Europe during the Dark Ages, very little coinage was issued. By far the
most common coin that was issued was the silver penny, also known
(locally) as the pfennig, denier, or denaro.
A rather fearsome angel guards the obverse of this 12th century denier from the mediaeval French bishopric of Valence. Curiously, the angel doesn't appear to have any arms, giving it more of a bat-like appearance. The obverse legend, which apparently begins at the cross at the 7 o'clock position, reads +VDBSVALENCIAD (I suspect the 'D's are meant to be 'R's).
The reverse is somewhat more cryptic. The legend, +SAP¨LDINARS, surrounds the central motif of a decorated cross with an 'O' in the top quadrant, a design likely based on the monogram used on the coins of Charlemagne some centuries earlier.
|This article first appeared in the QNS Monthly Magazine, April 2001.|