HIST2006 Small Change and Big Changes: Money and Power in Europe, 284-1000

Reading List
  • Taught: Semester 2 View timetable
  • Credits: 20
  • Class Size: 26
  • Module Manager: Dr Jonathan Jarrett
  • Email: TBC
  • This Module is approved as a Discovery Module

Discovery module overview

Module Summary

Module Summary

One source for the Middle Ages that appears to need no translation is its money: do we not all know what a coin is and does, after all? Perhaps not. The Roman Empire was a highly monetised society that took its taxes in coin; most of the early medieval west did not and could not, while even the Byzantine Empire that continued Rome in the East did not keep money the same for long. What purposes did coinage in fact serve in these centuries? Were they even economic? This module takes economic, iconographic and art-historical approaches to the coinage of early medieval Europe to try to solve these questions, using the coinage itself and whatever other sources can be brought to bear. The module will include two classes at Leeds Museums and Galleries Discovery Centre in which actual early medieval coins will be handled and read.


On completion of this module, students should be able to ...


The course will be taught in eleven lectures and nine tutorials, two of which will be handling sessions at Leeds Museums and Galleries Discovery Centre.

  • 1) Coinage as object, image and source
  • 2) The Roman monetary system and its rivals
  • 3) Crisis and recovery in the third century
  • 4) Fine gold of Constantinople: the age of the solidus
  • 5) 'Barbarian' coinages
  • 6) Small change: Byzantine bronze and its users
  • 7) The new money of Islam
  • 8) Silver pennies and the growth of the Northern economy
  • 9) Offa and Charlemagne
  • 10) 'Feudal' coinages, debasement and concavity
  • 11) Money around the year 1000


  • 1) Reading and handling coins [at Leeds Discovery Centre]
  • 2) Emperors, goddesses and buildings: the meanings of Roman money
  • 3) Tetrarchy and standardisation: the family of Constantine
  • 4) Group presentations
  • 5) Treasure, merchants and hoarding: coin in the post-Roman West
  • 6) Mint, date and countermark: coin circulation and constraints in Byzantium
  • 7) Image and audience: understanding the sceatta
  • 8) Meeting the money afresh [at Leeds Discovery Centre]
  • 9) Falling standards? The money of the year 1000

Assessment and teaching

Assessment and teaching


Assesment type Notes % of formal assesment
Essay 1 x 2,000-word essay, due by 12 noon on Monday of teaching week 8 40
Group Project . 10
Total percentages (Assessment Coursework) 50


Exam type Exam duration % of formal assessment
Standard exam (closed essays, MCQs etc) 2 hr 0 mins 50
Total Percentage (Assesment Exams) 50

Private Study

Reading to prepare for seminars and for presentations; self-directed reading around the topic; researching, preparing and writing assessments; reading and revision to prepare for the examination.

Progress Monitoring

Student progress can to some extent be monitored in seminars, especially in the group presentations but also general contributions to class; in addition, students will be encouraged to seek advice about reading for and planning their presentations and their essays.

Teaching methods

Delivery type Number Length hours Student hours
Workshop 2 1 2
Lecture 11 1 11
Tutorial 7 1 7
Private Study Hours 180
Total Contact Hours 20
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits) 200

Reading List

Reading List
A link to the Library reading list area is now available from the Web Module Catalogue

Back to Discovery Themes