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To celebrate Vikings Live, we have replaced our Roman alphabet with the runic alphabet used by the Vikings, the Scandinavian ‘Younger Futhark’. The ‘Younger Futhark’ has only 16 letters, so we have used some of the runic letters more than once or combined two runes for one Roman letter.

For an excellent introduction to runes, we recommend Martin Findell’s book published by British Museum Press.

More information about how we have ‘runified’ this site

 

Coins from the Tigris hoard


Coins from the Tigris hoard


Weight: 15.600 g
Weight: 15.600 g

CM BMC Characene p306/12;CM BMC Characene p307/17


The Tigris hoard is named after the River Tigris in southern Mesopotamia (Iraq), where it was found in the early nineteenth century. The hoard included Greek and Persian coins of the fifth and fourth centuries BC, as well as 500 bronze coins from Characene at the mouth of the Persian Gulf, which dated to about the second century AD.

Many of the coins were acquired by Claudius James Rich (1786-1821), who collected coins, antiquities and manuscripts for the information they might reveal about the ancient world. Rich had joined the East India Company in 1803 and became British Resident at the Court of the Pasha in Baghdad in 1808. He was a brilliant linguist, who made himself familiar with the languages, customs and traditions of the local people. He also collected valuable information on the history and geography of Mesopotamia. Rich visited several ancient sites in southern Persia in 1821, but caught cholera in Shiraz and died at the age of only thirty-five. Some of Rich's coins were bought by the British Museum in 1825.

These bronze four-drachm coins have a royal bust in profile on both sides. Sometimes the male figure is bare-headed, but often at least one side shows the local king wearing a tall Iranian hat. The Aramaic legend gives the king's name as Maga, the son of Athabiaos.

On display: Enlightenment: Ancient scripts