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The E-Sylum:  Volume 9, Number 53, December 31, 2006, Article 4

BOOK REVIEW: ZACCA - THE MINT OF VENICE IN THE MIDDLE AGES

Jorg Lueke submitted this review of the book by Alan Stahl, "Zecca -
The Mint of Venice in the Middle Ages" (2000, John Hopkins University
Press):

"Zecca is an impressively researched historical work focusing adeptly
on its subject: the Venetian mint in the middle ages. The narrative is
very readable and the presentation uses footnotes to annotate the
voluminous amount of source material that went into the creation of
this work. The book focuses first on the coinage itself, the medieval
penny, the grosso, the ducat, and finally the soldino. Each era goes
into great detail on the weights, the fineness, and the people making
the decisions to have the coins made.

"The book then goes back and examines each of the roles of the mint
employees in additional detail. From the mintmasters and engravers to
the smiths and weighers the duties of each position are laid out. In
addition, salaries and legal documents help flesh out some of the
actual persons and the work done at the mint.

"The book left me with a thirst for more knowledge about Venice's
history. There is little background in the book on some of the
external reasons that caused some of the decisions presented in this
work. I think this is definitely a must-read for those people who have
a strong interest in both history and numismatics.

"It is not so well suited for the casual reader who will undoubtedly
get bored by the finer details of how many pennies are in a mark, and
which minor noble filled the role of mintmaster. But if the reader is
interested in medieval coinage, even if it is not Italian, than this
work will provide a ton of insightful information on mint practices
and medieval monetary policy."

  Wayne Homren, Editor

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To submit items for publication in The E-Sylum, write to the Editor 
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