Early Medieval - Carolingian Normandy Anonymous (Viking/Rollo-William Longsword), 10th c. (920s) AR Denier, 16mm x 0.57 grams Obv.: Counterclockwise legend +DOVVICVSIMP around small cross Rev.: Clockwise legend XRISTIANA REL around temple Note: Imitation of a Louis the Pious denier The theory, put forth by Jens Christian Moesgaard goes like this: These coins are both below the appropriate weight for a Louis the Pious denier, and contain blundered legends which suggests an imitative issue. They have only been found in three hoards: Coudres (dated 920 or 23), Evreux/Saint-Taurin (dated 943/5), and Haute-Isle (traditionally dated 898 or 923). These regions where the coins have been found are all in the Eastern part of Normandy.  Map from Hagger, Norman Rule in Normandy, Map 1, xix. The red line indicates the extant of lands granted to Rollo by Charles the Simple in 911, and the letters indicate the coin hoards where these imitatives have been found (C=Coudres, E=Evreux/Saint-Taurin, HI=Haute-Isle). Obviously the red marks have been added by me. Mark Hagger suggests that Rollo and his men had control of the region around Rouen before it was granted to him by Charles the Simple in 911, and that the lower Seine may even have been under permanent viking control since the Siege of Paris in 885. . Initially, the Normans were only in control of the Eastern part of what would eventually become Normandy. However, Charles needed the military aid of the Normans in 923, and so agreed to grant them “land beyond the Seine, which they (the Normans) had requested.”  There is admittedly some debate as to what this land was, but this has generally been taken as the grant to extend Normandy out towards Caen. The point here, is that the three hoards containing the imitative coins of Louis the Pious have all been found in or near the region which was first under Norman control. The Annales entry of 874 from Flodoard of Reims. MS. Vaticano [Città del], Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, Reg. lat. 633, fol. 42r. Image from Project d'Edition Critique des Annales de Flodoard. Moesgaard suggests that since these imitatives were not found in the Jubayr-Monday hoard which was buried in 920, that they could be dated to after 920, making them a Norman issue.  Obviously this is an argument from an absence of evidence which is never convincing, but Moesgaard was careful with his language saying that this lack of coins could be ‘an argument’ for their being Norman. But, the hoards which do provide a potential date suggest an early dating of 898/920, with a heavy possibility of being in the early 920s. There are two phases of the coins, one of a higher weight of 1.01-1.41 grams which were found in the Coudres Hoard, and a lighter weight of 0.62-0.72 grams which was found in the Evreux hoard.  Since the Evreaux hoard is from a later date, this may indicate the continued devolving of the issue. My coin is actually a lighter weight that the coins from the Evreaux hoard (but just slightly so it is not unreasonably different), and while the devices on the coin are different (there are no pellets in the quarters of the cross), the blundered legend matches the legend of one of the coins from the Evreaux hoard, and the diameter is a near perfect match. Imitatives from the Evreux hoard provided by Moesgaard, 110. My coin is most like the one on the left excepting mine lacks the pellets in each quadrant of the cross. The greatest mystery is why would the Normans imitate a coin from Louis the Pious, who died in 840, and which type had been demonetized by 864. Roberts attributes these coins to Louis IV who had intervened after the death of William Longsword, except that the legends clearly have the title ‘IMP’ instead of ‘REX’ which would indicate Louis the Pious (since Louis IV never help the imperial title, and was only king of West Francia).  The difference in time from Louis the Pious to the Normans is perhaps the one aspect which causes me concern about it being a Norman issue, if it weren’t for the location and dating of the documented hoards in which these coins were found. Additionally, there is the fact that these temple-type coins of Louis the Pious are the most numerous types of Carolingian coins found in Scandinavia (even though there have not been many), and that when the Normans began issuing their own coins, it wasn’t long before their coins had an image of a temple on them! Granted, it took until the reign of Richard I (William Longsword’s successor), but from that point forward, Norman coins were essentially a devolution of temple-type deniers. Feudal France - Normandy Richard I, r. 943-996; AR Denier, 21.1 mm x 1.3 grams Obv.: +RICARDVS I. Cross pattee with pellets in angles Rev.: ROTOMAGVS. Stylized chapel made from St. Andrew’s cross, with a pellet in the pediment Ref.: Dumas XV-11, Duplessy 16 French Feudal - Normandy Henry I, r. 1106-1135 AR Denier, 19.53 mm x 0.9 grams Obv.: +NOR[M]MANIA. Short Cross with pellets in each quarter Rev.: Short cross with annulets and bars on either side, triangle above and below Ref.: Dumas XX-13, Roberts, 4837 reverse This issue shows how the temple design devolved further. Obviously this proves nothing, but it is fairly standard practice that when a culture begins to develop a sophisticated economy that relies on coinage, they begin with imitative issues which were accepted by the people with whom they traded.  This would be particularly prevalent of the Vikings who primarily used silver (including coins) simply as bullion rather than just coin. To be imitating the local currency not only suggests they were engaged in some peaceful trading with the Franks, but the lower weight of their imitative coins suggests their taking advantage of the people who used coins at face value instead of weight (or they just figured out Renovatio Monetae quickly - which perhaps explains why their currency devolved so quickly after Richard I). 1 - Jens Christian Moesgaard, “A Survey of Coin Production and Currency in Normandy, 864-945,” in Silver Economy in the Viking Age, ed. James Graham-Campbell and Garett Williams (Walnut Creek: Left Coast Press, 2007), 109. 2 - Mark Hagger, Norman Rule in Normandy, 911-1144 (Woodbridge: The Boydell Press, 2017), 45. 3 - Flodoard of Reims, as quoted by Hagger, 53. 4 - Moesgaard, 109. 5 - Moesgaard, 110. 6 - James N. Roberts, The Silver Coins of Medieval France (476-1610), (South Salem, NY: Attic Books, 1996), #1818 ; Moesgaard 110. 7 - Gareth Williams, “Kingship, Christianity and Coinage: Monetary and Political Perspectives on Silver Economy in the Viking Age,” in Silver Economy in the Viking Age, ed. James Graham-Campbell and Garett Williams (Walnut Creek: Left Coast Press, 2007), 184. Williams gives some examples specific to the Vikings, such as the Danes copying Carolingian types, The Danelaw of England copying Anglo-Saxon types, and of course the massive imitation of Æthelred II’s Small Cross, Crux, and Long Cross coinage found in Dublin, Denmark, Norway, and Sweden.