08 January 2007

Back to McCormick

OK, after a refreshing theological break, I'm back to Carolingian coin hoards. My Beloved sent me a pair of book by Clendenin (sp?) who is an Evangelical with an interest in Orthodoxy. One of them was a collection of some really great essays by Orthodox theologians, the other is sort of his take on them all. It's interesting and perhaps a little odd, but definitely fun reading.

So I'm learning about trade routes as illustrated by coin hoards. Wow. . . I didn't know the Carolingians had a thing about foreign currency. Stupid Franks. :)

Apparently, they melted down foreign coins that showed up. Actually, foreign silver. Foreign gold was not such a problem, but they didn't want competition with their own silver pennies? I don't understand the rationale behind it.

But outside of Frankland, coin hoards do illustrate some nifty patterns of commerce, along with relics. Coins and relics are the only two things that the Europeans imported that can be found today in quantity with reliable dates and places of origin. There's also a good quantity of textile finds, but placing the point of origin of silk is a lot harder than with coins, and it doesn't change as much from year to year as the names (and often dates) on coins. Seems that the Med was not as quiet after the "Fall of the Roman Empire" as was previously thought.

Of course, what were the Europeans exporting to pay for all this? That's a really good question. The only thing we can prove is slaves. Lots of slaves, in the thousands. Some were kidnapped from Italy or Southern France (literally--the majority of the stories of individual slaves with ages assigned show that males 12-20 were the prime demographic) in retail lots, but most of them were prisoners of war, the products of the Carolingian expansion into the East. Lots of them were carried on Venetian hulls, which explains why the mission of Cyril and Methodius to convert these same Slavs was so vehemently opposed by the Venetians.

Have I mentioned lately how much I loathe Venetians? I mean, really. Despicable people.

Since I haven't mentioned it yet: Yes, I know Ethiopia's government isn't the ideal ally. But they are fighting the war on terror with some 'nads, which is more than I can say for some of our "allies". Go Ethiopia!

Also, WTF is going on with birds dropping dead in Austin? IMHO, this is Bad.

gmail doesn't want to behave. I am saddened by this.

I can't believe the top news story is that New York smells funny.

My time is mostly taken up with carpentry. I just built a rifle rack today. Wheee. . .


Blogger Tim Covington said...

When you get back do you want to build me some rifle racks? (just kidding)

Ethiopia is a lot better than their neighbors (IMO).

On the dead birds: I wouldn't be surprised if somebody accidentally (or on purpose) poisoned them. I've been places that, if I were the owner, I would be very tempted to poison the birds due to their large numbers and the filth they left behind.

11:12 PM  
Anonymous Zach Bush said...

Augh, Venetians. I have a bone to pick with old blind Doge Dondolo.

5:12 AM  

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