MEROVINGIANS. Royal Issues. Theudebert I, king of Austrasia, 534-548. Nummus (Bronze, 14 mm, 1.29 g, 5 h), Marseille, after 536. Christogram within wreath. Rev. Monogram of Theudebert I. Belfort 5462. Depeyrot 18. Extremely rare and of great historical interest. Attractive earthen deposits. Very fine.
The Provence had been in Ostrogothic possession since the war of 508-511, when an army led by the generals Ibba and Mammo defeated a large Frankish force somewhere in southern Gaul. Soon after Belisar's landing in Italy, however, the hard-pressured Ostrogothic King Vitiges (536-540) offered the Gaulish province to the Merovingians to avoid a war on two fronts, and it is then that the Frankish Kings gained permanent access to the Mediterranean Sea. Our coin, which bears the monogram of Theudebert I, King of Austrasia, was struck shortly after these events in Marseille, possibly in the Abbey of Saint Victor, where fourteen of the seventeen pieces recorded by Depeyrot have shown up in an excavation.