Charles the Bald:
Edict of Pistes, 864
The Council of Pistes was held in A.D. 864 and Charles the Bald there made full
provision for the minting and acceptance of coinage, and regulated the punishment for
counterfeiting. Prior to this edict at least nine places in France had the right of
minting but these were reduced to three, the palace being one of them. This is one of the
most complete and informative documents on Carolingian coinage.
C.8. It is ordered that denarii of all kinds, of proper weight and full content,
just as is contained in the capitularies of our predecessors and royal progenitors, in the
fourth book, the thirty-second capitulary, should not be rejected until Martinmas . . .
nor should good denarii be rejected, but they should not be accepted unless properly and
C.10. And from the time of the feast of St. Martin throughout our whole realm,
no denarii, except those of our new mintage should be accepted. And from that day any one
who produces another denarius for a business transaction should be deprived of it by the
count or other official, just as is contained in the second book of capitularies, in the
C.11. And on the denarius of our new money there should be on the one side our
name in a circle and the monogram of our name in the center, and on the other side the
name of the state and a cross in the center.
C.12. Following the custom of our predecessors, just as it is found in their
capitularies, we decree that in no other place in all our kingdom shall money be made
except in our palace, and in St. Josse and Rouen, which right in the past belonged to St.
Josse, and in Rheims, Sens, Paris, Orleans, Chalon-sur-Saone, Melle, and Narbonne.
C.13. And those who have control of the money, with no desire for favor or gain,
should select faithful coiners, as if they were seeking our favor and the grace of God.
And the coiners should themselves take oaths that they will perform their office
faithfully, as well as they know how. And they should not coin a denarius of mixed metal
nor one of light weight, nor should they consent to such a thing. And, without any
deception or evil disposition towards those whose silver they accept for purifying, they
should cleanse the silver, and without practicing any deception in weighing it, they
should change the purified silver into denarii. If it be reported that any one has acted
contrary to his oath, he will be tried by the judgment of God; and if it be proved that he
acted contrary to his oath he will lose his hand just as was decreed for false coiners in
book four of the capitularies, chapter thirty-three, and as a sacrilegious person and
despoiler of the poor he will be subjected to public penance by order of the bishop;---for
he committed no greater fraud if he coined a denarius of mixed metal or of light weight
than he would have done by taking the silver of the State, or of the Church, or of the
poor, in purging and coining silver with evil intent. In those regions where trials are
conducted according to Roman law, he will be tried in accordance with that law.
C.18. And if a false coiner from those places, in which we have decreed that
money shall be made, stamps money secretly or offers a false denarius in a business
transaction, so that he cannot be caught and punished; he will be seized by our minister,
just as has been decreed, if he seeks refuge in our fisc, in any privileged place, or on
the estate of any powerful person whatsoever.
C.19. In order that this provision for the non-rejection of good denarii, and
concerning the making of false denarii, might be better observed, we wish that every
overseer cause the markets of his district to be catalogued, that he report to us what
markets there were in the time of our grandfather, and what new ones began in the time of
our father, and what were established by his authority, and what markets began to come
into existence in our own time, which of them remained in their ancient locations, and, if
they had been changed, by whose authority they had been changed.
From: Monumenta Germaniae Historiae, Legum, Alfred Boretius and Victor Krause,
eds., (Hanover, I897), Sectio II, Tome II, pp. 314-319; reprinted in Roy C. Cave &
Herbert H. Coulson, eds., A Source Book for Medieval Economic History, (Milwaukee:
The Bruce Publishing Co., 1936; reprint ed., New York: Biblo & Tannen, 1965), pp.
Scanned by Jerome S. Arkenberg, Cal. State Fullerton. The text has been modernized by
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© Paul Halsall, October 1998