Suevic Kingdom of Gallaecia, Time of Hermeric, Rechila and Rechiar - A Unique Variant

Article Image

The generic term Suevi is applied to a group of West Germanic peoples of whom the most important were the Alamanni, which settled in south-western Germany in what is now called Schwaben (Swabia). In 406 much of the tribe joined the Vandals, Quadi and Alans in breaching the Roman frontier at Mainz and launching an invasion of Gaul. In their company the Suevi crossed the Pyrenees in 409 and settled in the western half of the Roman province of Gallæcia (modern-day Galicia in Spain and northern Portugal) where, swearing loyalty to the Emperor Honorius, they obtained the status of foederati in about 410/11. By the 430s their king Hermeric had established a virtually independent state around the Roman capital of Gallæcia, Bracara Augusta (modern Braga). The indigenous Hispano-Roman population did not take kindly to the new settlers and it was not until the mid-5th century that the situation became more peaceful. Hermeric abdicated in favour of his son Rechila in 438, and on the death of Rechila in 448 his bellicose and ambitious son Rechiar, newly converted to Catholicism, inherited the crown. Rechiar died in 455 after being defeated by the Visigothic king Theodoric II. Subsequently the Suevian kingdom in Gallæcia was divided in two, with the boundary line at the River Minho, with different kings ruling each side of the river. The last king of the Suevi, Andeca, was defeated by the forces of the Visigothic king Leovigild in 585.

Suevic kingdom of Gallaecia AV Tremissis. Time of Hermeric, Rechila and Rechiar. Bracara Augusta, AD 425-455. In the name of Valentinian III. DN VΛLTININΛT, Diademed, draped and cuirassed bust right with prominent jewelled fibula and jewelled paludamentum over left shoulder; all within beaded border / Cross pattée within double wreathed circles, flanked by two lateral beaded and curved rectangles; in left rectangle, ligate BR; wreath ties above and CONOB in exergue; the whole composition within beaded border. For the contemporary analogous tremisses see J.M. Peixoto Cabral and D.M. Metcalf, A moeda sueva - Suevic Coinage, Porto 1997, p. 285, 3-6 (retrograde BR) and p. 289, 1-2 (inverted BR); W. Reinhart, ‘Die Münzen des Schwebenreiches’, in Mittailungen der bayerischen Numismatiischen Gesellschaft 55, 1937, pp. 151-190, pl. 35, 54 pl. 36, 67 (inverted BR), pl. 36 70-3 (BR retrograde); A. Gomez, Moedas portuguesas, Lisboa 2003, p.45, 02.5 (ligate BR retrograde, valued at € 7,500); for B-R as a mint mark cf. RIC X, 3786 (siliqua in the name of Rechiar, ‘ivssv rechiari reges’) and Dix Noonan Webb sale 27 September 2007, 2861 (Solidus in the name of Honorius); for generic group of tremisses without BR cf. MEC I, 286-92. 1.28g, 16mm, 1h.

Extremely Fine. Unique variant.