• Goldmünze und Goldblattkreuz. Die Obolus-Beigabe in frühmittelalterlichen Bestattungen als Zeugnis der Christianisierung

    Author(s):
    Michael Odenweller (see profile)
    Date:
    2014
    Subject(s):
    Archaeology
    Item Type:
    Article
    Tag(s):
    archaeology, Early Christianity, Early medieval, Symbolism, coin
    Permanent URL:
    http://dx.doi.org/10.17613/M6MS79
    Abstract:
    In a small number of early medieval row graves from southern and western Germany a golden or silver coin was found in the buried person's mouth. As this rite seems to correspond to ancient Mediterranean burial customs, the coins were interpreted by most scholars as 'Obols', although it had been shown in the past that no real continuity for this rite exists from Antiquity to the early Middle Ages. The article suggests that these coins may have been linked to some sort of Christian burial rite. It is shown that the Christian iconography of the coins (e. g. the image of the Christian Emperor or a Germanic King, Emperors or victoriae with cross-rods and cross-crowned globes, single crosses or Chi-Rho-Signs) played an important role in early medieval burial rites. This can be demonstrated by comparing the golden or silver foil-crosses, in some cases embellished with coin-prints, which can be found in the same positions in the graves like the 'Obols'. The most likely function of these findings was to identify the deceased as a Christian. A second possible function may have been to prevent the soul from reentering the body of the deceased, trusting in the reflecting material of gold or silver.
    Metadata:
    Published as:
    Journal article    
    Status:
    Published
    Last Updated:
    6 years ago
    License:
    All Rights Reserved
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