Featured Origins of the English Penny

Discussion in 'World Coins' started by John Conduitt, Oct 9, 2020.

  1. +VGO.DVCKS

    +VGO.DVCKS Well-Known Member

    @TheRed, a lot of terrific examples (my one Ed. I of Dublin is no comparison). Except, the level of numismatic detail you got into here is (there should be an imogee for 'Trite Word') amazing. More to the point, I learned a Lot. Starting with those initial, stratospheric ones without the mint or moneyer. Replete with immediate historical context. Thanks.
     
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  3. Severus Alexander

    Severus Alexander Blame my mother. Supporter

    My understanding, off the top of my head: silver coinage basically went out of circulation in the west by the late 6th/early 7th century, but the term "denarius" survived as a unit of account. The standard Merovingian denomination was the gold tremissis, copied in Britain as the "thrymsa." When gold became scarcer, silver coinage was reintroduced, and there's evidence (according to Grierson) that the Merovingiens used the term "denarius" for it, borrowing directly from the word for the unit of account. Which of course became "denier" in French.
     
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  4. +VGO.DVCKS

    +VGO.DVCKS Well-Known Member

    With thanks to you and @GregH, for an illuminating answer to a commensurately intelligent question, there was one interval that's gotten a measure of neglect. As @Severus Alexander noted, the denarius survived as money of account through the chaos of the early middle ages (from here, that's, maybe, 6th-8th centuries). The first novi denarii, of vaguely comparable weight and fineness to Roman denarii, but on broader and correspondingly thinner flans, were introduced by the Carolingians from the 8th century. Best known of this early phase are the ones of Charlemagne, following his 'imperial' coronation in 800, toward the end of his reign.
    From there, there was a seamless progression, in France, to the royal and feudal deniers of the 10th century through the 13th, and later.
    Fast forward, not to Anglo-Saxon England, but the Normans and Angevins (/Plantagenets; same family, mostly divided between early and late ones). From here, Medieval Latin English documents start to refer to contemporaneous pennies as 'denarii.' ...Maybe most often in abbreviation. Here's where you get the old British construct, '4d,' instead of '4p' from.
    ...And if anyone can cite anything simultaneously in Latin and from the Anglo-Saxon period, referring to pennies as 'denarii,' I'll be busted, and you will have advanced modern science. (Need an imogee for 'stuff coming out my nose.')
     
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  5. Severus Alexander

    Severus Alexander Blame my mother. Supporter

    Not sure if you intended to contradict this, but according to Grierson, the earlier dumpy fabric silver Merovingien coins (like mine pictured earlier in the thread) were also called denarii - beginning in the late 7th century.
     
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  6. +VGO.DVCKS

    +VGO.DVCKS Well-Known Member

    Nope, @Severus Alexander, this is a Johnson moment. More or less along the lines of the woman who called him on defining "pastern" as "the knee of an animal:" "Ignorance, Madame, pure ignorance."
     
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