitsy monograms issued by the Eastern empire. Similar to the coins of Postumus who had high quality issues compared to the coins from Rome. Wonder how these usurpers got hold of better engravers than the official establishments. 

Maybe there were still some talented engravers in Ostrogothic Italy who were more familiar with the Roman numismatic tradition than the ones in Constantinople.

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11 hours ago, JayAg47 said:

The quality is light years ahead of the itsy-bitsy monograms issued by the Eastern empire. Similar to the coins of Postumus who had high quality issues compared to the coins from Rome. Wonder how these usurpers got hold of better engravers than the official establishments. 

The Ostrogoths were not usurpers. Theodahat's path to the throne was kind of shady, but the Amal dynasty, of which Theodahat was a member, represented the legitimate rulers of the western part of the empire, at least as far as power could be projected. Justinian's invasion of Italy and ultimately the destruction of the Gothic kingdom (and with it the remnants of late antiquity) was what we would today call an illegal aggression. Strange as it may sound, in this Gothic War the Romans were the barbarians not the Goths. It should thus surprise no one that the East Roman coins look more barbaric than that of Ostrogothic Italy.

Ostrogothic coins are not imitative or barbaric as can be read so often. Indeed, in a recent auction catalog, the author described an Ostrogothic solidus from the mint of Rome as "of the finest barbaric style", which is complete and utter nonsense. These coins were produced by Roman mint workers at the official mints using the official mint marks. Theoderic reintroduced order to Roman Italy and as a result we see this late reflourishing of bureaucratic effectiveness, economic prosperity and art. There is nothing barbaric or imitative about these coins. To the contrary, they are a manifestation of the effectiveness of Gothic rule in Italy.

Theoderic the Great promoted a revival of Roman culture and harmonious coesistance of Germanic Goths, who would function as landowning warrior elites and the Roman population, who would be in charge of all things outside the military. Justinian's invasion brought this coexistance to an end and the Theodahat folles displays this break by depicting Theodahat not as a Roman ruler, but as a Germanic king. I think this is the real significance of the Theodahat follis. Thus, Theodahat wears a Germanic Spangenhelm (see picture below), instead of being depicted bare headed, like Theoderic on his famous medallion or any other Roman type of head gear. 

This choice of depicting a Spangenhelm is a very clear statement that sent the message that the Goths are no longer interested in integrating in Roman society and that they are ready for war. The Spangenhelm was also depicted on Baduila's (Teja's) Decanummi. 

Germanic Spangenhelm from Gemany (Stössen), probably owned by Thuringian king Berthahar (early 6th century). Note on the coin the helmet is reduced in size and the cheekguards are removed to reveal the face of the king, a practice that can also be seen on Roman coins of the 3rd and 4th centuries.

Heinrich.PNG

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9 minutes ago, Tejas said:

The Ostrogoths were not usurpers

Thank you for this interesting information. Unfortunately, there are not many collectors or literature on this era. For me very interesting and fascinating historical.

I only have the superficial Wikipedia articles and other reports as "knowledge" about this era. Perhaps I should read up on it in more depth.

Tell me - to what extent is Felix Dahn's novel "Battle for Rome" historical?

Of course, the characters around the last Roman and Consul Rome are fictional, as are the dialogues - because we don't know what was said to each other. But the question is - does the novel adhere well to the historical basis? 

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Sadly the literature is scarce. The book by Webster and Brown below was published in 1997 and is still one of the best summaries on the topic.

 

There are few specialist numismatic books. The publication by BALDI (2014), 'Ostrogothic coins in the British Museum, London' is useful, free and possibly the reasons why Ostrogothic coins in BM have been photographed and available online in good quality

https://www.academia.edu/7937463/BALDI_2014_Ostrogothic_coins_in_the_British_Museum_London

The 187 coins in the corpus is by no mean a measure of availability. They are by far rarer than gold coins of the period. I hoped to bid twice in the last 10 years with no luck by a margin.

image.png.771c0532ef9025b7ee8a747504b7c740.png

 

 

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Regarding literature:

For those who read German there is the book "Theoderich der Grosse" by Hans-Ulrich Wiemer from 2018. This is by far the best book on Gothic history. Despite the narrow title this book of some 800 pages covers the whole period from the begining of the Goths in the early 3rd century to the end of the Gothic kingdom in Italy in the 6th century. Unfortunately, there is  nothing even remotely comparable to the quality and depth of this book available in English. In addition, the book is extremely well written and reads almost like a novel. 

If you are only interested in the Gothic wars, there is a very good book in English called "Rome's Gothic Wars" by Michael Kulikowski. This book of some 200 pages also covers the beginnings and ends with the time of Alaric, i.e. excludes the actual Gothic War of the 6th century. I highly recommend this book, but readers should be aware that the author represents the so called Goffert-school, which has a special way of interpretation, which some more mainstream historians reject. 

For our German readers there is another fantastic book called "August 410 - Ein Kampf um Rom" by Mischa Meier and Steffen Patzold. As the title suggests the book focuses on the events leading to and surrounding the sack of Rome in 410 by Alaric's Goths. This book is really about what we know and what we think we know about history. In my view, this book is an absolute eye-opener for historians and anyone interested in history. 

Perhaps more addressed to the expert historian, there is "Justinian's Balkan Wars" by Alexander Sarantis. As the title suggests this book focuses on the Balkan and takes the eastern Roman perspective. This book of some 500 pages contains a lot of detailed information and is surprisingly well written. 

Finally, there is "History of the Goths" by Herwig Wolfram form 1987. This has long been the standard work on Gothic history. The book is a translation from German. Unfortunately, the translation is not very good making this book kind of hard to read and impossible to enjoy. There is a lot of detailed information, but some of the interpretation is regarded as outdated today.

In short, the absolute must read top of the list on Gothic history is "Theoderich der Grosse" by Hans-Ulrich Wiemer.  The downside is that the book is only available in German. 

 

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Here are two Dekanummi of Baduila-Tejas, showing the king wearing a Spangenhelm. Baduila was the penultimate Gothic king. His personal virtues as curageous warrior and his abilities as general, administrator and diplomat exceeded those of most Roman emperors before or after him. After each of his military successes he tried to convince Justinian that peace would be in the best interest of all parties involved, but Justinian rejected, which led to the near complete devastation of Italy and ultimately also the true downfall of the western empire. 

Heinrich2.PNG

karl.PNG

Edited by Tejas
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1 hour ago, Prieure de Sion said:

Tell me - to what extent is Felix Dahn's novel "Battle for Rome" historical?

Of course, the characters around the last Roman and Consul Rome are fictional, as are the dialogues - because we don't know what was said to each other. But the question is - does the novel adhere well to the historical basis? 

If you want to learn more about the Gothic kingdom and the Gothic War you are much better of with Wiemer's book "Theoderich der Grosse". Felix Dahn was both historian and novellist. As a 19th century historian his interepretations are long superseeded by new evidence and interpretations and as a novelist, I guess that is a matter of taste.

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1 hour ago, Rand said:

Sadly the literature is scarce. The book by Webster and Brown below was published in 1997 and is still one of the best summaries on the topic.

 

There are few specialist numismatic books. The publication by BALDI (2014), 'Ostrogothic coins in the British Museum, London' is useful, free and possibly the reasons why Ostrogothic coins in BM have been photographed and available online in good quality

https://www.academia.edu/7937463/BALDI_2014_Ostrogothic_coins_in_the_British_Museum_London

The 187 coins in the corpus is by no mean a measure of availability. They are by far rarer than gold coins of the period. I hoped to bid twice in the last 10 years with no luck by a margin.

image.png.771c0532ef9025b7ee8a747504b7c740.png

 

 

 

Thanks for posting this link loaded with useful info, I downloaded a copy for my files ☺️.

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1 hour ago, Tejas said:

Regarding literature:

Double Thanks for that useful informations (sure for many users here)…

 

PS: I bookmark this Publikation for a long time - but I cannot say anything about the quality.

https://kath-akademie-bayern.de/wp-content/uploads/SD_debatte_zu_4_2020_web.pdf 
 

Edited by Prieure de Sion
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12 hours ago, DonnaML said:

Maybe there were still some talented engravers in Ostrogothic Italy who were more familiar with the Roman numismatic tradition than the ones in Constantinople.

Many of the coins struck in Rome under Theodoric were superior to the coins issued in Constantinople. The coin on the left side is still in my collection & the other coin I sold long ago.

2coinsofAnastasiusRomeConstantinople.jpg.7a40590b75efd046614594ee8345e64d.jpg

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37 minutes ago, Prieure de Sion said:

Double Thanks for that useful informations (sure for many users here)…

 

PS: I bookmark this Publikation for a long time - but I cannot say anything about the quality.

https://kath-akademie-bayern.de/wp-content/uploads/SD_debatte_zu_4_2020_web.pdf 
 

Some of the historians ae also included in my literature list. This is no doubt an interesting and useful source.

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There is often this narrative that the Goths were the people who ended the Roman empire, at least in the west. Nothing could be further from the truth. The Goths came to renew and reinvigorate Roman rule. While Odovacar was a usurper, albeit one who was much more capable than most Roman emperors, Theoderic the Great was the legitimate ruler of Italy and adjacent areas. 

The desire to renew, rather than overcome Rome can be seen also in the early Gothic coins such as the 40-Nummi pieces with the IMVICTA ROMA legend and the Roman eagle, that were minted under Theoderic.

 

 

Heinrich.PNG

 

or the 20-Nummi pieces with the Lupa-reverse minted under Athalaric:

 

karl.PNG

 

 

I think the choice of the legend and the design was very deliberate and programmatic. The Gothic kings were sending a message that Rome would not be destroyed but renewed under their rule. Importantly, Theoderic kept his word, by continuing the beneficial administration of Odovacar, which led to a new and last flourishing of late antique culture in Rome and Italy. 

The break comes with Justinian's invasion of Italy. This invasion turned the Goths against Roman interest and it let to the real end of the Western Empire. It weakened Rome to an extend that the Langobards could just move in in 567 and establish their overlordship with hardly any resistance. Hence, it really was Justinian, i.e. a Roman Emperor who brought about the downfall of the Western Empire, not Odovacar in 476 and certainly not the Goths.

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2016 NAC Auction 93 was probably the latest major sale of the coins of the migration period with many amazing pieces, including two Theodohad's follises (lots 1184, 1185). 

https://www.arsclassicacoins.com/wp-content-nasecure/uploads/2020/06/2016-NAC-93.pdf

Sadly, my budget for that auction was depleted even before I reached Theodohad's lots. 

I would love to know who the collector was. The auction is one of the few provenances I value. Below is a coin I missed during the sale but was lucky to get later from another sale.

 

 

Theoderic in the name of Anastasius. Solidus, Ravenna with Theoderic's monogram.

image.jpeg.c5997b559816840f053a06abdf14ecea.jpeg

 

Edited by Rand
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While the Theodahat follis is rare and very seldom offered in auction, there are much rarer Gothic coins. For example, this early Half-Siliqua of Theoderic, minted to the eastern weight standard, is excessively rare. I know of two pieces in museums, but to my knowledge this may be the only piece in private hands.

karl.PNG

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