Tensions between Slavs and Avars within the Avar Khaganate culminated in a major uprising in 623. The resulting rapid movement of insurgent Slavic tribes had a transformative effect on central Europe and the northern Balkans. With conflict came an arms trade that attracted a large merchant caravan led by Samo, a Frank. He came to the heart of the Slavic revolt, joining with the Slavs and distinguishing himself in battle against the Avars. The Slavic principalities that had emerged around the middle Danube joined together to form a larger polity and needed a ruler. The able foreigner Samo was well cut out for the role. Samo’s Empire stretched across present-day Moravia, Slovakia and Lower Austria. Its allies were the Bohemians and, from 631, the Polabian Serbs. Not only were Samo’s Slavs victorious over the Avars, they also defeated a large Frankish army at the Battle of Wogastisburg in 631. Samo reigned for 35 years, from 623 to 658.
The obverse depicts a medieval cavalry battle, above which is a wooden palisade with a central watchtower. The year of issuance ‘2023’ appears on the upper left side, between the battle scene and palisade. The Slovak coat of arms is positioned in the lower right of the design, and the name of the issuing country ‘SLOVENSKO’ is inscribed along the bottom edge. To the lower left of the main image are the mint mark of the Kremnica Mint (Mincovňa Kremnica), consisting of the letters ‘MK’ placed between two dies, and the stylised letters ‘KL’, referring to the coin’s designer Karol Ličko.
The reverse features an imagined depiction of Samo galloping on horseback and holding a spear. Along the upper left edge is the inscription ‘SAMOVA RÍŠA’ (Samo’s Empire). To the right of the horse is the year ‘623’, and below it are the coin’s denomination ‘100’ and currency ‘EURO’, one above the other.
|Composition:||.900 gold, .75 silver, .25 copper|
|Issuing volume:||5,000 coins in proof quality|
|Issuing date:||14 November 2023|