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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


Bronze sestertius with the Circus Maximus

Bronze sestertius with the Cir

Diameter: 34.000 mm
Weight: 28.510 g


This coin was struck for the emperor Trajan (reigned AD 98-117) to commemorate his renovation of the Circus Maximus, the greatest chariot-racing track of antiquity. Given the restricted space, a remarkable amount of detail can be seen. It is likely that the designer of the coin chose to depict the features that Trajan restored.

There are three statue groups of quadrigae (four-horse chariots), one above the triumphal arch at the curved end around which the chariots raced, and two at each corner of the straight end, where the race started and finished. The central barrier dividing the race track, the spina, is also lavishly decorated with an obelisk and turning posts at either end. Between the posts is an equestrian statue and even a tiny shrine. On the far wall of the circus is another shrine, with a rayed-sun device, dedicated to the sun-god Sol.