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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, Lucca – 1208 AD

Ottone IV

From Ancient Galleries

Medieval, Lucca – 1208 AD

Obverse: Bearded bust of Christ facing and wearing crown with fleur-de-lis.
Reverse: King (REX) Ottone IV legend with large TT monogram in center.

Obv: Legend, + OTTO RЄX, around the central monogram TT (of Emperor Otto), which is joined by horizontal bar. Rev: Legend, • + • S . VVLT’ • DЄ LVCA •, around the stylized bearded bust of Christ facing, wearing a royal crown with three fleur-de-lis.

Medieval Lucca is a town and commune in the central Italian region of Tuscany. Lucca is located on the Serchio River, whose waters from the Sillano mountains feed the regions fertile plains, which terminate into the Tyrrhenian Sea. Originally, Lucca was founded by the ancient Ligurians as a regional settlement more than four thousand years ago. Little is known of the Ligurians, their Neolithic remains left no ancient texts, but we do know that the Etruscans expanded their territory northward to Liguria by the 3rd century BC. The Etruscans called the town Luk, meaning “marsh” in which the name Lucca originated. Following the Etruscans, Lucca became a city and territory of the Roman Republic, circa 180 BC. It is known that Julius Caesar, Pompey, and Crassus choose Lucca’s town Forum to reaffirmed their political alliance, celebrated as the “First Triumvirate” at the 56 BC Conference of Lucca. (Boak, History of Rome). Fast forward over a thousand years later and the town of Lucca officially becomes constituted as an independent commune and region, with a charter and approval by the Holy Roman Otto IV and Pope, in 1160 AD. Thereafter for almost 500 years, Lucca remained a strong, powerful and independent medieval republic. During this time Lucca was ruled by what is known as the “Capitano del Popolo” (captain of the people), under whose rule Lucca became a leading medieval state in central Italy. Until the death of capitano del popolo Castracani, in 1328 AD, Lucca was even rivalling Florence as a center of power and commerce. The exquisite silver denier above represents the first official Holy Roman Emperor sanctioned coinage of Lucca, issued as an independent commune of Italy. The privilege for Lucca to mint coins was sanctioned by Barbarossa, Hohenstaufen, the Emperor and the Pope, largely because of Lucca’s extensive trade growth, economic strength and its well secured medieval city wall fortification system. The Lucca coinage was called “lira” and was one of the most valued currency in Europe, facilitating trade between wool from England, fish from France, food and services for Crusaders, including silver and gold exchange from Spain. Throughout the middle ages, financiers and merchants of Lucca were able to accumulate vast fortunes, enabling powerful Lucca Bankers to foster and grow a complex financial banking structure with many of the wealthiest Royal family’s in Europe. The Lucca currency eventually resulted in medieval Lucca having the most successful Bankers of the 11th through 14th centuries. The above coin depicts a stylized bust of Christ surrounded by the Latin legend, S • VVLT • DE • LVCA, meaning Santo Volto de Lucca or Holy Face of Lucca. The reverse depicts a large centered TT, the official monogram for the holy Roman emperor Otto of Brunswick. The Latin legend, OTTO REX, meaning Emperor Otto, surrounds the TT monogram. Medieval Lucca lost its regional independence when the city was sold to the wealthy Spinola family of Genoa, in 1408 AD.

Value: Grosso. Metal: AR Silver. Weight: 1.75 grams. Mint: Republic of Lucca. Issued in the name of Otto IV of Brunswick. Date: circa 1208 – 1212 AD.
Attribution: CNI XI pg. 73, 1ff.; Bellesia 1A; MIR 118; Biaggi 1062.

Legend, Documentation and Attribution