Featured Migration Period Monday - Siliqua Fractionals - Vandals + Gepids - The History - Fall of Rome

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by The Trachy Enjoyer, May 10, 2021.

  1. Theoderic

    Theoderic Active Member

    I've enjoyed this thread greatly; we definitely need more migration era postings here on Cointalk although I still love that older term "Dark Age" which sounds like something Tolkien would have written about.

    Here are my 3 offerings for the Vandals, Gepids, and Ostrogoths respectively.

    Vandal pseudo-imperial nummus.png
    AE Nummus (10 mm, 0.69 grams, 8h), Struck circa A.D. 440-490

    Obverse: […](L retrograde)LVONΛO(S retrograde)Λ[…], pearl-diademed, draped and cuirassed bust right
    Reverse: OII(C retrograde)VVIOIITO, cross; three pellets or III in exergue
    References: cf. BMC Vandals 173-8 and 188-91 for type; MEC 1 --
    Auction: CNG 103 (September 14, 2016), Lot 958
    Provenance: Ex NAC 56 (October 8, 2010), Lot 523; Künker 121 (March 12-13, 2007), Lot 82, G. W. De Wit collection; Schulten (April 19, 1989), Lot 851

    Attached Files:

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  3. Theoderic

    Theoderic Active Member

    Sorry, was still typing my previous message when the ghost in the machine took over and posted it incomplete. Here now are the remaining 2 coins I was trying to include...

    Gepids Theoderic siliqua.png

    AR Quarter Siliqua (15 mm, 0.97 grams, 6h), Struck in the name of Anastasius I, circa A.D. 493-518, Sirmium mint (Sremska Mitrovica, Serbia)

    Obverse: D N ɅNɅSTɅSIVS P ɅV, diademed and draped bust right
    Reverse: Ʌ INVICTɅ + Ʌ RVMɅNI *, monogram of Theoderic
    References: cf. Demo 77; Metlich pg 43, fig 22; MEC 1 –
    Auction: Roma VI (September 29, 2013), Lot 1023

    Ostrogoth Theoderic solidus.png

    OSTROGOTHS (my avatar!)
    AV Solidus (20 mm, 4.48 grams, 6h), Struck in the name of Anastasius I, circa A.D. 491-518, Rome mint

    Obverse: D N ANASTA-SIVS P F AVC, pearl-diademed, helmeted, and cuirassed bust facing slightly right, holding spear over right shoulder, shield on left arm decorated with horseman riding down an enemy soldier
    Reverse: VICTOR-I-A AVCCC Θ, Victory standing left, holding long jeweled cross in right hand; Rome monogram in left field; star in right field; COMOB in exergue
    References: Metlich 6; BMC Vandals 63; cf. MEC 1 112-113
    Auction: Triton X (January 9-10, 2007), Lot 870, Marc Poncin collection
    Provenance: Ex Numismatik Lanz München 123 (May 30, 2005), Lot 1108, Johann Bissinger collection
  4. Tejas

    Tejas Well-Known Member

    Wow, the solidus is fantastic. It belongs to the series that was issued before the treaty between Theoderic and Anastasius in AD 497. The Theta on the reverse probably refers to TH-eoderic.

    Here is one from my collection (sorry for the old picture)

    Screenshot 2021-05-13 at 10.28.13.png

    Theoderic also had solidi made with his full monogram in Latin letters, instead of the Greek Theta. Below is my example (again old picture):

    Screenshot 2021-05-13 at 10.28.48.png
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  5. Tejas

    Tejas Well-Known Member

    By far most of Theoderic's solidi were minted in the name of Anastasius. However, there are also issues in the name of Justin I. The coin below is from Rome and it is of particularly fine style and way better than Solidi of the eastern mints:
    Screenshot 2021-05-13 at 10.37.06.png
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  6. Tejas

    Tejas Well-Known Member

    This solidus was minted in the name of Justinian and may fall into the reign of Athalaric/Amalasuntha, Theodahad or Vitiges. It shows the rapid decline in style during the great Gothic War.
    The Gothic and Vandalic kings had proven to be better rulers than many of the Roman Emperors ever were, by bringing stability and prosperity to their realms.
    It was a great shame that Justinian's obsession with reconquering the western parts of the Empire, at the end brought complete destruction and the onset of the Dark Ages.

    Screenshot 2021-05-13 at 10.39.43.png
    Last edited: May 13, 2021
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  7. seth77

    seth77 Well-Known Member

    With so much new knowledge of migration period I wonder if anyone has seen anything like this:


    Is it a "barbarous radiate" from the late 3rd century in Gaul or Britain tooled to show a pelleted cross on the reverse? Is it something else, perhaps similar to this:


    Its reverse has what looks like an early version of a cross pomettee.
    It's also, at cca. 2.2g and 15mm, heavier than the regular "barbarous radiates."
    The reverse looks smooth after cleaning and some signs of tooling are also present.
    But was it tooled to form the cross or the tooling was just used to "improve" what was already there? The overall aspect also looks like it could just as likely be a Merovingian workmanship.
    The annulets also look like they might have been the result of impression rather than carving, so the tooling, if indeed happened, might at most be superficial.

    Curious if anyone recognizes these.
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  8. The Trachy Enjoyer

    The Trachy Enjoyer Well-Known Member

    Agreed. Justinian did more damage to both East and Western Rome than any barbarian king could even dream of (and of course the Ostrogoths did the opposite, perpetuated a more accurate Roman tradition of unity with the Senate and People of the Eternal City not seen in the West since the days before Septimius Severus)
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  9. Tejas

    Tejas Well-Known Member

    Very interesting coins, but I have to pass. The first one is of course based on a barbarous radiate, the second one looks Merovingian. I know contemporary forgeries of both Merovingian deniers and Anglo-Saxon-Frisian sceattas exist. I would broadly say that these two coins belong to that field, but this is just a guess.
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  10. +VGO.DVCKS

    +VGO.DVCKS Well-Known Member

    A resonant point, @The Trachy Enjoyer, and from here, no less enlightening. I'd long had the impression that the barbarians were falling all over themselves to assimilate culturally; never knew that they did the same thing on an administrative level.
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  11. seth77

    seth77 Well-Known Member

    Merovingian (and also Visigothic) AE is so understudied.
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  12. dltsrq

    dltsrq Grumpy Old Man

    One of the most common prototypes among the barbarous radiates is the Divus Claudius altar issue. One of the primary variants shows a quadrapartite altar with a pellet each angle (image courtesy CNG).


    C.H.V. Sutherland (Coinage and Currency in Roman Britain, p. 151) explains how with the imitations, the square outline of the altar first becomes a circle and then a border of dots. Finally, the central cross separates from the circle with decoration at the end of the arms. His plate XI, 21 is an example from the Richborough hoard, similar to yours but with a single pellet rather than a triplet at the end of each arm.

    Size-wise, the module of the barbarous radiates ranges from that of the prototypes down to tiny minimi.

    Sutherland is very useful for working out prototypes for the barbarous radiates. One caveat, however. It was published in 1937 when most still believed the barbarous radiates to be a 'dark ages' coinage. That notion was abandoned, of course, in the 1960s.

    [edit] Interestingly, your coin apparently preserves the "O" of DIVO near the back of the radiate crown.
    Last edited: May 18, 2021
  13. seth77

    seth77 Well-Known Member

    Interesting, thank you for your input!
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  14. Roerbakmix

    Roerbakmix Well-Known Member

    I know little to nothing about the Vandals, but I do know a thing or two about sceatta's, especially Frisian. Forgeries are scarce, imitations however are abundant (especially so for the Series E, the 'porcupines'). I actively look for both forgeries (I have found only one so far) and imitations - however, you should realize that while mints were strictly regularized in the Roman era, there were probably no official mints in the Merovingian era.

    Broadly, sceatta's are divided in three period: the primary (c. 680-715 AD), secondary (715-740) and tertiary phase (740-780?), largely based on hoard evidence. Yet, this distinction doesn't cover it all: in my collection, I've two mules of the Series E that combine a obverse of the primary phase with a reverse of the secondary (one specimen) and the tertiary (the other specimen) phase.

    Furthermore, the distinction between the sceatta-phase and the merovingian-denier phase (so to say) isn't really that clear either. Some coins, for example the series G and the Hexagon (categorized by Abramson as 'the orphans'), are rather similar to merovingian deniers. I haven't yet found a convincing article on how to make this distinction.

    Anyway, time to share some sceatta's :)

    First, this specimen was added only yesterday. I haven't yet found a similar crude (and probably immitative) specimen.
    EARLY MEDIEVAL, Anonymous. Denomination: AR Sceatta (Series G)
    Obv: Crude and somewhat geometric bust to the right, with the typical oval almond shaped eye, but without the cross before the face. A group of four pellets before and behind the long neck.
    Rev: Four cross-pommee around a central pellet-within-annulet, all within dotted square border
    Weight: 0.9g; Ø:13.5mm. 0.91 gram prior to restoration

    It serves as an upgrade for my series G, which is probably a bit more 'official':

    Next, the series E. This is such a diverse group! It has been extensively studied by Metcalf and Op den Velde in 2009-2010. Of the 23 sceatta's in Series E in my collection, only one is a fourree, combining the VICO obverse with the var. G reverse:
    If you look closely to the reverse (note the folded part at 12 o clock), you can see how this specimen was crafted: two sheets of thin silver, with a sheet of bronze in between, after which the coin was cut.

    One could say that in the primary phase, things were more or less well regulated. Note for example this terrific series E plumed bird var L:
    ... and this (probably immitative) specimen:

    Yet, this variety, also from the primary phase (series E, var G2)
    is crudely engraved. Also, note the die-break in the 'beak' of the 'porcupine': this is the only sceatta with a die break. Not sure what it indicates, but it's interesting nonetheless.

    Imitations occurred in Anglia as well. Compare this base (and somewhat crude) specimen of Series J type 37:
    with this this (though somewhat worn) specimen of good silver:

    Finally, the 'orphan', the Hexagon sceatta.
    The Franeker hoard, found in the 1800s, contained a large proportion of these Hexagon sceatta's, together with a very large number of (mint-state) Series E sceatta's. This is probably the reason these coins were categorized as sceatta's. Yet, they are usually larger (13-14 mm) and somewhat heavy (1.2g or so), while sceatta's are usually about 10-11 mm and 0.9-1.1g or so. What to make of it?

    While there is some literature on sceatta's (though it would probably fill only one to two bookshelves), the literature on the Merovingian deniers is outdated and largely non-English (usually French).
  15. Tejas

    Tejas Well-Known Member

    I have quite a few Sceats, but I need to photograph them. I'm sure I have at least two contemporary copper forgeries.
    Here is one of my Seacts:

    Screenshot 2021-05-20 at 17.48.53.png
  16. The Trachy Enjoyer

    The Trachy Enjoyer Well-Known Member

    great write up! Thanks for sharing these
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  17. Severus Alexander

    Severus Alexander Blame my mother. Supporter

    Thanks for the feedback, @Tejas, and sorry for the slow reply - I didn't have time to look back at my research on this until now. I was primarily going by the die match between my coin and this CNG example, which they attribute to the Lombards:
    That said, there's something of a style continuum here, from obvious imitations:
    To less obvious (but I still think clear) imitations:
    to my coin, and then to very official looking coins like this one:
    Grierson, in MEC volume 1, notes that it's quite difficult to decide where to draw the line, and I agree. In short, you could well be right!
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  18. +VGO.DVCKS

    +VGO.DVCKS Well-Known Member

    Yeah, @Severus Alexander, where imitations are concerned, there's really no substitute for what your own eyes tell you about the style. From here, the difference just between your two lower examples is beyond dispute.
    Right, Grierson's observation about how, as with 3rd and 4th c. Roman, and (don't throw anything too ripe; we've Done this, already) Byzantine, this inhabits a spectrum, is well taken. But in this sort of context, as in looking at art in other media, the right side of your brain should be given the free rein that it deserves.
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