Coinage of Stephen I - the first King of Hungary

01 Jan 2021  Fri

Stephen- I was the last Grand Prince of the Hungarians and the first King of Hungary from 1000 or 1001, until his death in 1038. He is considered to be the founder of the Hungarian state and one of the most renowned figures in Hungarian history.

Stephen (Stephanus in Latin, which appears on his coins) was his baptismal name; originally he was named Vajk. He was the only son of Grand Prince Geza and his wife, Sarolt, who was descended from a prominent family of gyulas. Although both of his parents were baptized, Stephen was the first member of his family to become a devout Christian.

Stephen organized his kingdom on German models. He founded bishoprics and abbeys, made the building of churches mandatory, and established the practice of tithing. He promoted agriculture, safeguarded private property with strict laws, and organized a standing army.

His first coins bear the inscription LANCEA REGIS ("the king's spear") and depict an arm holding a spear with flag. Stephen’s common regular coinage began around 1020, crude denars modelled on contemporary German coins, both sides bearing a short cross with wedges in the angles, the obverse inscribed +STEPHANUS REX (“King Stephen”), the reverse +REGIA CIVITAS.

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