Pilgrim Badge with Image of a Crowned Saint
DimensionsWork : 4 x 3 1/8 in. (10.16 x 7.94 cm)
Credit LineHope College Collection
LabelThe form of this medieval pilgrim badge mimics the shape of a traditional pilgrim flask or ampulla. The front of the badge features an image of a crowned saint holding a scepter, while the reverse side has an image of an arm holding an axe. Both sides have inscriptions, the language and meaning of which have not been deciphered. The iconography suggests that the figure on the front of the badge might be King Olaf II of Norway (995-1030), who was credited for leading the conversion of the Vikings to Christianity in the 1020s and was declared a saint by Pope Alexander III in 1164. For centuries, relics associated with Saint Olaf (sometimes also spelled Olav) were kept in Nidaros Cathedral in the city of Trondheim, which was an important pilgrimage destination for Scandinavian Christians between the 12th and 15th centuries.