Art & Architecture

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Cluny denarius, 12th century

In 930, Raoul, King of the Franks, granted the abbots of Cluny the right to coin money. This important privilege was confirmed shortly afterwards by a diploma from Pope John XI.

The Cluny denarius had a very high value compared to other coins of the time. The abbey stopped minting during the 13th century. On the obverse, the legend PETRVS ET PAVLVS recalls the abbey's dedication to Saints Peter and Paul. The monks of Cluny began minting coins in Souvigny at the end of the 11th century, then in Cluny in the first third of the 12th century.

In the center, the field is adorned with a key, the traditional attribute of Saint Peter. The reverse bears the legend CLUNIACO CENOBIO (monastery of Cluny) and the field features a cross, as do most coins of this period. The study of the monetary treasure discovered in the abbey during excavations carried out by Lyon II University and the CNRS in 2017 will soon increase our knowledge of the little-known Cluny coinage.

Musée d'Art et d'Archéologie de Cluny
Eglise abbatiale Cluny III
inv. 88.1.1

Denier de Cluny, XIIe siècle

© Centre des monuments nationaux / Florian Galletti

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The Cluny Museum of Art and Archaeology

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Salle du musée d'art et d'archéologie de Cluny