Chester, AD 973: King Edgar of England sits at the helm of a small boat while eight other rulers row the vessel along the River Dee. Among the oarsmen are: Cinaed, king of Scots; Malcolm, king of Strathclyde; the Norse warlord Maccus Haraldsson; and Iago, king of Gwynedd. Illustration by James Doyle (1864).
Hiberno-Norse Penny, Anlaf Guthfrithsson (939-941), King of York, Raven Type, York mint, Athelferd moneyer
This is the finest known example of this rare issue. The obverse legend means ‘King Anlaf’ in Old Norse and is one of the earliest surviving texts in this language. The use of Old Norse language instead of Latin coupled with the raven image, associated with the Norse god Odin, is a strong indication that the Vikings were declaring their independence in the British Isles.
Anlaf Guthfrithsson was the Viking King of Dublin who fought in the Battle of Brunanburh in 937 alongside Constantine II and Owen I against Aethelstan, King of England. The infamous battle of the 10th Century was not a victorious campaign for Anlaf but he survived the conflict and successfully seized York and parts of the East Midlands in the aftermath of Aethelstan’s death in 939. The ‘Raven Penny’ was minted during this occupation.
The York/Coppergate Helmet is an Anglo-Saxon rounded-helmet with a Latin Christian inscription and zoomorphic decoration along the brass crests. Iron mail, two cheek pieces, and a long nose-guard hang from the skull for protection.
Cast out of iron, with brass highlights.
Made in the 700s in Northumbria for an Anglo-Saxon cavalryman named Oshere.
Found by a mechanical digger inside a well in Coppergate, near York, England.
Celtic patterns and a Christian cross on a Pictish stone at Shandwick in Easter Ross, carved in the 8th century AD. On the left, a drawing from The Early Christian Monuments of Scotland (1903). On the right, a photograph of the stone in its protective glass box.