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16 The Obol of the Dead

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Chapter Summary

The burial ground at Bodzia provides an early example of a widespread custom of equipping the deceased with 'the obol of Charon' or the 'obol of the dead', with 24 graves containing coins or fragments. At the cemetery at Ciepłe (Pomerania), five coins were found that probably dated to the 10th-11th century. Besides coins, other objects were used as 'obol of the dead', i.e., fragments of silver discs without visible traces of minting, hence probably so-called blanks, and even fragments of ornaments. The greatest differences between the 'obol of the dead' at the cemetery at Bodzia and at the other cemeteries from that time consist in the intensity of its presence. The other information concerns the ritual known as using the 'obol of the dead', more common at the discussed cemetery than at any others from that time not only in Poland but in the whole Baltic littoral.

Keywords: Baltic littoral; Bodzia cemetery; Ciepłe; obol of the dead; silver discs



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