I think the main problem is that any VM written in a higher-level language will be too slow for practical use. That's why the Java VM and Mono are written in C (and .Net is written in C++?). The compiler doesn't matter so much, it's only involved once in the execution process and can be written in a higher-level language, but for the actual runtime you need to get as close to the metal as you can which means writing it in C.
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