Russian money
History of russian money

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Coins of the Russian principalities

  1. Russia in the feudal period
  2. The beginning of coinage in Moscow
  3. The spread of coinage
  4. The start of the regular gold coinage
  5. Recommended reading

Russia in the feudal period

In the middle of XIII century Russia was a vast territory of forest-steppe in the South to the White sea in the North, East and South-East borders with the Golden Horde, and in the West with the burgeoning Duchy of Lithuania, had already managed to include Ukraine and part of Belarus. Bulgaria was occupied by the Tatar-Mongols and became part of the Golden Horde. Surrounded on all sides by enemies of Rus were United, she had already collapsed on public education, called the great principalities. Within and at the borders there were fiefdoms of the land inherited to the descendants of the great princes, which was not destined to take the throne.

Клад монет Золотой Орды и полтин
Hoard of coins of the Golden Horde and poltina
(Museum of the Moscow Kremlin)

Stood out some of the most major great principalities: Moscow, Suzdal-Nizhny Novgorod, Tver, Pskov, Ryazan. In the North and North-West, a vast territory occupied Novgorod land, which later became a Republic. On the territory it occupied almost half of all Russia. Its capital, existed Novgorod Veche – a people's Assembly, with whom the Prince was forced to discuss political issues. To get into the chamber could only be a citizen of a noble family. In General, the control of the Republic was similar with the ancient Greek Polis, the founder of democracy. Citizens of the lower classes and peasants in meetings did not participate. On the borders of the principalities had commercial ("free") the city is not included in the Principality, and who lived solely by the merchant. Among these stood out the most cities of Torzhok, situated on the road from Tver to Novgorod.

Золотые монеты Чингисхана
Gold coins of Genghis Khan
(from the exposition of the Hermitage)

The constant internal war gradually began to subside, as from the East came a new threat – the Tatar-Mongol invasion led by Batu Khan – grandson of the great Genghis Khan. The ruin of cities, the imposition of tribute helped to unite the population. Began to emerge the unions between the kingdoms, including shopping. As money at first used silver hryvnia-bars and their parts, but then they gave way to the Golden Horde silver coins. Gold could be used, but as before – only limited.

Монеты Золотой Орды
Coins Of The Golden Horde
(from the exposition of the Hermitage)

Historians can't agree what constitutes the Tatar-Mongol yoke. On the one hand it is a great disaster nearly put an end to the Russian state. On the other it led to the unification of the Slavs and the development of trade relations, including with the Golden Horde. Took place in the XIII century regular devastating raids gave way to treaties. Russian Grand Dukes received a shortcut to reign in the capital of the Horde – Sarai (near modern Astrakhan). However, the struggle for dominance among the princes, until the top is won in Moscow.

The beginning of coinage in Moscow

In the second half of the XIV century in Moscow in the reign of Dmitry Donskoi, grandson of the first Moscow Prince Ivan Kalita. He was the first who was able to give the Mongols a decisive rebuff, organizing the famous battle of Kulikovo in 1380. The battle is joined not only the Moscow soldiers, but also representatives of other principalities. The exception was only the Ryazan forced to stand on the side of the Golden Horde. The victory consolidated the previously disparate peoples, and Moscow began to stand out against other cities. To further consolidate power and the beginning of the gathering of the Russian lands in Moscow began to mint its own coins.

Moscow's first coins were made from Novgorod hryvnia-bars, pulling them to the wire and cutting into 200 pieces. These pieces of flattened, after which they were nacatamales images and inscriptions. The coin was small (about 1 gram) and irregularly shaped, resembling fish scales. Among collectors, these coins are called "scales". The denomination was one – "Deng", this word was borrowed from the Tatar language. In order to maintain trade relations with the Golden Horde, the first coins were made with the Tatar inscriptions, but had the image, in contrast to the Mongol. There is a theory that this is a forced condition of the coinage, since Rus was a vassal of the Golden Horde. The Governor – Basil I the Tatar inscriptions began to fade into the background and then disappeared altogether.

Most of the Tatar inscriptions have no meaning, they just copied from the coins of the Golden Horde, and the specified name is Khan may not match the time of minting. This greatly confuses researchers. But there are even more sophisticated in identifying coins that even the Russian inscription does not include the name of the Prince, and only the title of "Great Prince." Such coins usually attributed to uncertain, their Dating is only possible approximately by the nature of the drawings.

The spread of coinage

Almost simultaneously with the Moscow coinage appeared in Nizhny Novgorod – the capital of the Suzdal-Nizhny Novgorod Principality. In the early XV century money began to be minted in Tver, then Novgorod and Pskov. In the second half of the XV century coin appeared in the principalities (usually in the vicinity of Moscow).

For a long time was engaged in chasing denezhnyi ("silver") – artisans, made by order of Prince stamps and minted coin. Every denezhny put on the coin sign, it now allows collectors to catalog the individual coins. With the development of coin circulation in denezhnyi began to employ chasers. The first real coin (money) the courts came only after the unification of Russia.

Монеты Новгорода
Coins Of Novgorod
(from the exposition of the Hermitage)

Denezhnyi hired Prince among merchants, who had much silver. Received the right to mint denezhny could distribute their coins by trading, thus developing the influence of the Prince. The same denezhny could simultaneously work on the coins of different princes, or to move from one to the other.

In the XV century the Golden Horde yoke was greatly weakened, many princes became so powerful that he refused to pay tribute. Standing on the Ugra 1480 marked the end of Mongol influence. Foreign coins almost disappeared from circulation, and trade flourished. Russian coins now formed the basis of monetary circulation is not only Russia, but also in the former territories of the Golden Horde. At this time there are additional "small change" coins – poludana and chetverina. In Tver and Novgorod widely spread copper pools, the shape and the size of the money, but they were appreciated. It is assumed that the pool would be equal to 1/60 of money, but it is conditional relationship that might have to change.

Медный пул Новгорода
Copper pool Novgorod

Novgorod and Pskov money at first, too, were minted from UAH bars, but one bar did 216, not 200 as in Moscow. Gradually the weight of money was reduced, showing a kind of "inflation" of the middle ages. During the reign of Ivan III the average weight of Moscow dengue decreased from 0.8 g to 0.4 g. For the differences lightweight the Moscow coins from Novgorod came up with their names – "coal tit" and "Novgorodka".

The images on the coins were different. In Moscow has gradually established an image of a horseman with a sword (probably a Prince, or George), on the reverse side of the label. In the early coins it is possible to see a rider with a spear, or a bird that starting with Ivan the terrible were pictured on the penny and the cushions. On the money of Novgorod, Pskov and Tver, and also in part on the coins of Vasily the Dark room for creativity is simply huge: here you can see animals, birds, scenes of Commerce, horsemen, and mythical creatures, ornaments, devils and even the two-headed eagle. Found lots of coins with double-sided drawings, in this case, the inscription is made on a circle. Due to the limited size and uneven shape of the circle image and the labels don't always fit on the coin.

Монеты Великого княжества Тверского
Coins of the Grand Duchy of Tver
(from the exposition of the Hermitage)

Even with well readable labels to draw a conclusion about the place of hard coinage. The full name of the Prince mentioned not always, often made to reduce, or even placed the inscription: "the Grand Duke", "Prince of print", etc. In many cases only have the name. While the number of specific and great princes to make a conclusion about the place of coinage is sometimes possible only by using similar types of images, or the same signs denezhnikovo. For example, if the sign is present on the coin of Vasily the Dark and unreadable, then it is likely that coins of the same period. To mark the exact date then, in General, was not accepted.

An interesting example of the flourishing of the individual cities solely due to the trade can be observed when looking at coins of Torzhok. This city, as mentioned above, was at the junction of the Tver and Novgorod principalities, where there were active trading activity. These coins are very rare, the weight is in the range of 0.36 g, the front side depicts a bird, on the reverse the inscription "novotor" ("New Bargain" - the name of the city in those days).

In the former Ryazan Principality find the treasure with a very unusual coins. They are all quite heavy (0,9-1 g), have a large diameter. The earliest copies are the Tatar coins with coinage over them Tamga – a special sign of the Ryazan princes, resembling the head of a RAM. Ryazan was very closely connected with the Golden Horde, and in many ways was even closer to her than to Russia. To preserve friendly ties with its powerful neighbor, has United against Russia.

Монеты Великого княжества Рязанского
Coins of the Grand Duchy of Ryazan
(from the exposition of the Hermitage)

With the weakening of Tatar influence of the Golden Horde coins began to fully recoin and, in addition to tamgas, add the title of Grand Duke. When Ivan Fedorovich (1427-1456) traces of Peresecina already not observed. And then later at the beginning of the XVI century in Ryazan began to make lightweight coins without tamgas similar to Moscow, but with images of animals. This testifies to the close ties with Moscow. There were even copper pools, such as Novgorod and Tver.

Тверские пулы
Tver pools
(from the exposition of the Hermitage)

In Novgorod and Pskov was taken to denote the place of minting in the form of letters, or plain text. On the money of Pskov is the letters "SS" and Novgorod – "N" or "Denga Novgorod".

Монеты удельного княжества Галичского
The coins of the principalities of Galich
(from the exposition of the Hermitage)

When Vasily the Dark was a struggle with the Galician feudal princes, who, by the way, minted the coin. To approve the Central government, on the coins of this period were sometimes placed the inscription "all of the Russian land". Then absolutely all Moscow coins appeared the inscription "hospodar all Russia" (Tsar of all Russia), which existed before the reform, 1534-1547.

Монеты удельного княжества Дмитровского
Coins fiefdoms Dmitrov
(from the exposition of the Hermitage)

Imagine Novgorod's trade in the fifteenth century. Paved area with numerous shelves, on which you could find almost everything from bread and brew to overseas wonders (porcelain tableware, tea). Merchants dressed in expensive robes mixed with the peasants in sandals and traditional Russian shirts. Travelled everywhere the smell of fish local catch, Mead, which was cooked there. The sellers were shouting to each other, praising their goods. The poor layers of society, as a rule, lived at the expense of their own economy, but to go to the market for winter clothes and tools still had. There they were exchanged directly, or coins sacks of grain. Pockets of clothes not existed, the bags of coins were just tied to the belt, and sometimes even the money was hidden in his mouth from the ubiquitous thieves. Recalculation of tiny coins of different weight and size caused considerable difficulties, so the merchants had to be generalists. They are using simple tools determined the sample of silver, knew the place of coinage. Seeing a small coin with a bird merchant understood: "it is Moscow's mite" and larger with the image of crowned heads at once associated with the Pskov – is a mythological Prince Dovmont, the patron of the city. Your Novgorod coins experienced eye recognized at once: it is quite distinct the two figures representing the adoration of the Hagia Sophia, though there were other images.

Монеты удельного княжества Можайского
The coins of the Principality Mozhaisk
(from the exposition of the Hermitage)

The facts of forgery of coins are virtually absent or just difficult to recognize from the variety of the money supply. Counterfeiters at the time used one method, called the "haircut." Due to the irregular shape of coins of various sizes, few could notice the cut edge, except that the experienced merchants, or in the weighing of the batch of coins. Having collected a large number of scraps, you could melt a piece of silver, or imitation available in circulation coin. At that time the counterfeiters were called "crazy people", some of the Tver and Moscow coins are even threatening the inscriptions, addressed to "insane".

The start of the regular gold coinage

Gold in Russia acted only as an additional measure of wealth, and in very rare cases. Participated in treatment or not, were coming from other countries gold coins, hard to say. Isolated cases of issue "zlatniki" when Vladimir the Great was more of an attempt to consolidate power.

Starting with Ivan III was a tradition to mint premium gold coins. The first known "Golden Ugric" (from "Agordina" - Hungary, on the model of which it was minted) is stored in the Hermitage. It depicts a Hungarian Prince, around the name and the title of the Russian ruler, on the reverse side the coat of arms of Hungary and the title of son of Ivan Ivanovich. Size and weight (3.5 g) corresponding to the European Ducat. In addition to the "Ugric", had other names: "tsesarskaya", "menicacci".

The document 1484 Prince is instructed to provide two foreign artisans gold coin on travel costs. To invite for the erection of important buildings, foreign architects was then common. For example, some temples of the Moscow Kremlin, built by Italian craftsmen. That is, Ugric could be taken as payment.

Угорский Бориса Годунова
Ugric the time of Boris Godunov
(from the exposition of the Hermitage)

The main purpose of minting gold coins, as under Ivan III, and when later rulers to reward for feats of arms. They were given to generals, wealthy nobles, and foreign ambassadors. To a large extent it was proof of great power over the entire Russian land, because it was under Ivan III created a set of laws, was abolished many fiefdoms, and coin minting was concentrated in Moscow, Novgorod and Pskov. There were the first mints that minted a coin of silver of the Treasury.

Recommended reading:

1. I. G. Spassky. "The Russian monetary system".
2. A. V. Oreshnikov. "Russian coins before 1547".

Other articles on the history of coins:

Monetary circulation of Ancient Russia
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

Translated from the russian language service "Yandex.Translator» -

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