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Think 10th-century western European isn't interesting? Guess again


JeandAcre
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Several days after Donna's very generous (and flattering) invitation to this forum, and Luke's  no less magnanimous help with how to set up my avatar, it's time to do an OP.  --I'll tell you in advance, I'm hoping that this becomes the start of an actual thread ...for instance, involving exactly anything within chronological earshot.

...It might be worth repeating, vis. some initial, random post, I did what @DANTE did, and changed my CT handle to something a little less self-deprecating --never mind, in my case, willfully arcane and plain silly.  The artist formerly known as +VGO.DVCKS, at your service.

One thing I found really liberating about this forum, compared to CT, is the much greater latitude you get on the purely technical front.  For instance, getting the option to cut and paste within a post, never mind the vast amount of text size, and the ensuing option of more than CT's somewhat anal retentative limit of 10 graphic uploads.  --That, by itself, has literally kept me from uploading OPs, where I had to choose between maps, supporting graphics, and, um, coins.  ...Before throwing up my hands and giving up.

This OP --an extended article-- won't be one of those, except for sheer volume (yeah, fasten your seatbelt, and bring lots of your snack of choice; you're in for a loooong ride).  ...And the ability to cut and paste the whole initial text, from someplace else.  It was originally uploaded onto another website, but owing to frankly ignorant technical issues, I wound up temporarily losing my account there. 

...Oh, Right, here's my example of the issue in question.  10th century; looking like any other Carolingian immobilization, but with the intriguingly unmistakeable variant of the 'KAROLVS' monogram, reading 'HITS.'  This in distinct contrast to the gobbledygook in your run-of-the-mill immobilizations of the same period, as noted by Dumas (Trésor de Fécamp, as cited in the article below).

image.jpeg.67a17d92cc083f92bc733b8ba8c41b1a.jpeg

For comparison, here's the much better example from the Inumis archives, linked in the article, below.

Charles le Chauve, denier immobilisé, s.d. (Xe s.) Le Palais (Compiègne ?)                Charles le Chauve, denier immobilisé, s.d. (Xe s.) Le Palais (Compiègne ?)

And here's an example of the prototype, of Charles II, the Bald, as cited by the Inumis listing (...and at the mercy of the dealer's pics):

image.thumb.jpeg.d949a1cabf5dfd5222d85ef18ff04bf7.jpeg

...Finally, an example of the issue of Amiens with the same 'HITS' variant of the 'KAROLVS' monogram, also as noted in the article.

image.thumb.jpeg.dd51823f046e7c1e420f1ca1bd5cf90a.jpegimage.jpeg.a05a1f04b5be7de8bfc2517be58b5edf.jpeg

 

The enigmatic ‘Palais’ deniers of the Fécamp Hoard.  A review of the research, and a proposed attribution. 

     I.  The present state of the research: an ‘American’s-eye’ view (avec excuses, specialement à M. Bompaire).
    Among large-scale medieval European coin finds of modern times, the Fécamp Hoard (le tresor de Fécamp) has few rivals.  Found in the eponymous commune in coastal Seine-maritime (eastern Normandy) in 1963, it dates to c. 980-985, and comprises 8,584 confirmed examples.  These include silver coins (deniers, denaros, denars /pfennigs, and pennies, all characteristically, if vaguely similar in module) of German imperial provinces ranging from Lorraine to Italy, and of the kingdoms of Burgundy and late Anglo-Saxon England.   Aggregately, these, with the exponentially more numerous Francian examples, provide a monument to the diversity and scope not only of Norman, but more broadly of Francian coinage and trade over the later 10th century.  (Dumas pp. 3, 5, 8-9, 14.)  But the predominant, and otherwise most salient aspect of the hoard is its remarkably comprehensive representation of contemporaneous Francian coins (deniers and oboles, or half deniers), issued by a wide range of seigneurial, episcopal and royal polities.  By means of these, we are given a panoramic view of Francian currency, from a moment near the onset of the ‘French feudal’ series.  Geographically, the issues extend from Brittany and Aquitaine in the west to Auvergne in the south, and Flanders, Champagne and ducal Burgundy to the east.  (Ibid. 7-8; cf. map, p. 6; Shepherd 61.)  Complementing this, the coins issued under Carolingian royal aegis provide an especially cogent indication of the hoard’s no less expansive chronological scope, inhabiting a compass from Louis I, le Pieux (r. 814-840) to Lothaire (954-986).  (Dumas 9-10.)  Completing the picture is Françoise Dumas-Dubourg’s magisterial study of the hoard (op. cit.), published in 1971. 
    Of the Francian issues, one of the more perennially mysterious is anonymous, with a degenerate rendition of the familiar Carolingian legend, ‘GRATIA D-I REX’ on the obverse.  (In their online auction archives, the French numismatic firm, iNumis lists an example in a conspicuously high state of conservation, citing Dumas: https://www.inumis.com/shop/charles-le-chauve-denier-immobilise-s-d-xe-s-le-palais-compiegne-1201533/?lang=en The legend in itself is innocuous enough; this formula, accompanied by the ‘KAROLVS’ monogram of Charlemagne, is common to the ‘GDR’ coinages of Charles the Bald and his successors, beginning from the Edict of Pîtres in 864, and subsequently immobilized, with varying levels of degeneration, in many anonymous local issues through the 10th and into the 11th centuries.1  Of the two features which set this issue apart, one is the reverse legend, typically providing the mint signature in coins of the period, which names an unknown ‘Palais’ mint.2  Concerning this, and as Dumas-Dubourg points out (below), comparison with earlier, unambigously royal issues of the Carolingian and Robertian dynasties offers little help.  While Depeyrot lists coins across several reigns, ending with the Robertian king Eudes (887-898), which are classified as being of ‘le Palais,’ distinctly from ‘le Palais – Paris,’ none of them provides an obvious prototype (pp. 333-6: nos. 743-55; cf. 755B).  Second, and even more distinctive, is the monogram which appears in place of the typical Carolingian one.  In place of even a degenerate version of the latter, it clearly reads ‘HITS.’ 
    From this point, it is necessary to cite Dumas-Dubourg at relative length.  The following is an indifferently competent translation of highlights from her entry for the issue; as such, freely resorting to paraphrase for relative fluidity en anglais.
         [Comments on nos. 6593-4: T]hese last two pieces [6593, 6594] are very evidently struck from very worn dies.  It is probably the same set of dies [used in both coins]. Mod .: 21 mm.
    The Palace was the seat of a monetary workshop in Merovingian times, and in the Carolingian period.  While many pieces are known from the 9th century, bearing the legend PALATINA MONETA, we have yet to have report of examples of the 10th century.
    The presence of these coins in the Fecamp Hoard, and their [high] state of conservation, allow their very particular attribution to the 10th century.  Nothing is reminiscent of earlier Palace coins. The monogram does not appear to be a degenerate Carolingian monogram.  [I. e., 'KAROLVS,' as above.  Cf. the earlier examples of Amiens in Dumas’ Plate VIII; Roberts pp. 242-3.]  It seems to be composed of carefully selected letters: H, I, T, S, and is maintained as it stands on the later issues, with more degenerate legends, of which we speak below.
    No indication of place of discovery can locate this coinage.  [The various coins in the] Fécamp [Hoard] come from too many different places to provide an approximation.  The find-spot of the only example published previously [in Fillon; see below] is unknown.
    However, the later issues to which we have referred provide some comparisons, and allow these coins to be related to those of Amiens.  [Cf. the unnubered engraving from Poey d'Avant on Pl. VIII, between the Fécamp examples of Amiens and ‘le Palais.’]  Indeed, hoards from the first and second half of the 11th century, found for the most part in the Amiens region, contain examples with the same monogram, but whose legends have evolved.  [In these examples,] even if we can recognize a memory of the formula, 'GRATIA DEI REX,' on the reverse, we also read a similarly degenerated rendering of the mint-name, Amiens, rather than that of the Palace.  Peculiarities in the epigraphy of the legend include: A framed by points; and M and B connected and in the form of the cross, with thick ends, divided with a crosslet.  These recall both the coins of Amiens found at Fecamp, and later examples [well into the 11th century: cf. Poey d'Avant], with PAX  [rather than the HITS monogram] in the field.
    The 'palace' coinage is thus related to that of Amiens, either because it was issued in Amiens from the 10th century, or because it influenced the coinage of Amiens in the 11th century.  [This is followed by Dumas’ note 6, cited and discussed in greater detail below.]3
    The first hypothesis is less likely, since no Carolingian palace existed at Amiens; what may be the palace that appears here?  [Likewise,] how can it be known that the issue had an influence on that of Amiens?  
    The characteristic monogram can be interpreted in two different ways, without either providing a satisfactory explanation.  In the first place, we can suppose that it represents the monogram of King Lothaire.  Lothaire intervened in the destinies of the count of Amiens, and his name [was immobilized] on issues of the region, but this monogram [interpretable as 'HLOTARIVS'] is found neither on other coins of this king, nor [in manuscript,] in [written] acts of this sovereign.  [To all appearances, the same is true of Lothaire's father, Louis IV 'd'Outremer,' whose name is immobilized in numerous feudal issues further south.  For one of the most common instances, see Duplessy pp. 229-30, nos. 942-9; Roberts pp. 254-5, nos. 4361-2.]  In the second place, we can interpret this monogram as that of Herbert [II] de Vermandois, but his hold on the County of Amiens seems too distant (926) and this hypothesis could only be justified by the presence of similar examples from an [earlier] hoard.  In the middle of the 10th century, Herbert II [sic] the Elder [/’le Vieux;’ somewhat ironically, a son of Herbert II; see below], who also signed coins in his name, does not appear to have any influence on this region.
    In the absence of more precise elements, we can not solve the problems posed by these pieces.    
[Note] 6.  Benjamin Fillon, who published a similar example, located it in a neighboring region: Artois or Vermandois, because of the term MONE which often appears in this region instead of MONETA.  Etudes numismatiques, p. 154-5, fig.  (Pp.133-4.)

    Dumas’ note 6 (above) cites Benjamin Fillon, who published “un exemplaire semblable” in 1856, also with the ‘Palais’ mint signature, locating it in Picardy, likely Artois or Vermandois (loc. cit.).  Like Dumas’ observations, Fillon’s assessment is made primarily on stylistic grounds (as can be seen below, in yet another adventurous, indifferently competent rendition en anglais).  Among Fillon’s other, more salient affinities with Dumas, we may count his emphasis on this being a later 10th-century coinage, struck from worn dies.  The latter feature, especially, connotes an issue which has already been immobilized for a significant interval.                                                                                                                                  

    ARTOIS OR VERMANDOIS. [Main entry, including a plate, with legends, of an example effectively identical to the 'Palace' issue in Dumas.]         Coll. from Mr. Hoffmann.
        The legends and the type of this denier, of the second half of the 10th century, have been altered by a rather long use, which indicates     a feudal emission with a immobilized royal imprint.  But in what place should it be classified?  The shape of the monogram makes it     identifiable as the product of one of the mints of the northern part of France, without it being possible to give it a more precise attribution.      The coin of Quentovic engraved in no. 329 of the Description de la Seconde Race of MM. Fougeres and Coubrouse resembles it very much     and is almost contemporaneous. That of Arras, given by M. Hermand, in no. 21 and pl. II of his Histoire Monetaire de l'Artois, is in the same     case. The legend of the reverse ends with the remains of the word MONE (moneta), which often appears on the coins of Artois, Vermandois     and some of the mints of the surrounding provinces.  This is one of those enigmas that other discoveries will decipher one day.  
    (Fillon pp. 154-5; available from the Google Books website: 
https://books.google.com/books?id=ZjgGAAAAQAAJ&printsec=frontcover&source=gbs_ge_summary_r&cad=0#v=snippet&q=artois ou vermandois&f=false .)

             Despite her endorsement, implicit and less so, of much of Fillon’s reasoning, Dumas does not reproduce his accompanying, arguably redundant plate.  Instead, her Plate VIII reproduces one from Poey d’Avant, of a variant example from the ostensibly neighboring city of Amiens, with a no less arrestingly similar monogram to that of the Palais issue.4 In light of her emphasis on other stylistic affinities between the Palais issue and those of Amiens –drawing on Fillon himself-- Dumas-Dubourg’s reasoning here is beyond dispute.  
    However, as Dumas is evidently aware (notably from the absence of any citation of his accompanying text), where the earlier mintages are concerned, Poey d’Avant’s own treatment of the coins of Amiens seems to have faltered.  Here, as the following, endemically dodgy rendition en anglais demonstrates, he appears to have fallen prey to the limitations of an otherwise methodologically impressive mid-19th-c. scholarly milieu.  
    AMIENS [main entry].
        [....Because] the authors of l'Art de verifier le dates [Poey d’Avant’s principal secondary reference] did not include the Counts of Amiens     in their     immense work, I am reduced to consult only incomplete information.  [….]  I was able to obtain [their chronology from] the work     of an [historian] of the region.  (318.)
After these and other introductory remarks, Poey d’Avant’s listings for Amiens begin with several issues with immobilized 'KAROLVS' monograms and degenerate 'GDR' legends; typical, as noted above, of early, anonymous feudal issues.  (Cf. esp. Dumas’ remarks on the examples of Amiens in the Fécamp Hoard, pp. 129-30 –also citing Poey d’Avant only for a plate-- and her Pl. VIII, 6579-80.)  These are followed by one example of Gautier II, Count of Amiens 986-1027, with the unambiguous obverse legend of 'VVALTERIVS C.'  This last seems to set Poey d'Avant's chronological agenda for all subsequent listings.  They are variously attributed to later bishops and counts of Amiens.  (Pp. 318-21, nos. 6389-99.  Available on Google Books:
https://books.google.com/books?id=bEovAAAAMAAJ&printsec=frontcover&source=gbs_ge_summary_r&cad=0#v=onepage&q=amiens&f=false.)
    Among them is no. 6388.  This is the issue, appearing in Dumas, Pl. VIII (following no. 6580) and cited by its corresponding plate in Poey d'Avant (CXLIX, no. 4), which includes the unambiguous 'HITS' monogram of the Palais issues.  However, Poey d’Avant attributes this to Foulques II, Bishop of Amiens 1031-1058.  Similar examples follow, with the same monogram (the last with one slight variant), and variously blundered legends, all attributed to the 11th century.  (Loc. Cit.)
    It is possible to argue that Poey d’Avant’s predominantly 11th-century chronology for the earlier coinages of Amiens (based, by his own admission, on limited secondary historical sources) may have been a key factor in Dumas-Dubourg’s own reticence regarding a more complete attribution of the Palais issue.  Here, Fillon’s characterization of his sole example as being of the latter as later 10th century, as well as of the same, Picard region (albeit likelier Vermandois or Artois), seems especially resonant.  In this instance, and in apparent contrast to Poey d’Avant, Fillon’s reliance on empirical (i. e., stylistic) evidence provides an eloquent endorsement of both authors’ mid-19th-century methodological and scholarly milieu.  ...Granted, Bompaire, writing as recently as 2012, echoes Dumas’ hesitance to venture anything more precise (27-8, 30).

    II.  Interpretive remarks.
    In the preceding matter, Dumas-Dubourg, notably in reference to Fillon, makes several observations on the Palais issue which are no less incisive and cogent than they are, by her own acknowledgment, inconclusive.  To summarize, these include the following.
    While in a generally high state of preservation as of the Fécamp Hoard's deposit (c. 980-985), suggesting a correspondingly late interval in the 10th century, some of the coins are struck from evidently worn dies.  (Ibid., pp. 15, 133; cf. Fillon concerning his sole example, as above.)  Nonetheless, they already symptomize considerable degeneration of the legends.  In triangulation, these attributes  suggest a sustained period of immobilization, especially relative to any hypothetical, heretofore undiscovered, and correspondingly shadowy prototype, perhaps going back the earlier part of the 10th century.  Dumas proceeds to note that the distinctive 'HITS' monogram persists, unambiguously, through all the other vagaries of the issue's apparent immobilization and degeneration.  On this basis, she rules out the possibility that it is reducible to a particularly idiosyncratic degeneration of the 'KAROLVS' monogram of Charles II's 'GDR' coinage, such as is widely evident in other early, anonymous feudal immobilizations of the period.
           Meanwhile, in Dumas’ Plate VIII, the engraving of the example of Amiens from Poey d'Avant (his Pl. CXLIX, no. 4), immediately following the issues of Amiens from the Fécamp Hoard, has a rendering of the mint name (originally 'AMBIANVS') which, while very evidently blundered, is arguably somewhat less degenerate than any of the examples of le Palais which immediately follow on the same plate, or that reproduced in Fillon.                                                                                                                                   
    This invites comparison to Dumas' observation that, while the "HITS" monogram may refer to Herbert II, Count of Vermandois c. 900/7-943, his political sway over Amiens apparently ended in 926 (p. 134).5  In this context, Dumas’ note 1 cites her own entry for the two examples of Amiens in the Fécamp Hoard (both of which are anonymous immobilizations of the ‘GDR’ coinages of Charles ‘le Chauve’ and his immediate successors, typical of feudal issues dating to the later 10th century).  Here, to resort to another, typically improvisatory translation, she notes that
        In 926, at the death of Count Raoul, who left a minor son, Herbert de Vermandois seized Amiens, but his son Eudes [was forcibly     deprived of it, first] by the count of Ponthieu, then by the Count of Flanders.  [Here Dumas cites two secondary historical sources, equally     mysterious to the present writer: Feuchere and Grierson.]  King Lothaire returned the county to Raoul's descendant, Gautier, after the death of     Arnulf of Flanders († 964); in 965 (after Feuchere, op. cit., p. 9), or, after Grierson, in 968 (op. cit., p. 107), [or] in 975 or later.
    (P. [129-]130, n. 4 [and Plate 6579-80].)                                                                                                               
 Meanwhile, Dunbabin and the chronicler Flodoard of Reims both imply that Herbert retained feudal sway over Amiens up to his death in 943.  Flodoard notes that it was held by Herbert’s “fideles” in 932, and by his son Eudes in 944, at which point it was taken by “[m]embers of [Lothaire’s] household.”6  
    Shifting back to the Palais coinage, and the chronology and attribution of both, Dumas’ emphasis on subsequent actors in the region is a methodologically incontestible reference to the historical setting of the Fécamp Hoard itself.  However, especially concerning the Palais issue, it is possible to see her interpretative hesitance in terms of a disinclination to appropriate the admittedly connotive, but otherwise compelling chronological implications of what is, to all appearances, a coinage which, as of the later 10th century, was already in an advanced stage of immobilization.  Granted, Dumas’ point regarding the complete absence of extant prototypes is well taken (p. 133, cited above).  As this was a key factor inhibiting her more complete attribution, it summarily  any further efforts along these lines from her methological sphere into that of speculation.
         Given which, primarily on the basis of Herbert II's rule in Amiens at least as late as 932, whether directly or by suzerainty, and Poey d’Avant’s example of that mint, the present writer would like to propose that the “HITS” monogram, perhaps beginning with the coinage of Amiens, does denote 'HERIBERTVS,' and that this issue, along with that of le Palais (including subsequent immobilization in the latter instance, if not both), most likely originated during his reign.  On the basis of (by free acknowledgment, very) slightly less blundered legends, the example of Amiens from Poey d’Avant may be contemporaneous to Herbert’s comital reign, or, perhaps more likely, a no less relatively early immobilization.  
    In light of the irreducibly speculative nature of this thesis, we may resort to a process of elimination, regarding 'the usual suspects' among alternate issuing authorities of both coinages.  The centrality of immobilization to the entire argument will mean that this will apply equally to the alleged, earlier 10th-century prototypes, and to the extant examples of the later 10th century.  
    Concerning the former, Dumas cogently rules out the likelihood that the monogram refers to Lothaire, King of West Francia 954-986 (see above).7  Here, especially, Dumas' emphasis on the distinctness, and commensurate distinctiveness, of the ‘HITS’ monogram warrants reiteration.  This occurs in contrast both to the Palais issue’s badly blundered legends, and to the degeneration of the 'KAROLVS' monogram along more predictable lines, endemic to anonymous, less ambiguously feudal ones of the same period.  Meanwhile, Lothaire's father, Louis IV (king of Francia 936-954; a late contemporary of Herbert II), issued no coins with a remotely similar monogram --or even with immobilized renditions of the 'KAROLVS' one (cf. esp. Nouchy, 286-97).  In triangulation with the regional and historical detail variously provided and evoked by the issue of Amiens, the 'HITS' monogram thus emerges as most probably denoting of one of the Herberts of the Carolingian dynasty of Vermandois, with Count Herbert II as the best hypothesis for its origin.
    Proceeeding from this assumption, we are still left with the question of who may have issued the ostensibly subsequent immobilizations, up to the first half of the 980s, as published by Fillon and found in the Fécamp Hoard.  For this, the likeliest candidates –surviving sons and heirs of Herbert II, in various secular and correspondingly territorial capacities-- seem to be as follows.  Herbert 'le Vieux' /'the Old' (d. c. 985) inherited the relatively minor county of Omois (later Château-Thierry) and, eventually, those of Meaux and Troyes.  Each of these were located in the future county of Champagne, variously to the south and southeast of Picardy.  As such, they would seem to be at a safe distance from the immediate numismatic purview of Amiens, and the regional similarities previously observed between its issues and those of Arras and le Palais.8  
    Herbert’s brother Adalbert /Albert 'le Pieux' inherited the county of Vermandois, dying in 987.  (Cf. note 5, below.)
          Adalbert's son and heir, Herbert III of Vermandois (d. c. 993 /1002; ibid.), may be ruled out on purely chronological grounds.  Despite Dumas’ well-founded reservations (as above), Adalbert's brother, Herbert 'le Vieux' is a more intriguing prospect.  Along with his counties in Champagne --and after sustained wrangling with the Carolingian kings of Francia, dating to the reigns of both of their fathers-- Lothaire awarded him the title of 'count of the Franks,' or 'comte du palais (comte palatin).  (Cawley, as cited in note 5, below; Dunbabin 103, Koziol 149, McKitterick 321.)
            In light of his royally-conferred office, this Herbert would seem to be a good candidate for having issued a coinage of an otherwise nebulous Palais mint.  However, relative to the Fécamp Hoard, especially in convergence with the worn dies, degenerate legends, and high conservation of the Palais coins (all, once again, connoting immobilization in the strongest terms), we can effectively rule out the relevance of the mint name, and, in effect, his candidacy, again on chronological grounds.
           On the basis of such cumulative, but irreducibly circumstantial evidence, the present writer would like to offer the further hypothesis that, as immobilizations from the earlier 10th century, the Palais examples in the the Fécamp Hoard may be tentatively assigned, not to any of Herbert II's namesakes, but rather to his son Adalbert /Albert ‘le Pieux’ (d. 987), who held the county of Vermandois from his father’s death in 943, and who named his own successor Herbert. (See esp. Cawley, as cited in note 5.)  According to this premise, Adalbert was effectively immobilizing his own father's monogram, following the precedent not only of other contemporaneous, early feudal issues which immobilized the 'KAROLVS' monogram of Charlemagne, but also that of the royal ‘GDR’ coinage itself, which, within the Carolingian dynasty, perpetuated the same monogram into the early 10th century, over several reigns and generations (cf. note 1 below).   

           If we accept this premise, on an appropriately provisional level (and if Poey d'Avant's chronology for early issues of Amiens is correspondingly, hypothetically seen to be inaccurate), we are allowed further latitude to pursue its implications down an attendant, speculative ‘rabbit hole.’  Perhaps the two ‘GDR’ immobilizations of Amiens in Dumas are actually later, rather than earlier, than the problemmatic issue with the 'HITS' monogram from Poey d’Avant, posited by the present writer as having originated during Herbert II's rule over the city.  One plausible scenario is that, over the course of the later 10th century, after Amiens had been loosened from the sphere of Vermandois, especially by forces under Lothaire in 944 (see esp. note 5 below), its coinage reverted to to the ‘GDR’ type, as an immobilization, with (by the later 10th century) correspondingly, but conventionally degenerate, but still distinct ‘KAROLVS’ monograms and formulaic ‘GDR’ legends.  This could be seen broadly in terms of a local reassertion of Carolingian royal authority.
               Finally, to echo Dumas-Dubourg, what are we to make of the persistently cryptic location of the 'Palais' mint itself?  Specifically in reference to the hypothesized origin of the coinage, this might have reference to Herbert II's capture and imprisonment of the Carolingian king Charles II 'le Simple' in 923.  (In reference to the related issue of Amiens, Dunbabin (95) notes that this was swiftly –if, perhaps, fleetingly-- followed by Herbert’s “annexation of Amiens.”).  According to Flodoard, Charles would seem to have spent the better part of his incarceration, ending in his death in 929, variously in the Herbertine centers of Péronne and St-Quentin.9  In this context, numerous reliable secondary sources emphasize the synergetic dynamic between Herbert's own Carolingian descent, and his correspondingly pronounced territorial and dynastic ambitions.10
             If we triangulate Herbert II's own political aspirations with the imprisonment of his cousin, Charles III /'le Simple' in Péronne and St-Quentin, we might interpret the ‘Palais’ mint signature as corresponding to one of the two locations.  Here, in a capacity which is no less evocative than it is (appropriately) speculative, Bompaire is of particular relevance.  (Again resorting to pointedly improvisational translation:)
        It is possible that [from the reign of Charles II, ‘le Chauve,’ mints were] established in [whichever] palace the king was in residence, as     anticipated in the Edict of Pîtres [864, with its renewed emphasis on royal control of the coinage]; their emissions carry the [mint signature]     of ‘palatina moneta;’ the issues with mint names [combining the term ‘palatina’ with a specific location], on the other hand, [denote] the     various     palaces [issuing coins in] the king’s absence from these places.  Several other palaces of the Oise valley are well attested in the ninth     century     (Quierzy, Verberie, Compiègne, Senlis, Saint-Denis near Attigny, Ponthion, Soissons...) but Annie Renoux observes their decline in the     tenth century (Ver, Servais, Samoussy, [after which] they disappear), [during which interval] the royal residences are rather located around     Laon.  [….] Continuity between the issues of the 9th century with the ‘palatina moneta’ [mint signature] and the the Carolingian [‘KAROLVS’]     monogram, and those from the end of the Xth century with the monogram, HITS can be neither established nor denied.  (P. 30.) 
Meanwhile, to place Péronne and St-Quentin in this context, Depeyrot lists Carolingian and Robertian issues of both mints, with more conventional mint signatures (minus any reference to a ‘palatina’) only from the ‘GDR’ type, following the Edict of Pîtres, through the reign of Eudes (887-898).  (Pp. 346-7: nos. 781-4; 387-8: nos. 906-8.)  The absence of active minting over the ensuing interval only encourages speculation that, from either locale, Herbert II might have resorted to later 9th-century precedent, in (perhaps somewhat ironic) reference to Charles III’s ‘residence’ there.   
    Returning from the hypothesized ‘Palais’ prototype of Herbert II to the evidently later, immobilized examples of the Fécamp Hoard, the writer is encouraged to speculate that these date to the comital rule of his son Adalbert /Albert ‘le Pieux’ (d. 987), who inherited what remained of Vermandois proper following his father’s death in 943 (cf. above and note 5).  Here, while Lisson contests the ‘traditional’ view that Adalbert retained the comital title, or even held “specific strongholds such as Péronne or St-Quentin,” he cites only the negative evidence that Flodoard and other primary sources fail to provide explicit evidence to that effect (9-10 and notes).  In the case of Flodoard, this may be reducible to the kind of subjective shift in emphasis endemic to medieval chroniclers.  Adalbert was clearly not the immediate threat to Flodoard’s own interests that Herbert II had been (cf. Fanning viii-ix, xvii).  In contrast to his father’s “capacity for playing off the Robertians agains the Carolingians, to his infinite opportunism,” Adalbert, with his brothers in secular offices, was relatively consistent in his adherence to the Carolingian Lothaire (Dunbabin 96-7).  Citing Flodoard, Lisson notes that Adalbert “reconciled with Louis IV in 949, shortly after the deposition of his brother [Hugh] as archishop of Reims” (9-10; cf. Flodoard p. 53: 31D).  In 957, three years after the coronation of Louis’ heir, Lothaire, Adalbert joined his brother Robert, who held the Champenois counties of Troyes, Meaux and Châlons, in “commending [himself] to the king” in 957 (McKitterick 321).  It was during this interval that Lothaire awarded Adalbert’s brother Herbert ‘le Vieux’ the office of count of the palace, as noted above (and loc. cit.).  
    Regarding the events of 949, Lisson emphasizes the ‘pragmatism’ of Adalbert (and, later, his siblings), “allying with Louis IV [and, eventually, Lothaire] despite [their] father’s troubled relationship with the West Frankian monarchs [including both Carolingians and Robertians].”  (10 and loc. cit., further down the page.)  However, apart from mere pragmatism (though perhaps in response to their waning territorial fortunes), one may see this in terms of a communal departure from their father’s legacy of political opportunism, to a policy of solidarity with their reigning Carolingian cousins.  
    Given the complexity of the time, this could not occur in the absence of further political tensions.  In reference to the career of Herbert ‘le Vieux,’ Dubabin trenchantly observes that “in the even longer term, after the [Robertian; from this point, dynastically] Capetian dynasty had established itself, it became clear that Herbert had thrown in his lot with the losing side in Neustrian politics” (103).  As Koziol notes, when Adalbert “at first refused to acknowlege” the coronation of Hugh Capet in 987, “Hugh immediately prepared to attack Albert’s lands.”  It was only by appeal to the diplomatic offices of Count Richard I of Rouen /Normandy that Adalbert’s extant holdings in Vermandois were spared the ensuing threat.  As Koziol continues,        
    The [Norman] legation evidently succeeded, for we hear no more about a revolt of the Vermandois, neither under Albert, who soon died, nor     under his son and successor, Herbert.  Yet that does not mean that the counts had come around to supporting the new kings; far from it.  After     Charles of Lorraine [a younger brother of Lothaire], asserting his right to the throne, had taken Laon from Hugh, he received food from the     Vermandois.  The Vermandois was therefore one of the principal regions that Hugh ravaged in an attempt to weaken Charles’s resistance.      Furthermore, Albert of Vermandois’s nephews, Herbert of Troyes [d. c. 995/6] amd Odo [/Eudes] of Blois, […] just as consistently supported     Charles’s claims to the succession and aided Charles in his family’s plots against the kings.  Even after Charles had been captured and     imprisoned, the pair continued to make trouble for the new dynasty.
        (P. 149; cf. McKitterick tables, pp. 364-5 for Charles of Lorraine; 360-1 for Adalbert’s nephews.)
            Returning from this aggregate historical context to the Palais issues of the late 10th century (and at considerable risk of redundancy), it is possible to see a hypothetical continuation by Adalbert ‘le Pieux’ of an only more emphatically speculative prototype of his father, Herbert II of Vermandois.  To echo Fillon (155, as cited above), perhaps “this is one of those enigmas that other discoveries will decipher one day.”  Along these lines, the discovery of further examples at the excavation of Boves (Bompaire, as cited above) encourages optimism.  


        Notes. 

1.  Cf. Depeyrot pp. 47 ff.; Roberts pp. 76-85 (all GDR issues of Charles le Chauve); 86-7, 90-1(GDR issues of various successors up to Charles le Simple, r. 893-923); 242-3 (for feudal immobilizations, principally of the 10th and11th centuries); and, not least, Dumas’ own observations which follow in the main text (above).  For the prototypes of Charlemagne, see also Depeyrot 36 ff., Roberts 60 ff.
2.  Dumas, entry, "Le palais."  Pp. 131-4, with listings of nos. 6581 -6594, including comprehensive textual renderings of variant legends.  Augmented in Plate VIII by photographs of nos. 6581, 6586-7, 6589, 6591, and 6593.
3.  These, and other of Dumas’ observations about the related issues of le Palais and Amiens, are resonantly echoed, and expanded from                                                                                                           subsequent archaeology, in Bompaire, who also notes affinities with nearby issues of Arras (see esp. pp. 24, 27).  
4.  Loc. cit., between no. 6580, the second of two immobilized Edict of Pîtres /‘GDR’ examples of Amiens, and the ensuing ones of le Palais, from 6581; citing Poey d’Avant, Pl. CXLIX, no. 4.
5. For the descent of the Carolingian, ‘Herbertine’ comital house of Vermandois, see Cawley, Medieval Lands (on the website of the Foundation for Medieval Genealogy), entry, COMTES de VERMANDOIS 896-1080 (CAROLINGIAN):
http://fmg.ac/Projects/MedLands/nfravalver.htm#HeribertIdied900907.  See also Flodoard, p. 93 ([table] 4, The House of Vermandois); McKitterick, pp. 360-1, Table 7; Riche, Table 8.  While asserting that, even into the 11th century, Vermandois “kept its frontiers, which were roughly Carolingian, and its counts retained many ancient rights,” Dunbabin emphasizes that, during the same interval, they also kept “their memory of Carolingian descent” (217-8).
    For the county’s dynastic fragmentation over the 10th century, especially on Herbert II’s death (943) with five sons, see esp. Dunbabin, 96-7.  Dunbabin ascribes this to the family’s lingering resistance to the emerging regional practice of primogeniture, “perhaps out of deference to its Carolingian ancestry” (106).  Dunbabin emphasizes the contrast between the the county of Flanders, whose adoption of primogeniture allowed it to weather two minorities (965 and 988), with the collapse of Vermandois on “Herbert II’s death” in 943 (96).  Reaching back further in the century, Le Jan offers a more nuanced picture of the attendant transition:
        [Even] the ruling class’s biological continuity with the Carolingian past should not disguise a transformation in the ways             in which power was transmitted, and the effects of that transformation on the organization of aristocratic groups.              Princely families beame increasingly organized in lineages around an honor that was now a patrimony, handed on to the             next in line.  Some families began by continuing to partition their lands between heirs, as the comital family of Flanders             did on the death of Count Baldwin II in 918; the heart of the principality went to the eldest son, Arnulf, while the more             recently acquired southern part went to the younger son, Adalulf.  The Vermandois family did something similar in 945.
            (58-9.  But see Cawley, entry for Adalbert II: http://fmg.ac/Projects/MedLands/nfravalver.htm#AlbertIdied987B
            for the birth order of Adalbert I, who inherited the title of Count of Vermandois.) 
6.  Cf. Dunbabin, 95 for Herbert’s “annexation of Amiens” in 929, citing the 11th-century Historia Regum Francorum (her note 81).  Dunbabin proceeds to imply that Herbert's annexation of Amiens persisted until his death in 943 (98).
    Meanwhile, Flodoard reports a siege of the civitas by the Robertian Hugh Magnus in 932, while it was “held by Heribert’s fideles.”  Hugh “finally withdrew when many hostages had been offered to him.”  (P. 22: [14A and] 14C.)  He goes on to note that in 944, the year after Herbert’s death, “[m]embers of [Louis IV]’s household […] took the urbs of Amiens, which Heribert’s son Odo [/Eudes] had been holding.”  (P. 39: 26A; see also Lisson p. 10, citing a different, impressively Latin edition of Flodoard).  While persuasively countering the common wisdom of undisputed Herbertine hegemony in the region, especially during Herbert II’s lifetime, Lisson confirms that Odo held Amiens at least for the interval of 932-944 (p. 8, again citing his edition of Flodoard).  
7.  Cf. the denier and obole of Lothaire, attributed by Depeyrot to the abbatial mint of St. Philibert in Tournus.  (P. 418; nos. 1029, 1030; cf. Roberts pp. 94-5, no. 1836.)  Especially as cited, and reattributed to the Norman abbey of St. Philibert in Jumieges, by Alan DeShazo in his article, "Deniers of Rouen."  The monogram on this issue is explicitly identified in the reverse legends as Lothaire's insignia.  While including the letters "H," "I," "T" and "S," it may also be read as including the letter "L," as in, "HLOTARIVS."  In any event, it is highly distinct from the "HITS" monogram on the issues of le Palais and Amiens.  
    See also the three monograms of Lothaire from ms. documents, reproduced in the Fanning/Bachrach translation of Flodoard (p. 59, Fig. 5).  Each of these provide further, resonant confirmation of Dumas’ dismissal of the possibility that the “HITS” monogram refers to Lothaire.  The lower two begin, from the left, with a large capital “L” (the second conjoined with a “T”), rather than an “H.”  While both include the letter “H” (denoting, as noted in the caption, the relatively Germanic “HLOTARIVS,” versus the more consistently Latinate “LOTARIVS”), they also provide definitive contrast to anything interpretable as “HERIBERTVS.”  More initially problemmatic is the topmost example, beginning (to the right) with a capital “H,” as in the ‘HITS’ monogram.  However, in this instance, the bottom letter 
is a capital “L.”  While summarily ruling out confusion with any monogram of Herbert, this provides no less pronounced contrast to the ‘HITS’ monogram. 
    This invites discussion of a similar phenomenon, in a closely related numismatic milieu.  In his initial article on the subject, and the following one in the Celator, DeShazo points out the evident fact that Lothaire's insignia on the issue of St. Philibert is identical to that on issues of Rouen in the name of Richard I of Normandy.  The latter has ubiquitously been identified as that of Hugues, a contemporaneous archbishop of Rouen (cf. Dumas, p. 91 ff.; Depeyrot, p. 388, no. 883), although Duplessy remarks that "[l]'attribution a Hughes archeveque de Rouen est tres contestable" (p. 14, no. 18).  However, on the basis of the monogram's coidentity with that on the coins of St. Philibert, DeShazo cogently argues that this Rouen coinage represents a co-issue between Richard and Lothaire.  A similar coissue, with another feudal prince, may be seen in that of Troyes, in the names of Lothaire and Herbert 'le Vieux,' count Omois and brother of Adalbert of Vermandois (Depeyrot p. 435, nos. 1093-5; Dumas p. 167).
8.  For the operant genealogy, see note 5 above, esp. Cawley and Flodoard (loc. cit.).  For the location of the Carolingian county of Omois, later and better known as Château-Thierry, and its descent to Herbert III ‘le Vieux,’ see esp. Longnon p. 105.  (Available  in full view on Google Books:
https://books.google.com/books?id=enkKAQAAIAAJ&pg=PA105&dq=omois+champagne&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwi19Nve3dfcAhUSIDQIHfrnCK0Q6AEIMzAB#v=onepage&q=omois&f=false .)
The present writer, challenged as he is regarding the French language, must conclude that the distinction between the two names is likely reducible to that between the Carolingian county, and its principal château-fort, which, as Longnon observes, persisted well beyond Omois’ absorption into the Champenois county of Brie.  Cf. Duckett, p. 46 for a reference to Omois as Château-Thierry, under the direct rule of Herbert II as of 923; McKitterick p. 310 for use of the medieval Latin “Castellum Theuderici” in the same context.  See also Shepherd, p. 69 and inset, for Château-Thierry in its later 12th-century political and geographical context (esp. as per Longnon), demonstrating significant continuity with the 10th-century milieu, especially to the north.
9.  Concerning the imprisonment of Charles ‘le Simple,’ cf. Dunbabin 95 (citing the 11th c. chronicle, Historia Regum Francorum, perhaps also given reference by Riché, below).  McKitterick asserts that Herbert captured Charles in Château-Thierry (/Omois), in Champagne (310; cf. n. 8 above).  Riché (from the English translation, lamentably innocent of citations or a complete bibliography) notes that Herbert II held Charles, who died in captivity in 929, “in the citadel of St. Quentin” (p. 250; cf. “Translator’s Note,” xv).  Duckett (46; cf. 58, 68) and Lisson (7-8 and notes) state that Charles was apprehended in St.-Quentin and died in Péronne, after initial confinement in Château-Thierry.  Of these, Lisson consistently cites Flodoard (cf. p. 8: 5G; (18: 10D;) 19: 11D).
    On the word of Flodoard, we may tentatively conclude that, from 923 to his death in 929, Charles was confined primarily in Péronne and St.-Quentin.  In this context, while providing several instances illustrating that, “even in the supposed heartlands of the Vermandois house, it turns out that Heribert II’s authority was not uncontested,” Lisson acknowledges that “several records confirm Count  Heribert’s control over the fortifications of Péronne and St-Quentin” over most of the latter part of his comital reign (7 and notes).
10.  Regarding the effect of Herbert II’s Carolingian descent on his territorial aspirations, see esp. Dunbabin 95, McKitterick 310-1.  For his ensuing political machinations, involving serial alliances both with late Carolingians and their Robertian rivals, see esp. Dunbabin 95-7, Fanning xvi- xvii, Koziol 112, Riché 250-1.
            
            The author would like to convey cordial thanks to the French numismatic firm, iNumis, and particularly to their agent for all things international, Monica Mele, for their kind permission to reproduce the link to their webpage appearing on p. 1 above.  Also to Charles Cawley, for his always magnanimous policy regarding the citation of his Medieval Lands website.

        References, historical and numismatic.
    (The reader is given cordial warning that here, as elsewhere, the writer resorts to distant, correspondingly fragmentary, and  occasionally selective memory of MLA format.  Some of us are that badly out of practice with this sort of thing.  ...Good luck.)

Bompaire, Marc. “Les monnaies.” Revue archéologique de Picardie. N°1-2, 2012. (Issue title: Boves (Somme): complex castrale et     priorale.  Etude de mobilier.)  Pp. 11-40.  
Cawley, Charles.  Medieval Lands.  On the website of the Foundation for Medieval Genealogy.  Entry, COMTES de VERMANDOIS     896-1080 (CAROLINGIAN):
      http://fmg.ac/Projects/MedLands/nfravalver.htm#HeribertIdied900907.  (Accessed 30 July 2018.)
Depeyrot, Georges.  Le numeraire carolingien, corpus des monnaies.  Troisieme edition, augmentee.  Wetteren, Belgium: Moneta, 2008.
DeShazo, Alan.  "Deniers of Rouen of Duke Richard I and King Lothaire."  The Celator. Vol. 23, No. 11: November 2009.  P. 32.
DeShazo, Alan.  "The 'Alliance' Deniers of Duke Richard I of Normandy."  The Celator.  Vol. 24, No. 2: February 2010.  P. 41.
Ducket, Eleanor.  Death and Life in the Tenth Century.  1967.  Ann Arbor: U of Michigan P, 1988.
Dumas-Dubourg, Francoise.  Le tresor de Fécamp et le monnoyage en Francie occidentale pendant la     seconde moitie du Xe. Siecle.      Paris: Biblioteque Nationale, 1971.
Dunbabin, Jean.  France in the Making: 843-1180.  First ed.  New York: Oxford UP, 1985.
Duplessy, Jean.  Les monnaies Francaises feodales.  Tome I.  Paris: Maison Platt, 2004.
Fanning, Steven and Bachrach, Bernard S.  Introduction.  The Annals of Flodoard of Reims, 919-966.  Ed. /trans. Stephen Fanning and     Bernard S. Bachrach.  Readings in medieval civilizations and cultures: 9.  2004.  Toronto: U of Toronto P, 2011.  Vii-xxxv.      (Related ancillary material is cited under Flodoard, below.) 
Fillon, Benjamin.  Etudes numismatiques.  Paris: Jules Charvet, numismatiste, 1856.  (Available in full view on Google Books.)
Flodoard of Reims (894-966).  The Annals of Flodoard of Reims, 919-966.  Ed. /trans. Stephen Fanning and Bernard S. Bachrach.      Readings in medieval civilizations and cultures: 9.  2004.  Toronto: U of Toronto P, 2011.  
iNumis (numismatic firm, based in Paris).  Online auction archives.  Catalogue 18 -VSO (20 /10 /2012), Lot 406:    http://www.inumis.com/vso/V00018/charles-le-chauve-denier-immobilise-sd-xe-s-le-palais-compiegne—a26837.html.  (Accessed     9 August 2018.) 
Koziol, Geoffrey.  Begging Pardon and Favor: Ritual and Political Order in Early Medieval France.  Ithaca and London: Cornell U P, 1992.
 Le Jan, Régine.  “Continuity and Change in the Tenth-Century Nobility.”  Nobles and Nobility.  Ed. Anne J. Duggan.  2000.  Woodbridge,     Suffolk: Boydell, 2007.  53-68.
Lisson, Jelle.  “Family Continuity and Territorial Power in Early Medieval West Francia. A Reconsideration of the 'House' of Vermandois     (9th-10th Centuries).”  Journal of Family History XX (X) (2017), pages 1-20.  (Uploaded  to our very own website,     academia.edu: https://www.academia.edu/35770128/Family_Continuity_and_Territorial_Power_in_Early_Medieval_West_Francia._A_Reconsideration_of_the_House_of_Vermandois_9th-10th_Centuries.  Accessed 1 Aug.  2018.)
Longnon, Auguste, ed.  Documents relatifs au Comté du Champagne et de Brie 1172-1361.  Tome II: Le domaine comtal.  Paris:     Imprimerie nationale, 1904.  Available in full view on Google Books.  
McKitterick, Rosamond.  The Frankish Kingdoms under the Carolingians: 751-987.  London: Longman, 1983.
Nouchy, Patrick.  Les rois carolingiens de Francie occidentale: de Pepin le Bref a Louis V.  Dreux: Editions du Grenier Durocasse, 1994.
Poey d'Avant, Faustin.  Monnaies feodales de France.  Troisieme volume.  Paris: Bureau de la Revue
    Numismatique Francaise.  1862.  (Available in full view on Google Books.)
Riche, Pierre.  The Carolingians: A Family who Forged Europe.  Trans. Michael Idomir Allen.  Philadelphia: U of Pennsylvania P, 1993.
Roberts, James N.  The Silver Coins of Medieval France (476-1610 AD).  South Salem, New York: Attic Books Ltd., 1996.
Shepherd, William R.  Historical Atlas.  8th ed.  Pikesville, Maryland: Colonial Offset Co., 1956.


 

Edited by JeandAcre
The inexorable typo in the introduction. (Regarding the formatting of the article, I just Get to be Done.)
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Hearty welcome!  This one is from elsewhere; it hadn't occurred to me to repost any of my stuff from CT.  But in your case, that would have to be an emphatic, unblinking Yes.

...My only trouble is that, by the time I got to CT, you'd already done posts about half the things I wanted to!!! :<}  ...Heck what's a little friendly competition?

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..i could tell by the 1st 3 sentences that this had to be Vgo Dvcks...:D..and heck yeah, 10th century was kickin' bro!..i'm still lQQkin' 4 Louies in that time frame   🙂

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1 hour ago, seth77 said:

Eh, considering that I have 0 replies on my first thread here, I'm actually reconsidering doing any kind of moving at this point.

Oh, nnnnNo!!!  I had no idea you'd already posted.  Gotta find it...

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Awesome series of coins, but can I get the Coles' Notes version of the text, VGO/ @JeandAcre? Especially your main conclusions? 🥺 (Hopefully I'll get around to reading the whole thing, but you might consider doing that as a matter of course... the bullet point summary of the main ideas, followed by the details for those who want to delve further.  I've definitely had a better response when I do that with my longer posts.)

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Posted · Benefactor
5 hours ago, seth77 said:

Eh, considering that I have 0 replies on my first thread here, I'm actually reconsidering doing any kind of moving at this point.

Don't worry too much: remember, this place has really only been around for a few days, and a lot of people are still trying to figure it out. I know that I'm a little confused, and I'm sure others are too! 

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  • Benefactor
Posted · Benefactor
Posted (edited)

Welcome, @JeandAcre! A very clever user name, I must say. I was wondering who you were here, but it took me a while to figure it out. And thanks for the write-up. I've only skimmed it so far, but will read it in more detail later on. 

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1 hour ago, Severus Alexander said:

Awesome series of coins, but can I get the Coles' Notes version of the text, VGO/ @JeandAcre? Especially your main conclusions? 🥺 (Hopefully I'll get around to reading the whole thing, but you might consider doing that as a matter of course... the bullet point summary of the main ideas, followed by the details for those who want to delve further.  I've definitely had a better response when I do that with my longer posts.)

@Severus Alexander, Thank you for your sage advice.  Never would've thought of that on my own watch.

...And your post here elicited the Like, Thanks, and HaHa imogees (how do you spell that?  Remind me) in succession.  Wish I could do all three.

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4 hours ago, ominus1 said:

..i could tell by the 1st 3 sentences that this had to be Vgo Dvcks...:D..and heck yeah, 10th century was kickin' bro!..i'm still lQQkin' 4 Louies in that time frame   🙂

...And Good Luck with finding, for one, Louis IV.  There's an issue from Langres ...but the best you're likely to find is an early immobilization.  The ones that are unambiguously of the reign were stratospheric ...even before everything and is backward cousin became stratospheric.

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Just the font size.
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4 hours ago, ominus1 said:

..i could tell by the 1st 3 sentences that this had to be Vgo Dvcks...:D..and heck yeah, 10th century was kickin' bro!..i'm still lQQkin' 4 Louies in that time frame   🙂

Oh, No, Your post was  what elicited this, in my answer to @Severus Alexander, just now:

"...And your post here elicited the Like, Thanks, and HaHa imogees (how do you spell that?  Remind me) in succession.  Wish I could do all three."

Apologies to both of you.

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47 minutes ago, DonnaML said:

Welcome, @JeandAcre! A very clever user name, I must say. I was wondering who you were here, but it took me a while to figure it out. And thanks for the write-up. I've only skimmed it so far, but will read it in more detail later on. 

Hey @DonnaML,

Huge thanks.  Do you think I should have pasted it in a bigger font?  

...I invested in the biggest screen, for my desktop, that I'd ever seen before.  Except, now, it's propped up on the wall, at at the far end of a real desk (...what's left of it; made by my dad most of a half century ago).  ...Honestly, if it turned out that other people have issues with squinting at screens, in type that God only ever intended for books, it would Not be about schadenfreude, but somehow, I'd still be glad it wasn't just me.

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