By John F Chown, Forrest Capie
This booklet offers an in depth and awesome background of cash from Charlemagne's reform in nearly AD800 to the tip of the Silver Wars in 1896. It additionally summarizes 20th century advancements and areas them of their historic context.
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Extra resources for A History of Money: From AD 800
The quality of coinage survived rather longer in the Ottonian Empire (very roughly modern Germany), while some countries in Eastern Europe continued to regard coinage as a royal prerogative. Stefan I (997–1088) of Hungary, for instance, established a sound silver currency. Scotland (at this time an independent Kingdom) was an intermediate case. The Scottish coins were, until about 1300, very similar to the English in general appearance (except that they were distinguished by having the King’s head in profile instead of full face) and deliberately identical in silver content.
As we shall see, this became used as a (gold) money of account in Venice, alongside the Carolingian libra. There had also been occasional issues of gold coinage in Sicily and Spain under Byzantine or Islamic influence. The first gold coin of the new era was the Augustale struck in 1231 by Frederick II in Brindisi. This weighed one fifth of an oncia—about 18 grams, and related to a ‘tari’ (Moslem) system. It had limited success outside its own region. Florence had introduced its own heavier silver coin in 1232.
The idea spread, being adopted by both Guelph and Ghibelline states, but as even the double denarius was worth only about a sixth of the then contemporary English penny, the initiative was quite inadequate. The key step was taken by Venice, which in 1202 introduced a new, large and pure silver coin, the ‘grosso’ or matapan, worth 26 denarii or about two of the then current English pence. Other Italian City states introduced similar coins, and in France the Gros Tournois issued by Louis IX in 1266 was in the same tradition.
A History of Money: From AD 800 by John F Chown, Forrest Capie