Coinage of the Hiberno-Norse Kingdom of Northumbria


Introduction

Before the Vikings arrived, Britain had already been invaded and settled by a number of mainland European tribes. The withdrawal of the Roman military had left Britain vulnerable and, over a long period of time, newcomers settled along the east coast and spread inland.

The original homelands of these European invaders were Germany, Denmark and northern Netherlands. They had wooden boats which they used to row around in the North Sea but the reason why these Germanic tribes were invading Britain is uncertain

The original homelands of these European invaders were Germany, Denmark and northern Netherlands. They had wooden boats which they used to row around in the North Sea but the reason why these Germanic tribes were invading Britain is uncertain

When the Anglo-Saxons reached Britain, they did not settle to the centre as the Romans before them had done, but colonised northwards and westwards, pushing the native Celts to the fringes of Britain. These Anglo-Saxon areas eventually combined into kingdoms and by 850 AD there were three kingdoms – Mercia, Northumbria and Wessex.

In the 6th century, the pope send a monk called Augustine to persuade the Anglo-Saxons to become Christians. In two centuries Christianity slowly settled in as many monasteries and churches were built. The downfall began for now Christianised Anglo-Saxons with the invasion of Vikings in the 8th and 9th century.

  • Christian Ireland suffered a similar setback.

The Viking Invasions

No understanding of the history of the vikings in Ireland can begin without at least some knowledge of the history of the vikings in Britain. This history starts with the Norse vikings raid at Lindisfarne on June 8th 793. For seven decades the Vikings would continue raiding the coast of Britain and Ireland.

  • The Norse are first recorded in Ireland in 795 when they sacked Lambay Island.

Sporadic raids then continued until 832, after which they began to build fortified settlements in Ireland – the first phase was a series of summer forts (a base from which to raid) and thereafter permanent settlements.

  • It was inevitable that they would eventually launch a full scale invasion of Britain
    • The Danish Vikings targeted England
    • The Norse Vikings targeted the west coast of Scotland and Ireland
Two main waves of vikings raided and eventually migrated westwards – the Norse settled along the western coast of Scotland and down into Ireland, whereas the Danes mainly settled on the eastern seaboard of Britain. A smaller Swedish group initially settled in the Orkney Islands.

Two main waves of vikings raided and eventually migrated westwards – the Norse settled along the western coast of Scotland and down into Ireland, whereas the Danes mainly settled on the eastern seaboard of Britain. A smaller Swedish group initially settled in the Orkney Islands.

In the year 866, a huge army of Danes invaded East Anglia from their well established bases in the Low Countries of the Continent.

  • They arrived under the leadership of Ivar the Boneless and his brothers, Halfdene and Hubba
  • After camping for the winter, these Danish vikings turned their attention to Northumbria

A civil war had weakened the great northern Saxon kingdom of Northumbria and the Danes were not slow to exploit this. After crosssing the River Humber, they headed for York – a strategic fortress for whoever could capture it.

  • On November 1st, 866 AD, the city of York was sacked and captured by the Danes

In response to this loss, the Northumbrians unified under King Aelle and Earl Osbert but this resolution of differences in the face of a common enemy came too late for the Northumbrian leaders.

  • On March 23rd, 867 AD, during the attempt to retake York from the Danes, Osbert was killed and King Aelle was captured.
    • The Danes then made an example of the surviving leader
    • Aelle, the king of Northumbria was subjected to the most horrific Blood Eagle ordeal
      • His ribs were torn out and folded back to form the shape of an eagle’s wings
    • It was reputedly punishment for Aelle’s alleged murder of Ragnor Lodbrook, a great Danish leader who was the father of Ivar, Halfdene and Hubba
      • This gruesome practice was in fact a tradition of the Danish warriors.

With Aelle and Osbert dead, the Danes employed an Anglo-Saxon called Egbert as temporary King in Northumbria

  • Egbert was little more than a tax collector for the Danes
    • Firstly, he was helping to them accumulate wealth
    • Secondly, he was kept in power via Viking military supremacy

With a puppet king installed in Northumbria, the Danes turned their military might to bear upon Mercia, where they seized the Anglo-Saxon stronghold of Nottingham.

  • The Danes returned to York for a year in 869
  • From York, they set off on the successful conquest of East Anglia in 870
    • Their expansion was kept in check in the south of England by Alfred the Great, the King of Wessex
    • Alfred defeated the Danes in a great battle at Ashdown in Berkshire in 871

The other major target for the Danes was the Norwegian colony at Dublin in Ireland, established by the Norse in 841 and captured by the Danes for a short period in 851

  • Ivar the Boneless wanted to make another attempt at capturing the great colony which could virtually guarantee Danish control of the Irish Sea
    • The Danish campaign in Ireland in 873 was not a success and resulted in the death of Ivar the Boneless
      • Ivar was replaced by his brother Halfdene who returned to England
        • Halfdene seized the Kingdom of Mercia in 874
        • When Halfdene returned to the North from his victory in the midlands in 875 he was proclaimed King of Northumbria

The Anglo-Saxon estates in Yorkshire were shared out among Halfdene’s army and his followers but there is a great deal of debate about how many Danes actually settled.

  • What is certain is that a huge proportion of Yorkshire place names are still of Danish origin
    • This is most apparent in names ending in -by which is Danish for a farm or village, e.g. Danby, Ormesby, Whitby, Thornaby, Wetherby

With such vast Danish influence in Yorkshire it seems likely that many native Northumbrians fled north to Bernicia, a possible focus for resistance.

  • Defeat at the hands of the Danes meant that these leaders could no longer regard themselves as absolute kings in the north and so they had to make do with the title of High Reeve or Earl of Bamburgh/Bernicia.
    • A few claimed to be kings, notably in the early 900’s
    • Most were forced to accept subordination to the Viking rulers of York

One part of the huge Danish army under Halfdene continued the settlement of Yorkshire, while another took control of the East Midlands. These viking invasions completely changed the map of Britain but, like in Ireland, they were not complete invasions, i.e. they inter-married with the locals, forming Anglo-Norse or Anglo-Dane dynasties and allowed the original rulers to keep some of the land – so long as they accepted viking supremacy and didn’t challenge viking rule.

  • The shires of Derby, Nottingham, Leicester, Lincoln and Stamford in the East Midlands would come to be known as ‘the Five Boroughs of the Danelaw’ while the West Midlands, like Bernicia remained Anglo-Saxon.
    • It was possible to talk of there being two Northumbrias and two Mercias each under the respective influence of Danes or Angles.
The Danelaw roughly comprised 14 modern shires: known today as York, Nottingham, Derby, Lincoln, Essex, Cambridge, Suffolk, Norfolk, Northampton, Huntingdon, Bedford, Hertford, Middlesex and Buckingham

The Danelaw roughly comprised 14 modern shires: known today as York, Nottingham, Derby, Lincoln, Essex, Cambridge, Suffolk, Norfolk, Northampton, Huntingdon, Bedford, Hertford, Middlesex and Buckingham

Halfdene, the Danish King of York still had ambitions in Ireland but, circa 877, he disappears from history – probably killed somewhere in the Irish Sea fighting the Norwegians.

  • Danish power in the North now passed to Guthred, who went into battle with ‘Alfred the Great’ of Wessex in 878.
    • Guthred was defeated and he was forced to recognise Alfred’s superiority
    • However, a new administrative area was recognised – The Danelaw

Danelaw can describe the set of legal terms and definitions created in the treaties between the West-Saxon king, Alfred the Great, and the Danish warlord, Guthrum, written following Guthrum’s defeat at the Battle of Edington in 878. In 886 the Treaty of Alfred and Guthrum was formalised, defining the boundaries of their kingdoms, with provisions for peaceful relations between the English and the Vikings.

  • The language spoken in England was also affected by this clash of cultures
  • The emergence of Anglo-Norse dialects began about this time

The Hiberno-Norse Invasion of England

The turn of the 9th / 10th C saw a major reversal in the fortunes of the vikings in both Britain and Ireland.

  • The year 899 saw the death of Alfred the Great and the succession of Edward the Elder to the throne of Wessex.
  • In the North, Guthred, the King of York also passed away, but the Danes failed to produce a strong candidate – thus igniting a civil war amongst the vikings
  • The major setback came in 902
    • The Native Irish under the leadership of the King of Leinster expelled the Hiberno-Norse (by now, a well established ‘mixed race’ of Irish and Norwegians) from their great colony at Dublin
    • The Hiberno-Norse took to their boats to seek land across the Irish Sea
      • They settled in Cumbria, the Ribble valley of Lancashire (where there was already a substantial colony of Danes and Norwegians) and in the Mersey estuary where they established settlements like Croxteth and Toxteth.
      • There was much activity and co-operation between Danes and Norsemen in this south western portion of Northumbria during this period.
        • Around 905, a huge hoard of some 1300 Viking items were hidden under the river bank at Cuerdale near Preston
        • They would remain undiscovered until the 19th C
        • The Ribble was part of the Viking trade route between Dublin and York
Excavations have revealed that the site of Viking Dublin was not actually abandoned during these years. Presumably it was only the ruling dynasty and their warriors who were expelled; many families of Norse farmers, traders, artisans, etc., may have remained, under the jurisdiction of native Irish chieftains

Excavations have revealed that the site of Viking Dublin was not actually abandoned during these years. Presumably it was only the ruling dynasty and their warriors who were expelled; many families of Norse farmers, traders, artisans, etc., may have remained, under the jurisdiction of native Irish chieftains

The Vikings appear to have been in turmoil during this period and many sought settlement elsewhere

  • Around AD 911, one great mass of Norsemen began the settlement of northern France, ultimately giving their name (Nor-Men) to the Normandy region

One of the questions someone might ask of the numismatic heritage of the Hiberno-Norse kingdoms in both Northumbria and York is:

  • Why did the Hiberno-Norse of the 10th C not issue coins in Ireland?

These Vikings, after a period of raiding, settled in their conquered lands. The Viking leaders may have replaced the native kings but they seem to have also inter-married and allowed a substantial proportion of the original population to remain. This, in effect, may have allowed previous models of trade and commerce to persist.

  • The Anglo-Saxon lands that they conquered already used coinage, therefore the Viking leaders minted their own coins in imitation of what was there already, i.e. similar designs + similar weights / silver content, etc.
  • The Irish lands they conquered / settled did not use coins, therefore there was no need to mint coins in Ireland.
  • At some point, towards the end of the 10th C, the Hiberno-Norse under Sihric III Silkenbeard of Dublin, saw fit to mint and issue their own coins in Dublin.
    • It is thought these coins were primarily for international use
      • Why then, did the Hiberno-Norse of Cork, Limerick, Waterford and Wexford not follow suit?
        • Does this mean that Hiberno-Norse Cork, Limerick, Wexford and Waterford did not trade internationally?
        • Therefore, if the native Irish were trading with the Anglo-Saxons and/or the Anglo-Vikings, why then did they not also issue their own coins?
        • These are questions for another day but the answer may lie in the 10th C

 

The Hiberno-Norse Kingdom of Northumbria

Viking fortunes began to change around the year 913, first in the North of England, where the death of Eadwulf of Bernicia provided new opportunities to exploit Anglo-Saxon weakness in the north.

  • In 914, the exiled Irish-Norsemen successfully regaining Dublin
  • In the same year, the Irish-Vikings under the leadership of King Ragnald attacked the North East of England with the help of the Yorkshire based Danes.
    • The Bernicians, in alliance with the Scots defeated the Vikings in a battle at Corbridge on Tyne.
  • Ragnald returned to Dublin but regained his confidence and went back to Northumbria four years later defeating a joint army of Northumbrians, Danes and Franks in a second battle at Corbridge.
    • The Danes of Yorkshire clearly now saw Ragnald as a threat.

 

The Hiberno-Norse Kingdom of York

The Danish fears were not unfounded, Ragnald seized York and established Irish-Viking control there. The Danish Kingdom of York was reduced to a client kingdom of the great Viking stronghold of Dublin.

  • Ragnald sought land to offer as a prize for his military supporters
  • Notably, he chose land in south and east Durham seizing it from the Bishop of Chester-le-Street and presenting it to his warrior generals called Scula and Olaf Ball
    • They would share it out amongst their Hiberno-Norse followers
    • This Hiberno-Norse Kingdom of Northumbria began to issue its own coins c.921
    • These coins were all minted in York

Meanwhile, Ragnald was succeeded as Hiberno-Norse King of York by his cousin Sihtric in AD 920

  • This Sihtric was the grandfather of Sihtric III, the Hiberno-Norse king that would go on to mint his own coins in Dublin the 10th and 11th C 

 

Coinage of Hiberno-Norse Northumbria

The following coins were issued by Hiberno-Norse kings that had left Dublin – when they were either expelled or engaged in military campaigns to enhance their territories. These leaders were the result of political ‘inter-marriage’ between native Irish royalty and invading Viking leaders.

Another feature of the politics of the time is the conversion (in name) of Viking leaders to Christianity in order to gain political support – hence the appearance of a cross on some coins, as opposed to the Sword of Carlus and/or the Hammer of Thor on others.

  • The Sword of Carlus seems to have been part of the royal insignia of the Viking kings of Dublin
    • Carlus was son of Olaf the White
    • He was killed in the battle of Killoderry in 866 (869)

 

Sihtric II Caech

Sitric Cáech is also known as Sitric Gále (Old Irish) and Sigtryggr (Old Norse) in the various texts or myths. He was a Hiberno-Norse leader who ruled Dublin and then Viking Northumbria in the early 10th C.

  • He was a grandson of Ímar and a member of the Uí Ímair

Sitric was most probably among those Vikings expelled from Dublin in 902 by a joint force led by Máel Finnia mac Flannacán, overking of Brega and Cerball mac Muirecáin, overking of Leinster.

  • Those Vikings that survived the capture of the city split into different groups;
    • some went to France, some to England, and some to Wales

Sitric Cáech may have ruled territory in the eastern Danelaw in England. Coins dating from the period bearing the legend “Sitric Comes” (Earl Sitric), and the mintmark “Sceldfor” (Shelford), have been found as part of the Cuerdale Hoard, perhaps indicating that he ruled territory in the eastern Danelaw during his exile from Ireland.

In 917, he and his Hiberno-Norse kinsman Ragnall ua Ímair sailed separate fleets to Ireland where they won several battles against local kings.

  • Sitric Cáech successfully recaptured Dublin and established himself as king, while Ragnall returned to England to become King of Northumbria
  • In 919, Sitric Cáechwon a victory at the Battle of Islandbridge over a coalition of local Irish kings who aimed to expel the Uí Ímair from Ireland
    • Six Irish kings were killed in the battle, including Niall Glúndub (Niall Black Knee), overking of the Northern Uí Néill and High King of Ireland
  • In 920 Sitric Cáech left Dublin for Northumbria, with his kinsman Gofraid ua Ímair succeeding him as king.
    • That same year he led a raid on Davenport, Cheshire, perhaps as an act of defiance against Edward the Elder, King of the Anglo-Saxons
  • In 921 Ragnall ua Ímair died, with Sitric Cáech succeeding him as King of Northumbria.
    • Though there are no written accounts of conflict, numismatic evidence suggests there was a Viking re-conquest of a large part of Mercia in the following years.
      • There are coins in existence which were minted at Lincoln during the period that bear Sitric’s name.
      • These are an important piece of evidence since they suggest Sitric ruled a large area south of the Humber
    • An agreement of some sort between the Vikings of Northumbria and the Anglo-Saxons was achieved in 926 when Sitric Cáech married a sister ofÆthelstan, perhaps Edith of Polesworth.
      • Sitric Cáech also converted to Christianity, though this did not last long and he soon reverted to paganism.
    • He died in 927 and was succeeded by his kinsman Gofraid ua Ímair.
      • Sitric Cáech’s son Gofraid later reigned as King of Dublin,
      • Sitric Cáech’s other son Aralt also reigned as King of Limerick until his death in battle in 940
      • Another son, Amlaíb Cuarán, reigned as king of both Dublin and Northumbria.

Hiberno-Norse Northumbria). St. Peter coinage. Circa 921-927. AR Penny (19mm, 1.19 g, 3hh). Sword/Hammer type. York mint. Struck under Sihtric II Caech. SCIIE/TIIIIO in two lines, voided sword and cross between, trefoils above and below / + ERIVIITOI, voided hammer, pellet in handle; horizontal lines flanking. Stewart & Lyon dies 26a; SCBI 4 (Copenhagen), 591 (same dies); BMC –; North 556; SCBC 1015 (this coin illustrated). EF, attractive old tone, good metal. Rare.

Hiberno-Norse (Northumbria). St. Peter coinage, c. 921-927. Silver Penny (19mm, 1.19 g, 3hh). Sword/Hammer type. York mint. Struck under Sihtric II Caech. Stewart & Lyon dies 26a; SCBI 4 (Copenhagen), 591 (same dies); BMC –; North 556; SCBC 1015 (this coin illustrated).

  • Extremely Fine (EF)
  • Attractive old tone, good metal
  • Rare.

Obverse:

  • Voided sword and cross between, trefoils above and below
  • SCIIE/TIIIIO in two lines

Reverse:

  • Voided hammer, pellet in handle; horizontal lines flanking
  • + ERIVIITOI

 

Anlaf Guthfrithsson, c. 939-941

Anlaf (Olaf) Guthfrithson (Old Norse: Óláfr Guðrøðsson; Old English: Ánláf; Old Irish: Amlaíb mac Gofraid). He was a Hiberno-Norse leader who ruled Viking Dublin and Northumbria in the 10th C

  • He was the son of Gofraid ua Ímair and great-grandson of Ímar, making him one of the Uí Ímair.
    • Anlaf succeeded his father as King of Dublin in 934
    • In 937, he established dominance over the Vikings of Limerick when he captured their king, Amlaíb Cenncairech
    • That same year he allied with Constantine II of Scotland in an attempt to reclaim the Kingdom of Northumbria (which his father had ruled briefly in 927)
      • The forces of Anlaf and Constantine were defeated by the English led by Æthelstan at the Battle of Brunanburh

Anlaf returned to Ireland in 938 but, after Æthelstan’s death the following year, Anlaf left for York where he was quickly able to establish himself as king. Anlaf and Æthelstan’s successor Edmund met in 939 at Leicester where they came to an agreement regarding the division of England between them.

  • This agreement proved short-lived, however, and within a few years Vikings had occupied the Five Boroughs of Derby, Leicester, Lincoln, Nottingham and Stamford.

Anlaf died in 941 and he was succeeded in Northumbria by his cousin Olaf Cuarán and in Dublin by his brother Blácaire mac Gofraid.

  • At the time of his death, the Irish annals title him “king of Danes” and “king of the Fair Foreigners and the Dark Foreigners”

 

Hiberno-Norse Northumbria). Anlaf Guthfrithsson. 939-941. AR Penny (20mm, 1.14 g, 7h). Eoferwic (York) mint; Athelferd, moneyer. + •ΛNL-•ΛF CVNVHC', raven with wings displayed, head left / + •ΛÐELFERD HINETΓ, small cross pattée. CTCE group IV, a-al; SCBI 4 (Copenhagen) 628-33 var. (legend); BMC 1092-6 var. (legend and stops); North 537; SCBC 1019. EMC 2015.0099 (this coin). Near EF, lightly toned. An excellent example of this iconic type.

Hiberno-Norse (Northumbria). Anlaf Guthfrithsson. 939-941. Silver Penny (20mm, 1.14 g, 7h). Eoferwic (York) mint; Athelferd, moneyer. CTCE group IV, a-al; SCBI 4 (Copenhagen) 628-33 var. (legend); BMC 1092-6 var. (legend and stops); North 537; SCBC 1019. EMC 2015.0099 (this coin).

  • Almost Extremely Fine (aEF)
  • Lightly toned
  • An excellent example of this iconic type

Obverse:

  • Raven with wings displayed, head left
  • + •ΛNL-•ΛF CVNVHC’

The Raven type has one of the most dramatic coin designs in the Anglo-Viking coinage series. It shows the classic Viking symbol, a raven, with head turned left and outstretched wings.

Conversely, this design can also be recognized in a Christian context: the raven is associated with St. Oswald (a Northumbrian royal saint). The symbiotic relationship between royalty and religion can be clearly seen in Hiberno-Norse coinage.

Reverse:

  • Small cross pattée
  • +•ΛÐELFERD HINETΓ 

 

Anlaf Sithtricsson (Cuaran). First reign, 941-944/5

Amlaíb mac Sitric (c. 927 – 981; Old Norse: Óláfr Sigtryggsson), commonly called Amlaíb Cuarán, in Old Norse: Óláfr kváran, was a 10th-century Hiberno-Norse leader who was King of Northumbria and Dublin.

  • His by-name, cuarán, is usually translated as “sandal”
    • It derives from the Old Irish word cúar meaning bent or crooked
    • It is first applied to him in the report of the battle of Slane in 947 in the Annals of Ulster. The usual translation may be misleading. The epithet probably refers to a distinctive style of footwear
  • His name appears in a variety of anglicized forms, including Olaf Cuaran and Olaf Sihtricson, particularly in relation to his short-lived rule in York
    • Anlaf Cuarán’s career began in 941, following the death of his cousin Amlaíb mac Gofrith, when he became co-ruler of York, sharing power with his cousin Ragnall son of Gofraid.
      • Anlaf and Ragnall ruled in York until 944
      • Anlaf was expelled from the kingship of York in 944. The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle reports that “King Edmund conquered all Northumbria and caused to flee away two kings [or “royally-born men”], Olaf and Rægnald”
      • It is possible that rivalry between Anlaf and Ragnall contributed to their fall
      • Æthelweard’s history reports that Anlaf was deposed by a coup led by Wulfstan, Archbishop of York, and an unnamed Mercian ealdorman
      • After being driven out of Northumbria, Anlaf returned to Ireland while Ragnall may have been killed at York
    • According to the Annals of Clonmacnoise, Anlaf had been in Britain since 940, having left another son of Gofraid, Blácaire, as ruler of Dublin

Hiberno-Norse Northumbria). Anlaf Sithtricsson (Cuaran). First reign, 941-944/5. AR Penny (19mm, 0.96 g, 11h). Triquetra type. York mint; Farmann, moneyer. + ΛNLΛF CVNVNC (inverted T), triquetra / + F·A·RH·A·H MONETA, fringed triangular standard bearing 'X' on cross-tipped pole. CTCE Group V, b-q; SCBI 30 (American), 278 var. (obv. legend); SCBI 34 (BM), 1249-52 var. (legends); North 540; SCBC 1020. Near EF, rich old tone, lightly creased with minor edge cracks. Very rare.

Hiberno-Norse (Northumbria). Anlaf Sithtricsson (Cuaran). First reign, 941-944/5. Silver Penny (19mm, 0.96 g, 11h). Triquetra type. York mint; Farmann, moneyer. CTCE Group V, b-q; SCBI 30 (American), 278 var. (obv. legend); SCBI 34 (BM), 1249-52 var. (legends); North 540; SCBC 1020.

  • Almost Extremely Fine (aEF)
    • Rich old tone, lightly creased with minor edge cracks
  • Very rare

Obverse:

  • Triquetra
  • + ΛNLΛF CVNVNC (inverted T)

The triquetra, a common element in interlace design and a motif the recurs on 11th-century Danish and Norwegian coins, and a triangular banner of distinctive Viking form found in Scandinavian metalwork and on some rare London coins of Cnut.

Yet this design can also be recognized in a Christian context: the triquetra represents the Trinity in some 7th-/8th-century art, and the triangular banner on the coins is decorated with a cross.

Reverse:

  • Fringed triangular standard bearing ‘X’ on cross-tipped pole.
  • + F·A·RH·A·H MONETA

 

Ragnald Guthfrithsson, c. 943-944/5

Ragnald was the brother of Anlaf Guthfrithsson. When Anlaf died in 941 and he was succeeded in Northumbria by his cousin Olaf Cuarán and in Dublin by his brother Blácaire mac Gofraid. However, Olaf Cuarán proved not to be the the fierce antagonist his cousin had been, and he lost the Five Boroughs to Eadmund in 942.

  • The following year, he went so far as to submit himself to Eadmund, and was baptised
  • This was just like his father, who had married Athelstan’s sister in 926 and remained loyal to Wessex until his death.
    • The Hiberno-Norse of Northumbria were unhappy
    • Olaf was simply not the sort of king they wanted, so they approached Ragnald
    • The Northumbrians deposed Olaf in AD 943 and made Ragnald king of Northumbria
  • Olaf Cuarán still remained in the north, so there was a dispute
    • Both men visited Eadmund to seek his acceptance of their claim
    • Eadmund lost patience with both Ragnald and Olaf Cuaránin
    • In 944, he marched into Northumbria and defeated them
      • Ragnald was killed
      • Olaf Cuarán fled to Ireland

Hiberno-Norse Northumbria). Ragnald Guthfrithsson. Circa 943-944/5. AR Penny (19mm, 0.95 g, 5h). Cross Moline type. York mint; Avra, moneyer. + RE·G·N·A·L·D CVNVΓ (V's as inverted A's), cross moline / + AVRA MONIT REΓ (V as inverted A), small cross pattée. CTCE Group VI; SCBI 34 (BM) 1257 var. (obv. legend); North 547; SCBC 1025. Good VF, light tone, good metal. Extremely rare

Hiberno-Norse (Northumbria). Ragnald Guthfrithsson. Circa 943-944/5. AR Penny (19mm, 0.95 g, 5h). Cross Moline type. York mint; Avra, moneyer. CTCE Group VI; SCBI 34 (BM) 1257 var. (obv. legend); North 547; SCBC 1025.

  • Good Very Fine (gVF)
    • Light tone, good metal
  • Extremely rare

Obverse:

  • Cross moline
  • + RE·G·N·A·L·D CVNVΓ (V’s as inverted A’s)

Reverse:

  • Small cross pattée
  • + AVRA MONIT REΓ (V as inverted A)

 

Anlaf Sithtricsson (Cuaran). Second reign, c. 950-952

Anlaf was twice, perhaps three times, ruler of Northumbria and twice ruler of Dublin and its dependencies. His reign over these territories spanned some forty years. The course of events in Northumbria while Amlaíb was in Ireland is uncertain.

  • While Eadmund certainly controlled Northumbria after Anlaf was expelled and Ragnall killed, he may soon after have lost control of the north to a Scandinavian king named Eiríkr, usually identified with Eric Bloodaxe.

In AD 949, the Northumbrians invited Anlaf to rule in York. His return to England may have been with Eadmund’s agreement.

  • That year Máel Coluim mac Domnaill, the king of Alba, raided Northumbria as far south as the River Tees, capturing many slaves and much loot.
    • A second invasion from the north in 952, this time an alliance including Máel Coluim’s Scots and also Britons and Saxons, was defeated.
      • Anlaf was deposed in 952 and replaced by Erik Bloodaxe
      • Erik’s reign was short and the Viking kingdom of York was definitively incorporated into the kingdom of the English on his death in 954.
      • Anlaf returned to Ireland, never again to rule in York

Anlaf was a renowned warrior and a ruthless pillager of churches, but ended his days in retirement at Iona Abbey.

  • He was the last of the Uí Ímair to play a major part in the politics of the British Isles
    • In life he was a patron of Irish poets and Scandinavian skalds who wrote verses praising their paymaster
      • Amlaíb was married at least twice, and had many children who married into Irish and Scandinavian royal families
      • His descendants were kings in the Isle of Man and the Hebrides until the 13th C

Born when the Uí Ímair ruled over large areas of the British Isles, by his death the kingdom of Dublin was a minor power in Irish politics. At the same time, Dublin became a major centre of trade in Atlantic Europe and mastery over the city and its wealth became the supreme prize for ambitious Irish kings.

Hiberno-Norse Northumbria). Anlaf Sithtricsson (Cuaran). Second reign, circa 950-952. AR Penny (21mm, 1.31 g, 8h). Circumscription Cross type. York mint; Radulf, moneyer. + ·A·NL·A·F CVNVNCΓ, small cross pattée / + R·A·ÐVCF MONET R·, small cross pattée. CTCE Group VI b, c, and q; SCBI 4 (Copenhagen), 639 var. (legends); BMC –; North 541; SCBC 1029 (this coin illustrated). Near EF, slight deposit in legend on obverse, otherwise with a pleasing silvery/blue tone. Extremely rare

Hiberno-Norse (Northumbria). Anlaf Sithtricsson (Cuaran). Second reign, c. 950-952. Silver Penny (21mm, 1.31 g, 8h). Circumscription Cross type. York mint; Radulf, moneyer. CTCE Group VI b, c, and q; SCBI 4 (Copenhagen), 639 var. (legends); BMC –; North 541; SCBC 1029 (this coin illustrated).

  • Almost Extremely Fine (aEF(
    • Slight deposit in legend on obverse, otherwise with a pleasing silvery/blue tone.
  • Extremely rare.

Obverse:

  • Small cross pattée
  • + ·A·NL·A·F CVNVNCΓ

Reverse:

  • Small cross pattée
  • + R·A·ÐVCF MONET R

 

 

 

 

 

 

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