Holy Roman Empire, Solothurn, Bracteate


Holy Roman Empire, Solothurn, Bracteate (obverse) Holy Roman Empire, Solothurn, Bracteate (reverse)

The pfennigs illustrating the head of Saint Ursus are verifiable the earliest Solothurn coins. The city's coinage flourished in the late Middle Ages, reaching its high point in the time of Renaissance, when Solothurn struck magnificent talers and dickens with the image of Saint Ursus.

Ursus was legionnaire of the Theban Legion, a Roman troop of Christian faith. Around 300, almost the entire legion suffered martyrdom near today's Saint Maurice because it refused to partake in the persecution of Christians and Roman ritual acts. Some escaped, just to be later caught and killed as martyrs nevertheless. Ursus met his fate together with Victor, a brother in arms, in the region of Solothurn; both were buried in the city. Some two hundred years later, a Burgundian queen had Victor's relics transferred to Geneva, however, leaving Ursus the only city saint of Solothurn.


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