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Medieval European Coinage

Medieval European Coinage is a major international work of reference for medieval numismatists, archaeologists and historians. The series of some 20 volumes published by Cambridge University Press, will cover the coinage of Europe c. 450 to c. 1500, region by region. The MEC Project is producing the first comprehensive survey of European medieval coinages since the Traité de numismatique du moyen âge of Engel and Serrure (3 vols, 1891-1905). Each volume of MEC provides an authoritative, up-to-date account of the coinage of an area, written by experts in the field. The text is accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue of the coins in the unrivalled collection of the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, largely formed by Professor Philip Grierson. In June 2015 MEC was accepted as Project no. 88 of the Union académique internationale.

The first volume of MEC was published in 1986. The critically acclaimed volume 14 on Southern Italy appeared in 1998; volume 6 on the Iberian Peninsula was published in 2013; volume 12 on Northern Italy was published in 2016; and the volume on Britain and Ireland c.400-1066 was published in 2017. A further ten volumes are currently in preparation. A full list of volumes follows.

1. The Early Middle Ages (5th-10th Centuries). P. Grierson and M. A. S. Blackburn (published 1986).

2. Germany I: Western Germany. P. Ilisch (in preparation).

3. Germany II: North-eastern Germany.

4. Germany III: Central and Southern Germany.

5.(a). France I: The age of the denier. M. Bompaire (in preparation).

5.(b). France II: Later royal and feudal coinages.

6. The Iberian Peninsula. M. Crusafont, A. M. Balaguer, and P. Grierson (published 2013).

7.(a). The Low Countries I: The Early Coinage and the Pre-Burgundian South. P. Grierson, P. Spufford and S. Boffa (in preparation).

7.(b). The Low Countries II: The North and the Burgundian Period. P. Grierson, P. Spufford and S. Boffa (in preparation).

8. Britain and Ireland, c.400-1066. R. Naismith (published 2017).

9.(a). British Isles, 1066-1279. M. Allen (in preparation).

9.(b). British Isles, 1279-1509.

10. The Nordic Countries. J. Steen Jensen, E. Screen and I. Leimus (in preparation).

11. Hungary and Balkans. E. Oberländer-Târnoveanu (in preparation).

12. Italy I: Northern Italy. W. R. Day Jr., M. Matzke and A. Saccocci (published 2016).

13. Italy II: Central Italy. W. R. Day Jr. (in preparation).​

14. Italy III: South Italy, Sicily, Sardinia. P. Grierson and L. Travaini (published 1998).

15. Central and Eastern Europe. B. Paszkiewicz (in preparation).

16. The Latin East. J. Baker, R. Kelleher and R. Kool (in preparation).

17. Kingdoms of Arles and Lorraine.


Project team

MEC volumes are written by acknowledged experts in their field. The project was initially conceived and overseen by Professor Philip Grierson (1910-2006) and Mark Blackburn (1953-2011) as General Editor. Today it is based in the Department of Coins and Medals of the Fitzwilliam Museum and co-ordinated by Dr. Elina Screen. The project has benefited from the generosity of numerous funding bodies. 

Philip Grierson was Professor of Numismatics, University of Cambridge and Fellow of Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, and formerly Professor of Numismatics and History of Coinage at the University of Brussels. He was Honorary Keeper of Coins and Medals at the Fitzwilliam Museum, to which he bequeathed his unrivalled collection of medieval European coins and is regarded as one of the world’s greatest and most prolific numismatic scholars.

Martin Allen is a former Senior Curator at the Fitzwilliam Museum and an Affiliated Lecturer in Cambridge University’s Faculty of History. His publications on medieval monetary and economic history include Mints and Money in Medieval England (Cambridge, 2012). He is the President of the Royal Numismatic Society and administers the Fitzwilliam Museum’s Corpus of Early Medieval Coin Finds (EMC).

Julian Baker is Curator for Medieval and Modern Coins at the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford. His research interest is in the Byzantine and medieval coinages of the southern Balkans, western Anatolia and Italy. He has published particularly on excavation coins and hoards in these regions, on the Latin coinages of mainland Greece, on Byzantine coins in Palaiologan Constantinople and the provinces, on coins of Venice and Angevin Italy and their spread eastwards, and on the silver coinages of the eastern Aegean.

Anna Balaguer i Prunes has published extensively on medieval Islamic, Castilian, Catalan, Aragonese and Portuguese coinages as well as the coinage of the Iberian Peninsula. These publications include Del mancús a la dobla (Barcelona, 1993) and Història de la moneda dels comtats catalans (Barcelona, 1999) as well as articles and chapters in many other works.

Mark Blackburn was Keeper of Coins and Medals at the Fitzwilliam Museum, Reader in Anglo-Saxon, Norse and Celtic at the University of Cambridge and a Fellow of Gonville and Caius College. He was a leading expert on Anglo-Saxon and Viking numismatics, and published widely on these and other topics; a selection of his papers is published in Viking Coinage and Currency in the British Isles (London, 2011).

Serge Boffa is helping to complete the work of Philip Grierson on the Low Countries volumes of MEC. A former full-time research associate (funded by the Fondation Wiener-Anspach, 1998-2002), Serge is now Chief Curator at the Musée communal d'archéologie d'art et d'histoire de Nivelles, Belgium.

Marc Bompaire is a researcher of the Centre nationale de la recherche scientifique, France. His publications include Numismatique médiévale: monnaies et documents d'origine française (Turnhout, 2000), with F. Dumas.

Miquel Crusafont is the leading expert on the coinage of Catalonia-Aragon, and author of numerous works including the standard reference Numismàtica de la corona catalano-aragonesa medieval (785-1516) (Madrid, 1982) and the recent Catàleg general de la moneda catalana (Barcelona, 2009). He is editor of the journal Acta Numismatica and has been President of the Societat Catalana d’Estudis Numismàtics (Institut d’Estudis Catalans) since 1996.

William R. Day, Jr. is an economic historian and numismatist and a former Research Associate at the Department of Coins and Medals of the Fitzwilliam Museum. He is co-author of Medieval European Coinage, vol. 12: Italy (I) Northern Italy (Cambridge, 2016) and author of numerous articles on medieval numismatics, including "Fiorentini e altri italiani appaltatori di zecche straniere (1200-1600): un progetto di ricerca", Annali di Storia di Firenze 5 (2010), 9-29. He completed his PhD on "The early development of the Florentine economy, c.1100-1275" at the London School of Economics and Political Science in 1999 and is also author of several articles on the economic history of Medieval and Renaissance Florence.

Peter Ilisch was Curator of the Coin Cabinet of the Westfälisches Landesmuseum für Kunst und Kulturgeschichte, Münster until 2012. He has published extensively on West German coinages, especially those of Lotharingia and of the Viking-Age. He is currently one of the editors responsible for publishing early medieval coin finds from Poland (Frühmittelalterliche Münzfunde aus Polen).

Jørgen Steen Jensen is former Keeper of the Royal Collection of Coins and Medals of the National Museum of Denmark. His many publications include Viking-Age Hoards and Late Anglo-Saxon Coins (Stockholm, 1987).

Richard Kelleher is Senior Curator of Coins and Medals at the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge. He has published a number of articles on later medieval single coin finds, monetisation and the secondary use of coins. His most recent book A History of Medieval Coinage in England won the Royal Numismatic Society’s Lhotka Prize in 2016.

Robert Kool is Head of the Coin Department of the Israel Antiquities Authority in Jerusalem. He has published extensively on the coinage used in the Crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem based on hitherto unpublished finds from Crusader period excavations; for example 'A Hoard Twice Buried? Fatimid Gold from Thirteenth Century Crusader Arsur (Apollonia-Arsuf)' Numismatic Chronicle 173 (2013).

Michael Matzke was Head of the Münzkabinett of the Historisches Museum in Basel, Research Associate at the Inventar der Fundmünzen der Schweiz, Bern, and former Assistant Keeper of the Department of Coins and Medals of the Fitzwilliam Museum. His publications on medieval numismatics include 'Vom Ottolinus zum Grossus: Münzprägung in der Toskana vom 10. bis zum 13. Jahrhundert', Schweizerische Numismatische Rundschau / Revue suisse de numismatique
72 (1993).

Rory Naismith is Professor of Early Medieval English History in the University of Cambridge, and formerly a Fellow of Clare College, Cambridge. He has published extensively on the history of early medieval Britain and Europe, particularly from an economic and monetary perspective, including The Coinage of Southern England, 796–865 (London, 2011) and Money and Power in Anglo-Saxon England: the Southern English Kingdoms 757–865 (Cambridge, 2012).

Ernest Oberländer-Târnoveanu is Director of the National History Museum of Romania. He has published extensively on Byzantine, South-Eastern European Medieval and Golden Horde Coinage, and also on the economic and political history of the Balkans, Danube basin and Black Sea area in the 10th-15th centuries.

Borys Paszkiewicz is Professor in the Institute of Archaeology at the University of Wroclaw. His research has included important work on the medieval coinages of Upper Silesia (2001) Silesia Pieniądz górnośląski w średniowieczu (Lublin, 2000) and Prussia Brakteaty - pieniądz średniowiecznych Prus (Wrocław, 2009).

Andrea Saccocci is Professor in Numismatics at the Università degli Studi di Udine. and vice-director of the Italian journal Rivista Italiana di Numismatica. His articles include 'Ritrovamenti monetali in tombe di santi nell'Italia centro-settentrionale (secoli VI-XV)', in Trouvailles monétaires de tombes (Études de numismatique et d'histoire 2) (Lausanne, 1999), and 'Il grosso agontano e la circolazione «internazionale» della moneta marchigiane (secc. XIII-XIV)', in Atti e memorie: Deputazione di storia patria per le Marche 103 (1998).

Elina Screen is College Lecturer in Medieval History at Trinity College, University of Oxford, and a former research associate of the Medieval European Coinage Project. Her numismatic publications include Sylloge of Coins of the British Isles 65-66: Norwegian Collections Parts I and II (Oxford, 2013 and 2015).

Peter Spufford was a Fellow of Queens’ College Cambridge and former Professor of European History in the University of Cambridge. His substantial work on medieval numismatics and economy includes Handbook of Medieval Exchange (London, 1986, with Wendy Wilkinson and Sarah Tolley), Money and its Use in Medieval Europe (Cambridge, 1988) and Power and Profit: the merchant in medieval Europe (New York, 2002).

Lucia Travaini is Associate Professor in Numismatics at the Università degli Studi di Milano and a former Senior Research Associate for MEC. Her major publications include La monetazione nell'Italia normanna (Rome, 1995) and MEC 14 (Cambridge, 1998).

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