Tremissis

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Tremissis from Constantinople in the second reign of Zeno. Tremissis-Zeno-RIC 0914.jpg
Tremissis from Constantinople in the second reign of Zeno.
Frankish gold Tremissis with Christian cross, issued by minter Madelinus [nl], Dorestad, Netherlands, mid-600s. Frankish gold Tremissis issued by minter Madelinus Dorestad the Netherlands mid 600s.jpg
Frankish gold Tremissis with Christian cross, issued by minter Madelinus  [ nl ], Dorestad, Netherlands, mid-600s.

The tremissis or tremis (Greek: τριμίσιον, trimision) was a small solid gold coin of Late Antiquity. Its name, meaning "a third of a unit", formed by analogy with semissis (half of a unit), 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 (equivalent to 1.52 grams). [1]

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Roman tremisses continued to be commonly minted into the reign of Leo III (717–741), but thereafter they were only rarely struck in the east of the empire, probably only for ceremonial uses, until the reign of Basil I (867–886), after which they disappeared. Nevertheless, the coin continued in common use in the Sicilian theme until the fall of Syracuse in 878. The trachy, introduced in the 11th century, was equivalent in value to the old tremissis. Although it was not made of gold, it was one third of the standard golden hyperpyron. It was not, however, called tremissis. [1]

Outside of the Roman empire, tremisses were minted by the Anglo-Saxons, Burgundians, Franks, Frisians, Lombards, Ostrogoths, Suevi and Visigoths between the 5th and 8th centuries. [2] The word tremissis was borrowed into Old English as thrymsa . [3]

In Frankish sources, the tremissis is sometimes called a triens, a term likewise meaning "a third", which originally referred to a bronze coin worth a third of an as. The historian and bishop Gregory of Tours calls the Frankish tremissis a trians or treans. The German form dremise is also attested. In French historiography the term tiers (third) or tiers de sou (third of a solidus) is often used. The French, in general, prefer to call the coin of the Merovingian kings a triens (but avoiding the plural form trientes), while British scholarship prefers tremissis. [4]

It was still used as an accounting currency until at least the 12th century in Sardinia. It appears as tremisse in the condaghe . [5]

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As (Roman coin)

The as, occasionally assarius was a bronze, and later copper, coin used during the Roman Republic and Roman Empire.

Byzantine currency, money used in the Eastern Roman Empire after the fall of the West, consisted of mainly two types of coins: the gold solidus and a variety of clearly valued bronze coins. By the end of the empire the currency was issued only in silver stavrata and minor copper coins with no gold issue.

Solidus (coin)

The solidus, nomisma, or bezant was originally a relatively pure gold coin issued in the Late Roman Empire. Under Constantine, who introduced it on a wide scale, it had a weight of about 4.5 grams. It was largely replaced in Western Europe by Pepin the Short's currency reform, which introduced the silver-based pound/shilling/penny system, under which the shilling functioned as a unit of account equivalent to 12 pence, eventually developing into the French sou. In Eastern Europe, the nomisma was gradually debased by the Byzantine emperors until it was abolished by Alexius I in 1092, who replaced it with the hyperpyron, which also came to be known as a "bezant". The Byzantine solidus also inspired the originally slightly less pure dinar issued by the Muslim Caliphate.

£sd

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Sceat Ancient type of coin

A sceat was a small, thick silver coin minted in England, Frisia, and Jutland during the Anglo-Saxon period.

Bezant Generic medieval Western European name for eastern gold coins

In the Middle Ages, the term bezant was used in Western Europe to describe several gold coins of the east, all derived ultimately from the Roman solidus. The word itself comes from the Greek Byzantion, ancient name of Constantinople, the capital of the Byzantine Empire.

Hexagram (currency)

The hexagram was a large silver coin of the Byzantine Empire issued primarily during the 7th century AD.

The hyperpyron was a Byzantine coin in use during the late Middle Ages, replacing the solidus as the Byzantine Empire's gold coinage.

A moneyer is a private individual who is officially permitted to mint money. Usually the rights to coin money are bestowed as a concession by a state or government. Moneyers have a long tradition, dating back at least to ancient Greece. They became most prominent in the Roman Republic, and continued into the Empire. In Rome the position of Triumvir Monetalis, held by three people at a time, was a minor magistracy awarded by the Senate, often the first office held by a young politician. Marcus Aurelius is one famous example; John Hull is another with his founding of the Hull Mint for the Massachusetts Bay Colony.

Histamenon

Histamenon was the name given to the gold Byzantine solidus when the slightly lighter tetarteron was introduced in the 960s. To distinguish the two, the histamenon was changed in form from the original solidus, becoming wider and thinner, as well as concave (scyphate) in form. Later usually shortened to stamenon, it was discontinued after 1092. In the 12th and 13th centuries, the name stamenon came to be applied to the concave billon and copper trachea coins.

History of the English penny (c. 600 – 1066)

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.

<i>Nummus</i>

Nummus, plural nummi (νοῦμμοι) is a Latin term meaning "coin", but used technically by modern writers for a range of low-value copper coins issued by the Roman and Byzantine empires during Late Antiquity. It comes from the Greek nomos via its Western Doric form noummos, which was used to describe a coin in some parts of southern Italy. The word was also used during the later years of the Roman Republic and the early Empire, either as a general word for a coin, or to describe the sestertius, which was the standard unit for keeping accounts.

Visigothic coinage

The coinage of the Visigoths was minted in Gaul and Hispania during the early Middle Ages, between the fifth century and approximately 710.

The tetarteron was a Byzantine term applied to two different coins, one gold circulating from the 960s to 1092 in parallel to the histamenon, and one copper used from 1092 to the second half of the 13th century.

Canterbury-St Martins hoard 6th-century coin-hoard discovered in the 19th-century in England

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.

Coinage in Anglo-Saxon England

Coinage in Anglo-Saxon England refers to the use of coins, either for monetary value or for other purposes, in Anglo-Saxon England during the early Medieval period.

Thrymsa

The thrymsa 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.

Lombard coinage

The coinage of the Lombards refers to the autonomous productions of coins by the Lombards. It constitutes part of the coinage produced by Germanic peoples occupying the former territory of the Roman Empire during the Migration Period. All known Lombard coinage was produced after their settlement of Italy. The coinage originates from two distinct areas, in Langobardia Major between the last decades of the sixth century and 774, and in Langobardia Minor, in the duchy of Benevento, between approximately 680 and the end of the 9th century.

The Buis hoard was a hoard of Merovingian gold coins found in a vegetable patch at Buis around 1855. There were about 300 to 400 coins in the hoard when local antiquary Anatole de Charmasse saw them in 1873, identified 55 types, took down legends and drew sketches. They have since been dispersed. Most recently, Jean Lafaurie has identified 76 coins from the hoard: 75 Merovingian tremisses and one Arab-Byzantine dīnār from Damascus. Eleven of the coins came from the mint of Chalon-sur-Saône and the latest datable Merovingian issue was struck in the name of Chlothar II at Marseille between 612 and 629. Pierre Le Gentilhomme, who first published the find in 1938, concluded that it was most likely deposited in the 640s, based on the sequence of moneyers from Chalon. It may have been buried in connection with the battle of Autun and the death of Willibad in September 642 or 643, since according to the Chronicle of Fredegar this was followed by much unrest and plundering.

The Crondall Hoard is a hoard of coins and other articles that was found in the village of Crondall in the English county of Hampshire. The hoard was discovered in 1828 and is believed to date to the fifth century. It is the only large hoard of Anglo-Saxon gold coins that has ever been found. The coins are now in the collection of the Ashmolean Museum at Oxford.

References

  1. 1 2 Philip Grierson, "Tremissis", in Alexander Kazhdan, ed., The Oxford Dictionary of Byzantium (Oxford University Press, 1991 [online 2005]), vol. 3, p. 2113.
  2. "Tremissis", in Robert E. Bjork, ed., The Oxford Dictionary of the Middle Ages (Oxford University Press, 2010).
  3. "Thrymsas", in Robert E. Bjork, ed., The Oxford Dictionary of the Middle Ages (Oxford University Press, 2010).
  4. Philip Grierson and Mark Blackburn, Medieval European Coinage: Volume 1, The Early Middle Ages (5th–10th Centuries) (Cambridge University Press, 1986), p. 102.
  5. Il condaghe di Santa Maria di Bonarcado / a cura di Maurizio Virdis. - Nuoro : Ilisso, 2003

Further reading