IOW-715794 -

A 2008 metal detecting find from the Isle of Wight.  An Early-Medieval Visigothic 'pseudo-imperial' gold tremissis, dating to the 6th century (pre-580).  Weight: 1.47 gm, diameter: 12.9 mm   The type was probably of a type introduced by Theodoric I in 509, based on contemporary Byzantine issues.  The coin is closely paralleled by examples illustrated in Grierson and Blackburn (1986, plates 10-11, especially no. 202). Grieson and Blackburn (1986) state:  [The] profile bust of the obverse has a highly devolved cross on the chest, this being one of the most distinctive features separating Visigothic pseudo-tremisses from those of the Burgundians and the Franks.

The reverse shows Victory running to the right with a palm and wreath, the Victory is deformed as the result of unintelligent copying into a strange, kangaroo-like creature, with two extra 'legs' in front deriving from the skirt of the chiton, a huge sail-like wing, and a head sometimes provided with rabbit-like ears, projecting upwards or transformed into a kind of starfish design.'  There are also 'nonsense' legends on the obverse and reverse, in imitation of the Byzantine issue on which it is based.  The highly devolved designs on both sides of this coin suggests the possibly that it is a contemporary imitation of an official issue.  The design is also known from Merovingian and Burgundian coins so the possiblilty remains that it might be Merovingian or Burgundian but the design is much more in the mould of Visigothic examples.  This coin is an exceedingly rare find in a British context.

Images and data: Portable Antiquities Scheme.


Grierson, P. and Blackburn, M.A.S. 1986  Medieval European Coinage, Volume I. The Early Middle Ages (5th-10th Centuries) Cambridge University Press