Mac Congail

 

 

 

 

The recently published Celtic coins from the numismatic collection of the Kyustendil regional museum (Filipova S., Ilya Prokopov I., Paunov E. The Numismatic Collection of the Regional Historical Museum at Kyustendil (Ancient Ulpia Pautalia) Part 1: Greek, Thracian, Macedonian, Roman Republican and Roman Provincial Coins. ( CCCHBulg ) Volume II. Sofia 2009) generally reflect the numismatic picture in southwestern Bulgaria in the immediate pre-Roman period. Locally produced (‘barbarian’) silver coinage circulating in this area between the 3rd and 1st c. BC ranged from Celtic imitations of the Macedonian issues of Philip II and Philip III (3rd – 1st c. BC) (fig. 1, 2) through early Celtic imitations of Thasos tetradrachms (fig. 3) (from the late II c. BC).

 

 

 

 

 

The Kyustendil region of Bulgaria

 

 

 

 

Fig. 1 –  Celtic AR Imitation of the ‘Philip II type’ – 3rd c. BC. (Kyustendil Museum Collection)

(after Filipova et al. 2009)

 

 

 

 

 

Fig 2 – Celtic AR Imitation of the ‘Philip III type’ – 2nd c. BC. (Kyustendil Museum Collection)

(after Filipova et al. 2009)

 

 

 

 

Fig. 3 – Early Thraco-Celtic Thasos ‘imitations’ from the Kyustendil Museum Collection. Late 2nd c. BC

(after Filipova et al. 2009)

 

The view expressed in some literature that these early Thasos imitations were produced and circluated in Thrace by some ‘unknown Romans’ – almost 100 years before Rome conquered the area – directly contradicts all the known historical facts relating to this period (on the chronology of the Roman conquest of western Thrace see ‘The Scordisci Wars’ article).

 

 

 

Also noteworthy are the particularly high number of hoards from this area of western Bulgaria which include Roman issues, notably of the Roman Quaestor Aesillas, and the 1st Macedonian region (fig. 4). As outlined elsewhere (see ‘Damnatio Memoriae – Plunder Coins from Thrace’ article), large amounts of these coins were brought into the area prior to the Roman conquest of Thrace as a result of raids/attacks on Roman Macedonia and Greece during the Scordisci Wars, particularly in the first half of the 1st c. BC (for more details see ‘Damnation Memoriae’ and ‘Scordisci Wars’ articles).

 

 

Fig. 4 – Roman First Macedonian Region and Aesillas issues from the numismatic collection of the Kyustendil Regional Museum.

 

(after Filipova et al 2009)

 

 

 

 

 

 In terms of lower denomination/value Celtic coinage, the presence in the Kyustendil region of Celtic bronze Strymon/Trident issues dating to the 2nd/1st c. BC  (fig. 5) clearly illustrates that this type of coinage was also in wide circulation in this area of modern Bulgaria during the immediate pre-Roman period (on the distribution of this coinage in Bulgaria see numismatics section 6).

 

 

 

Fig. 5 – Celtic Strymon/Trident bronze issues from the Kyustendil Museum Collection (2nd – 1st c. BC)