Jonathan Lyon

title.none: Kamp, Moneta regis (Jonathan Lyon)

identifier.other: baj9928.0803.009 08.03.09

identifier.issn: 1096-746X

description.statementofresponsibility: Jonathan Lyon, University of Chicago,

publisher.none: .

date.issued: 2008

identifier.citation: Kamp. Norbert. Moneta Regis: Königliche Münzstätten und königliche Münzpolitik in der Stauferzeit. Monumenta Germaniae Historica, Schriften, vol. 55. Hannover: Hahnsche Buchhandlung, 2006. Pp. liv, 571. $95.00 3-7752-5755-1. ISBN: .

type.none: Review

relation.ispartof: The Medieval Review

The Medieval Review 08.03.09

Kamp. Norbert. Moneta Regis: Königliche Münzstätten und königliche Münzpolitik in der Stauferzeit. Monumenta Germaniae Historica, Schriften, vol. 55. Hannover: Hahnsche Buchhandlung, 2006. Pp. liv, 571. $95.00 3-7752-5755-1. ISBN: .

Reviewed by:

Jonathan Lyon
University of Chicago

This volume is not a new work but rather the first published edition of Norbert Kamp's 1957 dissertation, which he wrote under Percy Ernst Schramm at the University of Göttingen. Because it has remained throughout the last fifty years the only detailed book-length study of the Staufen kings' mints, minting rights, coinage and monetary strategies north of the Alps, various attempts have been made since the early 1960s to make this study accessible to a broader public. But despite a long-standing invitation from the Monumenta Germaniae Historica to publish the work, Kamp was unable to complete a revised and updated version prior to his death in 1999. Thanks to his widow, the text has finally appeared in the MGH's Schriften series.

Because Kamp never completed any revisions, the version of his work contained in this edition is essentially the text of his original 1957 dissertation-with a few additions. There is a brief introductory note written by the president of the MGH, Rudolf Schieffer, explaining the history of the work. Staff members at the MGH created an index of people and places. The footnotes have been updated to include references to the MGH's volumes of the edited charters of King Conrad III and Emperor Frederick I, which had yet to be published in 1957. And most importantly, there is a new 24-page Afterword, in which Reiner Cunz explains the significance of Kamp's work and discusses the pertinent scholarship of the last fifty years, especially in the field of numismatics, that has built on Kamp's work or has shed light on the topic of Staufen-era mints and coinage.

Kamp's dissertation itself-which is over 500 pages here-is an impressive piece of research and scholarship. As Kamp explains in the opening pages, the number of mints north of the Alps under direct royal control dropped dramatically over the course of the Salian period. Then, during the late twelfth and early thirteenth centuries, the Staufen kings (especially Frederick I Barbarossa) acquired several pre-existing mints and founded numerous new ones in an apparent attempt to restore royal influence over the German kingdom's coinage. The main purpose of Kamp's work, therefore, is to examine this revival of royal minting under the Staufen and to explore how and why these rulers employed mints as part of their broader economic and administrative strategies.

Kamp divides his work into three main parts. The first section relies predominantly on written sources-especially royal charters-and provides an overview of minting under the Ottonian and Salian rulers before turning to a detailed examination of the nature of Staufen control over mints and minting rights until the death of Emperor Frederick II in 1250. In the second section, Kamp explores in great depth the sources for three Staufen-controlled mints: those at Nürnberg, Donauwörth near Augsburg, and Schongau near Augsburg. If there is a section of this work that feels somewhat out-of-date, it is this one. Kamp relies almost exclusively on numismatic evidence here, but as Reiner Cunz points out in his Afterword, there have been numerous important coin finds since 1957 that have had a significant impact on how numismatists understand Staufen-era coinage. The third section of the work sees Kamp broaden his study of royal mints by considering a series of other Staufen minting sites, including Lübeck, Goslar and Schwäbisch Hall. Kamp combines written sources and numismatic evidence in this section to analyze the impact of royal mints and minting on the different regions of the German kingdom where the Staufen rulers attempted to exert influence over coinage.

The picture Kamp paints is a complex and fascinating one. As he explains, there was no unified Staufen policy in the sphere of coinage and no one type of coin that was minted in all royal mints. Each royal mint therefore must be analyzed individually because the Staufen had to contend with different issues in each of the various regions where they controlled mints. Since many secular-and especially ecclesiastical-princes had acquired the right to mint their own coins during the pre-Staufen period and wanted their own coinage to be used at local markets and in regional trade, the kings frequently found themselves in competition with the princes. As a result, Kamp argues, the Staufen were most successful at implementing their own minting strategies in places like eastern Franconia and Upper Swabia, where royal authority was strong thanks to large complexes of royal estates and numerous royal towns. In contrast, in places along the middle and lower Rhine-especially near Cologne-and in the far north of the empire where the kings had to contend with powerful local lords and a limited royal territorial foothold, Staufen attempts to control minting and coinage were largely unsuccessful.

While Kamp's dissertation may at times feel outdated because of the availability today of more numismatic evidence, it more than compensates for this problem by offering a refreshingly clear discussion of royal and princely competition in the German empire that steers clear of debates about the German Sonderweg and the nature of the medieval German "state." Without passing any judgment on the Staufen rulers or their policies, Kamp effectively argues that these kings could not develop a coherent minting policy because the entrenched bishops, and to a lesser extent the secular magnates, had no intention of allowing the Staufen to interfere with their own mints and minting rights. Emperor Frederick I initiated a policy that enabled him to increase significantly the number of mints in royal hands, but this policy had only limited long-term success. Indeed, in 1220 and again in 1231/1232, his grandson Emperor Frederick II granted even more control over minting to the princes, a reflection of thirteenth-century political realities within the kingdom north of the Alps. Kamp views none of this through the lens of a Staufen failure to centralize the royal government or the princes' inability to recognize the advantages of following a French or English-style path toward the modern nation-state. The work's detailed and convincing analysis of the history of Staufen mints and minting policies rarely betrays its 1957 composition date.

Historians working in Germany during the immediate post-war period did not have as many opportunities to publish their works as German scholars have today. Another dissertation frequently cited in recent studies on the Staufen period, Günter Gattermann's 2-volume Die deutschen Fürsten auf der Reichsheerfahrt, completed in 1956, remains unpublished and difficult to obtain outside Germany. And the 1961 Habilitation of one of the most influential German medievalists of the last half-century, Karl Schmid, was not published until 1998. Rudolf Schieffer and the Monumenta Germaniae Historica are therefore to be commended for making Kamp's dissertation accessible to a broader audience. Fifty years after its completion, this work still merits close scrutiny, and it can add much to our understanding of Staufen rulership. Hopefully, this type of publishing work will continue so that other valuable studies of medieval German history will be saved from obscurity.