Norway 50-ØRE (KM460)

Nidhogg (Dragon)

A reindeer? Roe deer? Regular deer? Elk? All of them are common in Norway, and I thought it must be one of those, but closer investigation reveals this is actually a mythological animal biting a snake or snakes or the roots of the world tree. The image is taken from the north portal of Urnes stave church (c. 1130), a UNESCO World Heritage Site in southern Norway.

Although opinions differ, the most likely interpretation of this nearly 900 year old stone relief is that it depicts the dragon Níðhöggr (aka Nidhogg) from Norse mythology, who eats the roots of Yggdrasil, the world tree as told in the legend of Ragnarök.

18.5 mm
Catalogue #
Reverse Legend

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