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Ancient Nomos Art is a museum of galleries exhibiting ancient coins and ancient mint maps. The coin gallery displays the diverse art and history of hand-crafted ancient Greek, Roman, Byzantine, Persian and Medieval coinage. The ancient mints mapping gallery features Greek, Roman, Byzantine, Asia Minor and Medieval mint city regions and territories. Visitor's are welcome to explore, study and enjoy Ancient Nomos Art.

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Medieval, Spain – 568 AD

King Liuvigild

From Ancient Galleries

Obverse: Diademed and draped bust of Liuva or Leovigild facing right in the Visigoth style.
Reverse: Victory in the Visigoth style advancing right, holding a wreath and palm frond.

LEGEND

Obv: Visigoth legend, , (retrograde R, R & C), Diademed and draped bust of Liuva or Liuvigild facing right; cross  on drapery with crescent pairs  above and below. Rev: , (twice retrograde R), Victory advancing right, holding wreath and palm frond;  below.

The term Visigoth derives from two words, visi meaning “west” or vestan meaning “from the west” and goth,  the Roman name given to the East Germanic peoples originating from Scandinavia who settled south of the Baltic early in the first century AD. Some historians believe visi was a Latinized form of a specific Germanic tribal name. The earliest coin production by the Visigoths occurred in both Gaul and Hispania, between the fifth and early eighth centuries AD. The principle denominations were the gold solidus and gold tremissis and were issued by both Western and Eastern Visigothic Emperors. The earliest coinage is from Gaul, where the Visigoths settled into a formidable community in the early fifth century AD. As the Visigoths migrated westward, a more distinct and unique coinage type began to emerge from central Hispania (Spain), early in sixth century AD. Within 50 years, and after the Visigoths lost a majority of their territory in Gaul to the Carolingian Franks, medieval Spain quickly became the center of Visigothic life, culture and domination. It is in Spain that the first uniquely Visigoth coinage appears, commonly known as the “pseudo-imperial” Visigothic series. The early Spanish series coins depended less on the imitation of their contemporary Byzantine coinage. The Visigoths Emperors began to secretly add their names to official coin legends, so as not to upset the Byzantine Emperors. After 580 AD, the very first Visigoth coins began to be issued in the true name of the Visigothic kings. This royal coinage continued until the second decade of the eighth century, when Visigothic rule was ended by the Islamic conquest of Iberia (Spain). The above gold tremissis represents the first of the royal Visigoth coinage and was issued during the reign of Liuvigild, in circa 568 AD. This gold tremissis was minted in the Toleto (Toledo) mint. The obverse shows a stylized bust of the Visigoth king, diademed and draped as an abstracted bust facing right. The unique Latin legend “CVRRVTI + IИTVRRVC” is inscribed on the coins obverse. Numismatists call this unique Visigothic type the “curru” series. Considered a riddle and an enigma, the Visigothic “curru” type coin legend most likely references the time when Liuva and Liuvigild held joint reigns in Spain, hence the doubling of the legend names. Some numismatists believe it is possible the coin series was issued under the early years of Liuvigild’s sole reign. The coins reverse depicts a stylized winged Victory holding an abstracted palm branch and wreath (crown), with the legend “VΛ VRR I ИΛ VRVRV – OИO” identifying Victory and the mint city. Grierson argues that the introduction of this first royal Visigoth coinage, featuring the names of the Spanish kings in the place of those of the Byzantine Emperors, was connected with the eldest son of Liuvigild, Saint Hermenegild, who was named co-regnant in 573 AD, and married his wife Ingund in 579 AD. His wife was a Frankish Princess, and therefore was not an Arian, but rather a Chalcedonian Christian. Following his marriage, Hermenegild abandoned Arianism, rebelling against his father and assuming the title of King, in a wide-spread revolt which was only subdued in 584 AD. Hermenegild died in the following year, and his death allowed his brother Reccared I to become Visigoth King. The struggles between Liuvigild and Hermenegild is thought by Grierson to have resulted in the striking of gold coins with legends that name both of these two Visigoths to the royal crown.

SPECIAL NOTE:

This rare and enigmatic early medieval Spanish Visigothic gold coin, with the legend “CVRRVTI,” remains a numismatic secret or riddle to this day. The coinage is referred to as the Curru Group. All of the gold tremissis in this unique series feature some form of the word “CVRRVTI” written backward and forward. Most scholars and medieval Visigothic references assign the double legend coinage to the joint reign of Liuva and Leovigild, but this remains to be officially confirmed.

DOCUMENTATION
Value: Tremissis. Metal: AV Gold. Weight: 1.23 grams. Mint: Toleto (Toledo) mint. Date: Struck 568-592 AD.
Attribution: W. J. Tomasini Group C3, 583 var. (legends); cf. Chaves 80 (for type); cf. Medieval European Coinage 1, 207 (same).

Legend, Documentation and Attribution

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