Montenegrin Perun (Coin)
The Montenegrin Perun is a coin currency which was supposed to be introduced in Montenegro in 1851 for wide use. It was the idea Petar II Petrović Njegoš, the Prince-Bishop (or Vladika in Serbian) at the time; also a philosopher and one of the greatest poets. Unfortunately, he died before putting his idea to practice and Montenegro was left without a currency of its own until 1906 with the introduction of the perper by Nikola I.
Njegoš chose this name for the coin as he believed Perun to be the supreme god of Slavs. The interesting thing is that he was from a family which were “bred” to be high-status clerics – the rulers of Montenegro for quite a while – and he was definitely well-educated in Christianity. However, as he is remembered in history as more than a simple Orhodox Christian bishop who ruled over some small but independent tribes in a mountainous wasteland, it can be safely assumed that besides his interests in statesmanship, philosophy, history and literature, he also knew a bit about the pre-Christian history of his people. Furthermore, he was very keen on strengthening the ties with Serbia and Russia, and would maybe include other Slavs had they been independent at the time, which would make him an open panslavist.
Another interesting detail is that one side of the coin has the Ouroboros – a serpent eating his own tail, the mythical pagan symbol of the cyclical nature of the world, or the infiniteness of the nature’s endless creation and destruction. So Njegoš was definitely onto something. The reverse contains a clenched fist holding a thunder, which definitely stands for Perun, and a wreath, which stand for the legitimacy of his state, which was one of the goals of introducing the currency. The fact that the clenched fist with the thunder is at the top of the wreath implicates that Perun is the ruler of that country.
There is also an anecdote that he had only 32 coins minted prior to his death, which he had sent to his friends and acquaintances. However, this has not been confirmed as almost none of them has ever been found. Is there a meaning behind this particular number or is it just a coincidence? And why would a Christian ruler choose a currency laden with pagan symbolism?