So this is by no means a restart of this blog. In a perfect world I’d post regularly (not with years in between), but I simply lack time and motivation. I just had an observation that I’d like to share with the internet.
At the moment I’m writing an essay on the usage of history on the banknotes of post-independence Ukraine and today I, again, visited the royal coin cabinet of Stockholm. I was very happy to find a couple of coins from the medieval Kiev Rus’ era featuring to dudes which have returned in the modern era. The two coins above are from the 10th and 11th centuries and the feature the Rus’ princes Volodymyr (often called the great) and Yaroslav (the wise). To the right of the coins are portrays of the princes on the current edition of the Ukrainian hryvnia. It’s fascinating that a thousand years since these princes lived they still play an important role in the creation of a modern Ukrainian identity. It should of course be mentioned that they also play a huge role in the creation of modern Russian identity as well, even though I’ve yet to seen them on the ruble.
Who knows, maybe I’ll write some more in the future!
Filed under Coins, Culture
So, yeah… Many months has passed. What happened? I don’t know. I didn’t have enough time. I lost interest. I forgot about the blog. But hey, let’s try again and we’ll see what happens!
Better start from where we left of and pretend like nothing’s happened!
This 10 ruble banknote from the Soviet Union features the portrait of Vladimir Ilyich Lenin. It was he who led the Russian revolution of 1917 which ended the Russian Empire and started the USSR a couple of years later. Lenin was the first leader of a communistic country and the first one to put Marx’s theory in practice. Did he do it properly? That’s questionable. Following Lenin’s death in 1924 Josef Stalin claimed power and made sure the socialistic ideals wasn’t made reality with an authoritarian and oppressing rule. Lenin would however live on in iconography and rhetoric as one of the most famous symbols of the USSR and communism.
In many places of the old USSR you can still spot Lenin on public places. This is a statue in Kharkiv, Ukraine.
2012 was a year with grand sporting events. The greatest of them all, the Olympics, took place in London giving us many memorable moments. The opening show was one of the best TV moments of the year. And then the legend (and my favorite vocalist of all time) Freddie Mercury was resurrected during the closing ceremony. It was amazing. Of course, the Olympics brought us some sport as well. There were Bolt, Phelps and Farah, and they all did their part. Earlier that summer Poland and Ukraine hosted the 2012 UEFA European Football (soccer for you across the pond) Championship. This was also a huge sporting event, especially for us Europeans. Spain would eventually be the winner just as they were in 2008.
It’s not uncommon for these types of events to make their way onto coins. During 2012 I managed to get 3 coins connected to these events. And here they are!
This Ukrainian 1 hrivnja coin was minted the same year as the championships making it extra special. It features the logo of the Euro 2012, a flower consisting of three bulbs – the one in the center is a football and the two on its sides represent Poland and Ukraine (in color: Red & White, Blue & Yellow). By the logo you can also find something very odd and unusual for coins – a trade mark.
My two 50 pence coins from the United Kingdoms were both minted in 2011, but they’re commemorating the Olympics of 2012. They both feature the tiny logo of those Olympics and they represent one sport each. On the first one you have a man shooting a clay pigeon and the shattered pieces of it. On the other one (which is my favorite) you have the different stages of a basketball dunk. Stripes have been drawn across the coin’s surface and it’s also patterned to look like a basketball. I think that this is a very fun and unique coin!
This is one of two common designs of the Ukrainian 1 Hrivnja coin. The text that reads YKPAÏNA (Okraina) is the name of Ukraine in Ukrainian and above the name you have a trident in the country’s coat of arms. This trident (sometimes also interpreted as a hawk) dates back to the medieval ages. The trident is also strongly connected with Volodymyr Velikij (Vladimir the great) and it is he who is featured on the other side of the coin. Volodymyr was the ruler of the Kiev Rus’ kingdom from the late 10th century until the year 1015. Kiev is today the capital of Ukraine with about 4 million inhabitants. The country itself has about 45 million inhabitants. It’s one of Europe’s largest country, but unfortunately overshadowed by its huge neighbor, Russia.
The early history of the Kiev Rus’ kingdom is very interesting. In the beginning it was actually founded, to a large extent, by Viking settlers coming from Sweden. The Swedish Vikings went eastward (the Danish and the Norwegians went westward) and this led to many places of Eastern Europe becoming colonies and settlements ruled by these Vikings. There’s a theory that the Vikings that founded Kiev Rus’ in the 9th century originated from the region of Roslagen, the coastal area of the province Uppland of Sweden (where I’m at). The name of Kiev Rus’ should by this theory come from Roslagen. Kiev Rus’ later became a vital part in the founding of the Russian empire, or Rossiya. It’s quite a funny thought that some people from Sweden in the 9th century are the cause of Russia bearing its name of today.
Let’s continue with Volodymyr. On the coin he’s holding a cathedral – symbolizing the fact that it was Volodymyr that introduced Christianity to Kiev Rus’ and other parts of Eastern Europe. The cathedral does actually exist in reality, in Kiev. Its name is Sofiyskyi sobor (Saint Sophia Cathedral) and it was Volodymyr that decided that it would be built. Saint Sophia Cathedral is a UNESCO world heritage site since 1990 and it’s as beautiful outside as it is inside (but you’re not allowed to take photos inside). I’ve got first hand experiences from this cathedral because I visited it last year, and it was amazing.
Ukraine is a country with a lot to offer – both for travelers and coin collectors!