OF LOMBARD AND CAROLINGIAN ITALY
Among the provinces which constituted the western Roman empire, Italy had a particular destiny, and not just because of its centrality in the Mediterranean region: the kingdom of Theoderic, far from representing a break, explicitly described itself as a restoration of the ancient Roman order; the Justinianic conquest further reinforced connections with the Roman-Byzantine tradition. Italy's “Mediterranean vocation”decisively influenced the process of its transformation from the late antique to the medieval era. Nor was this vocation eradicated by the Lombard invasion, however violent it might have been; and it probably explains, at least in part, the marginal character that Italian Carolingian coin issues seem to have had, when compared with those of other more central regions of the Frankish empire.
The weight of Roman-Byzantine tradition is particularly evident in the evolution of the monetary systems adopted in Italy, which, as we shall see, followed different paths from the coinages of the other Roman-barbarian kingdoms, except, in part, in the use of bronze coinage.1 In northern Italy, conquered by the Lombards in 568, the____________________