England is a country, part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Wales to Scotland to the north-northwest; the Irish Sea lies west of England and the Celtic Sea lies to the southwest. England is separated from continental Europe by the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south; the country covers five-eighths of the island of Great Britain, which lies in the North Atlantic, includes over 100 smaller islands, such as the Isles of Scilly and the Isle of Wight. The area now called England was first inhabited by modern humans during the Upper Palaeolithic period, but takes its name from the Angles, a Germanic tribe deriving its name from the Anglia peninsula, who settled during the 5th and 6th centuries. England became a unified state in the 10th century, since the Age of Discovery, which began during the 15th century, has had a significant cultural and legal impact on the wider world; the English language, the Anglican Church, English law – the basis for the common law legal systems of many other countries around the world – developed in England, the country's parliamentary system of government has been adopted by other nations.
The Industrial Revolution began in 18th-century England, transforming its society into the world's first industrialised nation. England's terrain is chiefly low hills and plains in central and southern England. However, there is upland and mountainous terrain in the west; the capital is London, which has the largest metropolitan area in both the United Kingdom and the European Union. England's population of over 55 million comprises 84% of the population of the United Kingdom concentrated around London, the South East, conurbations in the Midlands, the North West, the North East, Yorkshire, which each developed as major industrial regions during the 19th century; the Kingdom of England – which after 1535 included Wales – ceased being a separate sovereign state on 1 May 1707, when the Acts of Union put into effect the terms agreed in the Treaty of Union the previous year, resulting in a political union with the Kingdom of Scotland to create the Kingdom of Great Britain. In 1801, Great Britain was united with the Kingdom of Ireland to become the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.
In 1922 the Irish Free State seceded from the United Kingdom, leading to the latter being renamed the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. The name "England" is derived from the Old English name Englaland, which means "land of the Angles"; the Angles were one of the Germanic tribes that settled in Great Britain during the Early Middle Ages. The Angles came from the Anglia peninsula in the Bay of Kiel area of the Baltic Sea; the earliest recorded use of the term, as "Engla londe", is in the late-ninth-century translation into Old English of Bede's Ecclesiastical History of the English People. The term was used in a different sense to the modern one, meaning "the land inhabited by the English", it included English people in what is now south-east Scotland but was part of the English kingdom of Northumbria; the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle recorded that the Domesday Book of 1086 covered the whole of England, meaning the English kingdom, but a few years the Chronicle stated that King Malcolm III went "out of Scotlande into Lothian in Englaland", thus using it in the more ancient sense.
According to the Oxford English Dictionary, its modern spelling was first used in 1538. The earliest attested reference to the Angles occurs in the 1st-century work by Tacitus, Germania, in which the Latin word Anglii is used; the etymology of the tribal name itself is disputed by scholars. How and why a term derived from the name of a tribe, less significant than others, such as the Saxons, came to be used for the entire country and its people is not known, but it seems this is related to the custom of calling the Germanic people in Britain Angli Saxones or English Saxons to distinguish them from continental Saxons of Old Saxony between the Weser and Eider rivers in Northern Germany. In Scottish Gaelic, another language which developed on the island of Great Britain, the Saxon tribe gave their name to the word for England. An alternative name for England is Albion; the name Albion referred to the entire island of Great Britain. The nominally earliest record of the name appears in the Aristotelian Corpus the 4th-century BC De Mundo: "Beyond the Pillars of Hercules is the ocean that flows round the earth.
In it are two large islands called Britannia. But modern scholarly consensus ascribes De Mundo not to Aristotle but to Pseudo-Aristotle, i.e. it was written in the Graeco-Roman period or afterwards. The word Albion or insula Albionum has two possible origins, it either derives from a cognate of the Latin albus meaning white, a reference to the white cliffs of Dover or from the phrase the "island of the Albiones" in the now lost Massaliote Periplus, attested through Avienus' Ora Maritima to which the former served as a source. Albion is now applied to England in a more poetic capacity. Another romantic name for England is Loegria, related to the Welsh word for England and made popular by its use in Arthurian legend; the earliest known evidence of human presence in the area now known as England was that of Homo antecessor, dating to approximate
Friesland historically known as Frisia, is a province of the Netherlands located in the northern part of the country. It is situated west of Groningen, northwest of Drenthe and Overijssel, north of Flevoland, northeast of North Holland, south of the Wadden Sea. In 2015, the province had a population of 646,092 and a total area of 5,100 km2; the capital and seat of the provincial government is the city of Leeuwarden, a city with 91,817 inhabitants. Since 2017, Arno Brok is the King's Commissioner in the province. A coalition of the Labour Party, the Christian Democratic Appeal, the Frisian National Party forms the executive branch; the province is divided into 18 municipalities. The area of the province was once part of the ancient, larger region of Frisia; the official languages of Friesland are West Dutch. In 1996 the States of Friesland resolved that the official name of the province should follow the West Frisian spelling rather than the Dutch spelling, resulting in "Friesland" being replaced by "Fryslân".
In 2004 the Dutch government confirmed this resolution, putting in place a three-year scheme to oversee the name change and associated cultural programme. The province of Friesland is referred to as "Frisia" by, amongst others, Hanno Brand, head of the history and literature department at the Fryske Akademy since 2009. However, the English-language webpage of the Friesland Provincial Council refers to the province as "Fryslân"; the Frisii were among the migrating Germanic tribes that, following the breakup of Celtic Europe in the 4th century BC, settled along the North Sea. They came to control the area from present-day Bremen to Brugge, conquered many of the smaller offshore islands. What little is known of the Frisii is provided by a few Roman accounts, most of them military. Pliny the Elder said their lands were forest-covered with tall trees growing up to the edge of the lakes, they lived by raising cattle. In his Germania, Tacitus would describe all the Germanic peoples of the region as having elected kings with limited powers and influential military leaders who led by example rather than by authority.
The people lived in spread-out settlements. He noted the weakness of Germanic political hierarchies in reference to the Frisii, when he mentioned the names of two kings of the 1st century Frisii and added that they were kings "as far as the Germans are under kings". In the 1st century BC, the Frisii halted a Roman advance and thus managed to maintain their independence; some or all of the Frisii may have joined into the Frankish and Saxon peoples in late Roman times, but they would retain a separate identity in Roman eyes until at least 296, when they were forcibly resettled as laeti and thereafter disappear from recorded history. Their tentative existence in the 4th century is confirmed by archaeological discovery of a type of earthenware unique to 4th-century Frisia, called terp Tritzum, showing that an unknown number of Frisii were resettled in Flanders and Kent as laeti under the aforementioned Roman coercion; the lands of the Frisii were abandoned by c. 400 as a result of the conflicts of the Migration Period, climate deterioration, the flooding caused by a rise in the sea level.
The area lay empty for one or two centuries, when changing environmental and political conditions made the region habitable again. At that time, during the Migration Period, "new" Frisians repopulated the coastal regions; these Frisians consisted of tribes with loose bonds, centred without great power. The earliest Frisian records name four social classes, the ethelings and frilings, who together made up the "Free Frisians" who might bring suit at court, the laten or liten with the slaves, who were absorbed into the laten during the Early Middle Ages, as slavery was not so much formally abolished, as evaporated; the laten were tenants of lands they did not own and might be tied to it in the manner of serfs, but in times might buy their freedom. Under the rule of King Aldgisl, the Frisians came in conflict with the Frankish mayor of the palace Ebroin, over the old Roman border fortifications. Aldgisl could keep the Franks at a distance with his army. During the reign of Redbad, the tide turned in favour of the Franks.
In 733, Charles Martel sent an army against the Frisians. The Frisian army was pushed back to Eastergoa; the next year the Battle of the Boarn took place. Charles ferried an army across the Almere with a fleet; the Frisians were defeated in the ensuing battle, their last king Poppo was killed. The victors began burning heathen sanctuaries. Charles Martel returned with much loot, broke the power of the Frisian kings for good; the Franks annexed the Frisian lands between the Vlie and the Lauwers. They conquered the area east of the Lauwers in 785; the Carolingians laid Frisia under the rule of grewan, a title, loosely related to count in its early sense of "governor" rather than "feudal overlord". About 100,000 Dutch drowned in a flood in 1228. When, around 800, the Scandinavian Vikings first attacked Frisia, still under Carolingian rule, the Frisians were released from military service on foreign territory in order to be able to defend themselves against the heathen Vikings. With their victory in the Battle of Norditi in 884 they were able to drive the Vikings permanently out of East Frisia, although it remained under constan
Kingdom of Sussex
The Kingdom of the South Saxons, today referred to as the Kingdom of Sussex, was one of the seven traditional kingdoms of the Anglo-Saxon Heptarchy. On the south coast of the island of Great Britain, it was a sixth century Saxon colony and an independent kingdom; the South Saxons were ruled by the kings of Sussex until the country was annexed by Wessex in 827, in the aftermath of the Battle of Ellandun. The Kingdom of Sussex had its initial focus in a territory based on the former kingdom and Romano-British civitas of the Regnenses and its boundaries coincided in general with those of the county of Sussex. For a brief period in the 7th century, the Kingdom of Sussex controlled the Isle of Wight and the territory of the Meonwara in the Meon Valley in east Hampshire. From the late 8th century, Sussex seems to have absorbed the Kingdom of the Haestingas, after the region was conquered by the Mercian king Offa. A large part of its territory was covered by the forest that took its name from the fort of Anderitum at modern Pevensey, known to the Romano-British as the Forest of Andred and to the Saxons as Andredsleah or Andredsweald, known today as the Weald.
This forest, according to the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, was 30 miles deep. It was the largest remaining area of woodland and heath in the territories that became England and was inhabited by wolves and bears, it was so dense. The forested Weald made expansion difficult but provided some protection from invasion by neighbouring kingdoms. Whilst Sussex's isolation from the rest of Anglo-Saxon England has been emphasised, Roman roads must have remained important communication arteries across the forest of the Weald; the Weald was not the only area of Sussex, forested in Saxon times--for example, at the western end of Sussex is the Manhood Peninsula, which in the modern era is deforested, but the name is derived from the Old English maene-wudu meaning "men's wood" or "common wood" indicating that it was once woodland. The coastline would have looked different from today. Much of the alluvium in the river plains had not yet been deposited and the tidal river estuaries extended much further inland, it is estimated.
Before people reclaimed the tidal marshes in the 13th century the coastal plain contained extensive areas of sea water in the form of lagoons, salt marsh, wide inlets and peninsulas. To the South Saxons of the 5th and 6th centuries this coastline must have resembled their original homeland between coastal Friesland, Lower Saxony and Schleswig-Holstein; the landscape gave rise to some key regional differences within the kingdom. The rich coastal plain continued to be the base for the large estates, ruled by their thegns, some of whom had their boundaries confirmed by charters; the Downs were more deserted. South Saxon impact was greatest in the Weald. Along the north scarp of the Downs runs a series of parishes with land evenly distributed across the different soils to their northern boundaries. In the early mediaeval period, the rivers of Sussex may have acted locally as a major unifier, linking coastal and riverside communities and providing people in these areas with a sense of identity; the boundaries of the Kingdom of Sussex crystallised around the 6th and 7th centuries.
To the west, Bede describes the boundary with the Kingdom of Wessex as being opposite the Isle of Wight, which fell on the River Ems. It is possible that the Jutish territories of the Isle of Wight and the Meon Valley in modern Hampshire acted as a buffer zone between the Saxon kingdoms of Sussex and Wessex until they were conquered by the Mercian king Wulfhere and passed to King Aethelwealh of Sussex in the 7th century. To the east at Romney Marsh and the River Limen, Sussex shared a border with the Kingdom of Kent. North of the Forest Ridge in the Wealden forest lay the sub-kingdom of Surrey, which became a frontier area disputed by various kingdoms until it became part of Wessex. To the south of Sussex lay the English Channel, beyond which lay Francia, or the Kingdom of the Franks. By the 680s, when Christianity was being introduced, there is no doubt that the district around Selsey and Chichester had become the political centre of the kingdom, though there is little archaeological evidence for a reoccupation of Chichester itself before the 9th century.
The capital of the Kingdom of Sussex was at Chichester, the seat of the kingdom's bishopric was at Selsey. The traditional residence of the South Saxon kings was at Kingsham, once outside the southern walls of Chichester although within its modern boundaries. Ditchling may have been an important regional centre for a large part of central Sussex between the Rivers Adur and Ouse until the founding of Lewes in the 9th century. By the 11th century the towns were developments of the fortified towns founded in the reign of Alfred the Great; the ancient droveways of Sussex linked coastal and downland communities in the south with summer pasture land in the interior of the Weald. The droveways were used throughout the Saxon era by the South Saxons and originated before the Roman occupation of Britain; the droveways formed a road system that suggests that the settlers in the oldest developed parts of Sussex were concerned not so much with east–west connections between neighbouring settlements as with north–south communication between each settlement and its outlying woodland pastur
History of Anglo-Saxon England
Anglo-Saxon England was early medieval England, existing from the 5th to the 11th centuries from the end of Roman Britain until the Norman conquest in 1066. It consisted of various Anglo-Saxon kingdoms until 927 when it was united as the Kingdom of England by King Æthelstan, it became part of the short-lived North Sea Empire of Cnut the Great, a personal union between England and Norway in the 11th century. The Anglo-Saxons were the members of Germanic-speaking groups who migrated to the southern half of the island of Great Britain from nearby northwestern Europe and their cultural descendants. Anglo-Saxon history thus begins during the period of Sub-Roman Britain following the end of Roman control, traces the establishment of Anglo-Saxon kingdoms in the 5th and 6th centuries, their Christianisation during the 7th century, the threat of Viking invasions and Danish settlers, the gradual unification of England under Wessex hegemony during the 9th and 10th centuries, ending with the Norman conquest of England by William the Conqueror in 1066.
Anglo-Saxon identity survived beyond the Norman conquest, came to be known as Englishry under Norman rule and through social and cultural integration with Celts and Anglo-Normans became the modern English people. Bede completed his book Historia ecclesiastica gentis Anglorum in around 731, thus the term for English people was in use by to distinguish Germanic groups in Britain from those on the continent. The term'Anglo-Saxon' came in practice in the 8th century to distinguish English Saxons from continental Saxons; the historian James Campbell suggested that it was not until the late Anglo-Saxon period that England could be described as a nation state. It is certain that the concept of "Englishness" only developed slowly; as the Roman occupation of Britain was coming to an end, Constantine III withdrew the remains of the army in reaction to the Germanic invasion of Gaul with the Crossing of the Rhine in December 406. The Romano-British leaders were faced with an increasing security problem from seaborne raids by Picts on the east coast of England.
The expedient adopted by the Romano-British leaders was to enlist the help of Anglo-Saxon mercenaries, to whom they ceded territory. In about 442 the Anglo-Saxons mutinied because they had not been paid; the Romano-British responded by appealing to the Roman commander of the Western empire, Aëtius, for help though Honorius, the Western Roman Emperor, had written to the British civitas in or about 410 telling them to look to their own defence. There followed several years of fighting between the British and the Anglo-Saxons; the fighting continued until around 500, when, at the Battle of Mount Badon, the Britons inflicted a severe defeat on the Anglo-Saxons. There are records of Germanic infiltration into Britain that date before the collapse of the Roman Empire, it is believed that the earliest Germanic visitors were eight cohorts of Batavians attached to the 14th Legion in the original invasion force under Aulus Plautius in AD 43. There is a recent hypothesis that some of the native tribes, identified as Britons by the Romans, may have been Germanic-language speakers, but most scholars disagree with this due to an insufficient record of local languages in Roman-period artefacts.
It was quite common for Rome to swell its legions with foederati recruited from the German homelands. This practice extended to the army serving in Britain, graves of these mercenaries, along with their families, can be identified in the Roman cemeteries of the period; the migration continued with the departure of the Roman army, when Anglo-Saxons were recruited to defend Britain. If the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle is to be believed, the various Anglo-Saxon kingdoms which merged to become England were founded when small fleets of three or five ships of invaders arrived at various points around the coast of England to fight the Sub-Roman British, conquered their lands; the language of the migrants, Old English, came over the next few centuries to predominate throughout what is now England, at the expense of British Celtic and British Latin. The arrival of the Anglo-Saxons into Britain can be seen in the context of a general movement of Germanic peoples around Europe between the years 300 and 700, known as the Migration period.
In the same period there were migrations of Britons to the Armorican peninsula: around 383 during Roman rule, but c. 460 and in the 540s and 550s. The historian Peter Hunter-Blair expounded what is now regarded as the traditional view of the Anglo-Saxon arrival in Britain, he suggested a mass immigration and driving the Sub-Roman Britons off their land and into the western extremities of the islands, into the Breton and Iberian peninsulas. This view was influenced by sources such as Bede, where he talks about the Britons being slaughtered or going into "perpetual servitude". According to Härke the more modern view is of co-existence between the British and the Anglo-Saxons, he suggests that several modern archaeologists have no
Roman art refers to the visual arts made in Ancient Rome and in the territories of the Roman Empire. Roman art includes architecture, painting and mosaic work. Luxury objects in metal-work, gem engraving, ivory carvings, glass are sometimes considered in modern terms to be minor forms of Roman art, although this would not have been the case for contemporaries. Sculpture was considered as the highest form of art by Romans, but figure painting was very regarded; the two forms have had contrasting rates of survival, with a large body of sculpture surviving from about the 1st century BC onward, though little from before, but little painting at all remains, nothing that a contemporary would have considered to be of the highest quality. Ancient Roman pottery was not a luxury product, but a vast production of "fine wares" in terra sigillata were decorated with reliefs that reflected the latest taste, provided a large group in society with stylish objects at what was evidently an affordable price. Roman coins were an important means of propaganda, have survived in enormous numbers.
While the traditional view of the ancient Roman artists is that they borrowed from, copied Greek precedents, more recent analysis has indicated that Roman art is a creative pastiche relying on Greek models but encompassing Etruscan, native Italic, Egyptian visual culture. Stylistic eclecticism and practical application are the hallmarks of much Roman art. Pliny, Ancient Rome's most important historian concerning the arts, recorded that nearly all the forms of art – sculpture, portrait painting genre painting – were advanced in Greek times, in some cases, more advanced than in Rome. Though little remains of Greek wall art and portraiture Greek sculpture and vase painting bears this out; these forms were not surpassed by Roman artists in fineness of design or execution. As another example of the lost "Golden Age", he singled out Peiraikos, "whose artistry is surpassed by only a few... He painted barbershops and shoemakers’ stalls, donkeys and such, for that reason came to be called the'painter of vulgar subjects'.
The adjective "vulgar" is used here in its original meaning, which means "common". The Greek antecedents of Roman art were legendary. In the mid-5th century BC, the most famous Greek artists were Polygnotos, noted for his wall murals, Apollodoros, the originator of chiaroscuro; the development of realistic technique is credited to Zeuxis and Parrhasius, who according to ancient Greek legend, are said to have once competed in a bravura display of their talents, history's earliest descriptions of trompe l’oeil painting. In sculpture, Praxiteles and Lysippos were the foremost sculptors, it appears that Roman artists had much Ancient Greek art to copy from, as trade in art was brisk throughout the empire, much of the Greek artistic heritage found its way into Roman art through books and teaching. Ancient Greek treatises on the arts are known to have existed in Roman times. Many Roman artists came from Greek colonies and provinces... The high number of Roman copies of Greek art speaks of the esteem Roman artists had for Greek art, of its rarer and higher quality.
Many of the art forms and methods used by the Romans – such as high and low relief, free-standing sculpture, bronze casting, vase art, cameo, coin art, fine jewelry and metalwork, funerary sculpture, perspective drawing, caricature and portrait painting, landscape painting, architectural sculpture, trompe l’oeil painting – all were developed or refined by Ancient Greek artists. One exception is the Roman bust; the traditional head-and-shoulders bust may have been early Roman form. Every artistic technique and method used by Renaissance artists 1,900 years had been demonstrated by Ancient Greek artists, with the notable exceptions of oil colors and mathematically accurate perspective. Where Greek artists were revered in their society, most Roman artists were anonymous and considered tradesmen. There is no recording, as in Ancient Greece, of the great masters of Roman art, no signed works. Where Greeks worshiped the aesthetic qualities of great art, wrote extensively on artistic theory, Roman art was more decorative and indicative of status and wealth, not the subject of scholars or philosophers.
Owing in part to the fact that the Roman cities were far larger than the Greek city-states in power and population, less provincial, art in Ancient Rome took on a wider, sometimes more utilitarian, purpose. Roman culture assimilated many cultures and was for the most part tolerant of the ways of conquered peoples. Roman art was commissioned and owned in far greater quantities, adapted to more uses than in Greek times. Wealthy Romans were more materialistic. In the Christian era of the late Empire, from 350 to 500 CE, wall painting, mosaic ceiling and floor work, funerary sculpture thrived, while full-sized sculpture in the round and panel painting died out, most for religious reasons; when Constantine moved the capital of the empire to Byzantium, Roman art incorporated Eastern influences to produce the Byzantine style of the late empire. When Rome was sacked in the 5th century, artisans moved to
History of the English penny (c. 600 – 1066)
The history of the English penny can be traced back to the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of the 7th century: to the small, thick silver coins known to contemporaries as pæningas or denarii, though now referred to as sceattas by numismatists. Broader, thinner pennies inscribed with the name of the king were introduced to southern England in the middle of the 8th century. Coins of this format remained the foundation of the English currency until the 14th century; the history of Anglo-Saxon coinage spans more than five centuries, from the end of Roman rule in Britain in the 5th century, down to the death of Harold Godwinson at the Battle of Hastings on 14 October 1066. It can be divided into four basic phases: c. 450 – c. 550: a low level of coin-use in Britain, characterised by re-use of Roman coinage, though in a non-monetary context. A small number of coins continued to be brought in from Gaul and elsewhere on the Continent. C. 550 – c. 680: the'gold' phase of currency, which began with an increase in the rate of importation of continental gold, principally in the form of tremisses.
From around 620 English gold coins of similar format were produced known to numismatists as thrymsas. By the middle of the 7th century the quantity of gold in these coins was falling such that by the 670s they were more or less silver. C. 680 – c. 750: the age of the sceattas – small, thick silver coins which evolved out of the latest, debased gold coins. These should more be referred to as pennies or denarii as in weight and fineness they approximated the form the English penny was to retain for centuries, contemporary references suggest this is how they were known. Most sceattas are thus difficult to attribute, it should be noted that in Northumbria, coins of this format continued to be struck under closer royal control until the 860s, though by the early 9th century they contained only a negligible quantity of precious metal. C. 750 – 14 October 1066: the silver coinage of sceattas petered out in Southumbrian England in the middle of the 8th century, to be replaced by a broader, thinner model of silver coinage modelled on that of contemporary Carolingian coinage.
These new coins carried legends naming the king and the mint of origin. With various modifications in weight and fineness this format of coinage remained standard for the rest of the period, indeed silver pennies of similar design remained the basis for the English currency until the 14th century. Pennies of this form were made by English kings from Offa onwards, by Viking rulers from the 9th century. In the gold phase of the coinage, the currency consisted overwhelmingly of gold tremisses or thrymsas of c. 1.10 – 1.30g, though a few solidi exist, modelled on Roman coins. Thereafter the currency was less based on a single denomination: the silver penny. In the early 870s the first round halfpennies were produced under Alfred the Great and Ceolwulf II of Mercia; the only known examples of larger silver denominations are two'offering pieces' produced in the reign of Alfred the Great weighing the equivalent of six regular pennies, which were made as alms-pieces to be sent abroad. Although gold ceased to be the predominant form of currency in the 7th century, from the late 8th century onwards there was some use of fine gold coinage for special, high-value transactions.
These gold pieces were known as mancuses. The form of gold coinage varied in the 8th and 9th centuries, drawing inspiration from Roman, Byzantine and Carolingian gold coinages, but by the 10th century gold coins were made by striking a gold piece with the same dies as were used for regular minting of silver. Only eight English gold coins with intelligible legends survive from between the 8th century and 1066, it is difficult to ascertain the extent of coin-use in Anglo-Saxon England. Written references to minting and money are scarce, it is that a single silver penny had considerable buying power – something in the region of £10–£30 in modern currency, their use may have been concentrated in certain classes of society, was most associated with particular transactions such as the payment of rents and legal fees. However, analysis of surviving single-finds shows that coins were used extensively in the eastern half of England, both within and outside towns. Substantial numbers of English coins have been found elsewhere in Europe in Italy and Scandinavia, while English designs were influential on the emergent coinages of Ireland, Sweden and Bohemia.
At the end of the 4th century, the Roman provinces of Britain were still part of a vibrant and quite efficient economic and monetary system that stretched over the whole Roman world. Precious metal coins of gold and silver were used for the payment of taxes reminted for payment to the military and civil service. Bronze coinage was issued on a more occasional basis and was produced to serve the needs of commerce in the provinces. Minting – and control over precious metals in general – across the western empire was under the control of the Comes sacrarum largitionum, with a number of major mints situated at Trier, Milan, Raven
The thrymsa was a gold coin minted in seventh-century Anglo-Saxon England. It originated as earlier Roman coins with a high gold content. Continued debasement between the 630s and the 650s reduced the gold content in newly minted coins such that after c. 655 the percentage of gold in a new coin was less than 35%. The thrymsa was superseded by the silver sceat; the first thrymsas were minted in England in the 630s. These earliest coins were created at mints in Canterbury and also Winchester. Charles Arnold-Baker in his Companion to British History suggests that the impetus for the creation of this coin was increased commerce following the marriage of Æthelberht of Kent and Bertha of Kent, a daughter of the Frankish king Charibert I. Thrymsas contained between 40% and 70% gold, but following continued debasement those coins minted after c. 655 contained less than 35% gold. Gold coins ceased to minted by about 675, after which the silver sceat was minted instead; the term thrymsa is used in Anglo-Saxon texts to refer to a value of four silver pennies.
Thrymsas are known to modern numismatists through their discovery in various hoards, notably the Crondall Hoard. The ship-burial at Sutton Hoo, which dates from the early seventh-century contained 37 Merovingian tremisses but no Anglo-Saxon coins; the Crondall hoard by contrast, dated to after c. 630, contained 101 gold coins, of which 69 were Anglo-Saxon and 24 were Merovingian or Frankish. Early thrymsas were imitations of earlier Roman coins, they weighed between 1 and 3 grams, had a diameter of 13 millimetres. Thrymsas feature various different designs, including busts, lyre-like objects and Roman legionary ensigns. Inscriptions are common features, sometimes appear in Latin script and sometimes in Anglo-Saxon runes. History of the English penny Coinage in Anglo-Saxon England Comparison of continental and English coins: Arnold-Baker, Charles; the Companion to British History. Taylor & Francis. ISBN 978-1-317-40039-4. Campbell, J.. "Rædwald". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford University Press.
Doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/23265. Retrieved 14 March 2016. Subscription or UK public library membership required. Davies, Glyn. History of Money. University of Wales Press. ISBN 978-0-7083-2379-3. Grierson, Philip. Medieval European Coinage: Volume 1, The Early Middle Ages. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-03177-6. Page, Raymond Ian. An introduction to English runes. Methuen. Skingley, Philip, ed.. Coins of England & the United Kingdom: Standard Catalogue of British Coins 2015. Spink & Sons Ltd. ISBN 978-1-907427-43-5. Cook, Barrie J.. Coinage And History in the North Sea World, C. AD 500–1250: Essays in Honour of Marion Archibald. BRILL. ISBN 90-04-14777-2