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Money and Power in the Viking Kingdom of York, c.895 – 954

Megan Laura Gooch

PhD Dissertation, Durham University, 2011

Abstract: The aim of this thesis is to use numismatic evidence to help understand the political aims and achievements of the Viking kings of York, c.895-954. A variety of numismatic techniques will be used and tested for their suitability as a means of historical enquiry. Due to the limitations of the documentary sources for this period, coins will be used to provide an insight into the political workings of this kingdom. Firstly, the iconography and epigraphy of coins made in Viking York will be used to investigate how the Viking kings attempted to legitimise their rule. Secondly, it will be asked whether these coins were produced in sufficient quantity to form a usable currency and how the volumes of these currencies compare with other contemporary coinages, such as those issued by the Anglo-Saxons. Thirdly, to understand where the Vikings ruled and how effectively they could impose coin-use upon their kingdom, the economic influence of the Viking Kingdom of York will be examined by studying the distribution of the coins which were made both in York, and in other kingdoms. Finally, the ways in which coins and other forms of money, such as hacksilver, were used within and between Viking kingdoms will be examined to understand how effectively the Viking kings ruled their economy. It is hoped that this will reveal and refine existing knowledge about the ways in which the kings of York gained and maintained political power in York for much of the tenth century.

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