celticgeocacher Posted July 26, 2009 Share Posted July 26, 2009 Hi, I am fairly new to geocaching but I'd like to introduce myself on the forums. I live in Bar Harbor, Maine and was just learning to add geocaching to my regular Acadia hiking and biking activities when I was diagnosed with breast cancer. My geocaching handle is "artnut" where my meager finds are logged. My first find in genuine Downeast Maine drizzle! I had also started to design my own personal geocoin in honor of that exquisite spiritual and aesthetic Celtic work of art the Book of Kells. I am an art history teacher with a profound appreciation of the Celtic visual and spiritual traditions as well as the wonderful legends and the cultural strength that have enlivened all Celtic derivative cultures for centuries, Irish of course, but Scots, Welsh, Cornish, Manx, Breton and many others. The Book of Kells is the most delicately and profusely illustrated manuscript in all the Celtic ovure and depicts the more-or-less complete works of the synoptic gospels that exists in the Celto-Saxon style. Tradition has it that it was illustrated primarily by one monk, St. Columba, in the insular style of Northern Britain and Ireland around 800 AD. It is said to have originated in the scriptorium in the Abby of Kells from whence it got its name and from where it was plundered a number of times - its splendid jewel-encrusted gold cover lost forever. Over many years the manuscript was stolen, buried and stolen again but with the dissolution of the Abby what remained of the text eventually was collected by the Archbishop of Ussher. Later, Charles II bought it at auction and presented it to Ussher's alma mater, Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland where it remains on display. Today the Book of Kells stands as a symbol of Irish spirituality and rich cultural heritage. Many Irish families have their own exact copy occupying a venerated place in their home. As with many Art History lectures, this got a bit out of hand but for those of you who are unfamiliar with the exciting history of Ireland, Scotland and the many other Celtic-speaking peoples and their relationship to Celtic treasure; golden, cultural and aesthetic, I hope this meager background gives you an additional enjoyment of my coin. Through my health trials the folks at OakCoins worked with me to create my own simple interpretation of the Book of Kells. On the front is the center right roundel of Fol. 29R - "The Opening Words of St. Matthew's Gospel" in more-or-less the original colors. The back of the coin features a viking-style dragon with typical Celtic knotwork and other Celtic ornamentation. Dragons were part of the Book of Kells imagery but I chose the Viking dragon to symbolize the sea raiders and their terror. Monasteries were easy prey for the Viking longships between 800 and ~1100 AD. Vikings raided these quiet unguarded spiritual centers like the Kells Monastery for gold, silver and gems and their fierce treatment of the monks was legendary. The coin is 2" in diameter in satin gold, two-toned with 3-D on both sides. It's a heavy coin with both opaque and transparent enamels, trackable on geocaching.com, with its own icon and the dragon has a small stone in it's eye. I owe Emma at OakCoins a deep debt of gratitude for staying with me through surgeries, chemo and revision after revision. I also owe Scavok and Avroair my heartfelt thanks for the support they gave me during the various stages of the Book of Kells and for their good wishes for my recovery - thanks, guys! Yes Mark, you have your dragon and your stone. Let me know what you think of my work and please add or correct anything Celtic, Viking or Monastic that is in error. Also feel free to ask questions. For instance: Why did the Vikings terrorize monasteries only between 800 AD and ~1100 AD? Answer: Oceangoing longboats weren't commonly used much before 800 AD and by ~1100 AD to some extent the Vikings began to be absorbed by Christian culture, to some extent they were forced to convert and to some extent they began to relate to the suffering and crucifixion of Christ. Enjoy! Celticgeocacher Quote Link to comment
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