Russian money
History of russian money

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Money in Ancient Russia

  1. The circulation of money in the pre-Mongol era
  2. Coinless period
  3. Recommended reading

The circulation of money in the pre-Mongol era

Research scientists

Interest in Russian history began to emerge approximately after the time of Troubles, when in the state for years to the established order. Then archaeology did not exist, and the ancient treasures found only farmers and builders. On the basis of scant information and mythological beliefs were the picture is very backward times of the pre-Mongol period, when there was only natural metabolism. By the middle of XVII century it has been suggested on the use as money of Ancient Russia leather pieces, then this conjecture without any evidence was enshrined in the annals.

The assumption of a leather money appeared out of nowhere. The genealogy of the Russian tsars at the time, was carried out from Ancient Rome, because it was thought that there first arose the Royal power and dynasty, all the world are the successors of the Roman. Studying Byzantine Chronicles, Russian researchers came across information about leather money in antiquity, which was corroborated by other details of European history. A beautiful theory was quickly overshadowed its accuracy. When the level of development of science of the XVII century in the Russian state differently and could not be.

Кожаный жеребей XVII века
Leather Zareba XVII century
(from the book of I. G. Spassky)

Peter the great's time the gathering of coins was a prestigious pastime of the Russian nobility, although no scientific importance, as a rule, had not. Beautiful coins and medals (mostly European) were stacked in munzkabinet of expensive wood, and showed the guests how to treasure. Popularity antique lockets with images of Roman emperors.

During the reign of Catherine II, science began to develop rapidly, there are many scientists who have expressed their points of view. It all had to merge, so much was not docked. For example, have become aware of the treasures foreign coins, we find everywhere. But the theory of the leather money was basic and lasted until the mid-nineteenth century.

First, who completely rejected the use of Ancient Russia as a means of payment exclusively animal skins, was F. I. Krug, published in 1805, a few notes on numismatics. He claimed that in X-XI centuries there was already a coin, and quite possibly even their own coinage (this was later proven). However, the widespread finds of pieces of leather with the embossed images confirmed the dominant theory about "leather money" (as they were called). These findings are now commonly dated to the second half of the XVII century. Probably appeal leather money really was, but in a limited area in the period of reforms of Tsar Alexei Mikhailovich, who tried to replace silver with copper.

In the XIII century, the European traveler Rubruk made notes in which he mentioned about the colorful skins of the South of Russia. Incorrect translation suggests that this was samplenanny the pieces of leather, which like the notes of the late eighteenth century was colorful. Later, in the writings of another traveler Gilbere de Lannoy was found references on the monetary circulation of Novgorod and Pskov the beginning of the XV century, which is allegedly used money the heads of Martens.

XVIII-XIX centuries – a time of great historical discoveries, which affected not only Europe but also Russia. The deciphering of the ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs has led to the search for written sources of Russian history. Studied "the Word about Igor's regiment", "the Tale of bygone years" and others. Actively translated Byzantine, European, Tatar and Arabic texts, which contained an impressive amount of information on Russian history. It turned out that the Ancient Russia was not a backward state education, had its own laws and rules. In Chronicles it is found on the early coinage of the Russian coins of Prince Vladimir, became known the names of money in Ancient Rus ' (Kuhn, nogata, Mortka, mite, torque, växjö). Initially, these names are tried to match with parts of the skins. It is likely they have a similar origin, but in the Mongol period was used to indicate the value of coins.

Раковины каури
Cowrie shells
(from the exposition of the Hermitage)

The study of ancient sources is a very difficult task. Epics and legends they are complemented by real events, and to reveal the truth becomes impossible without the support of archaeology. Poorly preserved translations of foreign texts, especially Arabic, does not lead to a single interpretation. It is the detection of treasures began to reinforce the numismatics of new discoveries. By the XX century the picture is more-less began to emerge. Works of such scientists as A. V. Oreshnikov, was able to compile the first catalog of the Russian coins, which are still used to coin collectors.

Foreign coins in Ancient Russia

No doubt, the skins of small fur-bearing animals has long been one of the main types of money substitutes. In the dense forests there were many squirrels, Martens, Sables, and fur which was highly prized in other countries, allowing to carry out profitable trade. Not less well-known substitute of money was small cowrie shells (the scientific name of this clam - cypraea). Shell came to Russia from the South and was prized because of the ease of use. For example, for storage and transportation they are often strung on a thread, such "necklaces" could pay for a major purchase. But still finds the skins and shells are caught not so often. The basis of all treasures Dating from the pre-Mongol period, is foreign silver coins.

The most ancient Russian treasures date back to the VIII century. That is, for 100 years before the formation of statehood is already actively used money. Typical of the pre-Petrine era treasure is a clay jug full of silver coins, mixed with furs and other valuables. There are fully coin hoards. Often come across hoards of smaller size, in which coins wrapped in cloth or piece of leather. Vessels or wrapper for historians are no less important than the content itself, because they allow more precise Dating of the find. Importantly, where and how the treasure was buried near any of the settlements of historical objects.

Серебряный дирхем IX-X века
Silver dirhem of the IX-X century
(from the exposition of the Hermitage)

It silver was the basis of the cash account, initially, the money was called "silver". Gold coins also fell to Russia, but they were valued much lower than in other States, and so long they did not linger. The approximate exchange rate of gold to silver was 10:1, and remains approximately so until the end of the XVII century. Other metals, such as copper, is generally not perceived as a means of accumulation. Copper coins appeared in North-Eastern Russia only in the fourteenth century and existed until the unification of Russian lands.

Often in the early treasures are coins of the Arab Caliphate dirhams. It's thin slices of silver with a diameter of about 3 cm, covered with Arabic inscriptions. A letter to Russia, called a kufi, so coins everywhere was called Kufic. After the collapse of the Arab Caliphate to Russia to get coins for new state formations.

Analyzing the frequency of occurrence of clades can be concluded about the organization of trade in Russia. Eastern coins fall into Volga Bulgaria, which Russia had close contact, this is where the silver was penetrated into the Russian principalities in exchange for furs, grain, products of forging and pottery. Then coins went to the South-Western margin (Polotsk, Chernigov, Kiev, Galich, Volyn, Pereyaslavl), which went to Europe.

In addition to the city of Bolgar, the capital of Volga Bulgaria, Russia actively traded with the Khazar Khaganate, located in the Caspian and black sea steppes. In the main trading centres were found hoards with imitations of Arab coins, the inscription on which is illegible. Unfamiliar with Arabic script to the Slavs took such coins off as genuine, although the authenticity was of secondary importance, because the coin was valued on the amount of silver in it. The largest hoard of such imitations were found in the 1930s in the Kharkiv region near the village of Bezludovka. The most common version of the minting of the imitations is periodically reducing the weight of Arabic coins, so for the calculations with the Slavs had to do the old coins weight.

Some tribes, especially the peoples of the Volga region, used coins to decorate clothing. Each coin has hole and sewed with a thread. Later, these coins could be used again as means of payment. Given the fact that some coins were involved in the treatment of tens and even hundreds of years, gradually hole appeared in almost half of the dirhams.

Labels no value had, even used coins with fully erased inscriptions. However, the weight and fineness with amazing accuracy easily determined by ancient merchants, what tools they were using we can only guess. The treasures are sometimes found of the weight weights and something like pan scales. Studies show that coins merchants took rather than on weight and quantity. It is promoted and common names for currency units. In this case, the scales were only used to determine the quality of the coins in a big batch, calculated their average, the sample, and then was counted the right amount.

For archaeologists the inscriptions in cufic coins are very important, they allow to date the treasures in the specified year (lunar - Hijri). For example, if a treasure among 3 thousand of 2500 coins will be dates within two decades, hence the hoard can be dated to this time. Give much to understand the names of the rulers, which can be associated with a particular dynasty and state formation. The most common coins of the Umayyads and Abbasids, the dynasty was basic in the Arab Caliphate, but after its collapse formed and less long-lasting dynasty.

Very rare to come across among the Russian finds the Iranian coins of the IV-VII centuries of Sassanid dynasty, featuring a portrait of the king (with the advent of Islam all the images fell under the ban). On the territory of the former Bulgaria these findings are less rare, which allows to make an interesting conclusion: coins were there long before the establishment of relations of Bulgaria with Russia, and then penetrated into the Russian city.

After the conquest by the Seljuk Turks of Baghdad in the middle of XI century began the discontinuation of minting silver coins, which gave way to gold and copper. This was facilitated by the depletion of the silver mines of the Caliphate. As mentioned above, gold and copper reluctantly accepted Russian merchants, so the influx of Eastern coins began to weaken. Even before it occurred in the southern and Western regions. On the territory of modern Ukraine in the tenth century, already actively addressed Byzantine coin, and on the territory of Belarus European denarius. Gradually, they supplanted dirhams, and became the basis of monetary circulation until the Golden Horde invasion.

European denarius is not the same as the Euro in the modern world. Despite the similarity in name, the coins is very different in figure and inscriptions. Different Western European Gothic version – they clearly see the image of the cross. Weight and shape of coins of the different States was similar, they seem more familiar to us than dirhams, remind 5 cents of 1997: thick and with a small diameter.

In addition to denarii in the hoards of Ancient Rus come across other silver coins – bracteate. They weight close to dirhams, but the diameter is larger and so thin that a broken image on the reverse side. Such a coin could easily break it. Minted bracteata in Saxony – public education in the North of modern Germany, which lasted until the end of the XII century.

(from the exposition of the Hermitage)

Close ties with the powerful Byzantine Empire could not fail to affect the money circulation. Coinage in this country was limited, mostly made of gold solidi (which also had the name "nomisma", "Perper", "Milia-Russia" and others). They mostly affected the South of Russia with the center in Kiev. It is for the sample of these coins were minted their own gold and silver coins during the reign of Vladimir the Great.

Византийские золотые монеты
Byzantine gold coins
(from the exposition of the Hermitage)

Archaeologists find ancient treasures and even the sites of ancient coins, among which Greek tetradrachms, Roman sestertii, etc. Meet and gold medallions. A variety of shapes and sizes suggests that they were unlikely to be used as money, rather as a form of exchange. And to enter the territory of Ancient Russia could long before the unification of the Slavic tribes to settle in hoards, and then again to start to be used. Even more likely is that these coin-like products of many centuries were in Europe or in the East, and then came to Russia.

Russian names money

Slavic women often wore necklaces of coins, this was easy to protect from theft. Such necklaces are called hryvnia (neck old Church Slavonic - mane). Sometimes coins were melted down and made neck jewelry, the name it kept. The average coin was made up of 25 coins, so this number gradually entrenched in the cash account as a "hryvnia of kun". Kuhn – typical for the time dirham, probably comes from the word "marten," that is a fur small animal. It is believed that one dirham given for a single skin of a marten. But there is another version: the word "Coon" could derive from the Latin "coin - coin".

Женские украшения - гривны
Women's jewelry - the hryvnia
(from the exposition of the Hermitage)

For a long time it was believed that the word "nogata" meant the skins with feet and head, but have now been adopted in another version: "nagd" in Arabic meant full value. What kind of coin is considered a full-fledged, hard to say, maybe this is a word of later origin, when they began to appear in Russia light of the European coins, replacing coons. In the same record preserved data on price ratios, which surprisingly, in all the principalities were almost identical. The Fox was given 5 nogat, or 40 kun without nogat 3 foxes. So 40 kun was 16 the nogat, or 2.5 coons for nogata.

Very often, whole coins are accompanied by their cropping. And still not revealed how they participated in the appeal. Probably pretty good with a supplemented amount of money in the absence of her exact weight. In the annals of the description cash account, the word "Vecchio", maybe they were part Coon. Sometimes you can find information about the number of vecs close to 100, which was equivalent to the price kunai. The word "mite" became widespread later, but apparently originally meant half of a dirham. The word "cut" can mean both halves of a coin and smaller pieces. What is the "veverica" is still not installed, maybe this word is not connected with money at all, though it is found in the designation of the account. According to some sources "veveritsa" and "Vecchio" is one and the same.

Gold and silver coins

After the adoption, in 988, Byzantine religion – Christianity, Prince Vladimir the Great, to further strengthen ties with Byzantium, and to raise the prestige of Russia started the first coinage of Russian coins. They are called "pieces of silver" (from "silver" - silver, money) and "gold" (from the word "gold" - gold). The mint was located in Kiev.

Сребреник Владимира
Srebrenik Of Vladimir

Made "silver" in the likeness of the Byzantine solidus, but of larger size (approx as already leaving at that time, dirhams). Their weight was within 3-3. 5 grams, the obverse side depicted the Prince on the throne with a Trident in his hand – a symbol of princely power. On the reverse side, at first, was Christ, and later appeared a large Trident, made in every detail. The inscription reads: "Vladimir on the table, and behold his silver" (i.e., "Vladimir on the throne, and it is his money"). Circles for coinage were cut from the silver sheet almost always had an imperfect form.

Apparently the Srebrenica became known as the nogat, as a more full-fledged quality coin, unlike small denarii – kun. Perhaps the pieces of silver were not involved in the appeal, or is used extremely infrequently, it confirms the lack of finds. In total there are about 400 pieces of silver. Their coinage was stopped by Yaroslav the Wise, in the future two centuries in Russia, coins were not minted at all, and revived the production with Dmitry Donskoy.

Златник Владимира
Zlatnik, Vladimir (from the exposition of the Hermitage)

Gold in General are isolated finds. They were minted only during the reign of Vladimir the Great and repeated Byzantine solidi, only with the image of a Russian Prince and Russian inscriptions: "Vladimir on the table, and behold his gold". On the reverse side was the image of Christ.

Gold of Vladimir is known in two versions: with the tops of the letters facing outward, and the tops facing toward the center. Vladimir Srebrenica are divided into 4 types: 1 – the image of Christ on the reverse side;
2 is a depiction of the Prince, on the reverse is a Trident;
3 – Prince sits on the throne, on the reverse is a Trident;
4 – the Prince is on the back of the Trident.

Known to collectors of rare silver coins belonging to the reign of Prince Oleg-Mikhail (before baptism - Oleg, then Michael) on the territory of the Tmutarakan (1083-1094.). This small Principality was situated on the Taman Peninsula near the Azov and Black seas, and belonged to Russia from 965 until the end of the XI century. The power over these lands was able to establish after the defeat of the Khazar Khaganate by Svyatoslav Igorevich, and later they moved to Byzantium. According to another version of the coin may belong to the reign of Mstislav the Daring (988-1036).

Coinless period

In the "Russian truth" – the first code of laws of Ancient Rus, created by Yaroslav the Wise, there is a list of punishments for various crimes. Most of them monetary fines, denominated in UAH. It was then, in the XI century in Kiev the hryvnia has been gradually transformed from the counting unit in a bar of silver of a certain weight. Much later hryvnia-bars appeared in other political centres, such as Novgorod, Pskov, Polotsk, Chernigov. They are all significantly different from each other, since the outbreak of feudal fragmentation led to the isolated development of separate territories.

After the influx of dirhams from Eastern countries, in parts of the country (mostly in the South) began to disappear coins from circulation. In any case, no finds Dating back to quite a long period. European denarius some time supplied the Central, Volga and North-West, but their treatment of XII-XIII centuries, began to fade. This period historians call coinless, though he has no pronounced temporal and territorial boundaries. For example, in Kiev, and many of the southern Russian principalities coinless period lasted from the XI century to the entry of Ukraine in the part of the Lithuanian Principality in the XIII century. In Novgorod he began in the second half of the XII century and ended in about 200 years. The studies make it difficult sparse finds of hoards, which are filled with mostly silver bullion, difficult Dating.

It is believed that the appearance of the ingots is due to subsidence of a large number of coins from the rich sectors of society. The population most likely returned to barter and money substitutes (cowrie shells, furs). Because of the uselessness of coins began to be melted down into more convenient storage of the ingots, they were used for large calculations. Another version – the increased pressure from the Mongol invaders. Although in this case it is unclear why the South coinless period began 150 years before the Mongol invasion. Of course, many of the hryvnia-bars could go as a tribute to the Tatar-Mongols, perhaps one made "Volga of the hryvnia," Dating from the XIV century. In any case, the main factor was the division of Russia into independent principalities substantially isolated from each other, which led to the reduced influence of trade.

At the same time, for yet unknown reasons increases the weight of the accounts of the hryvnia kun with about 75-80 grams in the X century to 160 in XI. There was an accurate weight standard, called the coin "Kiev hryvnia" or "hryvnia South" because find the bars of this weight in the former southern principalities. The hryvnia had a diamond shape with slightly rounded inside edges and flattened on the long end. One part of the ingot was flat and the other convex and porous due to air entrapment in the casting.

Киевские гривны
Kiev hryvnia
(from the exposition of the Hermitage)

The Novgorod ingots are quite similar to Kiev. Treasures with them to discover throughout the vast Republic of Novgorod and also in the Tver and Pskov Principality. Have the form of smooth sticks, flattened on one side. The weight is also very different and is within 200 grams.

In the Western regions (most often in Belarus) find treasures like Novgorod silver sticks, but at least the right shape and weight as the Kiev – 160-170 grams. Due to the proximity of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania called them "Lithuanian", but you can often find the phrase "Ruthenian torque", which is more correct. In the vicinity of Chernihiv rare finds hexagonal 200-gram ingots, strongly flattened with a hammer. And in the Volga region was made a so-called "'s the scaphoid" hryvnia weighing approximately 200 grams. Form rook of the ingot was obtained due to the swinging forms in the process of solidification of silver. Like Kiev, they have a porous structure of the bottom and smooth the top.

Later the southern clade detect a thickened hexagonal bars weighing as Novgorod, which indicates the resumption of trade relations of Novgorod and Kiev. Probably tapered Chernihiv hryvnia was made of them. There are other versions, such as that all Chernihiv hryvnia – the result of smelting in 1288 precious vessels on the order of Volynsk Prince Vladimir Vasilkovich.

The Hermitage has a gold ingot weighing 94 grams, was found in 1903 in the territory of Belarus. It's hard to say whether he was the means of payment. It is possible that it got to Russia raw materials for the manufacture of European gold solidi. Historians estimate the change rate of gold to silver at that time as approximately 12:1 (some say 10:1), it turns out that the ingot was 5 Novgorod hryvnia.

At the end of the XIII century reduced the fineness of silver from Novgorod ingots. Began to produce thickened in the center of the bars, naplavlena additional part of the money to return them to familiar values. Apparently the merchants were refused to accept the hryvnia, in which pure silver was only 170, so I had to increase the volume of pure silver. Among numismatists such hryvnia referred to as "humpback". It is not excluded that poor silver was imported with the objective disorder of the economic system of Novgorod. At this time, trade began to shift from barter to cash, and petty cash UAH cut into pieces, getting poltinas, quarters, etc. From the word "hack" was the name of the hryvnia new type – "ruble". Poltinas and rubles were often branded. In the later hoards coinless period, almost all copies burned, and as much as UAH is much smaller.

With the flourishing of trade has once again changed accounts the concept of "torque". Now they began to call the tenth part of a ruble. This notion was confirmed for many centuries, and is still a 10-copeck coin, some called the "dime". With the revival of the coinage in the XIV-XV centuries, the bars disappear, yielding place again to the coins.

Recommended reading:

1. I. G. Spassky. "The Russian monetary system".

2. A. V. Oreshnikov. "Russian coins before 1547".

Photos provided by site users: Admin, Сергей32

Other articles on the history of coins:

Coins of the Russian principalities
Coins of the Russian state XVI-XVII centuries.
Coins of the Russian Empire
Coins of the USSR
Coins Bank Of Russia

Other articles on the history of Russian money

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