header Notes Collection

100 Kronur 1994, Iceland

in Krause book Number: 54a
Years of issue: 1994
Signatures: Birgir Isleifur Gunnarsson, J. Sigurðsson
Serie: 5 May 1986 Issue
Specimen of: 05.05.1986
Material: Cotton fiber
Size (mm): 140 х 70
Printer: TDLR (Thomas de la Rue & Company), London

* All pictures marked magnify are increased partially by magnifying glass, the remaining open in full size by clicking on the image.

** The word "Specimen" is present only on some of electronic pictures, in accordance with banknote images publication rules of appropriate banks.

100 Kronur 1994




Jón Sigurðsson (June 17, 1811 - December 7, 1879) was the leader of the XIX century Icelandic independence movement. Jón's way of communicating with the Icelandic nation from Denmark where he lived was to publish an annual magazine called Ný félagsrit (New Association Writings). It was published almost every year from 1841 to 1873 with Jón always being the main contributor and financial backer. He is often referred to as President ("Jón forseti") by Icelanders. The main reason for this is that since 1851 he served as President of the Copenhagen Department of Hið íslenska bókmenntafélag (the Icelandic Literature Society). He was also the president of Althing several times, for the first time in 1849.


100 Kronur 1994

magnusson magnusson

The engraving on banknote is made after this painting of Árni Magnússon.

Árni Magnússon (13 November 1663 – 7 January 1730) was an Icelandic-Danish scholar and collector of manuscripts. He assembled the Arnamagnæan Manuscript Collection.

Árni was born in 1663 at Kvennabrekka in Dalasýsla, in western Iceland, where his father Magnús Jónsson was the minister (and later prosecutor and sheriff). His mother was Guðrún Ketilsdóttir, daughter of archdeacon Ketill Jörundarson of Hvammur. He was raised by his grandparents and uncle. At 17 he entered the Cathedral School in Skálholt, then three years later, in 1683, went to Denmark (with his father, who was part of a trade lobbying contingent) to study at the University of Copenhagen. There he earned the degree of attestus theologiæ after two years, and also became an assistant to the Royal Antiquarian, Thomas Bartholin, helping him prepare his Antiquitates danicæ and transcribing, translating, and annotating thousands of pages of Icelandic material.

After Bartholin's death in 1690, Árni became librarian and secretary to a Danish statesman, Matthias Moth, brother of the king's mistress, Sophie Amalie Moth. From late 1694 to late 1696, he was in Germany, primarily to assess a book collection that had been offered to the university, but he extended the stay. Meanwhile, presumably thanks to his employer, he was appointed a professor designate at the university, and since he had never published, while still in Leipzig he published an edition of some Danish chronicles that he had copied while working for Bartholin. When he returned to Denmark, he resumed working for Moth but in 1697 was also appointed secretary at The Royal Secret Archives (Det Kongelige Gehejmearkiv). In 1699 he published anonymously, at Moth's request, an account of a witchcraft case in which Moth had been a judge, Kort og sandfærdig Beretning om den vidtudraabte Besættelse udi Thisted.

With vice-lawman Páll Vídalín, he was assigned by the king to survey conditions in Iceland; this took ten years, from 1702 to 1712, most of which time he spent there. He returned to Copenhagen for two winters, the first time to present trade proposals, and during the second, which was in connection with a court case, he got married. The ultimate results of the survey were the Icelandic census of 1703 and the Jarðabók or land register, surveying for which was not completed until 1714 and which had to be translated into Danish after Árni's death. He was expected to translate it himself, but it was one of several official tasks he neglected. It was finally published in 11 volumes in 1911–41. However, the mission as set out by the king was extremely broad, including investigating the feasibility of sulphur mining, assessing the fisheries, and auditing the administration of justice. Complaints of judicial abuse poured in, and officials were incensed by the two men's inquiries into past court cases and in turn complained to Copenhagen about them.

Returning in 1713 to Copenhagen, where he was to spend the rest of his life, Árni resumed his duties as librarian, becoming unofficial head of the archive early in 1720 and later deputy librarian, possibly eventually head librarian, at the University Library. He also took up his appointment as professor of Philosophy and Danish Antiquities at the university, which had been awarded in 1701. In 1721 he was also appointed Professor of History and Geography.

Árni had a lifelong passion for collecting manuscripts, principally Icelandic, but also those of other Nordic countries. It is likely that this started with Bartholin, who, when he had to return to Iceland temporarily in 1685 because his father had died, ordered him to bring back every manuscript he could lay hands on, and then sent him to Norway and Lund in 1689-90 to collect more. In addition, his uncle had been a scribe and his grandfather Ketill Jörundsson was a very prolific copyist. When he started collecting, most of the large codices had already been removed from Iceland and were in either the royal collection in Copenhagen or private collections in various Scandinavian countries; only in 1685, at Bartholin's urging, did the king forbid selling Icelandic manuscripts to foreigners and exporting them. But there was plenty left, especially since Árni was interested in even humble items and would do whatever it took to get something. When Bartholin died, Árni helped his brother prepare his books and manuscripts for sale, and secured the Icelandic manuscripts among them for himself, including Möðruvallabók. Through his connection with Moth, Árni had some political influence, for which aspiring Icelanders gave him books and manuscripts. During his ten years surveying Iceland, he had access by the king's writ to all manuscripts in the country, had his collection with him, and worked on it during the winters; it and the survey papers had to be left behind in Iceland when he was recalled, but were shipped to him in 1721. What he could not secure, he would borrow for copying; a number of copyists worked for him at his professorial residence in Copenhagen. His collection became the largest of its kind. Unfortunately, his house burned down in the Copenhagen fire of 1728; with the help of friends, he was able to save most of the manuscripts, but some things were lost, including almost all the printed books and at least one unique item. His copyist Jón Ólafsson wrote out the contents of one manuscript from memory after both it and the copy he had made were lost in the fire. Árni has been blamed for delaying too long before starting to move his collection. He had not made an exhaustive inventory of his holdings, and several times stated that he believed the losses greater than was generally thought. (Everything in the University Library was destroyed, including many Icelandic documents which we now have only because of copies Árni made for Bartholin, and most other professors lost all their books.)

Árni was consulted by and readily assisted scholars all over Europe. In particular, he considerably helped Þormóður Torfason, the Royal Historian of Norway, in preparing his work for publication, having first made his acquaintance when he travelled there for Bartholin, and the second edition of Íslendingabók ever published (in Oxford) is actually substantially Árni's translation and commentary, although Christen Worm is credited as editor. Árni disavowed it as a youthful effort.

Árni was unusual for his time in scrupulous crediting of sources and attention to accuracy. In his own aphorism:

Svo gengur það til í heiminum, að sumir hjálpa erroribus á gáng og aðrir leitast síðan við að útryðja aftur þeim sömu erroribus. Hafa svo hverir tveggja nokkuð að iðja.

"And that is the way of the world, that some men put errors into circulation and others afterwards try to eradicate those same errors. And so both sorts of men have something to do".

Árni made a late marriage in 1709 to Mette Jensdatter Fischer, widow of the royal saddlemaker, who was 19 years older and wealthy. He returned to Iceland only a few months later to continue his work on the land register; they corresponded by letter until his return to Copenhagen. He lived only a little more than a year after the Copenhagen fire, dependent on friends for lodgings and having to move three times; the winter was harsh and when he fell ill, he had to have assistance to sign his will. He died early the next day, January 7, 1730, and was buried in the north choir of the still-ruined Vor Frue Kirke. His wife died in September and was buried beside him.

He bequeathed his collection to the state with provision for its upkeep and for assistance to Icelandic students. It forms the basis of the Arnamagnæan Institute and associated stipends.

Riddarateppið Riddarateppið

Supposedly, against the background are elements with Icelandic patterns of an ancient curtain from the Brynjolf Church (Brynjólfskirkja), which is now in the National Museum, in Reykjavik.

Riddarateppið ("rider on cloth"), National Museum of Iceland.

The origin of the cover is unknown, but its nickname, "Knight's Dot," derives from the subject: two traders, four knights and six hearted animals.

The cover was purchased for the National Museum in 1870 and is considered to be from the XVII century, yet the apparel of the figs carries the sign of the XVI century. Because of its size and shape it is likely that the cover is more than a wall, but it is 159 cm. in length and 128 cm. in width. According to Kristjáni Eldjárn, it was not known that wallpapers of this size were used in Iceland in the XVII century, and the more likely that the carpet had the role of bedspread on their "short beds" before, "and refers to little cubs in the baths that adults even shared with children.

The sewing type used on the cover has been called "old cross sewing" or "sizing." The sizing is derived from the fact that each series of traces forms "fläting," that is, the sub-traces are longer than the overspore. This sewing has been known since the late Middle Ages and is characteristic of embroidered textile work after reformation. Sewn wool strap was sewn and the base material, the headband, was completely covered with polished embroidery.

The pattern on the cover is typical of the period, on which the subject is divided into rectangular fields. Also, the pale yellow base is characteristic of this type of embroidery. Sigurður Guðmundsson painter, another supervisor of the museum at the time the cover was received, described the multifaceted pattern in its safeguard report.

Denominations in numerals are in top left and top right corners. Centered in words.


100 Kronur 1994

Jean Miélot Jean Miélot

The monk of the Benedictine monastery at Þingeyrar at work on the manuscript "Stjórn" - the earliest translation of the Bible into Icelandic, dating back to the XIV century.

According to my assumption, when depicting a monk on a banknote, the designer was guided by examples of paintings by Jean Millet (about Jean Millet, please, see below).

A number of images have been preserved from various times depicting stories from the Old Testament. Among the oldest Icelandic works are illuminated manuscripts or illustrations in manuscripts. After the formal Christianisation of Iceland at Althing in 1000 AD, books written in Latin started arriving and translations from Latin were among the first texts written in Icelandic. Among them was the first half of the Old Testament, called Stjórn. Some manuscripts of Stjórn are beautifully illuminated such as the one on display here.

The manuscript contains a few full page illustrations and these are replicas of them in their original size, printed on vellum. A close inspection reveals that at some point the top of the pages were cut off and so the top parts of the illustrations are missing. The images depict stories from the Bible and appear at the beginning of their relevant chapter. In addition to the large narrative initials, most of the manuscript's pages are decorated with smaller initials at the beginning of each chapter. The letters are simple, with a clear form, on a rectangular, decorated square with sprouts that spiral into the page's margin. Small leaves grow out of the sprouts in various places and at the tips the sprouts split into little branches that end in more leaves. The illustrations of Stjórn are both lively and delicate. The manuscript's style is high Gothic and is thought to have been made in the Benedictine monastery at Þingeyrar in the mid XIV century. Scribes and artists worked in the monastery and it can be assumed that three to five people had a hand in this magnificent piece that contains some of the most beautiful Icelandic manuscript illuminations of the Middle Ages. (The Árni Magnússon Institute for Icelandic Studies)

Jean Miélot, also Jehan, (born Gueschard, Picardy, died 1472) was an author, translator, manuscript illuminator, scribe and priest, who served as secretary to Philip the Good, Duke of Burgundy from 1449 to Philip's death in 1467, and then to his son Charles the Bold. He also served as chaplain to Louis of Luxembourg, Count of St. Pol from 1468, after Philip's death. He was mainly employed in the production of de luxe illuminated manuscripts for Philip's library. He translated many works, both religious and secular, from Latin or Italian into French, as well as writing or compiling books himself, and composing verse. Between his own writings and his translations he produced some twenty-two works whilst working for Philip, which were widely disseminated, many being given printed editions in the years after his death, and influenced the development of French prose style.

stjorn stjorn stjorn

On background is the page from manuscript Stjorn (227 fol., Fol. 23v), circa 1350, acquired in the Cathedral of Skalholt. The scene is "Binding of Isaac".

The Binding of Isaac (Hebrew: עֲקֵידַת יִצְחַק‎ Aqedat Yitzhaq, in Hebrew also simply "The Binding", הָעֲקֵידָה Ha-Aqedah, -Aqeidah) is a story from the Hebrew Bible found in Genesis 22. In the biblical narrative, God asks Abraham to sacrifice his son, Isaac, on Moriah. Abraham begins to comply, when a messenger from God interrupts him. Abraham then sees a ram and sacrifices it instead.

This episode has been the focus of a great deal of commentary in traditional Jewish, Christian, and Muslim sources, as well as being addressed by modern scholarship.

In The Binding of Isaac, Religious Murders & Kabbalah, Lippman Bodoff argues that Abraham never intended to actually sacrifice his son, and that he had faith that God had no intention that he do so. Rabbi Ari Kahn (on the Orthodox Union website) elaborates this view as follows: Isaac's death was never a possibility - not as far as Abraham was concerned, and not as far as God was concerned. God's commandment to Abraham was very specific, and Abraham understood it very precisely: Isaac was to be "raised up as an offering", and God would use the opportunity to teach humankind, once and for all, that human sacrifice, child sacrifice, is not acceptable. This is precisely how the sages of the Talmud (Taanit 4a) understood the Akedah. Citing the Prophet Jeremiah's exhortation against child sacrifice (Chapter 19), they state unequivocally that such behavior "never crossed God’s mind", referring specifically to the sacrificial slaughter of Isaac. Though readers of this parashah throughout the generations have been disturbed, even horrified, by the Akedha, there was no miscommunication between God and Abraham. The thought of actually killing Isaac never crossed their minds.

The Jewish Publication Society suggests Abraham's apparent complicity with the sacrifice was actually his way of testing God. Abraham had previously argued with God to save lives in Sodom and Gomorrah. By silently complying with God's instructions to kill Isaac, Abraham was putting pressure on God to act in a moral way to preserve life. More evidence that Abraham thought that he would not actually sacrifice Isaac comes from Genesis 22:5, where Abraham said to his servants, "You stay here with the ass. The boy and I will go up there; we will worship and we will return to you." By saying we (as opposed to I), he meant that both he and Isaac would return. Thus, he did not believe that Isaac would be sacrificed in the end.

In The Guide for the Perplexed, Maimonides argues that the story of the Binding of Isaac contains two "great notions". First, Abraham's willingness to sacrifice Isaac demonstrates the limit of humanity's capability to both love and fear God. Second, because Abraham acted on a prophetic vision of what God had asked him to do, the story exemplifies how prophetic revelation has the same truth value as philosophical argument and thus carries equal certainty, notwithstanding the fact that it comes in a dream or vision.

In Glory and Agony: Isaac's Sacrifice and National Narrative, Yael S. Feldman argues that the story of Isaac's Binding, in both its biblical and post-biblical versions (the New Testament included) has had a great impact on the ethos of altruist heroism and self-sacrifice in modern Hebrew national culture. As her study demonstrates, over the last century the "Binding of Isaac" has morphed into the "Sacrifice of Isaac", connoting both the glory and agony of heroic death on the battlefield.

In Legends of the Jews, rabbi Louis Ginzberg argues that the binding of Isaac is a way of God to test Isaac's claim to Ishmael, and to silence Satan's protest about Abraham who had not brought up any offering to God after Isaac was born, also to show a proof to the world that Abraham is the true god-fearing man who ready to fulfill any God's commands, even to sacrifice his own son:

When God commanded the father to desist from sacrificing Isaac, Abraham said: "One man tempts another, because he knoweth not what is in the heart of his neighbor. But Thou surely didst know that I was ready to sacrifice my son!"

God: "It was manifest to Me, and I foreknew it, that thou wouldst withhold not even thy soul from Me."

Abraham: "And why, then, didst Thou afflict me thus?"

God: "It was My wish that the world should become acquainted with thee, and should know that it is not without good reason that I have chosen thee from all the nations. Now it hath been witnessed unto men that thou fearest God." — Legends of the Jews.

The Book of Genesis does not tell the age of Isaac at the time. Some Talmudic sages teach that Isaac was an adult in his age of thirty seven, likely based on the next biblical story, which is of Sarah's death at 127 years[Genesis 23:1], being 90 when Isaac was born[Genesis 17:17, 21]. Isaac's reaction to the binding is unstated in the biblical narrative. Some commentators have argued that he was traumatized and angry, often citing the fact that he and Abraham are never seen to speak to each other again; however, Jon D. Levenson notes that they never speak before the binding, either.

Svarfaðardal Svarfaðardal

In lower right corner is the wood carving (dragons), on the door from the area Svarfaðardal (in the north of Iceland), 1632. Today the door is kept in the national museum.

Denominations in numerals are in lower left and top right corner.