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
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!