Author Topic: Exhibition: Europe in the early Middle Ages (Bonn)  (Read 241 times)

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Offline chrisild

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Exhibition: Europe in the early Middle Ages (Bonn)
« on: June 22, 2019, 01:20:52 AM »
Just saw an interesting exhibition in Bonn called "Europa in Bewegung - Lebenswelten im frühen Mittelalter" or "Crossroads: Travelling through the Middle Ages". In much of Western Europe the time after the late 5th century (Migration of the Peoples) was considered the "Dark" Ages, and the exhibition focuses on the Visigoths, the Franks, the Vikings but also the Roman-Byzantine Empire and early Islamic rulers.

A booklet with the info texts that are also displayed at the exhibition can be viewed here: PDF, English version. Bonn is the third "stop" of this exhibition that had been in Amsterdam (Allard Pierson Museum) and Athens (Byzantine & Christian Museum).

Now one of the problems, when it comes to early medieval coins, is that there aren't that many. ;) However, the exhibition shows the Muizen (BE) hoard for example - see the attached images. Another find was made in Roermond (NL), but I did not see any pieces from there ...

Christian

Offline chrisild

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Re: Exhibition: Europe in the early Middle Ages (Bonn)
« Reply #1 on: June 22, 2019, 01:29:10 AM »
Since the ticket includes the permanent exhibition, I also (briefly) visited the Roman dept. of the LVR Museum ... and they had some more coin hoards. From Niederbieber for example (today part of Neuwied, RP) are these finds. The Roman castellum there was destroyed by the Franks in the third century.

Christian

Offline chrisild

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Re: Exhibition: Europe in the early Middle Ages (Bonn)
« Reply #2 on: June 22, 2019, 01:32:18 AM »
This hoard is one of three found in Xanten, NW - and whoever owned these coins (plus a few other precious objects) hid them in a temple, hoping they would be safe there ...

Christian

Offline chrisild

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Re: Exhibition: Europe in the early Middle Ages (Bonn)
« Reply #3 on: June 22, 2019, 01:36:10 AM »
Totally unrelated but fun: Elsewhere in the museum they show some of those anti-Papal satirical medals that became popular shortly after the Reformation. Here you see a pope and a cardinal - but if you turn the medal around (same side, just rotated), you see the devil and a fool. :)

Christian

Offline chrisild

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Re: Exhibition: Europe in the early Middle Ages (Bonn)
« Reply #4 on: June 22, 2019, 01:45:14 AM »
The exhibition in Bonn is open until 25 August. More about CEMEC (Connecting Early Medieval European Collections), an EU sponsored cooperation project of several museums, can be found here.

Christian

Offline Figleaf

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Re: Exhibition: Europe in the early Middle Ages (Bonn)
« Reply #5 on: June 22, 2019, 01:27:47 PM »
TFP, Christian. The Muizen treasure made me gasp. All the coins are struck with unusual care and force. Since some of them were gilded, they may have been used as jewellery. Had no idea the exhibition had been in the Allard Pierson (that's where the WoC group saw a museum's reserve a few years ago) or I would have made sure to go. Bonn is a bit out of the way.

Peter
An unidentified coin is a piece of metal. An identified coin is a piece of history.

Offline chrisild

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Re: Exhibition: Europe in the early Middle Ages (Bonn)
« Reply #6 on: June 23, 2019, 09:15:05 PM »
Ah, I forgot these gold coins. The museum had the good idea to "install" a magnifying glass right above some of them. :)

Christian

Offline Figleaf

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Re: Exhibition: Europe in the early Middle Ages (Bonn)
« Reply #7 on: June 23, 2019, 10:46:36 PM »
Neat little collection! These were interesting times

I think they are right to say that they were "mostly brought into the territorires beyond the borders as gifts (...) and tribute payments. Indeed, they were "diplomat's coins", meant to buy off tribes that couldn't be beaten and as special rewards for officers, much like medals. That doesn't mean they were used as soldier's pay. I have a quote somewhere in a learned book, but it's a *gasp* paper book, so its hard to search ;)

Apart from top officers, soldiers pay wouldn't be enough to warrant gold. I can imagine that gold coins were found in a legion's war chest, but that would be for diplomatic purposes. I don't think these coins were "the most commonly used in the Byzantine empire".

Peter
An unidentified coin is a piece of metal. An identified coin is a piece of history.