Really early Calabrian Norman AE ...or not so much?

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by +VGO.DVCKS, Sep 11, 2020.

  1. +VGO.DVCKS

    +VGO.DVCKS Well-Known Member

    This is purportedly a Norman imitation of Byzantine prototypes, during the earlier phases of the invasion and occupation of southern Italy. Calabria, the 'toe' of Italy, was largely Byzantine, both politically and demographically. It was also the first part of the (revisionism alert: ) country that the most notorious of the Norman invaders, Robert 'Guiscard' (/'the Weasel') landed in. COINS, CALABRIA, FRACTIONAL  FOLLARO, OBV.s-l1600.png COINS, CALABRIA SICILY, NORMAN FRACTIONAL FOLLARO, REV.png This is some kind of imitation of Byzantine Class C folles. --Except, the diameter is around 14 millemeters!
    For comparison, here's an example of the ostensible prototype, associated (let's say) with the reign of Michael IV (1034-1041). This is around 24 mm (sorry, no scales). COINS, BYZANTINE, Michael IV (1034-1041), Class C.jpg
    Back to the iffy one, I dimly remembered seeing examples like it on Italian ebay. But that was most of the traction I was getting. The American dealer who it came from referred me to a closed listing in Forvm Ancient Coins. That was some help, but mainly by way of references to which I had no access. More specifically, too recent to find online.
    From there, I went back to two places. The one published reference I have (Andrea /Contreras, The Norman Coins of the Kingdom of Sicily (2015), lists one anonymous issue of similarly neo-Byzantine folles (28a and 28b). From there, a citation of a particular reference, Travaini (1995) caught my eye. And from that point, I went back to the listings on Italian ebay (some current), and found citations of something later by the same author. Thanks to Google Translate (only useless when you're trying to compose), it emerged that there were were indeed Norman imitations of Byzantine folles, apparently from Calabria, from the earlier phases of occupation --one range thrown around was c. 1060-1080. More specifically, that very reduced modules were involved, and that, apparently even as such, the frank imitations, however appallingly crude (evoking 11th-earlier 12th c. deniers from Normandy proper), consistently predate both the imitations of later prototypes, and subsequent issues.
    ...Well, that's what I'm hoping. Anyone's input would be cordially appreciated.
     
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2020
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  3. ancient coin hunter

    ancient coin hunter Enrich the soldiers...ignore all others

    Very interesting coin. And a nice find if the attribution is correct.
     
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  4. seth77

    seth77 Well-Known Member

    Will we ever know who and by which authority minted these? I have read on different dates and accounts of: local Pugliese and/or Calabrese issues caused by lack of official Byzantine coinage, sort of like the old "barbaric radiates" in Gaul and Britain, or Lombard coinages after regular Class B folles (Roman III) for the larger variations, while the smaller ones, like OP, are assigned to the later Norman interests.

    cf. SB 1823 (for protoype); DOC III Bb, Zervos 9-10, Travaini, Monetazione, pp. 14-16: Sambon 280:

    pic1.JPG

    And a prior discussion on these imitations here on CoinTalk: https://www.cointalk.com/threads/picked-up-this-coin-on-ebay.315695/#post-3070910
     
  5. FitzNigel

    FitzNigel Medievalist Supporter

    The Travaini book can be purchased from numismatica ars classica here. I still need to order a copy...

    I bought one of these from FORVM, and was told that the attribution to the Normans because of the find spot (vaguely given as ‘southern Italy’), and of course the time period of the coins being imitated. But I’ve always thought that we need to be comfortable with a certain amount of ambiguity collecting ancient and medieval coins.

    Med-14-INAp-1085-Roger Borsa-Fol-xx.jpg
    Norman Italy - Apulia?
    Roger Borsa, r. 1085-1111 (?)
    AE Follis, 19.08 mm x 2.2 grams
    Obv.: Bust of Christ facing, cross behind, wearing pallium and Colvin , raising right hand in benediction, Gospels in left, crescent above, IC - XC flanking
    Rev.: Cross with globule and two pellets at each extremity, large crescent below, four globules around each surrounded by pellets
    Note: Imitative of a Byzantine Anonymous Follis, Class J. Found in Southern Italy. It cannot be earlier than 1085, but my attribution to Roger Borsa in Apulia is due to coins of a similar weight and size from this time and region
     
  6. +VGO.DVCKS

    +VGO.DVCKS Well-Known Member

    @seth77, Many thanks for the thread!!! It's fantastic!!! And you have Travaini! Yow!!!
     
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  7. seth77

    seth77 Well-Known Member

    For someone interested in medieval and post-medieval Italy, I also highly recommend Andreani and D'Andrea's Le Monete dell'Abruzzo e del Molise, if you don't have that already.
     
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  8. +VGO.DVCKS

    +VGO.DVCKS Well-Known Member

    @FitzNigel, many thanks for this. Notably the link (...sadly, I'm not sure my regional bank is up to negotiating a wire transfer --they just made the leap to IBAN). You couldn't be more right about people who collect this stuff (with medieval only at the top of the list) having to live with ambiguity. ...That's why those, ahem, Other people get three dozen different grades for XF.
     
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  9. +VGO.DVCKS

    +VGO.DVCKS Well-Known Member

    Thanks for the recommendation, @seth77. So far, for Italy, I haven't branched out much beyond Norman, Staufen, and contemporary civic issues. For those, all I've got are the two operant Andrea /Contreras books. They're at least good for citing other references --as in, the ones that covered the scholarly ground in the first place.
     
  10. FitzNigel

    FitzNigel Medievalist Supporter

    try Tansferwise - @Severus Alexander turned me on to this, and have used it successfully for a few overseas transactions (just nite that if you use a credit card you may get charged a ‘cash advanced’ fee, but at least for me this was a lot cheaper than an international wire transfer)
     
  11. +VGO.DVCKS

    +VGO.DVCKS Well-Known Member

    Thanks, @FitzNigel, I'll look into that ...once I summon the nerve!
     
  12. seth77

    seth77 Well-Known Member

    I can also confirm, have used TransferWise and it's quite hassle-free.
     
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2020
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  13. +VGO.DVCKS

    +VGO.DVCKS Well-Known Member

    ...Okay, guess I gotta check it out!
     
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