Lee Toone writes:
One of the coins of the Lenborough hoard you illustrated last week is an extremely rare and important 'Agnus Dei' (lamb of God) penny
struck by Aethelred the Unrede. In this case the coin is a mule as the reverse does not show the Holy Dove as is usual. Further information is given
on the Fitzwilliam Museum website. This coin and part of the hoard are currently on display at the British Museum.
Here's an excerpt from the Fitzwilliam web page. -Editor
In the 970s and after England developed a remarkable monetary system characterised by standardised coin-types naming king, mint-place and
individual maker (‘moneyer’) which were issued at up to seventy places across the kingdom, from York to Exeter and Dover. Every few years these coins
would be brought in and replaced with a new type. Thanks to payments of tribute to the Vikings who menaced England during the reign of Æthelred, tens
of thousands of silver pennies of most of these types have survived in hoards from modern Scandinavia.
Yet one particularly striking and historically important type remains poorly represented among them: the famous Agnus Dei (Latin for Lamb of God)
type. Only 21 specimens have been discovered, all but four of them in Scandinavia or the Baltic. One of the latest to come to light was found near
Epping, Essex, in 2008. It was subsequently bought for the Fitzwilliam Museum (accession number CM.1-2009).
Uniquely for the succession of types running from Edgar to Harold II in 1066, the Agnus Dei coinage dispenses with a representation of the king on
the obverse and with the usual cross on the reverse. In their place, one finds a representation of the Lamb of God and of the Holy Dove. These images
find extensive parallels among manuscript illuminations, sculpture and metalwork of the period, and demonstrate that the designers of coins were very
much in touch with the artistic mainstream, and therefore presumably with the deep resonances which attached to these images. Both emphasise the
peace-bringing power of Christ and the Holy Spirit
To read the complete article, see:
Agnus Dei penny of Æthelred II
To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:
LARGE HOARD OF ANGLO SAXON COINS DISCOVERED
Wayne Homren, Editor
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