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Who was ENMA?

History of Denar Emma

Iconic coins with the unknown queen

For researchers and collectors of bohemian denars, coins with the inscription ENMA REGINA and CIVITAS MELNIC represent iconic coins. For a long time they were shrouded in mystery. Several generations of numismatists and historians have wondered who the unknown queen was at the bohemian royal court of the 10th century, who minted silver denars at her seat in Mělník, modeled after the bohemian prince.

 

Only recently has it been possible to identify “Enma” as the West Frankish queen Emma, the wife of King Lothar I. (954-986). She was born around 948 into the family of King Lothar II. of Italy (931-945-950) and Saint Adela of Burgundy. After the violent death of Lothar II., mother and daughter were interned by members of the political opposition at the northern Italian castle of Garda on Lake Garda.

 

Thanks to her marriage, Emma went to a German royal court

Politically active Adela found an influential supporter in the person of the German King Otto I., who with his successful military invasion of Italy not only secured freedom for mother and daughter, but he even married Adela in 951, thus expanding his estate to the Kingdom of Italy. Thanks to her marriage, Emma went to a German royal court, through which she was later married to the penultimate West Frankish monarch.

 

At the West Frankish royal court, Emma defended the interests of the German Empire, even during the later rule of her half-brother Otto II. (961–973–983), with whom she shared mother, as well as during the reign of her nephew Ota III. (980–994–1002). Her position in the West Frankish court was therefore often very volatile. After the death of Lothar I., she did not find common ground with the heir to the royal throne and her own son Louis V. (986-987).

 

She was married to a powerful bohemian prince

After 986, she was unable to defend her position in the emerging Kingdom of France, so with the help of the German imperial court she was married to a powerful bohemian prince. She was about forty years old at the time. For both newlyweds, marriage was a convenient solution. Emma gained a secure background with her residence in Mělník and Boleslav gained political prestige by marrying the Frankish queen.

 

The famous Wolfenbüttel Codex

Historians only disagree as to whether Boleslav’s youngest son and future Prince Oldrich was the son of queen Emma or whether he was born from Boleslav’s previous marriage. Before 1006, Emma commissioned the famous Wolfenbüttel Codex. It preserves the oldest depictions of St. Wenceslaus. One of them depicts Emma as a donor of a work, kneeling at the feet of St. Wenceslaus under the supervision of Christ himself.


Denar Emma Mělník

Sold in Auction # 26 for 9 500 eur.


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