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In the tide of nationalism and revisionism which has marked the last century, our common European Celtic heritage has been systematically deconstructed, manipulated and denied. To balance this phenomenon, the BALKANCELTS organization presents the archaeological, numismatic, linguistic and historical facts pertaining to the Celts in Eastern Europe and Asia-Minor, within the context of the pan-European Celtic culture – a heritage which belongs to no nation, yet is common to all.

  

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http://ucd-ie.academia.edu/BrendanMacGonagle

Belt Buckle detail

 

 

 

 

 

The town of Supava (Malacky district) is situated in the Záhorie lowland, under the Little Carpathians, around 15 km (9 m.) north of the Slovakian capital Bratislava. In 1929 industrial work in the area uncovered an Iron Age necropolis, which has provided invaluable information on the early phases of Celtic settlement in this area of Europe.

 

 

 

Stupava map

Location of Stupava, and main early La Têne settlements and finds in southwestern Slovakia (LT A – LT B1; after Čambal 2012).

 

 

 

 

 

Among the 10 graves discovered at the Celtic necropolis, which dates to the La Têne A – Lt A2/B1 period, the most outstanding was the male inhumation burial (dated to c. 400 BC) located at the highest point of the cemetery. The situation of the burial, and the grave inventory – which included a sword, lance, iron knife, bronze armlet, stamped pottery decorated with bull horns, and a bronze belt-plaque with human mask – clearly indicate that the individual was of high standing in the community, i.e. a tribal leader/chieftain.

 

 

 

stupava c.400 BC

Metal finds from the Stupava Chieftain’s burial
(c. 400 BC)

 

 

stupava 1

Stamped ceramic bowl decorated with bull horns from the Stupava burial

 

 

 

Another fascinating find associated with the burial is a decorated bronze belt-plate with human mask. The Stupava belt-plate is a highly decorated type of a general class with rectangular plate which extend from the Middle Rhine to Slovakia during this period (Megaw/Megaw/Neugebauer 1989; Frey 1996:202, 203, abb. 5, 6; Pieta 2007:307, abb. 10), and is an important example of the development of early La Têne art in this part of Europe.

 

 

 

 

Belt Buckle

Bronze Belt-Plate from the Celtic Chieftain’s Burial at Stupava

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Literature Cited

 
Čambal R. (2010) Keltské nálezy zo Stupavy. Stupava 7, 2010 – 2011, 3 – 7

 
Čambal R. (2012) Frühlatènezeitlihes gräberfeld in Stupava. ausgrabungen in Jahr 1929, Zbor. SNM 106. arh. 22, 2012, p. 87 – 119

Eisner J. (1930) Raně latènské památky na Slovensku a v Podkarpatské Rusi. Zvláštní otisk z ČSPSČ 38, Praha 1930, 1-8

Megaw J.V.S. (2010) A world turned upside down: the bronze plaque from Stupava, okr. Malacky. in: J. Šuteková et al. (eds.): Panta Rhei. Studies in chronology and cultural development of Southeastern and central europe in earlier prehistory. Stud. arch. et Med. 11. Bratislava 2010, 607 – 622

Pieta K. (2007) Der frühlatènezeitlihe Burgwall in Horné Orešany, westslowakei.Vorbericht. Slov. arh. 55, 2007, 295 – 310

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mac Congail

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CHENS-SUR-LÉMAN (HAUTE-SAVOIE) lt 4th - early 3rd c. BC Scabbard detail

 

 

“The other order is that of the knights. These, when there is occasion and any war occurs …, are all engaged in war. And those of them most distinguished by birth and resources have the greatest number of vassals and dependents about them”.


(Caesar. Gallic War. 6.15)

 

 

 

 

 

One of the genuinely pan-European elements in early La Tène art is the dragon-pair motif, which is found on the upper end of the front-plate of Celtic scabbards from south-eastern Britain to the Balkans, with further examples from south of the Alps and Iberia (Stead, 1984, Megaw 2004, Megaw and Megaw 1989, Ginoux 1995). Comprising a pair of opposed S-shapes with zoomorphic heads facing inwards, the beasts represented are highly schematic, and have sometimes been thought of as griffons rather than dragons.

 

 

hamm drag 1 g.

Dragon-pair decoration on a Celtic iron scabbard discovered in the nineteenth century in the river Thames at Battersea and Hammersmith, London (Stead:1984). A further example was also found in the Thames, and a derivative of the dragon-pair motif at Fovant (Wiltshire), also in England (Jope 2000:278).

 

 

 

Although earlier studies (Jacobsthal (1944:46, De Navarro 1972:229) saw these motifs as evidence of orientalizing influences in early Celtic art, or even as a direct Scythian introduction into eastern Central Europe, subsequent discoveries in the west have now rendered this view obsolete. The earliest incidence of a dragon-pair has conventionally been the example from an old and never fully published burial from Saint Jean-sur-Tourbe in the Marne, which should belong to an early La Tène phase (Harding 2007).

 

 

CHENS-SUR-LÉMAN (HAUTE-SAVOIE) lt 4th - early 3rd c. BC Scabbard
CHENS-SUR-LÉMAN (HAUTE-SAVOIE) lt 4th - early 3rd c. BC Scabbard detail
Celtic sword in scabbard with dragon-pair motif, and detail of decoration – from a recently discovered Celtic warrior burial at Chens-Sur-Léman (Haute-Savoie), France (late 4th/early 3rd c. BC)

(after Landry, Blaizot 2011)

 

 

 

 

Dating to the late 4th/3rd century, dragon-pair scabbards are also well represented in Eastern Europe, in association with the Hungarian scabbard style, as at Halimba, Jutas 3, Kosd, and Szob (Harding 2007). Other examples have been registered at Celtic warrior burials in Plovdiv, Bulgaria and Pisçolt in Romania (Megaw 2004, Szabó and Petres, 1992, Pl. 96). Interestingly, a variant of the ‘Dragon Pair’ motif is also to be found on a bronze Celtic chariot fitting from Bobata Fortress (Schumen region) in north-eastern Bulgaria, also dating to the 3rd c. BC.

 

 

dp schumen

Bronze chariot fitting with ‘dragon-pair’ motif from Bobata fortress (Schumen), Bulgaria

 

(see: https://www.academia.edu/5420363/THE_TYLE_EXPERIMENT)

 

 

 

 

The pan-tribal nature of the dragon-pair scabbards, a unique phenomenon in Celtic Europe, logically raises the question of whether this motif had a significance beyond simply an artistic device. That a distinct warrior class/elite existed in Celtic society is a well documented fact, and the possibility exists that the dragon-pair insignia, which cross geographical and tribal borders, represented a special group within this warrior class, i.e. a pan-European order of elite warriors.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On the ‘Warrior Elite’ in Celtic society see also: http://balkancelts.wordpress.com/2013/04/24/the-warrior-elite/

 

 

 

 

 

Mac Congail

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Literature Cited

de Navarro, J. M. (1972) The Finds from the Site of La Tène, Vol. 1, Scabbards and the Swords Found in Them, London, British Academy, Oxford University Press.

Ginoux, N. (1995) ‘Lyres et dragons, nouvelles données pour l’analyse d’un des principaux
thèmes ornementaux des fourreax latèniens’, in J. J. Charpy (ed.) (1995): 405–12.

Harding D.W. (2007) The Archaeology of Celtic Art. Routledge

Jacobsthal, P. (1944) Early Celtic Art, 2 vols, Oxford, Clarendon Press.

Jope, E. M. (2000) Early Celtic Art in the British Isles, Oxford, Clarendon Press.

Landry C., Blaizot F. (2011) Une Sépulture De Guerrier Celte À Chens-Sur-Léman (Haute-Savoie). In: Revue Archéologique de l’Est, t. 60-2011, p. 147-171

Megaw, R. and Megaw, J. V. S. (1989) ‘The Italian Job: Some Implications of Recent Finds of Celtic Scabbards Decorated with Dragon-pairs’, Mediterranean Archaeology, 2: 85–100.

Megaw J.V.S (2004) In The Footsteps of Brennos? Further Archaeological Evidence for Celts in the Balkans. In: Zwischen Karpaten und Agais. Rahden /Westf. p. 93-107

Stead, I. M. (1984) ‘Celtic Dragons from the River Thames’, AntJ, 64: 269–79.

Szabó, M. and Petres, É. F. (1992) Decorated Weapons of the La Tène Iron Age in the Carpathian Basin, Budapest, Magyar Nemzeti Múzeum.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reverse of a Celtic coin (potin), Paris region, 1 c. BC

 

 

 

 

Kujawy is a historical region in north-central Poland, situated on the left bank of the Vistula, and east of the Noteć river and Lake Goplo. Archaeological research over the past decade has revealed a wealth of new information about the Celtic presence in this area of Poland in the pre-Roman era.

 

 

Stater KUJAWY
Celtic gold stater from Kujawy (1st c. BC)
(After Andrałojć 2014 )

 

 

 

 

One of the most interesting recent discoveries from the Kujawy region is a small bronze Celtic pendant/amulet in the shape of a dog discovered at the Gąski site (loc cit). The bronze amulet features the animal with an elongated body (5.2 cm long), a delicate snout, accentuated ears (the endings of the ears are broken), and a long, curved tail. The animal bears a striking resemblance to a modern Dachshund/Sausage Dog, and the amulet has a large ring for hanging on a chain.

 

 

DOG
The Celtic Dog Amulet from Kujawy

(After Andrałojć M. (2014) fig. 11; On the Celts in Poland see also: http://balkancelts.wordpress.com/2013/02/09/the-celts-in-poland/)

 

 

 

 

Confirmation of the religious significance of the dog in Celtic culture is provided by extensive archaeological evidence. Dogs as amulets in Celtic cremation graves, dated to Late La Tène period, have been found in Hessen, Germany. The ten small sculptures are made of clay, bronze, glass or jet, and all found in the burials of women or girls (Polenz 1975). A number of Celtic dog amulets are also known from eastern Europe – e.g. finds from eastern Hungary, the oppidum at Stradonice, the sites at Belušske Slatiny, Nimnica, Esztergom, and the Celtic oppidum at Stare Hradisko (Veres 2009:231‑237, 234, Filip 1956, Pl.125:9; Pieta 2008, F.32:4, F.31:4, F.31:1). Bronze dog figurines have also recently been found among the votive offerings at the Celtic settlement at Nĕmčice-Vícemĕřice (Czech Republic).

 

 

 

 

Nemic vot.
Bronze votive figurines of birds, dogs and other animals from the Celtic settlement at Nĕmčice-Vícemĕřice

(after Cizmar et al 2008)

 

 

 

 

Dogs appear frequently in Celtic artwork and in Celtic myths and legends as the companions of kings and warriors, and representatives of the Gods (Green 2004:16,175). The animal possessed both mundane value and spiritual importance in Celtic culture. Hunting and herding were mainstays of early economies in the Celtic world and these economic activities made dogs highly valued, being closely connected with both the spiritual and practical aspects of healing, hunting and death.

 

 

 

 

Obverse of a Celtic tetradrachm (Croatia-mid 3rd c. BC), featuring a bearded God with a tiny dog dancing on his nose...
Obverse of a Celtic tetradrachm (Croatia-mid 3rd c. BC), featuring a bearded God with a tiny dog dancing on his nose…

 

 

Reverse of a Celtic coin (potin), Paris region, 1 c. BC
A rather bizarre scene of a dog savaging a humanoid creature, depicted on the reverse of a Celtic coin (potin), Paris region, 1 c. BC

 

 

 

 

One of the most important sacred aspects of dogs in Celtic culture was its close association with healing. In the area inhabited by the Celts, representations of dogs often appear together with gods providing fertility and good harvest (e.g. female deities depicted with pomegranate fruit or cornucopias). Similarly, Celtic goddesses of hunting (Abnoba and Arduinna) were shown in the company of a dog (Andralojc 1993:102-104).

 The Celtic goddess Nehalennia has a relationship with dogs that is similar to that of the goddess Epona with horses. Nehalennia was a goddess worshipped as a provider of prosperity and healing, and was usually portrayed with a dog and a basket of fruit. The healing aspects of dogs are also present in the iconography associated with the British god Nodens, who may be a British representation of the Irish god Nuadu (Green 2004:16; on the Celtic Horse Goddess Epona see: http://balkancelts.wordpress.com/2012/09/11/epona-the-celtic-horse-goddess-in-thrace/).


The importance of the dog in Celtic culture is also emphasized by the frequency with which the Celtic term for Dog/Hound is found in Celtic personal names.

 

 

 

Cunorix
The CUNORIX inscription from Wroxeter, (Shropshire) England (CISP = WRXTR/1)

CVNORIX | MACVSM/A | QVICO[L]I[N]E

= Hound-King, son of The Son of the Holly (Wright/Jackson 1968)

(See : http://balkancelts.wordpress.com/2014/06/11/bituriges-kings-of-the-world/)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Miniature glass dog from a Celtic burial (#31) at Wallertheim, (Rhineland) Germany
Miniature glass dog from a Celtic burial (#31) at Wallertheim, (Rhineland) Germany

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

LITERATURE CITED

 

Andrałojć M (1993) Rola psa w obrzędowości pradziejowych ludow Europy Środkowej [w:] Wierzenia przedchrześcijańskie na ziemiach polskich, (red.) M. Kwapiński, H. Paner. Gdańsk

Andrałojć M. and Andrałojć M. (2014) The unknown face of the Lugian Federation– Celtic coinage in the Polish lands Inowrocław–Poznań 2014

Filip J. (1956) Keltove ve středni Evrope. Monumenta Archaeologica 5, Prague.

H. Polenz (1975) ‘Latènezeitliche Hundeplastiken aus Süd- und Rheinhessen’, Fundberichte aus Hessen 14, 1974 (pr. 1975), 255-307.

Green M. (2004) The Gods of the Celts. Sutton.

Pieta K. (2008) Keltske osidlenie Slovenska. Mladša doba latenska, Archaeologica Slovaca
Monographiae, Nitra.

Veres J. (2009) The depiction of a carnyx-player from the Carpathian Basin. A study of two Celtic bronze statuettes from eastern Hungary, Archaologisches Korrespondenzblatt, Bd. 39, H. 2, S. 231‑248.

Cizmar V.M., Eva Kolníková E., Noeske H. (2008) Nĕmčice-Vícemĕřice – ein neues Handels- und Industriezentrum der Latènezeit in Mähren. Vorbericht. In: GERMANIA 86, 2008

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Taranis buckle

 

 

 

In the year 1906 a pair of Celtic (Scordisci) belt buckles were found at the site of a destroyed Celtic necropolis at the Busija site in Dalj, eastern Croatia. Dating to the 1st c. BC, the buckles are of a specific kind called the Laminci type, the main characteristic of which is their construction, consisting of an iron plate with a button hook on the front side, on which a punctuated bronze sheet was attached with pins (Drnić 2009).

This buckle type was worn by Celtic females, and examples have been found over a wide area among the Celtic and Celto-Scythian (Bastarnae) tribes from Southern Pannonia and Romania to Ukraine (Drnić 2009), as well as Slovenia (Knez 1992:62, T. 65: 1–5), Hungary (Kovacs 1982:145-146), Serbia (Drnić op cit) and Bulgaria (Babeş 1983:207).

The decoration on such buckles generally includes different combinations of double or triple garlands, horizontal and vertical lines, concentric circles, fishbone motives, and spherical bulges. The ornament on the first Dalj buckle fits into this pattern, being decorated with two triple garlands and three spherical ornaments within the circles.

 

 

Buckle 2

 

The decoration on the second buckle from Dalj is a unique composition based around a core central symbol. In the corners of the buckle four triple garlands were placed with smaller concentric circles in between (two circles between the central motive and the lower side of the buckle remain visible).

 

Taranis buckle

 

 

The central decorative composition on the second Dalj buckle is particularly interesting. Consisting of a ‘cross within a circle’, the symbol is in fact a ‘Taranis Wheel’ which, while not hitherto found on other buckles of the Laminci type, is a common symbol on late Iron Age Celtic artifacts, and is to be found, for example, on numerous Scordisci coin issues from Serbia and Croatia dating from the same period (2nd/ 1st c. BC).

 

 

 

scor tar
Scordisci AR Drachm. Dachreiter type. (Serbia 2nd – 1st c. BC)
(Laureate head (of Zeus?) right / Horse trotting left. Taranis Wheel above)

 

 

 

 

rib ho
Celtic tetradrachms from the Ribnjacka Hoard (Bjelovar, Croatia) – 2nd / 1st c. BC. Note the Wheel of Taranis in front of the horseman on the reverse.
(After Kos, Mirnik 1999)

 

 

 

 

In the late Iron Age the multi-spoked Solar Wheel, associated with the Thunder God Taranis, is gradually replaced by a simplified 4 spoke version, depicted on numerous Celtic works of art from this period. It also appears likely that this simplified Taranis Wheel forms the basis for the ‘Celtic Cross’ in later Early Christian art.

 

 

 

Rat

Lead amulet with Taranis Wheels from Ratiaria (modern Archar) northwestern Bulgaria.
(See also http://balkancelts.wordpress.com/2012/08/20/taranis-the-thunder-god/).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Literature Cited

 

Babeş M. (1983) – Paftalele Latène târzii din sud-estul Europei. Zusammenfassung: Die spätlatènezeitlichen plattengürtelhaken südeuropas. SCIVA, 34/1983,3, p.: 196–221

Drnić I. (2009) Dvije pojasne kopče tipa Laminci iz Dalja, VAMZ, 3.s., XLII 305–319

Kos P., Mirnik I. (1999) The Ribnjacka Hoard (Bjelovar, Croatia). In: The Numismatic Chronicle 159,1999

Knez, T. (1992) Novo mesto II, keltsko-rimsko grobiste Beletov vrt. Novo mesto II, keltisch-römisches Gräberfeld Beletov vrt. Novo Mesto, 1992

Kovacs, T. (1982) Latènezeitliches Gürtelblech Südlicher Herkunft in Ungaren. Savaria, 16/1982:145–159

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kotys 3

 

 

 

One of the greatest contradictions in ancient numismatics is the case of barbarous tetradrachms of the Thasos type produced in Thrace in the late 1st c. BC – previously attributed variously to the Roman puppet kings Cotys IV, VI and, most recently, to  Cotys III (von Sallet 1876:242-24, Добруски 1897:629, Youroukova 1976:43-45; Юрукова 1992:177-178, de Callataÿ 2012:307–322; Paunov 2013, with relevant lit.).

 In fact, the numismatic/archaeological context and execution of these coins, which bear the legend – ΚΟΤΥΟC XAPAKTHP, meaning the ‘die, stamp’ of Cotys (see Paunov, op cit.), raises a number of fundamental questions about their attribution to the Roman puppet kings in Thrace.

 

 

 

 

 

Kotys 1

Tetradrachm bearing the legend ΚΟΤΥΟC XAPAKTHP (16.76 g., 29×31 mm (ex Dr. Haralanov collection, now in Shumen Museum, no. 73.1.1)

(After Paunov 2013)

 

 

 

 

The first problem with the attribution of this coinage to the Thracian ‘King’ Cotys III is obviously the nature of the coins themselves. Unlike the barbarian Thasos type tetradrachms, coinage of the Roman puppet kings in Thrace of the late 1st c. BC/early 1st c. AD are almost exclusively bronze issues, and are unmistakably Roman in nature.

 

Examples of coinage of the Thracian puppet/client Kings (late 1st c. BC/ early 1st c. AD):

 

 

 

Thrac k.

(See: http://balkancelts.wordpress.com/2012/07/05/the-thracian-puppet-kings/)

 

 

 

As illustrated, the coinage of the Thracian Sapean Dynasty in Thrace is clearly Roman in nature. Conversely, the artistic execution of the ΚΟΤΥΟC XAPAKTHP coins conforms to the Celtic ‘Thasos Type’ coinage produced in Thrace in the 1st c. BC, and ΚΟΤΥΟC XAPAKTHP coins have been discovered exclusively in hoards in association with this type of Celtic coinage (see below).

 

 

 

malak por.

 

Celtic silver ‘Thasos type’ tetradrachm found in a hoard at Maluk Chardak, Plovdiv region, Bulgaria (late 1st c. BC) (after Prokopov, Paunov 2011; See: https://www.academia.edu/6144182/Celtic_Thasos_Type_Coinage_from_Central_Bulgaria)

While a difference of opinion still remains in academic circles concerning which ethnic group produced the early Thasos copies which remained close to the Hellenistic prototype, there is now general agreement that the ‘barbarized’ Thasos coinage of the 1st c. BC was produced by the Balkan Celts, i.e. “the imitations of Thasos tetradrachms had an international nature and featured interactions and activities of a culture dominated by the east Celts” (Prokopov 2011: 339; See also Mac Gonagle 2013).

 

 

 

Kotys 2

Tetradrachm with legend ΚΟΤΥΟC XAPAKTHP (16.36 g. (ex Triton VII, Jan.2004, no. 182)

 

 

 

The attribution of these ‘barbarous’ imitations to the Thracian ruler Cotys III would therefore appear to be made solely on the assumption that Cotys is a purely Thracian name – which is clearly not the case. In fact, extensive evidence has illustrated that Cotys (and variations) is also a well documented Celtic proper name, appearing in numerous Celtic single and double element names such as Cotus, Cottus (Holder, AC I:858, Detschew, 1957:235; Duridanov 1997:139-140), Essandecottus (Gallo-Etruscan; Lambert 72) etc., leading linguists to conclude that the name is common to both the Thracian and Celtic cultures (Detschew 1957:235; See also Duridanov 1997:139-140).

 In this context, one should also note the name of the Celto-Scythian (Bastarnae) leader – Cotto, mentioned by Livy in relation to the events of 179 BC, when the Bastarnae formed an alliance with Philip V of Macedonia against Rome – ‘For a few days later the tribe of the Bastarnae, after long solicitation, left their homes and with a great number of infantry and cavalry crossed the Hister. Thence Antigonus and Cotto came on in advance to bring the word to the king: Cotto was a nobleman among the Bastarnae, Antigonus one of Philip’s courtiers who had often been sent with Cotto himself to stir up the Bastarnae’ (Livy XL.57).

 

 

 

Besides the artistic and linguistic data, an analysis of the context in which coins of the ΚΟΤΥΟC XAPAKTHP type have been discovered reveals further interesting information. Two examples each come from ‘dispersed’ hoards in the area of Kazanlak (near ancient Sevtopolis, Stara Zagora region) and another from the Asparuchovo quarter of Varna, of which the other contents of the hoards are again ‘unknown’. The aforementioned finds therefore provide no information concerning the archaeological context or ethnic group which produced this coinage. However, the other two hoards containing ΚΟΤΥΟC XAPAKTHP coinage from Bulgaria provide important evidence on this issue. The Obzor 1935 hoard from Varna region, in which 4 ΚΟΤΥΟC XAPAKTHP coins were recorded, was constituted exclusively of barbarian Thasos ‘imitation’ tetradrachms, while the Silvarovo hoard from Burgas region, containing 2 ΚΟΤΥΟC XAPAKTHP coins, was also constituted exclusively of Celtic Thasos type tetradrachms (Paunov 2013).

 

 

 

Kotys 3

ΚΟΤΥΟC XAPAKTHP tetradrachm from the Slivarovo hoard (16.51 g.) (Archaeological Museum Burgas, no. A-270)

 

 

 

Thus, the available archaeological, artistic, numismatic, and linguistic facts strongly suggest that the late Iron Age tetradrachms bearing the inscription ΚΟΤΥΟC XAPAKTHP, clearly non-Roman in nature, and found exclusively associated with other Celtic Thasos imitations, were produced not by the Roman puppet kings but, as with other ‘barbarian’ tetradrachms of this type, by a Thraco-Celtic (or Bastarnae?) chieftain.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 

 

Download article in Pdf. format: https://www.academia.edu/7933020/On_Barbarian_C_XAPAKTHP_Tetradrachms_from_Thrace

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 

 

Literature Cited

Detschew D. (1957) Die thrakischen Sprachreste. Österreichischte Akademie der Wissenschaften, Phil.-hist. Kl. Schriften der Balkankomission, Linguist. Abteilung XV. Wien.

Duridanov I. (1997) Keltische Sprachspuren in Thrakien und Mösien, Zeitschrift für celtische Philologie, Band 49-50, 136.

Holder A. (1896-1907) Alt-celtischer Sprachschatz. Bd. I-III. (Nachdruck Graz, 1961-1962)

Lambert, P.Y. (1995) La Langue Gauloise. Editions Errance, Paris.

Paunov E. (2013) From Koine To Romanitas: The Numismatic Evidence For Roman Expansion And Settlement In Bulgaria In Antiquity (Moesia and Thrace, ca. 146 BC – AD 98/117) Phd. Thesis. School of History, Archaeology and Religion. Cardiff University. 2013)

Mac Gonagle B. (2013) https://www.academia.edu/6144182/Celtic_Thasos_Type_Coinage_from_Central_Bulgaria

Prokopov I. (2011) The Imitations of Late Thasian Tetradrachms: Chronology, Classification and Dating. In: N. Holmes (ed.), Proceedings of the XIVth International Numismatic Congress, Glasgow, 31 August – 4 September 2009. London: Spink, 2011, 337 – 349

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CELTIC FOXTAIL NECKLACES

Psarjevo fox-tail torc

 

 

In the 1950’s a remarkable discovery was made at the village of Gornje Psarjevo (near Zelina, located 24 km. northeast of Zagreb), in today’s Croatia. Dating to the 1st c. BC, the silver necklace (above) consisted of small intertwined chains ending with stylized serpentine heads made of silver sheet with filigree decoration. The serpentine terminal preserves a mount for an inlay, probably of glass (Vinski 1957, Pandzic 2009). The technical execution of the chain is of a Celtic type which developed from Hellenistic prototypes, and is known as the Fuchsschwanz or Foxtail type.

 

 

 

As this particular necklace was not discovered in an archaeological context there has previously been a lack of certainty concerning the ethnic group which produced the Psarjevo necklace and similar examples of such late Iron Age chains from the Balkans, such as those from Chelyustnitsa (Montana reg.), Bulgaria, an example from the Seika Mica hoard in the Sibiu area of Transylvania, or a gold chain of the same type, but made of gold, from a late Iron Age burial at Smochan (Lovech reg.), Bulgaria (Tonkova 2011).

 

 

 

 

 

Trans chain

 

Silver chain from Seika Mica, Romania, executed in the Foxtail technique

(after Tonkova 2011)

 

 

 

 

 

In fact, the technique of Fuchsschwanzketten (Foxtail chains) had already emerged among the European Celtic tribes by the early La Tene period, as clearly illustrated by examples such as that from Pottenbrunn (Lower Austria) (Ramsl 2002 a, b; 2012), and was also used for Celtic sword chains – e.g. those from Monte Bibele, Italy (Vitali 2003, Ramsl 2012), or Guntramsdorf, Austria (Urban et al 1985; Ramsl 2012).

 

 

 

Austira Foxtail Pott

Pendant and chain discovered around the neck of a 25 year old woman in an early La Tene burial (no. 54) at Pottenbrunn, Austria. The silvered bronze pendant is combined with a classic Fuchsschwanzkette – Foxtail chain

(after Ramsl 2012)

 

 

 

 

 

In this context, particularly interesting are recent finds of silver Foxtail necklaces, discovered in a hoard with other Celtic jewellery at the Scordisci hillfort at Zidovar in Serbia, dating from the late Iron Age. The Zidovar treasure, the only stratified find of this kind discovered in a systematic archaeological excavation in south-eastern Europe, contained silver Foxtail chains identical to that from Psarjevo and other examples from south-eastern Europe, in addition to cylindrical boxes decorated with filigree and glass inlays, of the kind presumed to have present on the Psarjevo necklace, as well as late La Tene fibulae of the Jarek type (Jevtic et al 2006). The presence of Foxtail chains in the Scordisci Zidovar hoard again confirms that such Fuchsschwanzkette /Foxtail chains were produced by the Balkan Celtic tribes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Zidovar chains

 

Celtic Foxtail chains from the Scordisci Zidovar hoard (1st c. BC)

(after Jevtic et al 2006)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Download article in Pdf. format:

https://www.academia.edu/7915664/Celtic_Foxtail_Necklaces

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Literature Cited

 

 

Jevtic M., Lazic M., Sladic M. (2006) Zidovarsko blago (The Zidovar Treasure) Vrsac/Beograd

Pandic N. (2009) Another Look at the Silver Jewellery from Psarjevo near Zelina in Northwestern Croatia. In: Archaeologia Adriatica Vol. 2, no. 1 May 2009. p. 315-323

Ramsl P. (2002 a) Das Eisenzeitliche Graberfeld von Pottenbrunn, Fundberichte aus Osterreich, Materialhefte A 11. Wien.

Ramsl P. (2002 b) Das Keltischen Graberfelder von Pottenbrunn und Mannersdorf am Leithagebirge – Zwei drehscheiben Zwischen West und Ost. In: Archaeologie Osterreichs 13/2 p. 6-23

Ramsl P. (2012) The Relationship between the Austrian and Northern Italian sites in the Iron Age. In Les Celtes et le Nord d’Italie (Premier et Second Ages du fer). Actes du XXXVIe colloque international de l’AFEAF (Verone, 17-20 Mai 2012)

Tonkova M. (2011) The Silver Jewellery Hoard from Chelyushnitsa in Thrace –  a new perspective. In: M. Gustin, M. Jevtic (eds.) The Eastern Celts. The Communities between the Alps and the Black Sea. Beograd 2011, p. 189-198

Urban O., Teschler N., Schulz M. (1985) Die Latenezeitlichen Graberfelder von Katzelsdorf und Guntramsdorf, Niederosterreich. In: ArchA 69, p. 13-104

Vinski Z. (1957) Die Silberfund von Gornje Psarjevo in Kroatien. In: Vjestnik za arheologiju i historiju dalmatinsku 56-59/2 (Abramicev zbornik) 74-81

Vitalli d. dir. (2003) La Necropoli di Monte Tamburino a Monte Bibele. Bologna

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

koinare - Copy

 

 

 

 

The village of Koynare (Pleven region) is situated on the left bank of the Iskar river in north-western Bulgaria, an area which over the past century has yielded probably the highest concentration of Iron Age warrior burials in Europe – the vast majority discovered ‘accidentally’ by the local population (Domaradski 1984, Torbov 2000, Mac Gonagle 2013).

 

 

 

Koyn map

Finds of Celtic weapons and location of Koynare in north-western Bulgaria

(afte Paunov 2013)

 

 

 

The late Iron Age burial at Koynare has been dated to the La Tene D1 period (1st c. BC), and included material typical of a Balkan Celtic warrior burial of this period – La Tene sword/scabbard, circular shield umbo, spearheads, dagger (sica), and a H-shaped horse bit (Luczkiewiez, Schonfelder 2008).

 

 

 

SWORD/SCABBARD

 

Discovered together with fragments of its scabbard, the Koynare sword is one of over 60 examples of Celtic La Tene C2/D swords to have been discovered in the area of north-western Bulgaria between the Timok and Iskar rivers alone. These swords are identical to the Belgrade 2 / Mokronog 2-4, and Belgrade 3 / Mokronog 5-6 type Celtic swords from Scordisci burials in neighboring Serbia (Torbov 2000, Mac Gonagle 2013).

 

 

SHIELD UMBO

 

The circular shield umbo from Koynare is of the Novo Mesto type. Further examples of this specific type of Celtic shield have been recorded in north-western Bulgaria at Montana, Kriva Bara (Vratza reg.), Pleven etc. (Luczkiewiez, Schonfelder 2008).

 

 

Mon shield

Celtic (Scordisci) shield umbo from Montana, north-western Bulgaria (late 2nd c.  BC)

 

 

 

 

 

 

SPEARHEADS

 

In terms of typology, the spearheads from Koynare have direct parallels in Balkan Celtic burials at Turnava and Biala Slatina (both Vratza reg.), and Montana in north-western Bulgaria, as well as an example from Portilor de Fier (Mehedinti) Romania – all similarly dated to the La Tene D1 period (loc cit). Spearheads are found in the vast majority of Balkan Celtic burials from this period. The presence of two examples, as at Koynare, is exceptional, but by no means unique. Such is the case, for example, with the recently discovered Scordisci warrior burial from Sremska Mitrovica (Serbia), which included two spearheads, one ritually ‘killed’.

 

 

 

Rit serb

 

(Ritually ‘killed’) spearhead from a Scordisci burial at Sremska Mitrovica (Serbia/1st c. BC)

 

(see Balkancelts ‘The Warrior and His Wife’ article, with relevant lit.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CURVED DAGGER

 

 

Curved daggers (sica) are a frequent part of the inventory of late Iron Age Scordisci warrior burials from the territory of modern Serbia, southern Romania and northern Bulgaria. For example, at the Scordisci necropolis at Karaburma (Belgrade) 7 such curved daggers, dating from the La Tene C2-D1 period, have been registered (burial nos. 13, 25, 32, 35, 66, 97, 112) (Todorovic 1972). Decorated daggers of this type, as the Koynare example, are most commonly found in Celtic burials from northern Bulgaria and Oltenia (southern Romania) (Luczkiewiez, Schonfelder 2008).

 

 

 

mon dagg

Celtic dagger (sica) from Montana, n.w. Bulgaria, decorated with mirored bird symbols

 

(See Balkancelts ‘Sacrificial Curved Daggers’ article)

 

 

 

 

 

HORSE BIT

 

The H-shaped horse bit discovered at Koynare suggests that, as in the case of Celtic burials such as those from Pavolche and Montana in north-western Bulgaria, or the recently discovered Scordisci burials from Desa in Romania, the individual in the Koynare burial was a Celtic cavalry officer.

 

Desa h-b

H-Shaped horse bit and circular shield umbo from the Scordisci burials at Desa, Romania

(See Balkancelts ‘Desa’ article)

 

 

 

 

 

As at Koynare, the vast majority of Celtic burials from north-western Bulgaria date to the La Tene C2/D period – i.e. from the time of the Scordisci Wars with Rome in the late 2nd/1st c. BC, reflecting the high level of militarization in Celtic society in this area during the period in question.

 However, the fact that only warrior burials have been discovered from this period, and those ‘accidentally’ by the local population, reflects a chronic lack of research at Celtic sites in the area, resulting in a continuing distortion in Bulgarian archaeological science.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cited Literature

 

 

Luczkiewiez P., Schonfelder M. (2008) Untersuchungen Zur Ausstattung Eines Spateisenzeitlichen Reiterkriegers Aus Dem Sudlichen Karpaten Oder Balkanraum. Sonderdruch aus Jahrbuch des Romisch-Germanischen Zentralmuseums Mainz 55. Jahrgang 2008. p. 159-210

Mac Gonagle B. (2013) https://www.academia.edu/5385798/Scordisci_Swords_from_Northwestern_Bulgaria

Megaw J.V.S (2004) In The Footsteps of Brennos? Further Archaeological Evidence for Celts in the Balkans. In: Zwischen Karpaten und Agais. Rahden /Westf. p. 93-107

Paunov E. (2013) From Koine To Romanitas: The Numismatic Evidence for Roman Expansion and Settlement in Bulgaria in Antiquity (Moesia and Thrace, ca. 146 BC –AD 98/117) Phd.Thesis. School of History, Archaeology and Religion. Cardiff University. 2013)

Szabó M., Petres E. (1992) Decorated Weapons of the La Têne Iron Age in the Carpathian Basin. Inv. Praehist Hungariae 5 (Budapest 1992)

Todorović J. (1972) Praistorijska Karaburma, I, Beograd.

Tорбов Н. (2000) Мечове от III- I в. пр. Хр. открити в сиверосападна България. In: Исвестия на музеите в сиверосападна България. т. 28. 2000.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Zid intor.

 

 

 

 

The importance of birds in Celtic culture and religion is well attested to by their frequent appearance on artifacts and coins, with birds by far the most commonly depicted creatures in Celtic art. For example, of the more than 500 Celtic brooches with representational decoration now known, from Bulgaria in the east to Spain in the west, more than half depict birds (Megaw 2001: 87).

 

 

 

sc.c mon. dag dec.

A = Reverse of a Scordisci tetradrachm depicting a bird behind the riders right shoulder (Serbia II c. BC) (see ‘Catubodua’ article)

B = Detail of a Celtic dagger decorated with mirrored bird symbols from a Scordisci warrior burial at Montana, northwestern Bulgaria (late II/early I c. BC)

 

 

 

 

 

 

In this context, particularly interesting are recently discovered hoards of Celtic jewelry among the Scordisci in Serbia which contain a large number of silver ornithomorphic beads/pendants (Ruševljan, Jevtić 2006; Popovic 2011). The first of these hoards came from the village of Hrtkovci in the Syrmia District (Vojvodina province) of Serbia. The Hrtkovci hoard contained, in addition to a large amount of Celtic fibulae and other items, 6 silver ornithomorphic beads/ pendants. The heads are triangular in shape and sheaves of slanting, ribbed channels are used to decorate the short tail while the rather broad neck is denoted by two concentric ribs. The lower segment of the birds are funnel-shaped and also decorated with sheaves of narrow channels arranged in a herringbone pattern. On top and bottom of the birds are openings for them to be laced through a cord/chain  (Ruševljan, Jevtić op. cit).

 

 

 

Hrtkovici brds f.

Silver Scordisci bird bead/pendants from Hrtkovci
(Length of the beads 22-32 mm.; width 12-17 mm.; weight range = 3.43 g. – 1.68 g.)

 

 

 

 

hrt. fib

Silver La Têne fibulae from the Hrtkovci hoard

 

 

 

Hrtkovici gld fib

Gilded Silver Hinged Type Fibula from the Hrtkovci hoard

 

 

 

The finds from Hrtkovci (with the exception of the gilded hinged fibula which is earlier) date to the late La Têne period (2/1 c. BC), and the latest discoveries of Celtic jewelry from this area of Serbia confirm the existence of a local Celtic workshop connected to the Scordisci settlement in Sremska Mitrovica (loc cit; on recent Celtic finds from Sremska Mitrovica see also:  http://balkancelts.wordpress.com/2012/11/04/the-warrior-and-his-wife-a-scordisci-burial-from-serbia/).

 

 

 

 

 

 

Also dating to the late La Têne period are a number of exquisite Scordisci silver bird pendants discovered in the Celtic hillfort at Zidovar near Vršac (Banat region), also in the Voivodina province of Serbia. In 2001 during the systematic archaeological excavations on the Celtic hillfort at Zidovar near Vrsac a rich hoard of silver jewelry and amber was discovered, dating to the first half of the 1st c. BC (Popovic 2011; on the Scordisci hillfort at Zidovar see also Todorović 1974: 50, 181; Brukner, Jovanović, Tasić 1974).

The spectacular Scordisci hoard from Zidovar consisted of 163 silver items, 134 amber beads, two brass rings and two pendants from Brown Bear teeth. Also among the items in the hoard were 22 bird shaped silver pendants.

 

 

zidovar brds 3

Zidovar 2

Silver Scordisci bird pendants from the Zidovar hoard

 

 

 

 

As in the case of the Hrtkovci ‘beads’ the Zidovar bird pendants ranged significantly in dimensions and weight (length = 34 – 25.5 mm.; width 9-20 mm.; weight 1.98-1.08 g.). Interesting also is the fact that, unlike the majority of Celtic ornithomorphic depictions where birds of prey are generally represented, the Scordisci beads/pendants from Hrtkovci and Zidovar both portray smaller birds (sparrows?), indicating that these were items of Celtic female jewelry.

 

 

 

 

Zidovar 1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On birds in Celtic art and religion see: http://balkancelts.wordpress.com/2013/12/10/catubodua-queen-of-death/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Literature Cited

 

Brukner B., Jovanović B., Tasić N. (1974) Praistorija Vojvodine, Institut za izučavanje istorije Vojvodine, Savezarheoloških društava Jugoslavije, Novi Sad

Megaw V., Megaw R. (2001) Celtic Art from its Beginnings to the Book of Kells. London

 
Popovic I. (2011) The Zidovar treasure and roman jewellery from the Balkan provinces of the empire. In: The eastern Celts : the communities between the Alps and the Black Sea, p. 179-188. Koper-Beograd: Univerzitet u Beogradu, 2011. (Annales Mediterranei)

 
Ruševljan V.D., Jevtić M. (2006) Silver Jewelry of Hellenistic and Celtic Type from Hrtkovci in Srem. In: Starinar LVI/2006. P. 291-307

 
Todorović, J. (1974) Skordisci: istorija i kultura, Institut za izučavanje istorije Vojvodine, Savezarheoloških društava Jugoslavije, Novi Sad, Beograd

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Neu bo

 

 

 

The special significance of the wild boar in Iron age European society and religion is well attested to by numerous depictions of the animal in Celtic works of art from across the continent.

 

 

 

lictt - cluj

Celtic bronze boar figurines from (left) the Gutenberg Votive Deposit, Lichtenstein (2-1 c. BC), and (right) Luncani (Cluj), Romania (1st c. BC)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Boars occur everywhere in Celtic Europe – as figurines, helmet crests, on war trumpets (carnyxs), and on coins, confirming their particular association with power and warfare.

 

 

 

gund houn

Bronze boar attachments from Celtic helmets from Hounslow, England (left), and (right) warrrior helmet with boar attachment depicted on the Gundestrup cauldron (both late 2nd/early 1st c. BC).

 

 

Obverse of a Celtic silver coin from Esztergom, Hungary (early 1st c. BC)

Celtic helmet with boar attachment depicted on the obverse of a Celtic silver coin from Esztergom, Hungary (early 1st c. BC)

 

 

 

 

 

On that most distinctive of Celtic musical instruments, the Carnyx (war trumpet), it is once again the boar that is the most frequently portrayed animal (see ‘The Boar Headed Carnyx’ article). Also particularly impressive are a number of life-sized bronze statues of boars discovered in Celtic burial contexts and sanctuaries such as that from the Celtic chariot burial at Mezek, Bulgaria, or those found at the sanctuary at Neuvy-en-Sullias (Loiret) France.

 

 

Neu bo

Bronze boar statue from the Celtic sanctuary at Neuvy-en-Sullias (1st c. BC)

 

 

mezek j

Bronze boar statue from the Celtic chariot burial at Mezek, Bulgaria (3rd c. BC)

 

 

 

 

 

While the pig is the most common animal placed in Iron Age burials as food for the afterlife, the remains of boars are rarely found in such contexts, indicating that the wild boar, as opposed to domestic pigs, was not viewed solely as a food source. The religious significance of the animal is confirmed by its portrayal on artifacts such as the Celtiberian cult-vehicle from Mérida (Spain), or the ‘Boar Warrior’ statue from Euffigneix, (Haute-Marne) France, the latter probably a representation of the Celtic boar god Moccos.

 

 

 

 

 

br war.

Limestone pillar statue from Euffigneix, (Haute-Marne) France (1st c. BC)

 

 

 

Boar cent

‘The Boar Hunt’ – Bronze Celtiberian cult-vehicle from Mérida (Spain), 1st c. BC

 

 

 

 

 

 
The fact that the wild boar is, besides birds of prey (see Catubodua article), the most frequently depicted animal in Celtic art, logically indicates that it had a special significance in society. The available archaeological and numismatic evidence also strongly suggests that boar hunts may have played an important role in Iron Age warrior initiations, forming part of the ‘rite of passage’ rituals.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

biturixx

 

 

 

 

”These men also he sent back, calling them friends, and ranking them as allies, only adding the remark that the Celts were braggarts”.

(Arrianus. The Anabasis of Alexander (4)

 

 

 

 

 

While many attributes have been associated with the Ancient Celts, modesty is certainly not one of them. From their very first appearance in recorded history classical authors note their tendency for exaggeration and boasting. In 335 BC a Celtic delegation met with Alexander the Great on the Danube during armistice and alliance negotiations. Of this encounter we are informed – ‘And Ptolemaeus, the son of Lagus, says that on this expedition the Celti who lived about the Adriatic joined Alexander for the sake of establishing friendship and hospitality, and that the king received them kindly and asked them when drinking what it was that they most feared, thinking they would say himself, but that they replied they feared no one, unless it were that Heaven might fall on them’ (Strabo vii, 3,8; see also Arrianus Anab. I, 4, 6-8).

 

 
This supreme self-confidence is duly reflected in Celtic personal and tribal names, which tend to be particularly descriptive. Compare, for example, names such as Esumaro meaning ‘He Who Is Great As (the God) Esus’ (Ellis Evans (1967) = GPN – p. 449-450), Atepomarus - ‘He Who Has A Very Great Horse’ (GPN 52-53), Branogeni – ‘He Who Is Born of the Raven’ (McManus/1991:105), Cunorix = ‘The Hound-King’ (Wright/Jackson 1968), Sumeli (f.) – ‘Sweet as Honey’ (GPN:114-116; Matasovic 2009 = EDPC:163) or Catumarus (EDPC:195), whose name means ‘He Who Is Great in Battle’.

 

 

 

 

cunorix

The CUNORIX inscription from Wroxeter, (Shropshire) England (CISP = WRXTR/1)

 
CVNORIX | MACVSM/A | QVICO[L]I[N]E

 
Expansion: CVNORIX MACVS MAQVI COLINE
Translation: Cunorix (PN) son of Maqui Coline (PN)
= Hound-King, son of The Son of the Holly (Wright/Jackson 1968)

 
(The inscription is partly-Latinized Primitive Irish. The name Cunorix preserves the final x, which makes it unlikely that the inscription can be later than the loss of certain final consonants, including x, which is an early aspect of the loss or shortening of some final syllables about 500 (loc cit).

 

 

 

 

An analysis of Celtic personal names, and our increasing understanding of their meaning, strongly indicates that these names were not given at birth, but that the individuals received them later in life, probably as part of a ceremony to mark their passage to adulthood. Compare, for example, names such as Curmi-Sagius whose name literally means ‘He Who Seeks Beer’ (Meid 2005; see Balkancelts Κσρμιληνός article), Nertomarus = ‘He Whose Strength Is Great’ (GPN 223-228; see also EDPC 289), and Caromarus (f) = ‘Great Lover’ (GPN 61-62). A particularly descriptive personal name is the case of a Celt called Bussumaros, which is interpreted as ‘He Who Has A Great Penis’ (EDPC:84).

 

 

 

 

 

royal raven

The Morvah Inscription from Cornwall, England

 
(CISP MADR1/1 – The stone is now in a field on a moor about 3km from Morvah – dated mid 6th c.)

 

 
RIALOBRA{N}{I} | CV{N}OVAL{I}FIL{I}

 
Expansion: RIALOBRANI CVNOVALI FILI
Translation:
Rialobrani (*Rigalo-branos ) son of Cunovali (*Cuno-ualos)
= Royal Raven, son of Valiant Hound

 

 
(Readings: Okasha, E. 1985, Thomas/1994:283 (Fig 17.5)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

KINGS OF THE WORLD

 

 

 
Probably the most common Celtic name element was Bitu- meaning ‘World’ (GOlD: OIr. bith [u m], W: OW bid [m], MW byd [m], BRET: OBret. bit, bet; CO: OCo. bit gl. mundus, bys; GAUL: Bitu-; Matasovic EDPC) which occurs in a multitude of personal and tribal names across Celtic Europe: Cf. – from Britain - Bitu[cus] (Catterick, N. Yorkshire – RIB II 2501.107); Bitilus (Bath, 175-275 AD – TS 78.1, 2); Bitupr[…] (Chesters, Northumberland – RIB II 2501.105); Bitucus (Cirencester, Gloucestershire – RIB I 108 = Duo Nomina – Fl[au]ius Biticus); Bitudacus (Leicester, dated AD 45-65 – RIB II 2501.108); Bitu[…] (York – RIB II 2494.111), etc. It also appears in the name of Bituitus, a King of the Averni tribe who fought against C. Fabius Maximus in Gaul (Bituitus – Livy (per. LXI. Eutrop. 4, 22 [from which Hieronym. chron. a. Abr. 1891 Vituitus); Βιτύιτος as Genetiv – Poseidonios, Athen. IV 162 d = FHG III 260, Strabon IV 194 – Βιτσίτοσ, Appian. Celt. 12 – Βιτοῖτος), and in Celtic names such as Bitugentus (Dunaujaros, – RIU 05 1220) and Bitumarus (Alsoszentivan, – CIL 6 112) from Hungary.

 

 

 

In Dacia the element is also found, for example, in a Celtic inscription from Potaissa (Cluj, Romania – CIL, III, 917): D. M. Aia Nandonis vixit annis LXXX, Andrada Bi[t]uvantis vix. anis LXXX, Bricena vixit anis XL… (Felecan 2010:69), while over 300 examples have been recorded in Thrace, dating from the 3rd c. BC onwards (Detschew 1957:66, Georgiev 1977:68, Duridanov 1997: 131; 370 according to Felecan 2010:61; see Mac Gonagle 2013). Particularly interesting are triple component names such as Вρειζενις Βειθσος from the Pizos site in Thrace (Detschew 1957:88) meaning ‘High Born of the World’. Also among the eastern Celts, a Celtic officer - Bituitus (App. Mith. 16, 3), is recorded in the personal bodyguard of Mithridates VI (see Mac Gonagle 2014). A Galatian Chieftain in 63 BC also carried the name Bitoitos (Livy. Per CII).

 

 
In the territory of the Leuci tribe in Gaul, a 2nd century inscription (CIL XIII, 4661; RG 4828) reads:
Apollini et Sironae Biturix Iulli f(ilius) d(onavit)
- ‘To Apollo and Sirona, Biturix, son of Jullus offered (this altar)’.

 

biturixx

The Biturix inscription from Tranqueville-Graux. (Musée d’Epinal (Vosges)

 

 

 
The personal name Biturix, composed of bitu- ‘world’, and –rix/-rig, ‘king’ (*rig- ‘king’ [Noun], GOlD: OIr. ri [g m], Ogam VOTECO-RIGAS, W: OW ri, MW ri [m] (GPC rhi), Gaul.-rix, Celtib. in Teiuo-reikis [PN] (K.6.1) from PIE: *(H)reg- ‘king’ (IEW: 855); Matasovic EDPC) is a common Celtic personal name literally meaning ‘King of the World’ (Delamarre 2003: pp. 76-77, 259-260). The latter element also forms the second component in Celtic tribal names such as the Caturiges, a Gaulish tribe in the Alpes Maritimae (Caesar, Bell. Gall. I 10,4). The name of the Caturiges tribe thus means literally ‘The Kings of Battle’ (Matasovic EDPC 8, GPN 243-249), -riges also forming the second component of tribal names such as the Gaulish Bituriges Cubi, and Bituriges Vivisci (DAG 148/153, GPN 248), who lived in the areas around Bourges/Berry, and Burdigala (Bordeaux) respectively.

 

 

One of the leaders of the Bituriges, Ambicatus, is mentioned in the founding legend of Mediolanum (Milan) by Livy, whose source is Timagenes. Ambicatus ruled in the days of Tarquinius Priscus (5th century BC). He sent his sister’s sons, Bellovesus and Segovesus, with many followers drawn from numerous tribes, to found new colonies in the Hercynian forest and in northern Italy, Bellovesus subsequently founding Mediolanum (Livius 5.34).

 
Particularly interesting in this context is an ogham inscription from the Isle of Man (CISP = ANDRS/1) dating from the 5th c. which also bears the name Ambicatus – ‘He Who Gives Battle All Around’ -  indicating a remarkable continuity in Celtic given names.

 

 

 

ambicatus

The Ambicatus ogham inscription from Castle Rushen, Isle of Man (5th c.)

 
Reading = [AM]B[I]CATOSM[A]QIR[O]C[A]T[O]S Expansion: AMBICATOS MAQI ROCATOS

 
Translation: Ambicatos (PN) son of Rocatos (PN)

 
(Reading = Jackson/1953, McManus/1991)

 

 
Ambicatos suggests British influence on the name in vocalism of the first syllable (AM for IM – *Imbicatos being the Primitive Irish form). This influence has not extended to the -mb- which had become -mm- in British (McManus/1991, 114; Ambi- = Proto-Celtic *ambi- ‘around’ [Prep], GOlD: Olr. imb, imm [Aspirating, +Acc.], W: OW im, MWam, BRET: MBret. am, em, GAUL: ambi-)

 

 

 

 

 

 

bituriges map

Territory of the Bituriges as marked on the Tabula Peutingeriana

 

 
Composed of the aforementioned elements bitu- = ‘world’, and –rix/-rig = ‘king’, the names of the Bituriges tribes therefore literally mean ‘The Kings of the World’, continuing the tradition of ‘modesty’ in Celtic personal and tribal names.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
Thus, it would appear that in his brief meeting with them on the Danube in 335 BC the Macedonian king had little to offer the Celts. For what does one offer those who have no need for emperors or titles, a people who feared only that ‘the sky would fall on their heads’, and where each (at least in his own mind) was already ‘King of the World’ ?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(MODERN) LITERATURE CITED

 

 
Carney J. (1975) The Invention of the Ogam Cipher. In: ‘Ériu’ 22, pp. 62–63

 
Delamarre X. (2003) Dictionnaire de la langue Gauloise. Paris

 
Detschew D. (1957) Die thrakischen Sprachreste. ÖAW, Phil.- hist. Kl. Schriften der Balkankomission, Linguist. Abteilung XV. Wien

 
Ellis Evans D. (1967) Gaulish Personal Names. A study of some Continental Celtic formations. Oxford 1967 = GPN

 
Felecan O. (2010) A Diachronic Excursion into the Anthroponymy of Eastern Romania. Philologica Jassyensia”, An VI, Nr. 1 (11), 2010, p. 57–80

 
Георгиев Вл. (1977) Траките и техният език. София

 
Jackson K. H. (1953) Language and History in Early Britain. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.

 

 

Mac Gonagle B. (2013) – https://www.academia.edu/3292310/The_Thracian_Myth_-_Celtic_Personal_Names_in_Thrace

 

Mac Gonagle B. (2014) – https://www.academia.edu/4835555/Gallo-Scythians

 
MacNeill E. (1931) Archaisms in the Ogham Inscriptions. In: ‘Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy’ 39, pp. 33–53, Dublin

 
Matasovic R. (2009) An Etymological Lexicon of Proto-Celtic. University of Leiden = EDPC

 
McManus, D. (1991) A Guide to Ogam Maynooth Monographs 4. Maynooth: An Sagart

 
Meid W. (2005) Keltische Personennamen in Pannonien, Archaeolingua, Budapest

 
Okasha, E. (1993) Corpus of Early Christian Inscribed Stones of South-west Britain. Leicester: Leicester University Press

 
Thomas, A. C. (1994) And Shall These Mute Stones Speak? Post-Roman Inscriptions in Western Britain. Cardiff: University of Wales Press

 
Wright R.P., Jackson, K.H. (1968) `A Late Inscription from Wroxeter’, The Antiquaries Journal 48, part 2: 296–300

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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