The thrymsa (Old English :þrymsa) was a gold coin minted in seventh-century Anglo-Saxon England. It originated as a copy of Merovingian tremisses and earlier Roman coins with a high gold content. Continued debasement between the 630s and the 650s reduced the gold content in newly minted coins such that after c. 655 the percentage of gold in a new coin was less than 35%. The thrymsa ceased to be minted after about 675 and was superseded by the silver sceat.
The first thrymsas were minted in England in the 630s. These earliest coins were created at mints in Canterbury, London, and perhaps also Winchester. Charles Arnold-Baker in his Companion to British History suggests that the impetus for the creation of this coin was increased commerce following the marriage of Æthelberht of Kent and Bertha of Kent, a daughter of the Frankish king Charibert I.Thrymsas originally contained between 40% and 70% gold, but following continued debasement those coins minted after c. 655 contained less than 35% gold. Gold coins ceased to minted completely by about 675, after which the silver sceat was minted instead. The term thrymsa is used in later Anglo-Saxon texts to refer to a value of four silver pennies. Thrymsas are known to modern numismatists through their discovery in various hoards, notably the Crondall Hoard. The ship-burial at Sutton Hoo, which dates from the early seventh-century contained 37 Merovingian tremisses but no Anglo-Saxon coins. The Crondall hoard by contrast, dated to after c. 630, contained 101 gold coins, of which 69 were Anglo-Saxon and 24 were Merovingian or Frankish.
Early thrymsas were imitations of Merovingian tremisses or earlier Roman coins. 1 and 3 grams (0.032 and 0.096 ozt), and had a diameter of approximately 13 millimetres (0.51 in). Later thrymsas feature various different designs, including busts, crosses, lyre-like objects and Roman legionary ensigns. Inscriptions are also common features, and sometimes appear in Latin script and sometimes in Anglo-Saxon runes.They weighed between
Comparison of continental and English coins:
Æthelberht was King of Kent from about 589 until his death. The eighth-century monk Bede, in his Ecclesiastical History of the English People, lists him as the third king to hold imperium over other Anglo-Saxon kingdoms. In the late ninth century Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, he is referred to as a bretwalda, or "Britain-ruler". He was the first English king to convert to Christianity.
Offa was King of Mercia, a kingdom of Anglo-Saxon England, from 757 until his death in July 796. The son of Thingfrith and a descendant of Eowa, Offa came to the throne after a period of civil war following the assassination of Æthelbald. Offa defeated the other claimant, Beornred. In the early years of Offa's reign, it is likely that he consolidated his control of Midland peoples such as the Hwicce and the Magonsæte. Taking advantage of instability in the kingdom of Kent to establish himself as overlord, Offa also controlled Sussex by 771, though his authority did not remain unchallenged in either territory. In the 780s he extended Mercian Supremacy over most of southern England, allying with Beorhtric of Wessex, who married Offa's daughter Eadburh, and regained complete control of the southeast. He also became the overlord of East Anglia and had King Æthelberht II of East Anglia beheaded in 794, perhaps for rebelling against him.
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Crondall is a village and large civil parish in the north east of Hampshire in England, in a similar location to the Crondall Hundred surveyed in the Domesday Book of 1086. The village is on the gentle slopes of the low western end of the North Downs range, and has the remains of a Roman villa. Despite the English Reformation, Winchester Cathedral held the chief manors representing much of its land from 975 until 1861. A large collection of Anglo-Saxon and Merovingian coins found in the parish has become known as the Crondall Hoard.
Clovis III was the Frankish king of Austrasia in 675 and possibly into 676. A member of the Merovingian dynasty, he was a child and his reign so brief and contested that he may be considered only a pretender. He is sometimes even left unnumbered and Clovis IV is instead called Clovis III. The only source for his reign is the contemporary Suffering of Leudegar.
From c. 1124 until 1709 the coinage of Scotland was unique, and minted locally. A wide variety of coins, such as the plack, bodle, bawbee, dollar and ryal were produced over that time. For trading purposes coins of Northumbria and various other places had been used before that time; and since 1709 those of the Kingdom of Great Britain, and then of the UK.
Eadwald of East Anglia was an obscure king of the small Anglo-Saxon kingdom of East Anglia, from around 796 to 798. He lived at a time when East Anglia was eclipsed by its more powerful neighbour, Mercia: after his deposition or death, Mercian control was restored under Coenwulf and the East Anglians lost their independence for a quarter of a century.
The tremissis or tremis was a small solid gold coin of Late Antiquity. Its name, meaning "a third of a unit", formed by analogy with semissis, indicated its value relative to the solidus. It was introduced into Roman currency in the 380s by the Emperor Theodosius I and initially weighed 8 siliquae.
Ealdwulf was king of East Anglia from c. 664 to 713. He was the son of Hereswitha, a Northumbrian princess, and of Æthilric, whose brothers all ruled East Anglia during the 7th century. Ealdwulf recalled that when he was very young, he saw the Christian temple belonging to his ancestor Rædwald.
The history of the English penny can be traced back to the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of the 7th century: to the small, thick silver coins known to contemporaries as pæningas or denarii, though now often referred to as sceattas by numismatists. Broader, thinner pennies inscribed with the name of the king were introduced to southern England in the middle of the 8th century. Coins of this format remained the foundation of the English currency until the 14th century.
Beonna was King of East Anglia from 749. He is notable for being the first East Anglian king whose coinage included both the ruler's name and his title. The end-date of Beonna's reign is not known, but may have been around 760. It is thought that he shared the kingdom with another ruler called Alberht and possibly with a third man, named Hun. Not all experts agree with these regnal dates, or the nature of his kingship: it has been suggested that he may have ruled alone from around 758.
Alberht was an eighth-century ruler of the kingdom of East Anglia. He shared the kingdom with Beonna and possibly Hun, who may not have existed. He may still have been king in around 760. He is recorded by the Fitzwilliam Museum and the historian Simon Keynes as Æthelberht I.
Quentovic was a Frankish emporium in the Early Middle Ages that was located on the European continent close to the English Channel. The town no longer exists, but it was thought to have been situated near the mouth of the Canche River in what is today the French commune of Étaples. Archaeological discoveries led by David Hill in the 1980s found that the actual location of Quentovic was east of Étaples, in what is now the commune of La Calotterie. It was an important trading place for the Franks and its port linked the continent to England, specifically to the southeastern county of Kent. From what we know today, Quentovic was founded by a Neustrian king in the early 6th century. It was one of the two most prominent Frankish ports in the north until it was abandoned, probably in the 11th century. Merchants were drawn to this place because the number of trading posts at the time was limited. Quentovic was also the place where Anglo-Saxon monks would cross the English Channel on their pilgrimage to Rome. A lack of physical evidence, and the sudden disappearance of this emporium, make the town difficult to interpret. Some of the most important historical evidence on Quentovic comes from documents of taxation and especially through the town's minting of coinage. Coins minted during both the Merovingian and the Carolingian dynasties have been found.
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The Canterbury-St Martin's hoard is a coin-hoard found in the 19th century at Canterbury, Kent dating from the 6th century. The group in the World Museum, Liverpool consists of eight items, including three gold coins mounted with suspension loops for use as pendants. One of these is the Liudhard medalet, the earliest surviving Anglo-Saxon coin. Another coin is in the Bibliotheque Nationale.
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