Featured Harold Harefoot

Discussion in 'World Coins' started by Chris B, Jul 12, 2020.

  1. Chris B

    Chris B Supporter! Supporter

    Here's an unexpected find at this month's local coin show. The picture could be better but it is a pretty good representation of what the coin looks like in hand.

    Harold I is not nearly as well know as his father Cnut the Great. This is probably because of his short 5-year reign and the fact that he wasn't the obvious successor to his father.


    ANGLO-SAXON, Kings of All England. Harold I Harefoot.
    AR Penny

    Diameter: 17mm
    Weight 0.87 gr

    Jewel Cross type (BMC i, Hild. A). Suðgeweorc (Southwark) mint; moneyer, Leofric. Struck 1036-1038. +

    Obverse: HAR OLD RE, diademed bust left
    Reverse: + LEORIC O ((NN) SVÐG:, cross composed of four ovals united at base by two concentric circles enclosing a pellet.

    SCBI 40 (Stockholm), 532 var. (Rev. Legend); Hild. 924 var. (Same); BMC -; North 802; SCBC 1163

    A short history adapted from Wikipedia:

    Harold I (1016–1040), also known as Harold Harefoot, was King of England from 1035 to 1040. Harold's nickname is first recorded as "Harefoh" or "Harefah" in the twelfth century in the history of Ely Abbey, and according to some late medieval chroniclers it meant that he was fleet of foot.

    The son of Cnut the Great and Ælfgifu of Northampton, Harold was elected regent of England following the death of his father in 1035. He initially ruled England in place of his brother Harthacnut, who was stuck in Denmark due to a rebellion in Norway which had ousted their brother Svein. Although Harold had wished to be crowned king since 1035, Æthelnoth, Archbishop of Canterbury, refused to do so. It was not until 1037 that Harold, supported by earl Leofric and many others, was officially proclaimed king. The same year, Harold's two step-brothers Edward and Alfred returned to England with a considerable military force. Alfred was captured by Earl Godwin, who had him seized and delivered to an escort of men loyal to Harefoot. While en route to Ely, he was blinded and soon after died of his wounds.

    Harold died in 1040, having ruled just five years; his half-brother Harthacnut soon returned and took hold of the kingdom peacefully. Harold was originally buried in Westminster, but Harthacnut had his body dragged up and thrown into a fen (marsh), as well as then thrown into the river Thames, but it was after a short time picked up by a fisherman, immediately taken to the Danes, and honourably buried by them in their cemetery at London.

    This coin reminded me of a question of have never seen addressed here. What is considered the cutoff between a coin being considered an ancient versus medieval?
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  3. Robert Ransom

    Robert Ransom Well-Known Member

    Great coin and post. Thanks. Love any info regarding the "Dark Ages" and this is smack dab in the middle.
  4. ycon

    ycon Well-Known Member

    The conventional answer is anything after the fall of the Roman Empire in the West (476), or anything after the fall the Roman Empire in the West, excluding Byzantium. Of course in some ways it's a very arbitrary cut-off, and depending on what your areas of focus/interest are there are other ones that make sense-- for example the early Islamic conquests in the Seventh and Eighth centuries.
  5. Robert Ransom

    Robert Ransom Well-Known Member

    Like your question.
    Like the answer.
    Chris B and +VGO.DVCKS like this.
  6. ycon

    ycon Well-Known Member

    I've always found the Florence Baptistry (and other Italian romanesque structures) fascinating as it can be both seen as ""proto-renaissance", [and] at the same time an extreme survival of the late antique architectural tradition in Italy."

    Just to illustrate the way in which the impulse to divide into neat epochs can be deceptive.

    +VGO.DVCKS Active Member

    Fantastic example. No, Freaking Brilliant, with the (Revisionism Alert) "tasteful" arrangement of Anglo-Scandinavian peck marks. Adding a whole other dimension of socio-cultural history to the piece, at minimal esthetic expense.
    Regarding the medieval period, the academic tradition goes as follows.
    C. 476-c.1000 is Dark Ages, c. 1000-c. 1300 is High Middle Ages (vs. the French equivalent, which refers to the Dark Ages), and the stuff from the 14th century on is the Late Middle Ages.
    But ycon is dead on. Any dating method as simplistic as that will summarily rule out the entire dimension of, for one, geography, along with attendant cultural and other nuances from one region to another.
    A case in point, with particular reference to the peck marks on your example, is the end of the Viking Age, commonly dated to the defeat of Harald Hardraada at Stamford Bridge in 1066.
    ...But even then, according to a couple of 13th-c. saga accounts, some of the army made it home! In a similar vein, in the Irish Sea, thanks to the Scandinavians based in Orkney and Dublin, quintessentially viking raids --Just Plunder, Thank You-- were still happening well into the 12th century.
    But it only gets more interesting when you consider broader cultural and economic factors. The signature Scandinavian phenomenon of peck marks continues at least to the end of the 11th century, notably in German denars /pfennigs that circulated along the Baltic coast. In that collective instance, trade rather than plunder was the primary dynamic. But that had been an integral component of viking activity since at least the 10th century.
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2020
  8. Robert Ransom

    Robert Ransom Well-Known Member

    I learn something new every day, but in my ignorance, I will still refer to 500 through 1500 as the Dark Ages. They certainly were not light or bright. :confused:
    +VGO.DVCKS likes this.

    +VGO.DVCKS Active Member

    ...Ah, but there, you profit from a little more nuance. I give you my solemn word.
    For one expansively collective example, over the course of the 12th century, and well into the 13th, the entire European Mediterranean frontier was marked by remarkable levels of cosmopolitanism.
    In Iberia, Alfonso VI of Castile, having, Yep, captured Toledo from the local Muslim taifa in 1085, instigated a major campaign of translating Arabic and Hebrew manuscripts from local, often world-class libraries into Latin. This is credited both with having been a major impetus toward the '12th-Century Renaissance,' and, eventually, that other one.
    In Norman Sicily, from the first half of the 12th century, the same dynamic took place. This time including the added element of Byzantine influence, notably in the architecture and mosaics of Palermo Cathedral.
    And in the Frankish Levant, effectively from the onset, the crusaders and their heirs were actively adopting and emulating elements of Muslim and Byzantine culture.
    In each instance, this is borne out by the numismatic evidence. ...Wish I had all day. In Iberia, the 'Franks' are imitating local, Almohad issues by the 13th century. In Sicily, the Normans are issuing coins with legends in Greek and Arabic, and Byzantine motifs. (There's at least one issue with a Star of David.) In the 'Frankish Levant,' there's a progression from neo-Byzantine folles in Antioch and Edessa, from the beginning of the 12th century, to imitations of local Ayyubid dirhams, into the mid-13th.
    ...And in each collective instance, at least for the most part, the operant Arabic and Greek legends are Literate! Some of the 12th-century ones from Norman Sicily include Christian legends, sometimes in Arabic, with AH dates ...which are Accurate!
    Regarding the cultural influence of civilizations which, on various, glaringly obvious levels, were demonstrably more advanced than their own, the Europeans of the period were Wide Open. I think some of us would do well to emulate their example.
  10. Robert Ransom

    Robert Ransom Well-Known Member

    When you arrive at my age, there is but little enlightenment that can be absorbed. You may well be stating a truth, however, those living in the small hamlets and villages, while serving the land barons needs, probably saw little of that which you offer here in your text. Subsistence was their primary, if not complete, goal.
    Seattlite86, PaulTudor and +VGO.DVCKS like this.
  11. +VGO.DVCKS

    +VGO.DVCKS Active Member

    ...Sounds as if your focus is on the socio-economic sphere. And you clearly have a valid point; it wasn't any fun for the 99 percent. But this was true of the agrarian landscape (which is to say, most of it) over the ensuing centuries. For that many people, the consequences of mercantilism, exploration, and colonialism weren't much fun, either. ...As perpetuated, as much as not, by the Industrial Revolution. In this context, Dickens (like, for instance, Defoe) is as much a journalist as a novelist.
    And if you care to shift to the cultural sphere, what was happening during the European Middle Ages was foundational to the classically Modern ideal of pluralism.
    Robert Ransom likes this.
  12. +VGO.DVCKS

    +VGO.DVCKS Active Member

    ...And regarding your initial protestation, it's like, why am I skeptical?
    Robert Ransom likes this.
  13. Robert Ransom

    Robert Ransom Well-Known Member

    If you are referring to "Love any info regarding the "Dark Ages...", loving and absorbing are two different things.
    +VGO.DVCKS likes this.
  14. Mr.Q

    Mr.Q Well-Known Member

    I'm not an ancients man but I enjoy looking at them, nice coin. Thank you for the peek.
    +VGO.DVCKS, Robert Ransom and Chris B like this.
  15. +VGO.DVCKS

    +VGO.DVCKS Active Member

    Got it. Thanks for that! You're right, it's an eminently valid distinction. To which I can readily relate in other contexts. Like, say, computer technology....
    Robert Ransom likes this.
  16. lordmarcovan

    lordmarcovan Eclectic & odd Moderator

    Tough coin! I've been browsing Cnuts lately.
    +VGO.DVCKS and Chris B like this.
  17. Robert Ransom

    Robert Ransom Well-Known Member

    I feel sorry for 'post 50 year old's' who decide to buy their first computer. I bought my first one in 2013 and after opening the box and performing the set up, searched the box and packaging for the operating instructions so I could begin using it. DUH! There are so many computer email scams today, it is difficult to separate which communications are valid. One scam is a message, supposedly, from PayPal stating, "Your account is frozen because of suspicious activity. Please click here to confirm your identity" or something to that effect.
    +VGO.DVCKS likes this.
  18. +VGO.DVCKS

    +VGO.DVCKS Active Member

    ...Oh, Lord, get me started about ransomware! Been There, Done That. ...And then there are the mountains of spam, much of it (just from the subject lines) variously insulting and otherwise objectionable. In my primary, free (and it shows) email account, I get spam in the inbox, and then I have to sift through the spam file for real email. --All my alerts to posts here wind up there. And the hateful thing is, you can't argue with an algorhythm. There's literally nobody home --they're too stupid to be stupid!
    Robert Ransom likes this.
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