Leader medallion

The Roman medallion shows the Emperor and his main believe is on the reverse. We have one and a half dozen Nordic golden medallions of which most of them copies Roman medallions. This should be compared with nearly thousand golden bracts.

Leader medallion, Eagle, Jupiter, Iovi, augustus, caesar, emperor, Roman symbolism, Celtic society, head medallion, leadership, graveyard, Lilla Jored, Manus Dei, lituus, Roman augur, Celtic hairstyle, Nordic hairstyle, pairhood, jarl, earl

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Romans and Erils |Golden Age of Erils |Feudal ideas |

The essays are made many files because of the many pictures. That makes it faster to open a file. It could be confusing when there are several files on the same topic as this on medallions, medals and bracts with a head. Medallions are made for women I think, while the golden medal originally was given for honour by the Roman emperor.

In Scandinavia they copied that as two-sided medal with a head. Later they invented the one-sided golden bract with a head. The other category is the Sun- rider and the third is the mythic bracts. Here I am analysing the ideas in suitable categories. For conventional categories see below.

Medallion of Constantius II before 337, Tunderup Svendborg Fyn Denmark

There are marks after an ear on this. The Emperors side they call adverse AV and that side gives the name to the coin or medallion. The other is called reverse RV and is normally used for ritual or religious motifs. Before Christianity it was usual the favourite gods of the Emperor. In Nordic coin tradition it was in the beginning used for time or calendar symbols. When church became the "yearman" it could be the archbishop on the other side.

This we can call "emperor medallion" since there is only the head with no attribute. Most frequent attribute is the Eagle as symbol of Jupiter = shortform Iovi since the emperor was stand in on earth for the god. Jupiter was the naked sun god we often see seated naked with the Eagle at his feet. Before the end of 3rd century the normal was the sun beam crown or the laurel wreath. On some coins he wears bullhorns and that is also a sun symbol. This simple headgear of two or three bonds and a diadem became fashion in end of 3rd century

In the end of 4th century we got many solidus from Byzantium to Scandinavia. On these the Emperor is en face or looking at you. Sometimes he has a spear but that is mostly on the lower values of coins. The helmet was symbol for the supreme commander and the spear was symbol of war god mars. The Spear was also symbol of Constantinople

The golden solidus got naturally the finest art as images. The text on this coin is VALENTINIAN AUGUSTUS and augustus means the same as caesar and emperor. Sometimes there are other titles or praising title since the image was politics selling the Emperor to the people and world. The space is limited. Many texts make no sense at all while others are shortenings and we know the meaning. Surely the text was not that important since people could not read and did not look that precisely. Nordic girls did not read Latin I suppose

On the reverse stands goddess Victoria with her foot on the globe … I wonder if the Romans know about our apple shaped earth globe? Anyhow the globe symbolised the world and the Emperor thought that they ruled the entire world. They were right but only the world they knew of.

The (angle) wings in this connection symbolise the all-seeing might of the Emperor. It was the same symbolism in the Jupiter Eagle used as main symbol for the legions. Later Christianity used the same symbolism showing the power of the church. The wise emperor told always about victories and about peace. Normally expanding empires are always at war and the decline is also steady ongoing war.

The Roman symbolism is of the same class as the Egyptian and they surely learnt much once they took Egypt under the wings of the Eagle of Jupiter. Gods were useful since they could always be used as scapegoats. It was not the emperor to be blamed for losses and bad fortune. It was the will of the gods. But the victories were result of the skill of the Emperor of course.

When the Emperor was responsible of coining it looked as if he was the source of prosperity and success. Still in money circulation and taxation the money is taken from the many to the few. But it is the eternal message that the rulers make the money running and make people believe that they prosper.

A shield on a pillar and a little cupid balance the composition. The Roman reminds even of the Sumerian symbolism. They used around 50 me, which were they holly concepts in society. We only know the name of some and not the full meaning. In Rome it is a little better since people have used the personifications until our time. There were plenty of them in my childhood but know most of them are gone.

These old Latin lowers surely remember: Fortuna, Victoria, Concordia = harmony, Felicitas = prosperity, Fides = faithfulness, Libertas, Moneta, Pietas = duty and Pax was the aim. They tried to get those concepts into my head in my young days. Many of them are hard to grip because they are abstractions and there are many more building brick in automated Roman culture.

In the coin symbols are at least 30 concepts I know of such as Caduceus representing commerce, Concordia = agreement, Lituus the augur staff, Spear of Mars the war god always in action, Victoria, Labarum with Christogram CHI RO standard for Christi soldiers, Cornucopia = horn of plenty, Curule = folding chair symbol of the young officer, Patera dish for seed offer, Altar and Pot or Dipper for offer.

The Snake occur often together with Salus = health. Sometimes Salus feed the Snake and that is the old symbolism of the Snake as womb. On a golden bract from Zealand is the text SALUSALU that must be a wish for prosperity. Maybe the word ALU comes from Latin "alere" and it means growth. ALU occurs on a number of golden bracts.

The Celtic society surely used a similar collection of concepts for society. This was born out of an illiterate society in which single words symbolised complicated real or abstract phenomenon. They were like icons. On our golden bracts I found about 60 symbols of which some are synonyms. It tells that under the Roman Age they developed their own symbol collection.

To this we can add the mythic figures and attributive things like, bird, raven, eagle, buck, boar, wolf, fish, snake, helmet, axe, sword, spear, mask and undefined animals.

Many of the small symbols belong to their world order and practical astronomy. The later cannot be separated from the Roman astronomy and they were normally abstracted from the four season or the trisected year. The entwined snakes are "life itself" and double-double spirals means fellowship. A few maybe are Christian such as the Greek cross, Maltese cross and an altar symbol.

We must note that the Roman society was urban and the nobility created the message after their environment. The Nordic nobility preserved their old culture and added some new things from their experiences in Rome and when they organised their society.

Leader medallion

These are the present golden bract categories used by science: A = only head "sun-king"; B = one or a few idols "mythic"; C = they call it a rider "sun-rider"; D = undefined figures "snake pit". These are called golden one-sided bracts. Letter M = is the two-sided medallion. They call it emperor medal.

Of original M-medallions and copies there are less than twenty totally. Type A contains around 40 bracts showing mostly the idea of leadership and with much influence from Roman coins. Type B contains maybe around 30 bracts of which half of them have a sure Tyr-motif and the rest is one male figure mostly. The D-type contains maybe around 145 bracts and type C 200 bracts.

I am not following these categories since I am analysing the ideas of society and make categories after that or analyse some specific motifs that tells about the society.

We can not be sure that they saw the head as the leader in the Roman way, since we have the old tradition of RAS or ANSUR before Roman times. Maybe it began in last millennium BC when we see the "BIG MEN" in our rock-carvings. Some of them wear neck-ring. The same is case with the Trinity and tri-head statues. Some of them wear neck-ring. Surely that was sign of leadership, but in which way?

In Celtic sense there are three possibilities. One is the totally democratic society with elected leader for the occasion. Then all people are within the law and land. We know of that model as well as the late feudal model. That is also old and we know it best from the Hittitians society in which the nobility was in a feudal league that ruled the land in a federation of city states. The high king was ritual leader.

The third model is split peasants' law room and the birke /ornum of nobility. Then we do not know much of the peasants before early medieval times. The nobility named their class freemen and divided it in four classes. They were all like a state in the state. In the sparsely populated Scandinavia there is no need for speculating in powerful rulers or tyrants, but the league of traders and organisers of the cavalry and legions for Rome during this period. Powerful leadership needs population of city size to be anonymous enough for the leader and it should also feed a leader with expensive manners and outfit and maybe servants and knights.

The collective graveyards and doom rings and thing places from last millennium BC onward tell about some kind of democracy as the normal. My analysis of the stone monuments and what we know about early German thing and world order has shaped my opinions in this matter. That has given the idea of split law room for peasants, and nobility that were traders. Only trade could give the nobility income and capital. Some simply robbed the capital they needed but so did the Romans that took a great part of Europe.

On the ancient graveyards the rich are buried together with ordinary people. They also lived on farms and the only difference was that they maybe produced more and had the capital for trading. During history of civilisation it is always the rich that furnish us with cultural item we can learn from.
In the world of ideas few are born as fresh ideas. Most of them are borrowed or a combination of old things. It is like physical laws that nothing is born out of nothing. There is no need for speculating before we have analysed the physical evidence and written sources. But we have to be critical and not put in more in the valuation than the item gives.

From the written sources we should take away all additional opinions and attributes given by Romans and others that saw us as barbarians. Good and true writers do not need adjectives. In every moment we should ask is this reasonable. In our times there is no need for believing that a few fishes and breads could feed thousands of people. In our courts they rather free than convict if the evidence is too week. Our ancestors deserve that.

Finds of Little Jored Bohuslaen after A.E.Holmbergs från 1867

Arm ring three turns in gold 145 gr

Triple finger ring

Simple finger ring

2 small ear rings

Gold medal

Bract type eagle helmet

Gold buckle

Cross of cast silver (could mean that more were made)

Copper nails

Silver strips from wooden vessel maybe?

Patinated copper vessel with silver and glass pearl inlay

Pieces from a loom

Copper strips and pieces from kegs

Sword mounting

Spear mountings

Piece of wood

And more …

They think that maybe a couple and a third person was buried in the same grave. At that time the excavations were not professional even when they did their best. They were at the place examining several times.

Lilla Jored's medallion is a real masterpiece copying the Roman style. We can hardly see if the head is original or copy, but the text is not intelligible. You can get fine photos from SHM State History Museum


There is some addition to the original solidus and they are on this side the border, the ear, the gold grains and the hand. The text is new and has been a decorative border. We hardly recognise that he has a ring made as triple ring on his thumb. A ring of that kind was found in the grave and that tells us the medal was made for this leader. Since it a copy we see the leaders employed the best goldsmiths available.

This ring was found in the grave and it could be compared to the tumb on the hand

The hand is a little mystery. At this time we see the "Manus Dei" =Gods hand in Rome but it always comes from above. A hand occurs here and on a little number of golden bracts. Maybe we should also count composition where the idol put the thumb in the mouth.

I come think that it maybe shows the situation from the Sigurd saga in which he licks the Dragon's blood from his finger and then understand birds' song. It is like continuing the saga about Tyr that once he lost his hand he knew what pain is and then he was experienced enough to be judge. We have to be lured before we really believe that some people speak between the lines to each other. Maybe it also tells that nobility learnt the manors and secrets of the Romans.

On our golden bracts the hand occurs freely and it does not be like any Roman symbolism. In some cases there is a ring in the hand and that is surely the symbolism of the leader as "the ring giver". But the ring could naturally also be symbol of fertility and harvest. But since the hand occurs on a few more bracts and there comes a sling out of the mouth of some heads we could ask if they mean it is a "speaker" or thegn / taler that was an important concept at the time. In ordinary folklands there were no kings. Instead we have concepts like vising, taler, thegn and the tradition of ritual leader and law reader. Even in some place names as Speetley = speakers grove we have the concept.

Since there is the silver cross we have to ask if they were Christian and maybe Arians. The triple ring has maybe something to do with Trinity that was the big issue long before Christianity in the Celtic world. From Rome we know they were Arian and later in 5th century some turned to Christianity when living in the empire ... see Where they Cristian

The separate hand occurs in front of the head on another medal from Hordaland and on the medal from Aneby Smaaland it is behind the head. That means that "hand" was symbol for a ritual concept and then Christianity is nearest at hand. In a few cases the hand is lifted to the mouth and in cases with the thumb toward the mouth. In all these cases it speaks for a certain assembly and for the message … in Bronze Age it seems that the hand with a marked thumb to the side was used as signs of brotherhood among traders and Phoenicians.

In a few cases we see a ring in the hand and can associate to the concept "ring-giver and bread-giver". Understood behind that is the settlements of the nobility probably called "ornum or birke". The highest classes king, eorl and thane employed handicraftsmen, soldiers and tenants and paid in different ways.

The earrings from the grave

We can make some conclusions from this single family grave that follows the pattern of other rich graves in the area where we find Erils. First of all let me say that it is our heritage and they left it to us. It is a rhetoric statement to say that we should value it and take care of the heritage.

We can also conclude that it seems there were no inherit code at that time. They probably lived at the family estate with no distribution of inheritance. Individual owning of property and land came later in maybe 7th to 8th century as we see from a few rune stones. If they wanted to hide it for the future they would have thrown their property to the bog. We have very little knowledge about the finds except a smaller part of graves and some hoards to speculate about.

We can never know how much they left to their relatives and we do not know their real thought about burying personal property. We can only see through the ages that most of the finds are from rich people and probably the leading class. We owe them all thanks since otherwise we would not know anything about at least the upper class … normally other people follow and sometimes imitate the rich.


On the reverse of the medallion there is an augur

The staff he holds seems to be a lituus. That was a symbol for the Roman augur and even the dress is Roman. We easily call them fortune-teller or magician. It is not that easy. Since it is from "a great culture" we do not use the word shaman, since we believe such invectives belong to primitive tribes.

It is only a question about do we want to understand or not. Our own scientists have often their own language and make their profession secret … I asked my heart specialist for my journals, since every patient has that right. He did not want to show me and at first he read from my journal and answered only questions. It was not my suspicion, "What does he hide?" but just the principle that I have the right to know. Of course there is some Latin, but I get the clue when I read. Since I am a technician too I can read the diagram and EKG myself and understand some of it.

The shamans carry the old wisdom their tribe needs and some of his act maybe strange, but the real question is, "Does it give the tribe what they need people?" An outsider can never see and feel the entire situation since he does not know the "language" and all that between the lines. It is only that we bully westerners believe we know, but in fact do not know much … what causes the global warming? Do you really know? I think we should be barefoot when we intrude in "another world."

In city cultures it soon became a profession. In small tribes old women and men carried the wisdom, but in cities it became a profession and the specialist wanted to make it secret so that people had to pay for it and that made it able for the wise to get food enough to study. Old wisdom was always total. There was no sure border between disciplines like today when my body needs maybe a hundred specialists to care for my body in all situations if the bad thing happens.

In Egypt they called it "The House of Life" and we do not know much about that. In fact we do not know much more about that side of life in Europe either. We can only guess that there were druids and augurs carrying the knowledge from generation to generation. These were for the top of the society while the clever old women and men were among the people and there is no border between these and old grandma and grandpa that know the most … the main thing is that the society survive.

There are more than hundred rune texts and a few can be interpreted as made of some with more knowledge than other can. Some shows maybe that the text was deliberately made magic …they do it in our days too. But we cannot from a few texts decide that our ancestors in general believed in spirits and used magicians to carry out their life. I do not believe there was any help in farming out of such things.


This medal is from Gundsaumagle Copenhagen Amt and very worn.

Someone sees the one-eyed Odin however it is very worn out. There is also some worn out figurine from Uppland Sweden with the one-eyed. That is symptomatic since Oden seems to be immigrant from Saxony to Uppland and even to Norway. But one single occurrence or maybe two is like "one swallow does not make a summer" and belongs to the culture with many gods. t I would not be so sure, since I find only one "maybe-Odin" text on 1000 golden bracts. Instead we see Ti / Tis / Tyr known by his hand in the gap of the Fenriswolf and sometimes with an eagle in his hair. … see also Anglo-Scandinavian cultural words

The Romans are drawn with short hair and only in few cases we see the "Celtic hairstyle". That was when they put chalk in the hair so it became stiff in the same way as our modern youngster with spray in their hair… I would try the cock crest but I have not sufficient hair on my baldhead. The Nordic hairstyle is usually "flying hair"

Emperors have always one or two three ribbons in the hair and we see the ends in the neck. The fashion began before 300 AD. It is seen ion Persian Emperors too. Maybe they were tired of wearing a crown or helmet.

It need not be a god that inspired to an one-eyed idol. In Celtic myth there are at least two idols but it could also be that they admired Philip of Macedonia and the lance he introduced.

We can only say that the averse is influenced by Rome but the other side is Nordic and that symbolise the making of golden medals, while the golden bract in general are in a Nordic Celtic style.

This medallion is from Frejlev Lolland Denmark

The averse is inspired by Roman short hair with addition of granulate under the broken ear. On the other side is an abstracted figure that surely shows the trisected moon year

It is not so sure that these simple and maybe unskilled medallions were made in the beginning of this tradition. In all times there were beginners, but seemingly they did work good enough for the buyer. The only real dating we get if we can see the original Roman coin behind. Those we can date

This is from Lynby Randers Amt Jutland

On the averse is a Celtic head with the long hair in a decorative lock. In some cases they surely intend to show that they wore the Swebian knot as tribal symbol. The two snakes are essential in Nordic symbolism

The abstracted four station is surely the seasons. Since Stone Age they were symbolised with four quarter rings.

At left bract from Skonager and at right from Darum both Ribe Amt South Jutland

The inner border on the Darum bract can symbolise the sun as well as the moon if anything, since it can be just decorative. The beam border use to be the sunshine.

On both are the text the same LIRAIWUI AHUTIADLI and none is wiser or know if it is words or shortenings. The necklace seems to be Roman and so the ribbon but hairstyle is non-Roman.

The Skonager hair ends in an eagle-head that is frequent on the rider head. They try to create a closed composition like the Sumerians. For instance the eagle belongs to the head as idea and then they are composed together. Others have the eagle in front of the headgear. That kind of thinking is symbolic and nearly every detail has its own meaning