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The Bishopric of Vienne around the year 1000


seth77
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This post is a re-post from CT and also somewhat connected with an earlier post I made here on the pitfalls of Carolingian vs Feudal coinage, see here.

The coinage of Vienne is usually very common. The earlier coinage, the grand deniers are scarcer.

But this grand denier, minted most likely under Thibaut as Sire and Bishop is extremely rare.

Thibaut came from the royal family of Burgundy and ruled Vienne from cca. 957 to his death in 1001. His coinage is usually nominal, but this issue is anonymous. Poey d'Avant considers these coins (#4818 and #4819) later than the ones bearing the bishop's name, on account of their lower weight and "feudal" style, so they likely date to around 1000.

vienne1.jpg.f1a5f8e7b493ddf7d5518661abb60bec.jpg

AR21x19mm 1g silver grand denier, minted at Vienne cca. 1000.
+ VIENNA CV; cross
+ SCI MAVRIC ⠂ ; dot in middle of plain field.
Poey d'Avant #4818 Pl. CVI 7, not in Boudeau.

 

Another example was recorded by M. Morin and Poey d'Avant, described in Poey d'Avant's work (Pl. CVI 7), and was in the collection of the Grenoble Museum, while another was sold privately in France in the summer of 2019.

Possibly, the plain field with the dot in the middle was inspired by the silver Fatimid half dirham of the mid 10th century, something similar to this coin of al-Mu'izz al-Din Allah of the Fatimid dynasty of Egypt.

The plain field with no design is not unique to Vienne at this particularly interesting time in history -- the beginning of the feudal organization in Western Europe -- a similar and also very rare grand denier, also dated to around 1000, was minted by the Bishopric of Langres. This is one of those series that require more specimens and research. Plus, they raise some questions about the use of (or at least familiarity with) Fatimid silver to around Vienne.

 

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Not sure what the dot signifies, but it has been used on other coins of this era. I recently acquired an example with the same reverse motif, minted in Luneberg, Germany by Bernhard I of Saxony from 973 - 1011 AD (some say it may have been Bernhard II - 1011 - 1059 AD). These coins are typically roughly struck, as mine is.

I know that imitations also circulated in Frisia (Dannenberg 1299b) - see the third picture (not my coin).

Could it be that the pellet motif was inspired by your coin or the other way around?

Obv: "+ BERNARDVS" pellet

Rev: "NOMNE DOMO" cross

Dannenberg 589 / 589a

eur50_mine.jpg

eur50_r_mine.jpg

frisia DBG 1299b.jpg

Edited by Romismatist
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8 hours ago, Romismatist said:

Not sure what the dot signifies, but it has been used on other coins of this era. I recently acquired an example with the same reverse motif, minted in Luneberg, Germany by Bernhard I of Saxony from 973 - 1011 AD (some say it may have been Bernhard II - 1011 - 1059 AD). These coins are typically roughly struck, as mine is.

I know that imitations also circulated in Frisia (Dannenberg 1299b) - see the third picture (not my coin).

Could it be that the pellet motif was inspired by your coin or the other way around?

Obv: "+ BERNARDVS" pellet

Rev: "NOMNE DOMO" cross

Dannenberg 589 / 589a

eur50_mine.jpg

eur50_r_mine.jpg

frisia DBG 1299b.jpg

Being unfamiliar with much of German coinage at this point, I did not know about this type, which is certainly very interesting and relevant. The peck marks are indications that it circulated also in the Scandinavian-Baltic realms. This possibility may add a further clue about the Fatimid silver coinage: the people who used these coins and probably the people who minted them were familiar with Fatimid silver (I'll add a reference for this from Spufford when I get to my laptop). But Vienne and Langres were further south and most importantly not really in the way of viking ecroachment. I think in this case the connection might have been to the Mediterranean trade. 

This is a theme certainly worthy of further research.

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