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Artistic Influences on Anglo-Saxon Coinage

There are three sources of influence on the designs of the coins that stand out: Roman coins recovered from the soil in Anglo-Saxon times; contemporary Continental coin issues; and Germanic or indigenous art forms which in most cases have not survived in any other form. (The coins below are not shown to scale.)

Roman Coinage

Busts

Anglo-Saxon gold solidus, mid-seventh century, lent by Dr Stewart Lyon

Anglo-Saxon gold solidus, mid-seventh century. The obverse imitates gold solidi of the late-fourth century. Lent by Dr Stewart Lyon.

Gold solidus of Emperor Constantine I, Nicomedia, 335 A. D., on loan from Emmanuel College

Prototype: gold solidus of Emperor Constantine I (307-37), Nicomedia, 335 A. D. CM.EM.61-R, Emmanuel College Collection.

Two Emperors

Anglo-Saxon gold shilling, c. 660, CM.1562-2007, De Wit Collection

Anglo-Saxon gold shilling, c. 660, Two Emperors type. CM.1562-2007, De Wit Collection.

Gold solidus of Emperor Magnus Maximus, London, 383X88 A. D., CM.RI.1863-R

Prototype: gold solidus of Emperor Magnus Maximus (383-88), London. CM.RI.1863-R.

Wolf and Twins

A she-wolf suckling Romulus and Remus, the traditional founders of Rome in the 8th century B. C.

Silver early penny, Series V, c. 720-30, CM.1977-2007, De Wit Collection

Silver early penny, Series V, c. 720-30. CM.1977-2007, De Wit Collection.

Bronze coin of Emperor Constantine I, Urbs Roma type, Trier, 330-1 A. D., on loan from Gonville & Caius College

Prototype: bronze coin of Emperor Constantine I (307-37), Urbs Roma type, Trier, 330-31 A. D. CM.CA.603-R, Gonville & Caius College Collection.

Contemporary Continental coinage

Merovingian

The Merovingian kings of the Franks ruled the territories across the Channel from the Anglo-Saxons until their replacement by the Carolingian dynasty in 751.

Gold tremissis of King Eadbald of Kent, London, c. 630, lent by Lord Stewartby

Gold tremissis of Eadbald King of Kent (604-40), London, c. 630, reading AVDVARLÐ REGES (King Eadbald). Lent by Lord Stewartby.

Gold Merovingian tremissis, 'Saxsebacio' mint by the moneyer 'Ciuncelus', 600-30, Grierson Collection

Prototype: gold Merovingian tremissis, unlocated mint 'Saxsebacio' by moneyer 'Ciuncelus', 600-30. PG.10720, Grierson Collection.

Carolingian

Silver penny of King Coenwulf of Mercia, London, 796-821, Blunt Collection

Silver penny of King Coenwulf of Mercia (796-821), London, 796-821. The portrait is probably copied from contemporary coins of Emperor Louis the Pious, which were in turn inspired by Roman coin portraits. CM.1.162-1990, Blunt Collection.

Gold solidus of Louis the Pious, uncertain mint, 816X19, Grierson Collection

Prototype: gold solidus of Emperor Louis the Pious (814-40) in a filigree frame, uncertain mint (perhaps Aachen), 816-19. PG.8162, Grierson Collection.

Germanic or Insular Art

Backward-looking beasts

Silver early penny, Series Q1g, <i>c. </i>725-40; CM.1885-2007, De Wit Collection

Silver early penny, Series Q1g, c. 725-40. CM.1885-2007, De Wit Collection.

Detail from seventh-century gold bracteate pendant

Detail of a gold bracteate pendant, seventh century, bearing Style II animals of which one shown here. M.63-1904, from excavations at King's Field, Faversham. Not to scale.

Standing figures

Silver early penny, Series W, <i>c. </i>700-15; CM.1635-2007, De Wit Collection

Silver early penny, Series W, c. 700-15, bearing picture of man in beard and tunic carrying two crosses. CM.1635-2007, De Wit Collection.

Silver early penny, Series N, <i>c. </i>715-25; CM.1863-2007, De Wit Collection

Silver early penny, Series N, c. 715-25. CM.1863-2007, De Wit Collection

Facing busts

Silver early penny, Series Q1g, <i>c. </i>725-40; CM.1890-2007, De Wit Collection

Silver early penny, Series Q1g, c. 725-40, bearing facing bust. CM.1890-2007, De Wit Collection.

Silver early penny, Series Z, <i>c. </i>715-20; CM.1614-2007, De Wit Collection

Silver early penny, Series Z, c. 715-20; the bearded and moustached face contrasts with the clean-shaven appearance of the previous coin. CM.1614-2007, De Wit Collection.


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