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Units of account in gold and silver in Seventh-Century England: scillingas, sceattas and pæningas

Hines, John Alan 2010. Units of account in gold and silver in Seventh-Century England: scillingas, sceattas and pæningas. Antiquaries 90 , pp. 153-173. 10.1017/S0003581510000089

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Abstract

The seventh-century vernacular laws from the kingdoms of Kent and Wessex specify fines or compensation payments using units of account that have given us familiar terms in the numismatics of this period: scillingas (shillings), sceattas and pæningas (pennies/pence). In light of the use of cognate words in Gothic and Old High German, and the comparative values given in the Old English law-codes themselves and in the fifth-century Theodosian Code, it is suggested that these represent a regular and durable bimetallic system correlating values in gold and silver. This proposition is examined further against the evidence of weighing-sets from sixth- and early seventh-century Anglo-Saxon graves, and argued to give greater and more precise meaning to the use of gold and silver in Early Anglo-Saxon artefacts such as the great gold buckle from Mound 1 at Sutton Hoo, Suffolk.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: History, Archaeology and Religion
Subjects: C Auxiliary Sciences of History > CC Archaeology
D History General and Old World > DA Great Britain
K Law > KD England and Wales
P Language and Literature > PE English
Uncontrolled Keywords: Anglo-Saxon Laws; Numismatics; Lexicology
Additional Information: See also Erratum, Antiquaries Journal 91 (2011), 397-398
Publisher: Society of Antiquaries of London
ISSN: 0003-5815
Last Modified: 04 Jun 2017 04:02
URI: http://orca.cf.ac.uk/id/eprint/31501

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