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My First Animal On A Coin.

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 Posted 03/05/2021  7:51 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Novicius to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply


Thanks Bob and Paul.

I'm glad that you are finding the index useful, Paul.

Thank you for the post @erafjel. The write-up is very interesting, and the coin is beautifully detailed.

I have a couple of Eastern Celtic coins, but unfortunately neither has a representation of an animal, and neither is in such amazing condition as your Bituriges Cubi coin. I look forward to seeing more of your Gallic coins.
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 Posted 03/06/2021  12:04 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add erafjel to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Another horse coin:

Carnutes or Eburovices, 40-30 BC? Bronze, 2.51 g, 15.5 mm. Obverse inscription: PIXTIL[OS]. La Tour 7081, Delestrée 2471.



My second coin is also a horse, again in a battle situation. This one has an armed rider (not quite clear what he is armed with, on other examples it looks like a sword of some sort). It can be attributed to either the Carnutes tribe (residing between rivers Loire and Seine) or the neigboring tribe the Eburovices (in Normandy). The dating is a bit uncertain - 40 BC means a decade after the submission to Rome, but coinage of bronze at least, did continue for a while before Roman coins took over completely.

I like the detailed and naturalistic depiction of the horse on this rather small coin - hooves, muscles, it's all there. Who is on the obverse is - as often for Gallic coins - unknown. Perhaps a chief named Pixtilos, perhaps just an imitation of contemporary Roman denarii.
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 Posted 03/08/2021  5:09 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add erafjel to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Enough with horse coins, now for other beasts!

The wild boar was a prestigious animal in the Celtic society. Hunting boar was a way for the warrior aristochracy to maintain their fitness and skills to kill, and for younger members to train their courage and fighting moral. The animal is a symbol for strength and virility and it was sometimes used as a military emblem (it may have been believed to protect warriors).

Bellovaci or Suessiones? 60-30 BC. Bronze cast (potin), 3.76 g, 18.5 mm. La Tour 7905, Delestrée 530/531A.



The Bellovaci and Suessiones were two of the Belgic tribes (located in the region around today's Belgium) that minted coins by casting bronze with high tin content. The result is a coin with somewhat coarse features and high reliefs, that can give a rather powerful impression.

Boars on Gallic coins are practically always depicted like on this coin, in an aggressive position, dorsal ridge erect. At the bottom there is a torc, an open neck ring made of bronze, silver or even gold, worn by the Celtic elite as a sign of power and wealth. The ringed pellet below the boar could be a sun or chariot wheel symbol. The five pellets in a curved row below - ? Basically, a collection of power symbols, probably intended to reflect the power (and maybe military prowess) of the issuer. The obverse, an unknown person or deity.
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 Posted 03/08/2021  8:18 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Bob L to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Great additions, Erafjel.
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 Posted 03/10/2021  07:56 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add erafjel to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Today you get two animals, at no extra charge.

Birds, especially eagles, are common on coins from the Carnutes and Senones tribes. Able to reach the sky as well as the Earth, they could communicate with both gods and humans. On coins, eagles can appear in front of a temple or as riders on horse back - perhaps using the horse as a means of transport between the different worlds, perhaps being an animal form of the sun god Lug or the thunder god Taranis. Also wading birds, such as cranes, appear in similar settings.

Snakes represent death or the land of the dead. Their crawling on the ground and disappering into crevices supported the idea that snakes were in contact with a Lowerworld. On coins, snakes seldom appear by themselves. Most often they are depicted in a scene with a horse or a bird. The setting on my coin of today, one large and one small eagle and a snake, is a common motif, although the meaning of it is uncertain.

Carnutes, 58-27 BC. Bronze, 2.81 g, 15.5 mm. La Tour 6088, Delestrée 2582.



The Carnutes tribe resided between the rivers Loire and Seine. The reverse shows an eagle and (probably) its young (at 4 o'clock, only part showing). The large eagle attacks a snake with its beak (this is more evident on other examples of the coin). The symbolism of this scene can be interpreted in several ways. It could be an illustration of a transfer of power from one generation to the next, the eagle's attack on the snake symbolizing how death is overcome by that transfer. It could also be an illustration of some lost Celtic myth. The meaning of the pentagram is not known. The pelleted cross could be either a sun symbol, a chariot wheel, or maybe an illustration of the moon and its four phases (or perhaps something completely different ).
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 Posted 03/12/2021  12:54 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add erafjel to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Bulls are the only domestic animals appearing on Gallic coins. Pigs, sheep, cows, oxen, dogs - all important in Gallic society and all with a religious function as sacrificial animals - are absent from the coinage. And to be honest, bulls are not common on coins either. For symbolism, they represent fertility and reproduction and wealth. The picture of a bull could also represent its sacrifice, to celebrate a victory for instance.

Veliocasses, 50-40 BC. Bronze, 3.46 g, 17 mm. Obverse inscription: SVTICOS. La Tour 7363, Delestrée 648.



The Veliocasses was a tribe located in Normandie, some distance up the river Seine. The reverse shows a bull, a boar, and some sort of plant. Virility and fertility are common features of those, so perhaps that is the symbolism. There is also a horizontal S-shape above the bull. It could represent movement of time (the repetition of seasons), or it could be a symbol for divine protection. The obverse is believed to show Apollo. Suticos is a Celtic name - in the Gaulish language it could be read as su-teco, meaning "the beautiful," but the real interpretation is uncertain.

This was the last of my coins. For now at least. Hope you enjoyed it.
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 Posted 03/12/2021  3:07 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Bob L to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Wow, erafjel, wonderful updates. I'm enjoying your posts. The eagle/snakes reverse from the earlier one is especially impressive.
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 Posted 03/13/2021  11:01 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Novicius to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
These are beautiful coins @erafjel. I am not familiar with this type of coin at all, so I found the coins and write-ups very interesting. I agree, the horse on coin two is exceptionally well detailed. Nice depictions of the boar, and the eagle/snake on the next two as well, and superbly detailed. Nice bull and boar on the last one too.

I wasn't going to add another bee to the apiary, but this tiny 8 mm coin is one of the rarer ones, and was at a good price.

There is a multitude of gold, silver, and bronze coins from Ephesos listed on Wildwinds. The "Pixodarus Hoard" found in 1978 at Bodrum, Turkey, the site of ancient Halicarnassos, contained around 2,600 silver coins. Amongst them were 600 tetradrachms of Ephesos, including 138 different obverse dies, and records the names of over 200 magistrates. This allowed precise dating of the series.

This little coin shows two of the three main images associated with Ephesos; the bee, the stag's head, and the palm tree. Ephesos was an important centre of worship for the Greek goddess Artemis, and the bee was originally the symbol of an early Anatolian goddess who the Greeks later identified with their goddess. The association was so close, that the priestesses of Artemis were called "Honey Bees." The stag is an animal sacred to Artemis, and symbolises the goddess' role as a protector of wild animals. The stag may also refer to the sculptures that stand either side of her cult statue in the temple at Ephesos. The palm tree alludes to Artemis' birth beneath a palm tree on the island of Delos.

The original listing for the coin said "unpublished", but the image in Lindgren III, Plate 18 #345, is an extremely close match, as is a listing in Wildwinds also for Lindgren III 345.

The engraver has taken a rather unusual approach to the stag's head, with a very long pointed snout, and a very large eye.

Ionia, Ephesos, ca. 390 - 320 BC.
Obverse: Bee with straight wings. Reverse: Stag's head right. Bronze. Diameter 8 mm. Weight: 0.7 gr.
Unpublished. Rare.
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 Posted 03/13/2021  5:43 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add erafjel to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Thank you, @Bob L and @Novicius, glad you liked my little collection.

I like the bee coins, Novicius, they are really charming, this latest one too.

Stags are one of the animals not often seen on Gallic coins, which I find a little surprising. It was important in Celtic religion, seen as a symbol for the god of the forest and wild animals. Often present in some form - sometimes as an antlered human/deity - on Celtic objects of art and religion, more rarely on coins.
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 Posted 03/17/2021  1:47 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Novicius to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Cheers @erafjel. It is an interesting point about the lack of stags on Gallic coins.

The images don't do justice to the head of Zeus, or bull reverse, on this coin from Tralleis (Tralles archaic) in Lydia. It appears to be similar to the second one posted by Micha here: http://goccf.com/t/395148

On the slopes of Mount Messogis in the fertile valley of the Meander, Tralleis was one of the largest and richest cities of Lydia. The site is accurately described by Strabo as on a plateau, well defended all round, with a steep acropolis. Although Xenophon considered it part of Lydia in the 4th century BC, Strabo placed it in Caria. Cicero described it as one of the wealthiest cities in Asia Minor alongside Pergamum, Miletus and Cyzicus. King Attalus had a splendid palace there. The local god was Zeus Larasios, but Apollo Pythius and other divinities were also worshipped.

According to Strabo, Tralleis was founded by the Argives and Trallians. He describes the city as a prosperous trading centre, listing famous residents of the city, including Pythodoros (native of Nysa), and orators Damasus Scombrus and Dionysocles. Several centuries later, Anthemius of Tralles, architect of the Hagia Sophia in Constantinople, was born in Tralleis.

The Persian king Cyrus the Great, captured the Lydian capital Sardes in 547 BC. After its success against Athens in the Peloponnesian War, Sparta unsuccessfully sought to take the city from the Persians, but in 334 BC, Tralleis surrendered to Alexander the Great without resistance, and therefore was not sacked. Alexander's general Antigonus held the city from 313 to 301 BC and later the Seleucids held the city until the defeat of Antiochus in 190 B.C. Tralleis, with the rest of Lydia, was then assigned to the kingdom of the Attalids, enjoying peace and prosperity, and was one of the chief mints of the Cistophori. When Attalus III died without an heir in 133 B.C., he bequeathed the whole of Pergamon to Rome in order to prevent a civil war.

Tralleis was a conventus for a time under the Roman Republic, but Ephesus later took over that position. The city was taken by rebels during the Mithridatic Wars (88 BC to 63 BC), during which many Roman inhabitants were killed.

Tralleis suffered greatly from an earthquake in 26 BC. Augustus provided funds for its reconstruction, after which the city thanked him by renaming itself Caesarea. Another earthquake destroyed the city again, but the ruins can be seen near the modern Turkish city of Aydin.

Lydia, Tralleis. 2nd - 1st cent. BC.
Obverse: Laureate head of Zeus right. Reverse: Bull standing left facing, E monogram before; (Τ)ΡΑΛΛΙ (Α)ΝΩΝ above and below. Bronze. Diameter: 16 mm. Weight: 2.88 gr.
Sear 4760v.
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 Posted 03/17/2021  5:56 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add erafjel to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Educational, as always.

And a beautiful bull!
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 Posted 03/22/2021  2:05 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Novicius to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Thanks @erafjel.

Another coin from Priapos (Priapus) in Mysia with a crayfish reverse, similar to the one near the bottom of this page; http://goccf.com/t/363454&whichpage=9 This one has the laureate head of Apollo facing right.

I haven't found much about Priapos, but the Topostext site lists Priapos as a Classical to Late Antique settlement in Mysia, NW Turkey, near Karabiga. Pleiades stoa org references - Initial Provenance: Barrington Atlas: BAtlas 52 A4 Priapus.

There are mentions of Priapos in the Athenian Tribute Lists, and Thucydides, writing on the Peloponnesian War says; "On the fourth day after the sea-fight the Athenians in Sestos having hastily refitted their ships sailed against Cyzicus, which had revolted. Off Harpagium and Priapus they sighted at anchor the eight vessels from Byzantium, and sailing up and routing the troops on shore, took the ships, and then went on and recovered the town of Cyzicus, which was unfortified, and levied money from the citizens."

Apart from the above, and a few other general mentions, Priapos remains a bit of a mystery.

Mysia, Priapos. 300 - 200 BC
Obverse: Laureate head of Apollo right. Reverse: Cray-fish left, tunny fish left below, ΠΡΙΑ above. Bronze. Diameter: 10 mm. Weight: 0.8 gr.
Reference: BMC 1 (Var.). Very rare. Same type as Gorny & Mosch Auction 265 Lot 364 (14 Oct 2019)
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 Posted 03/23/2021  6:04 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Palouche to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Catch up on this thread....
Lovely coins have been posted, really like the Celtic touch

Nice find on the crayfish Jim...As you say a rare type and good detective work.

Finding this thread most interesting and informative thanks...
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 Posted 03/24/2021  2:21 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Novicius to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Thanks Paul, I'm glad you are still finding the thread of interest.

Researching this little coin from Mytilene in Lesbos has proved to be very interesting.

Mytilene, (modern day Mitilíni or Mytilini), is the capital city of the island of Lésbos. The ancient city, lying off the east coast of Aeolia, was initially confined to an island that later was joined to Lesbos, creating a north and south harbour. From the 6th century BC the city suffered from dictators, wars with Athens, Persian conquest, and civil revolts. It was made a free city under the Romans.

After the Battle of the Granicus River in May 334 BC, fought between Alexander the Great and the Persian Empire, the Mytilenians abolished the oligarchy and allied themselves with Alexander the Great. The brothers, Erigyios and Laomedon, from Lesbos were childhood friends of Alexander and he bestowed high ranks on them. After the death of Alexander at the end of the third century BC, Lesbos came under the control of the Ptolemies of Egypt and in 88 BC the Romans conquered the island.

The history of the island goes back two million years, with the recent discovery of prehistoric fauna and fish in the area of Vatera. Tusks and skeletons of giant mastodons have also been found, as well as fossilized bones of ancient horses, camels, rhinoceros, and a tortoise the size of a small car. There was even a family of giant apes of the Paradolichopithecus family, the oldest found in Europe, discovered on the island. Local museums are full of interesting remnants of the last three thousand years of history.

Aristotle undertook a study of zoology during his stay in Mytilene, according to Roberto de Andrade Martins, Professor of History of Science at the University of Campinas (Unicamp), Brazil

"Aristotle in Lesvos:
After the Athenian philospoher Plato died (347 B.C.) his former student, Aristotle left Athens and moved to Assos (nowadays called Behramkale), in Asia Minor (Turkey). Assos was a city by the sea, 10 km from Lesvos. There, with the help of other philosophers (including Theophrastos and Xenokrates) he founded a philosophy school, under the protection of Hermeias, the ruler of Assos and Atarneos. Aristotle soon married Pythias, who was Hermeias niece, and they moved to Mythilene, in Lesbos, where they lived for two or three years. Most historians of science agree that it was during this period that Aristotle began his intensive study of zoology, which is described in his books "History of animals", "Parts of animals", "Generation of animals" and a few others. In those books Aristotles describes many fishes, birds, insects and land animals that he found in Lesbos, and several specific places of this island are mentioned in those works. In 343 or 342 B.C. Aristotle and Pythias moved to Pella (the ancient capital of Macedon) at the invitation of king Phillip II, to take care of the education of prince Alexander.

Although Aristotle's zoological work is not as well known as his logical and philosophical books, it was a vast encyclopaedia of natural history and was surpassed only in the 18th century. There is a famous saying by Darwin, who was much impressed the first time he read Aristotle's zoological books: "I had not the most remote notion what a wonderful man he was. Linnaeus and Cuvier have been my two gods, though in very different ways, but they were mere schoolboys to old Aristotle."

Aristotle's biological research was a landmark in the history of science; and that all began in Lesbos, "... where burning Sappho loved and sung", as Lord Byron put it."


Mytilene - Lesbos 1/12 Stater 500-450 BC
Obverse: Two boars' heads confronted. Reverse: Incuse square with irregular pattern. Metal: Billon. Diameter: 9 mm. Weight: 1.2 gr.
Reference: SNG Cop 287
Similar to Numismatik Naumann Auction 64 item 140.
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 Posted 03/24/2021  5:07 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Bob L to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
My turn to get caught up. Great stuff, perhaps the most diverse page of the thread thus far: boars, eagles, snake, crayfish, bee, stag, bulls, and horse.
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