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25.05.2021

Funen Bracteate

This bracteate from the island of Funen (Denmark) and over a thousand of its kind were inspired by commemorative gold medallions minted for Roman emperors. The latter would have been introduced into Scandinavia by northern soldiers who served in the Roman army and then returned home. Unlike the Roman models, the gold-foil bracteates are struck on only one side and they often include runic inscriptions. Instead of emperors in profile, they feature the heads of warrior figures on horses, often paired with birds. In this example from Funen, the warrior has a Suebian knot in his hair and the inscription includes a title for Odin. Many bracteates preserve loops that indicate they were worn on the body, and most with secure findspots were uncovered in female graves.

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