Monday, August 25, 2008

Early Medieval Europe - August 2008

Volume 16 Issue 3 (August 2008) of Early Medieval Europe has been published. Articles in this issue are:

Minting in Vandal North Africa: coins of the Vandal period in the Coin Cabinet of Vienna's Kunsthistorisches Museum, by Guido M. Berndt and Roland Steinacher

This paper offers a re-examination of some problems regarding the coinage of Vandal North Africa. The coinage of this barbarian successor state is one of the first non-imperial coinages in the Mediterranean world of the fifth and sixth centuries. Based on the fine collection in the Coin Cabinet of Vienna's Kunsthistorisches Museum, this article questions the chronology of the various issues and monetary relations between the denominations under the Vandal kings, especially after the reign of Gunthamund (484–96). The Vandals needed and created a solid financial system. In terms of political, administrative and economic structures they tried to integrate their realm into the changing world of late antiquity and the early Middle Ages.

The seal of Alaric, rex Gothorum, by Genevra Kornbluth

A sapphire ring stone in the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna which bears the legend ALARICVS REX GOTHORVM fits well into a late fifth/early sixth-century context. Forgery is highly unlikely. It was probably meant to seal letters and secure valuables, though chancery use is possible. Its composition, most probably modelled on imperial coinage, combines with an extremely high-status medium to present a flattering picture of Alaric as a peaceful king. This paper suggests that Theoderic the Ostrogoth may have commissioned the intaglio in an effort to avert war between the Franks and Visigoths, and to enhance his own status.

The 'Life of Muhammad' in Eulogius of Córdoba: some evidence for the transmission of Greek polemic to the Latin west, by Janna Wasilewski

Eulogius of Córdoba, the principal recorder of the ninth-century Córdoban martyrs' movement, copied for posterity a polemic biography of the Prophet Muhammad. The lost original is the earliest such text known in Latin, despite the longstanding tradition of anti-Islamic polemic in the Greek east. However, textual analysis indicates that Eulogius revised the original biography, and that his revisions were influenced by the polemic of John of Damascus. Eulogius's exposure to John's writings probably came through personal contact with a monk from the monastery of Mar Saba, contact which offers rare evidence of a non-textual transmission of ideas.