Medieval and cash coins > Christian world

Age of golden coin? Two metal tests have been made

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As you may know, the problem with early medieval history is monks. They made hand-written copies all the time, but embellished and bent texts towards a view favourable to the church, making gross translation errors if the text was in another language. Now, if you can't trust contemporary witnesses and you should never trust non-contemporary early medieval texts, there isn't much you can prove. You can only deal in likelihoods.

Texts on conversions are especially untrustworthy, as the church had a direct interest in them. AFAIK, there are two texts that speak about the conversion and they don't agree, while there is no evidence of a change of religion on the coins. Consider the parallel with emperor Constantine and the In Hoc Signo Vinces myth. There is no evidence of a conversion in contemporary texts and monuments and nothing on the coins. All we know is that, in contrast with his predecessors, Constantine was tolerant towards religions and was just as interested in christianity as in other religions. Everything else is likely to have been made up or embellished by early medieval monks copying Roman manuscripts, who had a vested interest in the Romans to be christians as quickly as possible.

Is it likely that there was a baptism in 960? There is evidence that Otto I's aim was to introduce christianity among the Danes. It would be good propaganda to force a defeated leader to baptise (but the dogma that the king determined the religion of their people hadn't been invented yet.) It was a standard trick of Charlemagne. That's all we have. All the other evidence dates from later centuries.


"Is it likely that there was a baptism in 960?" Yes, but in 963.

One interpretation of the text on the front is as mentioned earlier:



HARALD CVRMSVN is most likely Harald Gormsen. Harald Bluetooth Gormsen was son of Gorm the Old. The surname Bluetooth is first seen in……. Also, Bluetooth would be in the wrong place: his Danish name would be the equivalent of Harald Bluetooth Gormson. A more likely scenario is that Christians may have found the Bluetooth part a bit too uncivilized and left it out.


REX AD TAN ER would most likely refer to REX AD DANER. The minor misspelling would probably had no importance during medieval. REX AD DANER is Latin and means king of Danes. Harald Bluetooth was king of the Danes. Danes (Danish: danskere) are the citizens of Denmark, most of whom speak Danish and consider themselves to be of Danish ethnicity 


SCON would most likely refer to Scania (Swedish: Skåne) which was called Scon, Scone and Sconen in those times. Scania came under Danish king Harald Bluetooth in the middle of the 10th century. Scania is the southernmost province (landskap) of Sweden, constituting a peninsula on the southern tip of the Scandinavian peninsula, and some adjacent islands.


J VMN would most likely refer to Jumne (Jomsborg). The Nordic sagas use "Jómsborg" exclusively, while medieval German histories use "Jumne" or "Julin", with the alternate names, some of which may be spelling variants, "vimne", "uimne", "Jumneta", "Juminem", "Julinum", "uineta", "Vineta" and "Vinneta". There are different accounts for the origins of the order. Gesta Danorum tells that a settlement named Julinum was conquered by the King of Denmark, Harald Bluetooth, who gave it to the Swedish prince Styrbjörn the Strong. Harald then provided Styrbjörn with a strong force with which Styrbjörn terrorized the seas. Jomsborg is often thought to be identical with the present-day town of Wolin (also Wollin) on the southeastern tip of the isle of Wolin, probably located at Silberberg hill north of the town. In the Early Middle Ages, modern Wolin was the site of a multi-ethnic emporium (then known as Jumne or Julin).


CIV(itas) might be derived from the Latin "ciuium" for citizens. 

ALDIN would most likely refer to Aldinburg (=Oldenburg) and is a potential city for manufacturing the object.

Theory of the occassion

A wedding gift to Harald Bluetooth from his father-in-law Mistivoj

As the reverse on the back is based on a typical Germane-Frankish short cross coin the object should have been manufactured during or after Harald Bluetooth´ baptism.  During the 960s, there was a significantly active process of Christian the area of the Slavs. Harald's father-in-law Mistivoj had in 967 secured the obodritiska sovereignty over the trunk Wagierna in the east. The following year the bishopric of Oldenburg was founded. Mistivoj became a Christian which he seems to have held on to for the rest of his life. He ended his days in the monastery Bardowiek and he had close contacts with the bishops of Oldenburg, of which the first was Egward. Sven Estridsson told Adam that during this time there was continual peace between obodriterna and Otto I, and that the Slavs were tributary to the German Emperor.

Scania and Jomsborg should have been part of the Danish kingdom during the production process as it is mentioned on the object. It is therefore very strange that Norway is not mentioned on the object. If the object would have been manufactured after the period 970-974 (when Harald became king of Norway) it should have been mentioned on the object. As Harald Bluetooth´ and Tove´s son Sven Tveskägg was mentioned as a little child in 974 the marriage should have taken place in the late 960s.

Important dates:

968 – The bishopric of Oldenburg was founded
970 – 974 Norway is conquered by Harald Bluetooth

There is a possibility that the marriage took place between 968-970 and a theory is that Mistivoj asked the bishops in Oldenburg to manufacture the object during this period and gave it as a wedding gift to Harald. When Harald Bluetooth is taken to Roskilde after his death 986 the object is left behind in Jomsburg and perhaps forgotten until it was found in Wollin (=Jomsborg) 1841.

I have little against any of the above. Minor point: on coins, CIV is always civitas (city). This is not insignificant. In Roman law, a city had many more rights than a town (villa) and German law was based on Roman law. Significantly, a city had the right to construct a cathedral and a city wall. Wolin was a town.

The weak point is why would Harald leave such a valuable object behind, especially if it came from his father in law? Thinking about that, it hit me that there is an old custom for the groom to hand a purse to the priest who officiates his wedding. This custom existed in France until the French revolution and I have read somewhere of a late French king (Louis XV?), who had the purse filled with gold coins, because that was customary. What if this had been a wedding gift all right, but for the priest? It would explain much better why it wasn't taken along or melted. I am now wondering about the archeological environment in which the coin was found. A buried cash reserve, I suppose, but was the owner a religious official or not?


That is a very interesting theory as the object was found 1841 along with Arabic and German coins when a church was built in the same place where there were ruins of an old chapel in Groß Weckow (Wiejkowo in Polish), Wollin. The following link in Polish is about the church:

The landowner, the family von Ploetz (see, gave probably the object to the vicar in Groß Weckow or Kunow.
All that was found in 1841 were stored most likely until 1945 in one of the churches. Then everything was bought by NN (1946-47) who sold most things (like silver or gold scrap). Only a few things were left behind, such as the object and an Otto coin, see enclosed. Our object does not look at all like it is made of gold and it probably therefore it has survived to these days.


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