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A cool new Salian pictorial denar


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Archbishopric of Magdeburg, temp. Heinrich III as Emperor, 1046-1056.  AR denar, 22 mm. (An unusually broad flan for the milieu; on the high side even in comparison to English pennies.)  Two benign striking cracks; understandable, given the flan.

Obv. Crowned profile right; presumably Heinrich.  +[S]C[S] MAVRCIVS (’S’ retrograde).  (Maurice, the patron saint of Magdeburg.)

Rev. Gate between two towers; higher tower behind the gate.  Circuit of the entire city wall schematically indicated by diagonals to either side of the towers, and a ring around and above the rest of the motif.  

(From 12 o’clock, but entirely retrograde:) +MAGA[TH]EB[V]R[G].

Dannenburg 648 (the initial type, vs. variants); Kluge, Salier 428 (ironically enough, a variant).


The wall circuit, simplified as it is, evokes illustrations in two famous medieval manuscripts.  A similar visual sensibility, verging on linear perspective (and drawing from late Roman precedent), is seen in the Utrecht Psalter, from the Carolingian Renaissance (c. early or mid-9th c.), and its Anglo-Saxon  copy, the Harley Psalter (early 11th c.).  In both manuscripts, the first instance is found on Folio 5 recto, above the beginning of Psalm 9.  Starting with the earlier one:





...People are cordially welcome to riff on this any way you'd care to. 







Edited by JeandAcre
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