Vikings, currency and power: An interdisciplinary assessment of the late Ninth- and early Tenth-century St Edmund ‘Memorial’ coinage

Porter, Johanne (2021) Vikings, currency and power: An interdisciplinary assessment of the late Ninth- and early Tenth-century St Edmund ‘Memorial’ coinage. Doctoral thesis, University of East Anglia.

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In 869, the ‘Great Army’ returned to East Anglia, and the king of the East Angles, Edmund, was killed in battle. Within thirty years, the new Scandinavian rulers of eastern England were striking coins invoking the authority of Edmund as a saint. The aim of this thesis is to re-examine the St Edmund ‘Memorial’ coinage, to enhance our understanding of eastern England in the Viking-Age. Although the St Edmund coin-type represents the first evidence for the cult of St Edmund, no previous study has comprehensively assessed this coin series. This interdisciplinary thesis seeks to place the St Edmund coinage in context, using this coin-type as an archaeological, historical, art historical and numismatic source. Other contemporary documentary sources and the archaeological evidence will also be considered alongside the numismatic material. This reassessment challenges the assumption that the coinage was issued in ‘memory’ of St Edmund, and is the first study in which the distribution pattern of the St Edmund coin-type has been mapped, and possible mint locations suggested. This thesis also demonstrates the extent of Viking authority and control in eastern England and discusses the boundaries of Scandinavian-controlled territory in the late ninth and early tenth century. It is proposed that the St Edmund coinage was produced across a single monetary zone, ‘Greater East Anglia’, by multiple rulers. By analysing the inscriptions and iconography on the anonymous St Edmund coin-type, this study shows how the Scandinavian leaders attempted to legitimise their rule by issuing a coinage in the name of a sanctified East Anglian king, thereby shedding new light on how the Vikings exercised power across ‘Greater East Anglia.’

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Arts and Humanities > School of History
Depositing User: Chris White
Date Deposited: 27 Apr 2022 08:11
Last Modified: 27 Apr 2022 08:11

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