The Transformation of the West

Alan M. Stahl

in The Oxford Handbook of Greek and Roman Coinage

Published in print February 2012 | ISBN: 9780195305746
Published online November 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks

The Transformation of the West


From the fifth to the eighth centuries, the coinage of most of the former Western Roman Empire went through a transformation from a varied metallic and denominational system to dependence on a single denomination, the silver penny. At the end of the fifth century, large multiple bronzes bearing denominational marks appeared in Byzantium. Silver had sunk to a subsidiary and rather evanescent role by the end of the fourth century. The exceptions were Africa and Iberia, where a system of Islamic coinage was introduced, derived from late eastern Roman and Sassanian issues. The path to the silver medieval European penny was complicated, the result of the persistence of a Late Roman siliqua coinage in Italy and the transformation of the Transalpine gold tremissis to a silver coin through gradual debasement.

Keywords: coinage; Western Roman Empire; silver penny; coinage; denominational system

Article.  9116 words. 

Subjects: Classical Studies ; Ancient Roman History

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