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Bezants is a medieval name for gold coins. Gold coins were not minted in early medieval Western Europe with silver and bronze being the currency of choice, but they did circulate there in small numbers, originating from the Mediterranean region, in particular Islamic and Byzantine gold coins were highly prized. These gold coins were commonly called bezants, taken from the word Byzantium, the Latinized form of the original Greek name (Βυζάντιον or "Byzántion") of the capital, Constantinople, where the gold coins typically came from and were associated with since the time of Constantine.

Gold coinage was re-introduced to Europe in 1252 when the city of Florence began minting gold coins known as the florin.

Gold coins in 10th and 11th century England were valued at two shillings sterling. The gold:silver ratio was 1:9.

Typically gold coins were used when payments had some special ritual significance, or to show a sign of respect.

In heraldry, bezants are gold discs (roundels). Their name as a charge probably comes from the name of the coins.

[edit] See also

it:Bisante (moneta)


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