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Byzantine Imitative and Appropriative Coins, Fifth to Thirteenth Century

Alexandra Vukovich, University of Cambridge, Fellow 2017–2018, Spring

I undertook the first part of my study on Byzantine imitation coinage. I mainly used the rich bibliographic resources of the Byzantine collection to gain a broader perspective on Byzantine imitation coinages, the coins themselves being difficult to access. One of my main goals was to examine Byzantine coins as the cross-cultural borrowing of political symbols via iconography and text. The result of my study was the development of comparative material, as I began to focus on northern European imitation coins. The material I collected allowed me to elaborate an object of study that will take into account the broader context of the production of Byzantine imitation coins across cultures and time. The focus on the northern world highlights the contradictions between written sources and material culture for that region, pointing to different interpretations of the Byzantine symbolic landscape in creating both contingent and distinct political groups in the area that would become Rus. My research further demonstrated the malleability of Byzantine material to suit the purposes of group distinction, while highlighting belonging to the Byzantine cultural sphere through material culture bolstered by religious affiliation.