World of Coins

Medieval coins => Christian world => Topic started by: metalsincoin on October 26, 2014, 09:04:10 PM

Title: Age of golden coin? Two metal tests have been made
Post by: metalsincoin on October 26, 2014, 09:04:10 PM
I wonder if anybody knows when the attached object could have been manufactured?

Researchers have interpreted the text to be:

HARALD
CVRMSVN+
REX AD TANER
ER+SCON+J
VMN+CIV
ALDIN+

Two tests have determined the following metals in the object:

First test:
AU 88,5         
AG 4,2           
CU 3,5
FE 1,9     
 
Second test:
AU 91,2         
AG 3,9
CU 3,6
ZN 0,6
                             
The object was found in Wollin year 1840 besides other objects, for example other coins from the Viking era. Some theories is aiming at Harald Bluetooth as the object weighs 25 grams (today) with perhaps 3-4 grams in weight loss during the centuries and therefore it could have been used for determining the value of other coins. New research shows that Harald made a limited coin reform.
Title: Re: Age of golden coin? Two metal tests have been made
Post by: Figleaf on October 26, 2014, 11:37:00 PM
The reference to Harald Gormson could very well refer to Harald Bluetooth, whose father's name was Gorm. However, this object is confusing.

- gold was very scarce indeed in the 10th century and European gold coins of this age are rare. There was some gold production in the Frankish empire and in the German empire, but it amounted to little. Moreover, a gold content of around 90% seems a technological feat for the Vikings. Are there any examples of Viking gold artefacts with such a high gold content? It could be re-melted Roman gold, though...
- more important, the design is completely different from the known coins of Harald Bluetooth. The small, blockish letters don't fit, the spelling seems too good and the lack of symbols - not a hammer in sight - is striking.

I would find it reassuring to think of the object as something else than a coin and not Danish. Frisian coins of this period do have such vertical texts and they use similar smallish letters. That would not explain the reference to Harald (not a Frisian name) or the use of gold.

Pure speculation and just a scenario to fit what little we know: Harald was threatened by the German emperor Otto I, who wanted the area to convert to Christianity. I could imagine this piece starting out as a gold bar, or Roman gold medal meant to bribe the Frisians into staying neutral or even joining the Danes against the Germans. The Frisians could have turned it into a trophy piece (not sure of the meaning of the last three lines.) If so, the piece could be dated 935 -974, likely towards the end of that period.

Peter
Title: Re: Age of golden coin? Two metal tests have been made
Post by: metalsincoin on October 27, 2014, 08:58:01 AM
Thanks Peter, interesting theory. But there is a symbol if you look on the backside. One theory is describing the baptism of Harald Bluetooth.
Title: Re: Age of golden coin? Two metal tests have been made
Post by: Figleaf on October 27, 2014, 10:21:11 AM
Didn't have the benefit of looking at the backside before. That makes it post 974. The reverse is Frankish-influenced (includes the HRI), not Danish at all but you could find Frisian examples. Obviously, it was made for a special occasion, it must have been a small treasure all by itself in its time. Do you have clues on the last three lines of the text?

Peter
Title: Re: Age of golden coin? Two metal tests have been made
Post by: metalsincoin on October 27, 2014, 11:59:07 AM
VMN+CIV
ALDIN+

Could mean Oldenburg in Holstein

 http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oldenburg%20in%20Holstein?uselang=en

Aldinburg Civitas (Adam of Bremen)

Harald Bluetooth´ father-in-law (Tove´s father) was prince Mistivoj.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mistivoj

Mistivoj belonged to the obodrits. A bit west is Oldenburg.

The bishops in Oldenburg had contacts with both Mistivoj and Harald Bluetooth regarding the Christianity.
A theory is that the object is a gift from bishops in Oldernburg
Title: Re: Age of golden coin? Two metal tests have been made
Post by: Figleaf on October 27, 2014, 12:12:41 PM
Makes sense. However, priests would have ended the text with ECC+ALDIN, not with CIV+ALDIN

So we are left with ER+SCON+J VMN. Since the spelling is remarkably good (which pleads for priests), we can rule out that ER is a misspelling for ET, so SCON is not necessarily a geographical name. J could be for Jarl (earl), though. I see no indication of baptism, Poppo or christianity.

Peter
Title: Re: Age of golden coin? Two metal tests have been made
Post by: THCoins on October 27, 2014, 01:02:07 PM
I dont read:
REX AD TANER
ER+SCON+J
but:
REX AD TAN
ER+SCON+J
So the ER is accounted for ?

The JVMN before CIV(itas) might that be derived from the Latin "ciuium" for citizens ?
Title: Re: Age of golden coin? Two metal tests have been made
Post by: metalsincoin on October 27, 2014, 02:04:08 PM
Yes, true.

A German historian wonder why it refers to Rex ad Tan(er) and not Rex ad Dan(er), could it be something with Harald Blatan?
In Chronicon Roskildense from 12th century Harald Bluetooth is for the first time named as “Harald Blatan” (not Blåtan.. Blåtand was invented much later)

https://wikihost.uib.no/medieval/index.php/Chronicon_Roskildense


Title: Re: Age of golden coin? Two metal tests have been made
Post by: metalsincoin on October 27, 2014, 06:05:45 PM
So, one interpretation of the texts could be:

HARALD GORMSEN, KING OF DANES, SCANIA, JOMSBORG, CIVITAS OLDENBURG (=ALDINBORG=Oldenburg in Holstein)
 
Title: Re: Age of golden coin? Two metal tests have been made
Post by: Figleaf on October 27, 2014, 06:36:53 PM
Well, if it's just titles, there goes my hope that the text would contain a clue on the occasion. There's no real information there. The last title (Oldenburg) would likely refer to the place where the piece came from, but the occasion remains unknown, unless there is more information on the piece elsewhere.

I am not impressed with the Taner/Daner argument. That is a very minor spelling issue that would have no importance in those days. 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 uncivilised and left it out.

Peter
Title: Re: Age of golden coin? Two metal tests have been made
Post by: metalsincoin on October 28, 2014, 09:20:22 AM
Make sense Peter. During which period do you consider that the object was made? Between 974 - ?

Regarding the cross, it reminds of a taxila cross or a shield. Somebody said that one of the four dots reminds of a leaf and one of an anchor if tyou look on a high definated picture and that this perhaps could mean something.
Title: Re: Age of golden coin? Two metal tests have been made
Post by: Figleaf on October 28, 2014, 10:03:20 AM
Harald died around 986, but the text could have been posthumous. You can narrow the date range only when you have a better idea of the occasion.

The reverse is based on your typical Germano-Frankish short cross coin. On those coins (not on this piece) it served to cut the coin in halves or quarters. The devices in the corners are normal. My impression is they are just heraldic coins (big round dots, like in the arms of Portugal) and that some are deformed by the pits you see all over the field. The slightly thicker ends are formed by the way a "chisel" moves when held at a low angle.

A Norman infantry shield would typically be round (the cavalry shield was drop-shaped), like a coin. That may actually explain the eight-sided shield: the christians did not want the reverse design to be interpreted as a war instrument and therefore shaped it into a non-shield.

Peter
Title: Re: Age of golden coin? Two metal tests have been made
Post by: metalsincoin on October 29, 2014, 10:33:20 AM
Also make sense Peter. If you are willing to describe your theories regarding the object you are more than welcome to contact me...
Title: Re: Age of golden coin? Two metal tests have been made
Post by: Quant.Geek on October 29, 2014, 11:15:13 AM
Removed email address to protect WoC member.  Please use PM instead for exchange of contact information...
Title: Re: Age of golden coin? Two metal tests have been made
Post by: Figleaf on October 29, 2014, 12:42:29 PM
Got my hands full with this site plus a few other things, mic. If you think it is useful, you are welcome to quote me, though. Keep in mind that much of what I said amounts to speculation that happens to fit the facts, please.

Peter
Title: Re: Age of golden coin? Two metal tests have been made
Post by: Churchy on October 29, 2014, 04:24:06 PM
Didn't have the benefit of looking at the backside before. That makes it post 974.

Peter

What is your argument for 'post 974'?

Oldenburg makes sense in connection with Harald Gormsen and his family.

'SCON' is not Scandia but Skåne, which was called Scon, Scone and Sconen in those times.

And 'JVMN' = JUMN = Jumne (not Jomsborg). In real life maybe the same, but not in writing.
Title: Re: Age of golden coin? Two metal tests have been made
Post by: Figleaf on October 29, 2014, 04:47:46 PM
Harald and Otto I were rivals and arch-enemies. Otto I dominated the papacy. It would have been highly politically incorrect for a HRI religious institution to make overtures to Harald during his life. In 974, Harald suffered a bad defeat at the Dannevirk and had to recognise German overlordship (again). In 973, Otto I died. Those two event changed the political situation.

Peter
Title: Re: Age of golden coin? Two metal tests have been made
Post by: Churchy on October 29, 2014, 05:38:15 PM
Sorry, but I don't see, what you do.
Harald was baptized in 963. His father-in-law secured in 967 sovereignty over the tribe 'Wagrierne' in the east. The year after was the Bishopric Oldenburg founded. Harald participated in 973 in the Diet (parliament) of Quedlinburg under Otto the Great as one who paid tribute.
Harald was a Christian from 963, so I cant see, what you mean, unless you want to connect the 'coin' to Otto.
Title: Re: Age of golden coin? Two metal tests have been made
Post by: Figleaf on October 29, 2014, 06:31:43 PM
I don't think it is a coin either. Harald had to acknowledge Otto I more than once, beginning in 960, when he was allied with (non-christian) slavs against Otto. His baptism, and that of his son Svein is contested. He lost out again in 974.

His participation in Quedlinburg is interesting. There is a connection between the monastery there and the drive to christianise the Slavs that runs via Eadgyth of England and Adelaide of Italy. The question arises where Oldenburg stood on the slavs. Being far to the North, they may have been somewhat less sympathetic to the Saxon influences in the South of the empire, more inclined towards Harald's side of things.

Peter
Title: Re: Age of golden coin? Two metal tests have been made
Post by: Churchy on October 29, 2014, 08:05:21 PM
It might not be of great influence, but when you write: "His baptism, and that of his son Svein is contested", I don't know what you mean, when it relates to Harald. I am not guessing, but writing on basis of the latest results from Danish research.

Anyway, we have to hope for a more precise dating of the subject, if it is or becomes possible. Several commentators have the opinion, that since they never saw something like it, it must be a fake. These people are either very young or ignorant, because when you have followed the development of historiography and archeology for many years, you know, that you should never say never.

Enjoy your evening.
Title: Re: Age of golden coin? Two metal tests have been made
Post by: Figleaf on October 29, 2014, 10:36:50 PM
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 (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_the_Milvian_Bridge). 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.

Peter
Title: Re: Age of golden coin? Two metal tests have been made
Post by: Churchy on October 30, 2014, 01:13:23 PM
"Is it likely that there was a baptism in 960?" Yes, but in 963.
Title: Re: Age of golden coin? Two metal tests have been made
Post by: metalsincoin on October 31, 2014, 03:05:59 PM
One interpretation of the text on the front is as mentioned earlier:

HARALD GORMSEN, KING OF DANES+SCANIA+JOMSBORG+CITIZENS OF OLDENBURG

HARALD GORMSEN (HARALD CVRMSVN+)

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.

KING OF DANES (REX AD TAN ER)

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 

SCANIA (SCON)

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.

JOMSBORG (J VMN)

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).

CITIZENS OF OLDENBURG (CIV ALDIN)

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.
Title: Re: Age of golden coin? Two metal tests have been made
Post by: Figleaf on October 31, 2014, 05:25:34 PM
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?

Peter
Title: Re: Age of golden coin? Two metal tests have been made
Post by: metalsincoin on November 01, 2014, 10:56:23 AM
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:

http://szczecin.kuria.pl/wspolnoty/koscioly/Wiejkowo-Kosciol-filialny-pw-Niepokalanego-Poczecia-NMP_845)

The landowner, the family von Ploetz (see http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ploetz_(Pommern)), 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.
Title: Re: Age of golden coin? Two metal tests have been made
Post by: metalsincoin on November 01, 2014, 11:01:42 AM
Still there is a possibility that it was a gift to Harald when we consider the following.

Enclosed is a map of the area where the object was found. The distance is about 3 km from the finding place in Groß Weckow (Wiejkowo in Polish) and Wollin. Harald Bluetooth was transported to Wollin when he was wounded after the lost battle against his own son Sven Tveskägg. Eventually Harald died in the Wollin. One theory is that his corpse was transported back to Roskilde but research shows that left-overs from the corpse are found in the Wollin area and some historians highly doubt that his corpse was brought back to Denmark. It is not impossible that Harald was buried near Wollin and that the left-overs never were transported to Denmark. In such case, the object could have followed Harald into his grave as personal possessions always should be taken along to the underworld. During the construction of the new church the object was discovered. Medieval churches were often built in old cemeteries according to a historian. Therefore it is plausible that the dead from Wollin were buried on the other side of the river right under the chapel (before the chapel was built).

Title: Re: Age of golden coin? Two metal tests have been made
Post by: Churchy on November 02, 2014, 09:28:46 AM
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.

1. Civitas is latin for city.
2. The epithet Bluetooth (Blåtand) is not a source until 'Roskildekrøniken' from around 1140.

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.

3. As far as I know, Harald has never been found in Roskilde.
4. Nowadays historians doubt, that he died in Jomsborg, since he would rather seek protection from his father-in-law than go to people that had been hostile to him. The only source to Jomsborg in this case is Adam of Bremen's story of Hamburg's church, which is not credible, because he adapted his story to the church's praise.

The claims that Harald went to Jomsborg, and that he died there, are therefore debatable.

According to a relatively new (few years old) analysis of a senior researcher at the Danish National Archives, Harald was baptized by Folkmar from Cologne in 963. I have the source in my files, if it is interesting. But I am not well today, and will maybe not find it today.
Title: Re: Age of golden coin? Two metal tests have been made
Post by: Churchy on November 02, 2014, 01:49:03 PM
According to a relatively new (few years old) analysis of a senior researcher at the Danish National Archives, Harald was baptized by Folkmar from Cologne in 963. I have the source in my files, if it is interesting. But I am not well today, and will maybe not find it today.

The source is this – Michael Gelting: Poppo's Ordeal: Courtier Bishops and the Success of Christianization at the Turn of the First Millennium. Viking and Medieval Scandinavia no 6/2010.
Title: Re: Age of golden coin? Two metal tests have been made
Post by: Figleaf on November 02, 2014, 04:59:32 PM
Thank you. The text says that Gelting considers that the conversion took place c.963 and in any case before 965. Anyway, I prefer to see the medal linked to a marriage, as it contains nothing that connects it to religion. The texts are 100% political. Rather like a marriage.

Peter
Title: Re: Age of golden coin? Two metal tests have been made
Post by: metalsincoin on November 02, 2014, 09:20:03 PM
Regarding the marriage token gift theory there is a third option and that is that it was a token gift in gold from Harald to Tove.   

In the tenth century the following ritual became common in Western Europe during a wedding: If a transfer of land was to be made, the woman knelt before the man and acknowledged that he would be her protector and that of her possessions, a role formerly played by her father or brothers. A ring, blessed by the priest in the name of the Trinity, was placed upon the bride´s finger. She might also receive token gifts of gold and silver while the groom recited, “With this ring I wed you, with this gold and silver I honor you. (World History: Ancient and medieval times to A.D. 1500 (page 368), by Charles A. Frazee)

As Wolin lay in Wendland (Historical Dictionary of the Vikings page 289, by Katherine Holman) it is possible that the wendish princess was buried in Wiejkowo (Wendland) with her golden token from Harald. 
Title: Re: Age of golden coin? Two metal tests have been made
Post by: metalsincoin on November 03, 2014, 12:36:45 PM
Here is the link: http://books.google.se/books?id=c_lN_q15ZiEC&pg=PA368&lpg=PA368&dq=tokens+in+gold+tenth+century&source=bl&ots=goWzvlgyY3&sig=VhfkH6qVkTyfEhpUDdrWJvo7aFY&hl=sv&sa=X&ei=_GdXVOLZI9LlaKvVgZgM&ved=0CDQQ6AEwAw#v=onepage&q=tokens%20in%20gold%20tenth%20century&f=false
Title: Re: Age of golden coin? Two metal tests have been made
Post by: Figleaf on November 03, 2014, 12:50:31 PM
I think the word token is used in a more general sense (symbol) in this text. The weak point of this scenario is that the piece would have been part of the woman's inheritance. There is no good reason to think it would be used as a burial gift. Sure, women were sometimes buried with jewellery, but AFAIK not money.

Peter
Title: Re: Age of golden coin? Two metal tests have been made
Post by: metalsincoin on November 05, 2014, 11:16:49 PM
A well-known Swedish historian/archeologist, Sven Rosborn, has recently come up with the theory below and I will do my utmost to translate it correct:

The object itself is so small that it could hardly have had a function as a gift. I find the wedding gift theory highly unlikely.

The object must had a great symbolic value as it was produced in gold which was completely unique for the time being. Harald Bluetooth introduced Christianity in Denmark. Outside each of his ring castles, so called Trelleborg Fortresses, there was a church, and these seem to be consecrated to St. Clement. This saint became very popular in the late 900s, especially in Kiev where they built a new church over the saint's cranial transferred to the city. There is a vague indication that Harald was "eastward" in his youth. He may therefore have been strongly influenced by the Byzantine Christian culture. I have in my book, see https://www.academia.edu/3349556/Den_sk%C3%A5nska_historien._Vikingarna._2004 (only in Swedish) demonstrated that the runic materials from Harald´s time have quite clear Byzantine influences, including the Byzantine emperor's warship, the so-called dromones. The large animal on the rune stones and on its frontal image, the so-called mask image, can also be a symbol which inspired Harald from the large metal lion that guarded the east Roman Emperor throne.

The dating of the object ought to be after Harald conquered eastern Denmark and Scania, i.e. after about 978 according to the dendrochronology results from the fortress of Trelleborg, Slagelse, Denmark. This shows that the object is made at the end of his life or shortly after his death. It also makes sense as Norway is not mentioned on the object and we know for sure that Harald loosed control over Norway (Oslo area) during this period. Harald was badly wounded after the battle with his son Sven and after he returned to Jumne he eventually died there. He must, of course, as a Christian, have been buried in a church in Jumne. There are theories that he was later transferred to Roskilde and buried there but the first burial must have been in a church in Jumne.

According to Greek religion Charon was the man on the ferry who brought the dead across the river Styx to Hades. When Christianity became popular in the Byzantine Empire this belief did not disappear, it was rather strengthened. Charon plays a prominent role in the Byzantine epic of Digenis Akritas. The tradition from ancient history was thus brought into Christianity. The belief in this tradition was that each and everyone had to pay Charon for the journey to the underworld. As a consequence a valuable coin was placed under the deceased's tongue before the funeral. This tradition was strong even in the Nordic countries. I once met in person the famous P.V. Glob, a Danish archaeologist and the General of Museums and Antiquities of the state of Denmark. He told me that until almost modern times the fishermen on the west coast of Jutland had a gold ring in their ear. If the fisherman were drown the survivors could not put the Charon´s coin in the drown fishermen’s coffins. By constantly wearing a gold earring they were assured to have means of payment for the death journey even if they disappeared into the sea.

Thus, the object may be a Charon´s coin, specially manufactured for Harald Bluetooth after his death and before his burial which now appeared.
Title: Re: Age of golden coin? Two metal tests have been made
Post by: Figleaf on November 06, 2014, 12:38:48 AM
I am not convinced at all. This theory has three weak points!

1) Norsemen conquered Kiev in 882, but the Varangian guard was established in 988. Such an important cultural Byzantine religious influence cannot have come back to Denmark already when Harald died in 985 or 986. In fact, the practice of grave gifts is much older and not necessarily Byzantine, let alone Christian.
2) The dating of the object cannot have been posthumous by years if it was a grave gift.
3) Charon's obol was not a very expensive gold coin, but a low value silver coin. At the time of Harald, oboli were the smallest coins. Gold was used as grave gifts, but in the form of jewellery (pendants, crosses). Gold coins were also used, but in the 5th and 6th century, when gold was more widely available.

As for the size of the object: since gold was quite scarce in the 10th century, even a small size object would have been a powerful symbol of generosity.

Peter
Title: Re: Age of golden coin? Two metal tests have been made
Post by: metalsincoin on November 06, 2014, 02:54:19 PM
The enclosed coin was found in the same box after the heritage as the Golden Piece. Does anybody have an idea of the age of coin?
Title: Re: Age of golden coin? Two metal tests have been made
Post by: metalsincoin on November 06, 2014, 10:47:15 PM
Looks very much like the coin on page 8, see http://www.numismatas.com/Forum/Pdf/David%20Ruckser/Coins%20of%20Cologne.pdf Otto I. or II. Anyone agree?
Title: Re: Age of golden coin? Two metal tests have been made
Post by: Figleaf on November 07, 2014, 12:30:53 AM
Dannenberg 331 (var.), Cologne, denar Otto I 936-962. Left picture should be turned 90° counter clockwise.

obv: cross with pellets between arms in circle (note: D shows a pearl circle, this coin has a closed ring) + OTTO REX
rev: S / CoLoNIA / AG (Agrippina). Note that the S on this coin is retrogade, while Dannenberg draws a correct S. This is a common mistake on medieval coins.

Since Otto II was already emperor when his father died, he would not have used the title REX. There are similar coins with the title imperator that may be of either Otto I or Otto II.

Peter
Title: Re: Age of golden coin? Two metal tests have been made
Post by: LUstudent on November 10, 2014, 10:42:39 PM
The cross on the back looks like a typical ceremonial cross from 9th or 10th century. A Ceremonial Cross could be a religious or a royal symbol and together with an octagon (symbol of baptism) on one side, and Harald's name, title and his lands on the other, it may actually be a sign of recognition of Harald being a Christian ruler and an insignum of his power.

In Cologne at Schnütgen Museum, there is a unidentified cross from X century. Its shape shows remarkable similarity to the cross on this unidentified object. The picture, I found, was on this page: http://www.kornbluthphoto.com/Gold3.html
Title: Re: Age of golden coin? Two metal tests have been made
Post by: Figleaf on November 11, 2014, 01:11:42 PM
Welcome to WoC, LUstudent. Thank you for that contribution.

I have no doubt that the use of the cross was symbolic for the christian religion. Leaving out the name Bluetooth in the titles is another sign that the object was made by Christians. However, the message was packaged in a rather common coin reverse by adding the circle and the four dots.

Let's not forget that in this age, the church and (especially the HRE) state were fighting over their respective power. Could the emperor appoint bishops? Was Ireland a fief of the pope? Could the pope appoint the emperor of the HRE? If Bluetooth was a strategically important convert, he was important both to the church and the HRE, but neither could claim him completely, hence the "spin" with circle and dots. Compare the reverse of the Cologne coin above.

Peter
Title: Re: Age of golden coin? Two metal tests have been made
Post by: metalsincoin on November 11, 2014, 01:50:05 PM
Back side of the Golden Piece

If you take a look on the back side of Sweyn Forkbeard´s coin from 995 there are four images which reminds of rune inscriptions besides the cross. Perhaps the four dots on the golden piece could be something similar.

Spelling of Danes

Regarding the misspelling of REX AD DANER (REX AD TAN ER) it may have been the correct spelling at that time if you take a look on the Jelling stones were Denmark is spelt tanmaurk on the runestone of Harald Bluetooth (Jacobsen & Moltke, 1941-42, DR 42) and tanmarkaR on the runestone of Gorm (Jacobsen & Moltke, 1941-42, DR 41)

When Sweyn had his coin in 995 he spelt:
SVEN REX AD DENER (compared with HARALD GORMSEN REX AD TAN ER)

Sweyn´s son Cnut the Great (1014-1035) also had his own coin. The latin inscription was:
CNVT REX IN DENORVM (now there is change from king of the people to king of the nation)

Perhaps there was a change in the spelling from the time of Gorm and Harald to Sweyn and Cnut.
I have also heard that Daner and Taner were two spellings of the same people who settled in Denmark. Anybody have a clue regarding this?
Title: Re: Age of golden coin? Two metal tests have been made
Post by: metalsincoin on November 11, 2014, 07:02:59 PM
Thanks LUstudent!

The shape is really identical, please see below! We have tried other types of cross in the Golden Piece but this is the only one that fits perfectly.
Title: Re: Age of golden coin? Two metal tests have been made
Post by: LUstudent on November 13, 2014, 09:17:35 PM
It is truly amazing but unfortunately that's probably just a coincidence and if a connection ever existed then it was almost certainly accidental. It is however not entirely impossible that the Schnütgen cross was used as an unintentional visual pattern during manufacturing of your object. The text on the front suggests that the source was clerical, in other words the author was a chronicler working for an archbishop, most likely archbishop Bruno of Cologne (if dating of the object is correct) and he was seeing Schnütgen cross every day each time he attended the Holy Mass or processions.
Title: Re: Age of golden coin? Two metal tests have been made
Post by: LUstudent on November 13, 2014, 11:31:25 PM
It is worth mentioning that you are investigating an object which dates from an intriguing phase of European history where conflict between HRE and papal states began to reach some new dimensions. It was all about political power and money and the conflict escalated in Investiture Controversy 100 years later. However, we should not forget that during OTTO I's reign there were many more rivals at the lower ranks, like clergy (concurrent bishopric and dioceses),  feudal families, counts and margraves, all wanting to gain power. The Danish Realm as well as other pagan lands, Wends and Polans, were all pawns in this war for profit. Whoever managed to claim a major role in conversion of some of these territories would certainly get access to tribute, land and or/and new powerful ally.
Title: Re: Age of golden coin? Two metal tests have been made
Post by: metalsincoin on November 18, 2014, 12:09:08 PM
Thanks! Are you suggesting that it could be a gift trophy from Otto I?

I also enclose a Pectoralcreuz from Oldenburg which I also thinks reminds of the cross. It is hard to find other cross that are similar to the one in the object.

I also wonder regarding the weight of 25,23 gram. With a loss of a few gram (3-4 according to the testing firm) the weight would be appr. 28-29 grams from the beginning. This is like an ounze and I read that the Troy ounce is deriving from the troy weight of Bremen which derives from Troy weight of Hamburg. Could the object also has something to do with weights?
Title: Re: Age of golden coin? Two metal tests have been made
Post by: Figleaf on November 18, 2014, 02:30:16 PM
I would argue that searching an exact cross amounts to over-interpretation. Keep in mind that the object is very small and that dies were made by hand. A die sinker doesn't need a model to make a cross. If the die sinker used a model at all, he may have used a coin. The only requirement for a coin die with a cross is that the cross is centralised. The exact length and thickness of the arms is irrelevant. There were no instruments to overlay a large 3D cross on a small 2D one on a die and no instruments to scale a large design into a small one.

As for the weight, the likeliest option, because of its purity, is that the gold came from a Roman object and that all the gold available was used. In that case, the weight is Roman and does not relate to any medieval standard. Another option is that only part of the Roman object was used, in which case the weight is significant, if only because it determined the value of the object when it was made.

I can see where the weight thought is coming from. Weight was determined with balanced scales and a counterweight. We know many such instruments, though I am not aware of any this old - the scales are quite fragile and they are kept in a vulnerable wooden box.

The counterweights are brass and normally have an abstracted, much less detailed picture of both sides of the coin. There are some examples on our coin weights board (http://www.worldofcoins.eu/forum/index.php/board,147.0.html) The side with the cross could have served very well for a counterweight: it cannot be confused with the real coin, yet it can be seen as a symbol for a coin. It is even possible that the side with the cross was made with a die used for making counterweights, though in view of its clerical origin, that option is not too likely. It is more tempting to thing of a die for a lead token for the poor.

However, both the text side and the use of gold plead against the counterweight option. Weighing was the business of lowly merchants, jewellers and bankers. Noblemen would not necessarily be able to read, let alone calculate and convert weights. Lower social classes would have preferred an abstraction of the other side of the coin, rather than a text that carries a "render to Caesar what is Ceasar's" risk.

This does not exclude that an object of a specific medieval weight was ordered. I am only being sceptical about the further thought that the the object served as a counterweight.

Peter
Title: Re: Age of golden coin? Two metal tests have been made
Post by: metalsincoin on November 19, 2014, 10:23:45 PM
Thanks Peter!

The sad thing is that several professionals in Sweden, Denmark and UK now are coinvinced that the golden object is a fabrication from 18th or 19th century. No theories though....

I wonder why anyone would manufacture a piece of 25 gram 22 carat gold and then place it among bracelets from the viking era and an Otto I coin.

We need more Figleaf, Churchy and LUstudent. Any ideas where we could find numismatics and/or historians that may have our opinions and would be willing to examine the object? 

Attached is the object beside a swedish 5-crown which is quite big and weighs 9 gram
Title: Re: Age of golden coin? Two metal tests have been made
Post by: metalsincoin on February 08, 2015, 09:03:06 PM
New Research

New research about the object has been done by archeologist Sven Rosborn. His research can be found in the article below:

https://www.academia.edu/9647410/A_unique_object_from_Harald_Bluetooth_s_time

Sven concludes that the text in the first row is +ARALD instead of HARALD. The question is if it could have something to do with influences from the French language where you do not pronounce the H?

Another sharp observation in the article is that the information about Harald’s wife Tova and her kinship with Mistivoj only is mentioned on a rune stone in Sönder Vissing in Jutland. This rune stone was first discovered in 1836. The inscription reads:

“Tovi [or Tova], Mistivoj's daughter, wife of Harald the Good, Gorm’s son, had this memorial made for her mother”.

The link “Oldenburg - Mistivoj – Harold’s wife – Harald”, indicates an in-depth knowledge of Nordic affairs during the 900s. Not until three years after the discovery it was made public by P.G Thorsen. However, he ignores the question of Tove and Mistivoj, mentioning only that the famous Harald should be Harald Bluetooth.

Ethnologist Karen Schousboe´s has also written an article based on Sven´s research but there are some own good theories as well:

http://www.medievalhistories.com/harold-bluetooths-talisman-sensational-find-fake/

New Metal Tests

Five new metal tests have been made on the object with the following result:

Test No.*                 Appendix   AU   AG   CU   FE   Zn   Pb
Test No. 1   I   91,84   3,60   4,37   0,135      
Test No. 2   Ii   91,55   3,64   4,65   0,153      
Test No. 3   Iii   91,75   3,65   4,51   -      
Test No. 4   Iv   91,09   3,67   4,55   0,146   0,440   0,113
Test No. 5   V   91,83   3,68   4,33   0,114      

It seems that the “pollution” is bigger on the legends than on the object itself. See third test where you only find AU, AG and CU. Could this tell us something about the manufacturing process?
Title: Re: Age of golden coin? Two metal tests have been made
Post by: constanius on February 16, 2015, 08:12:08 PM
Missed this topic, it was just posted on another site, so I am a bit late posting this.

One glaring fact is the use of 'J' which, according to everything  I know, was not even in use till the 16th century.  Mind, perhaps the people who believe this dates so far back to Bluetooth's era  have an explanation for that in regard  to Scandinavian Latin script from that time.

Pat
Title: Re: Age of golden coin? Two metal tests have been made
Post by: metalsincoin on February 17, 2015, 11:03:14 AM
I think we will be misled if we look at Scandinavian scripts.

Instead we should look at the scripts in the Holy Roman Empire as one theory aims at Oldenburg as the manufacturing place according to the link: Harald – Harald´s wife Tove – Tove´s father Mistivoj – Oldenburg´s ruler Mistivoj.

In the Holy Roman Empire the Carolingian minuscule (Caroline) was used between approximately 800-1200.

The letter J without a dot was used in this script, see enclosed picture from Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_the_Latin_alphabet
An expert in Caroline Script can hopefully confirm that it is the script used on the golden object.
Title: Re: Age of golden coin? Two metal tests have been made
Post by: constanius on February 17, 2015, 05:56:21 PM
Unfortunately the lettering on the object is all capitals, not in Carolingian minuscule, which was used for handwritten documents & religious texts.  Compare the majuscule(capital)  'D' 'E' 'N' etc on the object to Caroline minuscule 'd' 'e' 'n'

As you state there is need of an expert in the field to know if they used a majuscule 'J'  in that era, preferably in regard to text on coins or inscriptions, not just in written documents or texts.

Pat
Title: Re: Age of golden coin? Two metal tests have been made
Post by: constanius on February 17, 2015, 06:44:10 PM
Early Carolingian script sometimes still used the long & short i(longa & brevis) used in earlier scripts, this was soon abandoned and only i brevis used but i longa was indicated by using a descender, making it resemble our modern j, though it is a capital I.
(http://employees.oneonta.edu/farberas/arth/Images/109images/Carolingian/Scripts/carolingian1.jpg)(http://employees.oneonta.edu/farberas/arth/Images/109images/Carolingian/Scripts/carolingian2.jpg)
Ninth century Carolingian manuscript of a text by Sulpicius Severus.

Image from  http://employees.oneonta.edu/farberas/arth/arth212/Carolingian_Culture/carolingian_scripts.html   (http://employees.oneonta.edu/farberas/arth/arth212/Carolingian_Culture/carolingian_scripts.html)

So looks like the 'J' is not a problem, though it is an I or i.

Pat
Title: Re: Age of golden coin? Two metal tests have been made
Post by: metalsincoin on February 19, 2015, 08:08:51 PM
Thank you Pat!

Then we should interpret the text IVMN on the gold object instead. Adam of Bremen writes in Capitulum 19:

Ultra Leuticios, qui alio nomine Wilzi dicuntur, Oddara flumen occurrit, ditissimus amnis Sclavaniae regionis . In cuius ostio, qua Scyticas alluit paludes, nobilissima civitas Iumne celeberrimam praestat stacionem barbaris et Graecis, qui sunt in circuitu.

Regarding the spelling of CVRMSVN and TANER on the gold object there are some things to consider:

CVRMSVN would most likely be the spelling kurmsun in Old Norse.

The transliteration on the Hällestad runestone in Scania reads:  Kurms sun and refers to Harald´s potential brother Toke.

The transliteration on the Sönder Vissinge runestone in Denmark reads:  kurms sunaR and refers to Harald Bluetooth.

The transcription and translation in both cases are Gormsen; Gormsson; Gormson and you cannot find Kurms sun in the literature.

TAN ER would most likely refer to Danes.

The transliteration on Harald´s runestone reads: t(a)ni and refers to the fact that Harald ruled over the Danes.

The transcription and translation of t(a)ni is Danes, daner (in Swedish), danskere (in Danish) and you cannot find Taner in the literature.

It seems like the author of the text on the gold object has made a transliteration from Old Norse during the time of Harald Bluetooth. As there are only 16 characters in the rune alphabet a transcript and translation would let the k-rune represents g (GORMSEN instead of KURMSUN), the u-rune represent o and e (GORMSEN instead of KURMSUN) and the t-rune represent d (DANER instead of TANER). In the Latin alphabet the C represents the K and V represents the U in the transliteration during the 10th century.   

If the inventor of the text lived in a later century he or she would probably be aware of the transliteration on the runestones or would have been very familiar with the rune alphabet called Younger Futhark which was in use during 9th to 11th century.

A consequence of the abovementioned transliteration would be a spelling of HARALTR (see the transliteration on Harald´s runestone) instead of ARALD but as the name Harald had been a name in use since at least the time of Harald Klak around early 9th century it may have been a familiar name in  Latin in comparison with Gormsen.

The spelling Arald is also used on a coin with the co-rulers in Norway, Harald Hardrada and Magnus the Good, around mid 11th century : MAHNUS ARALD REX. Furthermore, when Harald Hardrada ruled Norway by himself the coin with his likeliness read: ARALD REX NAR.
Title: Re: Age of golden coin? Two metal tests have been made
Post by: constanius on February 20, 2015, 01:21:42 AM
It does all appear to make perfect sense :)

Here's hoping, fingers crossed.

Pat
Title: Re: Age of golden coin? Two metal tests have been made
Post by: metalsincoin on May 17, 2015, 09:05:59 PM
Somebody suggests that the gold piece consists of remelted byzantine coins due to similar gold content:

Coins of Joannes 969-976 - Gold content 92%
Coins of Basile II 977 - Gold content 91,5%
After 1005 - Gold content 95%
The Gold piece - average gold content 91,6%

Does anybody know what the other 8% (Joannes) and 8,5% (Basile II) consists of in detail?
Title: Re: Age of golden coin? Two metal tests have been made
Post by: Figleaf on May 22, 2015, 01:29:35 AM
Normally, gold is alloyed with either silver (giving a pale yellow colour) or copper (giving a dark orange colour). Other metals would usually be present in trace quantities. Your table in the first post shows an almost equal mix of copper and silver. While unusual, it cannot be excluded.

Peter
Title: Re: Age of golden coin? Two metal tests have been made
Post by: metalsincoin on May 29, 2015, 04:14:07 PM
I found one example of an almost eqaul mix of silver (4,2%) and copper (4,3%) in a 22k byzantine object but from 7th or 8th century, see Table 1 - sample 15 in the following link:

http://download-v2.springer.com/static/pdf/798/art%253A10.1007%252FBF03214640.pdf?token2=exp=1432908026~acl=%2Fstatic%2Fpdf%2F798%2Fart%25253A10.1007%25252FBF03214640.pdf*~hmac=f5b12e318532d91a87afd2cac77a14a1973ea6259bc2370d85ff6c974298c324

The best would be a detailed analysis of byzantine gold coins. Anybody know if the Dumberton Oaks catalogue volume covering coins from 491-1453 could give me that? 

Another interesting detail on the gold piece is the type faces. Attached is an image of the type faces for some letters in the following order:

1) Gold piece
2) Sweyn Forkbeard (986-1014)
3) Cnut the Great (1018-1035)
4) CHRISTOPHER II – 1320-1326
5) CHRISTIAN IV – 1588-1648

If we compare 1) 2) 3) we see lots of differences but when we add two random danish coins from 14th century (4) and 17th century (5) the similarities between 1) 2) 3) are more obvious than the differences.
Title: Re: Age of golden coin? Two metal tests have been made
Post by: metalsincoin on August 02, 2015, 09:36:34 PM
A well-written article about the object in the Danish Weekendavisen: http://www.weekendavisen.dk/smarticle/view/3. Unfortunately only in Danish.
Title: Re: Age of golden coin? Two metal tests have been made
Post by: metalsincoin on October 13, 2015, 07:31:49 PM
Could the obverse with the inscription be the reverse and vice versa? A montage of the object in black and white will show many similarities with byzantine lead seals. The best would be a comparison with chrysobulls but none have survived from around the 10th century if I understand it correct. We have further developed the possible byzantine connection on the Curmsun Disc website:

http://www.thecurmsundisc.com/byzantine-influences-2/byzantine-coins/
http://www.thecurmsundisc.com/byzantine-influences-2/
Title: Re: Age of golden coin? Two metal tests have been made
Post by: Globetrotter on October 13, 2015, 09:14:31 PM
The link from "Weehendaviusen" is about "the enigma of suicides", so it has NOTHING to do with the questions about this coin!

Ole (100% fluent in Danish, since born there)
Title: Re: Age of golden coin? Two metal tests have been made
Post by: metalsincoin on October 13, 2015, 10:19:35 PM
Unfortunately the link to Weekendavisen has changed but the article can be read on facebook in the group "Trelleborge og andre cirkelanlæg. Eftersøgning af ukendte borge" under Files:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/810649665646342/files/
Title: Re: Age of golden coin? Two metal tests have been made
Post by: metalsincoin on April 29, 2016, 08:40:52 AM
Regarding the Otto coin I attached earlier in page 3. Another numismatist says that this coin is Otto III instead of Otto I (and refers to Peter Ilisch 1990, pp 128-130) and probably not minted in the beginning of Otto III reign. Our Otto coin is 16 mm in diameter and weighs approximately 1,32 grams. Any comments?

Title: Re: Age of golden coin? Two metal tests have been made
Post by: Figleaf on April 29, 2016, 11:27:36 AM
Ilisch is a respected scientist and his book is later than Dannenberg's.

Peter
Title: Re: Age of golden coin? Two metal tests have been made
Post by: metalsincoin on April 29, 2016, 02:04:32 PM
Thanks Peter!