Bracts with head

A-bract with a head

The golden bracts with the Sun-kings head is continuing the style of the emperor medal using less metal and work since they are one-sided. The Roman influence fade out and they created a Celtic head with flying hair on the rider bract and they use rune texts

Constantine I, Constans I, Constans II, Constantine II, Valentinian I, Valens, pairhood, jarl, earl, Heruli, Ammianus Marcellinus, Herulian cavalry, taler, thegn

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Joint statement for A-bracts etc.: The essays are made many files because of the many pictures. That makes it faster to open a file. It could be confusing when there are several files on the same topic as this on medallions, medals and bracts with a head. Medallions are made for women I think, while the golden medal originally was given for honour by the Roman emperor.

In Scandinavia they copied that as two-sided medal with a head. Later they invented the one-sided golden bract with a head called A-bract by Montelius. The second category is the Sun- rider and the third is the mythic bracts and fourth the "Snake Pit". Here I am analysing the ideas in suitable categories. For conventional categories see under The Head. … end statement

There are two finds of this motif from Broholm Fyn Denmark

The text at left is not intelligible but on right we read the shortened text CONSTANS PIUS FELIX AUGUSTUS that even on some Roman coins was shortened that way. To that they use letters for the minting place and other things. The trileg above symbolises the triparted moon year.

There is two bracts with this motif that is made at Fyn, Denmark perhaps. The emperors should be Constans and his brother Constans II. The sons of Constantine I were Constans II 337 - 361 AD and brother Constans I. The third brother died Constantine II died 340 AD and then this bract could be dated to 340 - 350 AD as Constans I died last mentioned year. The medal finds cover all four plus Valentinian I 364 - 375 AD and Valens 364 - 378 and the pictured bust is much alike on all of them half of the medals have these and they are copied in some bracts.

This is for sure composed at the time when two Constantinian brothers ruled in the empire. There are only a few Roman solidi with two heads from the time of split rule. This golden bract is another masterpiece of Nordic design since the faces and the entire composition is made here but still in Roman style. From these and other golden bracts /medallions we see that some in the upper class copied the Roman Style. But in relation to the total number of finds we cannot say that this was the rule. It is more likely that majority of nobility wanted to create a pure Nordic Style

In Rome there were problems with the size of empire and continuity of rule that caused the split rule. It is not new to humankind, but how get another part you can trust in?. Since early Bronze Age there are rock-carvings showing pairhood. Even later they analysed the problem and it is the feature of fellowship that is good when it works and it is the foundation of peaceful co-operation.

In Egypt the introduced the Vice in end of third millennium BC but also the Asterism Gemini was actual. In myth we have a lot of pairs and Castor and Pollux seem to be the rider pair. Around early Viking Age we see them as the rider and his marskalk (origin of marchal). Maybe some of the riders had a spearman as company in battle.

But also in rulership it was convenient to be two and we see several pairs in the history of Erils. It may have been the practice. We know also the later concept jarl /earl and in early Scandinavian kingdoms there was only one jarl and he was of course equal with the king and in some cases the jarl ruled the kingdom. In the hird or witan all were as principle equal and it was at times an elected king at rule. Then the equal class of freemen elected him.

Only for a shorter period in Denmark the people at land/province thing elected the kings. The original principle was that leaders should be elected only for special occasions. Special occasions were naturally war in many cases. Another example is immigration. The upper class established the situation of constant war or bad situation and then a leader or two was need. It is the same method in all upper class professions that they make themselves indispensable. Once at rule the leader try to stay there of course … it is the way we humans act in pack and as individuals.

Out of 50 kilo gold finds less than 10 kilo was used golden bracts and jewellery is my estimation. That means 1000 golden bract weigh only 5 kilos. They are made of thin plate in the normal size 25 - 50 mm diameter and 2 - 5 grams. That shows the collective owning of ritual rings was the important thing. However around 20 kilo is in raw gold in two finds.

They usually use the term "payment gold" for gold in rings and bars, but I am not so sure that there was such circulation. The gold was on few hands plus at some workshops for the goldsmith. I hope future can answer such questions. But the silver denar circulated at least in south and ended at Gotland and in Poland that we know of.

We can ask if the women asked for the jewellery and decided the art. It was perhaps also used as Charon coins in some graves. But often the bracts in graves are found in pair. The male bract could have been symbol for the leadership. Around 45 bracts/ motifs are "king size" and that it 10 % of all that could be the normal number of "leaders". Maybe we should mention 25 male neck-rings in this connection.

The biggest is Åsum-bract 100 grams, diam.123 mm with the "Sun rider" on the sun disc. Mighty is also the. Gerete-bract 60 grams, diam. 93 mm telling about their World Order and ideas of honour. But there also big bracts from Naerke, Skaane, Bohuslaen, Auland, Bornholm, North-Jutland, North-Zealand, West-Gautland, Rogaland and all of them with the "Sun rider". Senoren, Blekinge is the exception 47 grams, diam. 72 mm with very fine emperor bust and sunbeams. From Ulvsunda, Uppland 44 grams, diam. 82 mm is a "Snake Pit" with sunbeams. As we see the finds cover most of Southern Scandinavia and we do not know how much has disappeared and how much is still to appear.


This is in the category double-bract from Haram, Gotland

On the left we can read DN CONSTANS = "Our Lord Constans". At right they read Valens, but I am not so sure because these two did not reign at the same time as far as I know.

Bracts like these give us a direct connection to the Heruli serving Rome. We have no notes from the Constantinians but from around 360 AD we have Ammianus Marcellinus mentioning the Heruli several times. He tells that they were in France around 360 and later they were sent to England with Theodosius the Elder. First they were together with Jovii and Victores legions as auxiliaries sent to London and later in 368 AD to the Hadrian Wall where the Picts were threatening the empire. It is uncertain if they followed Theodosius to Africa were there the Cimbri legion is mentioned later.

In 364 Ammianus mentions that Valentinian I used a cohort (500 men) in the palace guard. Then it is easy to of Romus and Remulus-bract from Suffolk with the helmet from the palace guard. In 375 AD the Heruli is mentioned as a tribe paying taxes within the empire. Maybe a little later around 400 AD notitia dignitatum mentions the Heruli Legion that was settled in Concordia Italy. Maybe the Herulian Cavalry counted 300 - 500 riders all the time, since we know that from 6th century.

But back to the bracts on which we find some small detail living even in the Nordic production. That is the Roman hair ribbon and the frill of the dress usually with one or two buckles. The fading Roman style we can see on maybe half of the motifs with head including the rider.

On this page there are mostly exceptions from the Celtic Hair and style. There could also be mixed style we cannot be sure of.

Skonager, Ribe, Denmark LIRAWUI : ILDAITUHA

Difficult to say if the pig-hair is Roman or Nordic style. However the tail with Sun-Eagle is surely Nordic while the ribbons and the frill is Roman style. The Eagle was Jupiter's bird and it associates to that Eagle / Lightening brought fire to earth. It was from the beginning symbol of the army and if a legion lost their eagle it was a disgrace. But with Christianity the CHI-RO became obligatory however if I remember it right they put the eagle in some other place. 

Above the head there are three circles that surely symbolise quarters of the sun year. The sunbeams make certain that it is the Sun-king in centre as source of life and counter of time. Many scientists have since 19th century tried to get some reason out of the text, but still we have no good solution.

LATHU FROHILA, "Fill little Grain"

This one is also from the neighbourhood of Ribe at Darum, Jutland. Here the ribbons are mad headgear and the style is much abstracted as for instance the hand and the "long leg" from the idol "Longleg" that maybe was the sun and then the time and flow. Then the text fits in because -HILA is diminutive they tell so we get the little FRAU that is germ or grain in Nordic tongue and LATHU = load.

Under the head there is a "snake" that could be "womb of earth" and left to that there is a symbol that could mean "field" alternatively "game board" with association to outcome. The hand to the nose or mouth we see on three other motifs/ bracts. We can associate to the Sigurd-carvings where the hero put the thumb in mouth licking the blood of the Dragon. Then he gets knowledge and understands birds' song. We can fill in with the quote on the Undeley-bract "Howl with Lupus boys … that pay" … Lupus understood as the Roman Wolf

FORO GLOLA Terp Hirtsum Friesland

Again a difficult text. They think GLOLA means shine and understood as the sunshine as growing force. Behind the head is a cross for the sun year. From above comes a spiral that gives out and we see that on several bracts.

They emphasis the tongue or the speaking and that maybe be the connection to the local taler /thegn that was stand in and ritual leader. This is the old tradition of yearman or alderman keeping track of time and ritual.

"Gauken" from Nebenstedt Hannover

The text is A: LLET svastika ORUI B: ILIATHRDTL and there is another from Darum, Ribe where the text is a little different, the Sun-man/ Moon-man is the same but there is a border size 44 mm and 8, 5 grams or around double size. There is a third from Nebenstedt with the man and half of the text could be "The bright-eyed" and we get the clue that it is the sun/ moon holding his hand near the mouth. I set moon here because of the 3 x 3 circles with a dot. The difference not so big since the moon symbolised rains and water flow.

We see that they have much in common in Anglia from Ribe to Hannover, but the form of the text we also find on the bract from Odense Fyn surely made of the same goldsmith as these. The text is maybe a little easier to understand


Laur is surely shortened Laukar and the two names at the A-side is the quarters of season they normally planned, while winter was waiting for next season. This bract is a little different since the legs are bend to the side and the feet upward … see Yahweh in Scandinavia

This example show that the categories made of Montelius are not useable when it comes to interpreting the meaning sin the motifs could mean the same whether the person is bust, walking or riding. The big difficulty for us and maybe even for ancient people is the personification.

As soon as they made persons out of natural forces like sunshine and rain they were forced to double-thinking. It is not easy top keep such things in mind that when you see a bust of the king it is really the sunshine/ warmth and the eagle is meant as the lightening and more of that stuff. I suppose they used both brain halves and were much used to poetry and metaphors. I grew up in the countryside and have a foot deep in the soil. I feel the earthy poetry in the golden bracts. But that my personal feeling and it is hard to transfer to others. I think society should need some of it if we want to save the planet form the real Beats.

Vindum, Viborg

Roman ribbon and some of the Roman letters are mixed with runes. We have to know about the long-legged sun putting his long leg into the soil and marry Mother Earth. Then it says maybe KLICK and they are locked together.


We see bits of this in the Balder bracts and the motif with "Yahweh" or the man with the "rubber legs" that is an aspect of "the man in the Snake Pit" and the last stage is the real snake pit. It is all about fertility of sun, moon/ rain and soil.


Rosendal Gotland

On this simple double bract from Gotland we see the sun year symbol on the averse and the vegetative symbol going to his mouth. That we can also find on several bracts with something vegetative or the serpent is sometimes symbol of growth directly. Indirectly as symbol of time and quarter or terminuses serpents are also symbols of space-time and growth

Kejlungs Gotland

This simple bract has the Sun Eagle behind the head and a vegetative serpent ending in a plant. This symbolism has the roots in the ritual society we also can see in the neckring and necklaces with the fertility and flow in centre.

This is far from the gods in the Edda literature. They sounds more like fairy tales or explanation myths for some odd things in life and not without the harsh humour they loved at least in the sagas. Those kinds of sagas are about human relations and it is a late stage in the development of written folklore.

When we interpret the symbolism and ideas of the Golden Age we get a symbol here and there. Some we can understand and fit into the patchwork quilt picturing those days. All small bits complete each other and we get at least a clue … but no Odin and no Thor. That is why we must see the Erils as a special people that took the real story into the Netherworld with no written words about their times