The German empire, c. 919-1125, with Saxony to the north. From Shepherd, Historical Atlas (1925), via Wikimedia Commons. In the later phases of the Viking Age, the Billung duchy was Germany’s geographic window on the Scandinavian world. Not surprisingly, like much of the later Carolingian aristocracy in France, the Billungs made their dynastic name repelling Viking incursions. The dukes’ affinities with Francian precedent didn’t end there. Bernhard II revolted against his Salian overlord, Heinrich II. He proceeded to pursue a unilateral alliance with King Magnus ‘the Good’ of Norway and Denmark, especially against Slavic incursions from the east. In 1042, his eldest son, Ordulf /Otto, married Ulfhild Olavsdotter, a sister of Magnus, and a daughter of St. Olaf /’Olaf the Stout’ of Norway and Astrid Olofsdottir, an illegitmate daughter of Olaf 'Skottonung' of Sweden. This, and an ongoing feud between the dukes and the local archbishopric, earned both of them the ire of its chronicler, Adam of Bremen (an important, if less than consistently reliable source for late Viking history). But we can start with the first duke, Bernhard I (973-1011), who fought the Danes from the beginning of his reign through the 10th century, and who was a loyal adherent of the emperor Otto III. Bernhard I, denar of Bardowick (in northeastern Saxony); or possibly neighboring Lüneburg, or Jever (on the east Frisian coast). Obv. Profile; BERNHARDVS DVX. Rev. (From 4 o’clock: ) N NOMINI DNI AMEN. Dannenberg 585; cf. 585a, noting a variant with more blundered legends, anticipating the later issues. Bernhard I; denar, with the same range of possible mints. Obv. (From 11 o’clock: ) BERNHA[R DV]X. Rev. (From 4 o’clock: ) DENMON[IOMO]. Dannenberg 587 (obverse); 589 (reverse). Bernhard II, Duke of Saxony 1011-1059. Denar of Jever. Obv. Facing portrait. Blundered, indifferently struck legends. Rev. Gonfanon (/banner). Legends as above. This side should be turned 180 degrees. Dannenberg 191-3, variant. Dannenberg’s most frequently cited plate (25. 591 --in contrast to 593) has been perpetuated in dealers’ pictures to this day. But in this and the following example --despite the endemically haphazard striking of the legends-- one can see the initial cross on the reverse, at 6 o’clock, which generally appears at the beginning of legends (12 o’clock), as in plate 593. Similarly, Dannenberg refers to the reverse motif, somewhat anachronistically, as a ‘church flag.’ The origin of this type of banner, known as a gonfanon (Fr. gonfalon), is decidedly secular, drawing from 11th-century (and conspicuously Scandinavian) precedent back to Cnut and Harald Hardraada, before the inception of European heraldry. Which is where, in one instance, it eventually migrated. In the 12th century, a gonfalon was adopted by the counts of Auvergne as their coat of arms. (The right-hand picture is from a later 12th-century seal; both show the correct, non-gravity-defying orientation.) The Wiki.fr. article on the flag and blason of Auvergne notes a tradition that a gonfanon was used by Eustace III of Boulogne, who accompanied his brother, Godfrey de Bouillon on the First Crusade (1096-1100). https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blason_de_l'Auvergne. Their father, Eustace II (Count of Boulogne from c. 1049) is shown with a similar one on the Bayeux Tapestry, where he points to Duke William during the Battle of Hastings. The chronology, and proximity of both counties to Flanders (including Bouillon), puts us in easy range of Bernhard’s issues. (From Wikimedia Commons. Cf. Bridgeford, 1066: The Hidden History in the Bayeux Tapestry, esp. 140; 192 and n. 2, identifying the protagonist as Eustace. II.) Bernhard II; the more common type, with the facing portrait more nearly a three-quarters view. Still with fragmentary, but evidently variant legends. Cf. (...yep) Dannenberg 191-3. Ordulf /Odo /Otto, Duke of Saxony 1059-1072. AR denar of Jever; obverse only. Ordulf facing, crowned; (from 6 o’clock, entirely retrograde: ) ODD[O] + D[VX]. Dannenberg 595. Herman (brother of Ordulf), ducal regent of Saxony during the minority and imprisonment of Ordulf’s son Magnus (by Heinrich IV, following a revolt in 1070), c. 1059-1080. Obverse only. Same motif as above. +HEREMON. Dannenberg 597. Here, the absence of the title, ‘DVX,’ along with the seamless continuation of Ordulf’s 'portrait,' underscores Herman’s function as regent. You’re cordially invited to post anything from the Viking Age, or of any other kind (or perceived level) of relevance. ...Including, for instance, chronology, regardless of geography. You will get points for the creativity of your associations!