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Rare 10th century coin depicting Jesus found in Norway

Experts believe the gold coin was minted in the Byzantine Empire. It also has a inscription written in Latin saying “Jesus Christ, King of those who reign”.

AUTOR 5/Evangelical_Focus OSLO 15 DE DICIEMBRE DE 2023 16:20 h
A metal detectorist recently found a rare gold coin in the mountains of Norway depicting Jesus Christ holding a Bible. / [link]Innlandet fylke[/link]

A metal detectorist recently found a rare gold coin in the mountains of Norway depicting Jesus Christ holding a Bible.



According to the authorities of the Norwegian city of Vestre Slidre in the Innlandet County, it is technically known as histamenon nomisma, a coin of standard weight first introduced around 960 AD and used as standard Byzantine currency.



“It has held up exceptionally well. The coin appears largely unchanged from when it was lost”, the statement of the Innlandet County said.



They believe the coin was introduced in the Byzantine Empire and minted in Constantinople, sometime between 977 and 1025, based on three dotted lines that circle the coin's border, a design element commonly used during that time period.



 



Jesus and Byzantine emperors



In addition to the image of Jesus on one side of the coin, the other side of the coin shows the former Byzantine emperors Basil II and Constantine VIII, co-rulers of the also called the Eastern Roman Empire toward the end of the 9th century.





[photo_footer] The coin hows the former Byzantine emperors Basil II and Constantine VIII. /Innlandet fylke. [/photo_footer] 


The coin also has two written inscriptions. One, written in Latin by the stamp of Christ, says, “Jesus Christ, King of those who reign”. The other, written in Greek on the coin's opposite side, says, “Basil and Constantine, emperors of the Romans”.



 



Possible explanations



Experts have tried to determine how the coin ended up in Norway. One hypothesis is that the artifact belonged to Harald Hardråde, who before he was king, served as part of the Byzantine emperor’s guard.



“At that time it was customary for the guards to be given the right to loot the palace and take all the valuables they could find when the emperor died. During Harald's time in Byzantium, three emperors had died”, explained Innlandet County officials.



Other theories are that gold coin could have also made its way into Norway's early salt trade, which had transport routes that ran perpendicular from western Norway across the country that a clergyman had lost it on one of his missionary journeys, or that it was used in a trade between merchants.



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