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The Wealth of Anglo-Saxon England$
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Peter Sawyer

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199253937

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199253937.001.0001

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The Eighth and Ninth Centuries

The Eighth and Ninth Centuries

(p.61) 4 The Eighth and Ninth Centuries
The Wealth of Anglo-Saxon England

Peter Sawyer

Oxford University Press

This chapter reviews the evidence for cross-Channel trade, English exports and imports, and the ports or wics that were founded in the seventh century. Many other harbours or landing places were also used, most of them associated with minsters. Developments in the Anglo-Saxon coinage are summarised. This wealth attracted Vikings by the 790s, but they did not seriously affect cross-Channel trade until the 840s. London's earlier decline was due to West Saxon expansion. The decline of trade after 850 was mainly due to a general shortage of new silver in western Europe, reflected in the debasement of Frankish and Anglo-Saxon coins. The Danelaw was an exception thanks to the large amounts of treasure imported by Danish settlers. Alfred reformed his coinage but the number of coins circulating in his kingdom and in English Mercia was greatly reduced after 875. There was some small trade with Italy c. 900.

Keywords:   Wics, minsters, Vikings, silver shortage, debasement, London, Alfred, Italy

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