THE MYSTERY MATRIX – On the Significance of a Gallo-Belgic Die Matrix from Southern England

The surprise discovery of a matrix die for the minting of “Ear-Boar type” potins (type of coin; usually a mixture of copper, tin and lead), associated with the Gallo-Belgic Suessiones tribe of northern France, in the Hampshire region of southern England has thrown new light on the nature and development of the first coinage in Britain.

 

The expansion of Gallo-Belgic tribes across the English Channel into the southern part of the Island of Britain during the later Iron Age had a significant cultural and economic impact, as reflected in a large amount of archaeological evidence recorded over the past century.

Aylesford

Celtic ceremonial vessel from Aylesford in Kent, England.  The area of distribution of such buckets coincides with the territory of the Gallo-Belgic tribes, and the regions of southern Britain into which they expanded. (see link below)

https://balkancelts.wordpress.com/2015/11/15/celtic-ceremonial-buckets-and-belgic-expansion/

 

This is particularly true in the case of discoveries of numismatic material from the area of southern England, which clearly indicate that the continental Celtic tribes in question introduced the first coinage and monetary system into Britain during this period. This phenomenon has hitherto been attested to by numerous finds of Gallo-Belgic coinage and hoards thereof in the region, as well as matrices / coin dies which testify to the production of such in southern England from the late 2nd century BC onwards.

Gallo-Belgic A type stater produced in northern France or Belgium, and discovered bytreasure hunters at Fenny Stratford near Milton Ke

Gallo-Belgic “A type” stater produced in northern France or Belgium. Discovered by treasure hunters at Fenny Stratford near Milton KeynesEngland – thought to be the first typof coin ever to circulate in Britain (mid 2. c. BC)

 

Coin die (punch) for the production of Gallo-Belgic A staters discovered by treasure hunters atBredgar (Kent), England. (Late 2

Coin die for the production of “Gallo-Belgic A” staters discovered by treasure hunters at Bredgar (Kent), England. (Late 2nd c. BC)

Die for a Gallo-Belgic B quarter stater discovered by treasure hunters at Alton(Hampshire) England. (late 2 c. BC

Die for a Gallo-Belgic B quarter stater discovered by treasure hunters at Alton (Hampshire) England. (late 2nd c. BC)

https://balkancelts.word-british-currency-and-m press.com/2017/02/07/the-firstonetary-system/

 

Of particular interest in this context is the recent discovery of a bronze die matrix used to create casting moulds for the production of Soissons “Eye Boar type” potins, which are usually identified as a Continental / Belgic import type originating from the Soissons region of Northern France.

 

SUR08FD05a

The “Boar Eye type” die matrix

https://finds.org.uk/database/artefacts/record/id/949108

 

Thus the discovery of such a die matrix at Steventon in Hampshire, England is particularly significant for a number of reasons. Firstly, the fact that the die is of a very specific type associated with the Suessiones tribe logically indicates that these were one of the main continental Celtic tribes involved in the Gallo-Belgic expansion into southern Britain during this period.

 

Pot 1

Celtic “Boar Eye type” potin discovered at Berrick Salome in Oxfordshire

https://finds.org.uk/database/artefacts/record/id/892734

Pot 2

Celtic “Boar Eye type” potin discovered at Welyn Hatfield in Hertfordshire

https://finds.org.uk/database/artefacts/record/id/516937

 

 

Most importantly, the Steventon die matrix, as well as numerous finds of such potins in southern England, logically indicates that Celtic tribes in this area were producing not only high value coinage minted in precious metals, which would have circulated mainly among the wealthier classes / tribal elites, but also coinage with a lower intrinsic value for use by the wider  population; thus providing clear evidence that a highly sophisticated coinage / monetary system had already been developed by the native Celtic population in southern Britain in the immediate pre-Roman period.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mac Congail

 

 

 

FANTASTIC BEASTS – The Sphinx and other Hybrid Creatures in Iron Age European Art

“Fancy thinking the Beast was something you could hunt and kill! You knew, didn’t you? I’m part of you?”.

(Golding; Lord of the Flies)

 

 

Iron Age European Art is populated by a multitude of impossible creatures, ranging from the Ram Headed Serpent associated with the God Cernunnos, to fantastic hybrid serpentine and human headed beasts depicted on artifacts throughout the La Tène period.

Romerstein

Hybrid creatures with the body of a horse, neck of a giraffe (!) and bird heads; executed in ceramic and discovered at Römerstein (Baden-Württemberg), Germany

(8/7 c. BC)

https://balkancelts.files.wordpress.com/2015/07/detail-of-the-ram-horned-serpent-on-the-cheek-piece-of-the-agris-helmetated-from-the-4th-century-bc-which-was-found-in-1981-during-archaeological-excavations-in-perrats-cave.jpg

The Ram Headed Serpent depicted on a a Celtic helmet from Agris, France (4 c. BC)

https://balkancelts.wordpress.com/2015/07/04/cernunnos-and-the-ram-headed-serpent/

 

 

From the early La Tène period (i.e. 5th century BC) onwards,  a particularly interesting development is the appearance of the Sphinx, and variants thereof, in European art. Such representations can be roughly divided into 2 main categories, the first of which is a group which is obviously derived from examples to be found in the Ancient Greek and Etruscan spheres. 

Sphinxes depicted on a gold applique from a drinking horn, discovered in the burial of a Celtic chieftain at Weiskirchen, Germany (late 6 – early 5th c. BC)

 

Bone sphinx with amber face discovered in the burial of a Celtic chieftain at Asperg (Baden-Württemberg), Germany. Two sphinxes, of bone and ivory, both with amber faces, were discovered in the burial.

(ca. 500 BC)

 

Such representations continue throughout the Iron Age, and are to be found on Celtic jewelry and other artifacts across Europe. Depictions of sphinxes are particularly common on late Iron Age Celtic coinage.

 

Reverse of a Celtiberian bronze issue from Castro (Andalusia), Spain (2-1 c. BC)

Sphinx springing right – reverse of a silver issue of Cunobelinus, chieftain of the Catuvellauni tribe in southern England (Early 1 c. AD)

 

A second group of hybrid creatures represented in Iron Age European art is perhaps even more interesting. These take a wide variety of forms, combining anthropomorphic and zoomorphic features in a multitude of combinations, resulting in fantastic creatures drawing from elements of both real and imaginary beings.

 

Sphinx-like creatures depicted on a bronze flagon, from a Celtic burial at Glauberg (Hesse) Germany (ca. 420 BC)

 

Weisk

Fantastic sphinx-like creatures on a Celtic bronze belt plate with coral inlay, from Weiskirchen (Saarland), Germany.

(ca. 400 BC)

Hybrid creature depicted on a Celtic bronze flagon from Dürnberg, Austria

(5 c. BC)

Fantastic creature from the Dürrnberg Flagon

C sphi

Bronze hybrid/sphinx creature, from the Celtic settlement at Horné Orešany, western Slovakia. The creature was most likely mounted on a large ceremonial vessel.

(5/4 c. BC)

 

 

Thus, while the first category of creatures is clearly influenced by / drawn from prototypes borrowed from other ancient cultures, the latter group is born of the experimentation and surrealistic fantasy typical of Iron Age Celtic art, a phenomenon which is continued and expanded upon, culminating in images to be observed in later Insular Ultimate La Tène art. 

 

Winged Ox depicted on Folio 27 V (detail), one of a large number of fantastic / hybrid creatures represented in the Book of Kells (ca. 800 AD)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mac Congail

 

 

 

 

 

 

Келтски следи в Източна България

 

Hа български:

http://celtic-society.com/?p=850

 

Оригинален текст:

CELTIC TRACES IN EASTERN BULGARIA

(English version):

https://balkancelts.wordpress.com/2018/04/06/%ce%ba%cf%8c%cf%81%ce%b1%ce%bb%ce%bb%ce%bf%ce%b9-the-celts-in-eastern-bulgaria/

 

 

 

 

 

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NAZIS, CELTS AND TREASURE HUNTERS – The Celtic Settlement at Nowa Cerekwia in southern Poland

https://balkancelts.files.wordpress.com/2016/06/intro.jpg

 

Situated in the Opole district of Upper Silesia in Southern Poland, the Celtic center at Nova Cerekwia is located in a broad depression between the Sudetesland and the Carpathians – the Moravian Gate, which throughout antiquity served as a major communication route linking southern Europe and the Baltic Sea – commonly referred to as the Amber Route. Over the past century the site has attracted the attention of numerous researchers, both amateur and professional…

 

Full Article: https://balkancelts.wordpress.com/2016/06/12/nowa-cerekwia-a-major-celtic-settlement-and-economic-complex-in-southern-poland/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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CATUBODUA – Metempsychosis and the Queen of Death

https://balkancelts.files.wordpress.com/2013/12/galiche-2-1-c-bc-thracian-silver-gilt-horse-harness-appliquc3a9-2nd-1st-century-bce-found-in-galiche.jpg

“At one moment she was a broad-eyed, most beautiful queen,

And another time a beaked, white-grey badb”.

(Harleian manuscript 4.22)

The central tenet of Celtic religion was metempsychosis – the transmigration of the soul and its reincarnation after death (Caesar J. De Bello Gallica, Book VI, XIV). This belief is probably best summed up by the Roman poet Lucanus (1st c. AD):

While you, ye Druids, when the war was done,

To mysteries strange and hateful rites returned…

Read Full Article: https://balkancelts.wordpress.com/2013/12/10/catubodua-queen-of-death/

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THE LONGEST TWILIGHT – The Scordisci/Balkan Wars of the 2 – 1 c. BC

https://balkancelts.files.wordpress.com/2012/05/a-a-a-a-a-a.jpg

“Part of this region (Thrace) was inhabited by the Scordisci … a people formerly cruel and savage, and, as ancient history declares, accustomed to offer up their prisoners to Bellona and Mars, and from their hollowed skulls greedily to drink human blood. By their savageness the Roman state was often sorely troubled…”

(Ammianus Marcellinus Book 27: iv,4)

 

 

PAX ROMANA

After the defeat of Macedonia in the 3rd and 4th Macedonian Wars, and the ease and speed with which Rome had destroyed the Achaean League, it appeared that the Roman conquest of southeastern Europe was unstoppable. The utter destruction of the city of Corinth in 146 BC, and the mass looting and enslavement which accompanied the establishment of the Roman province of Macedonia, were a clear warning to those who would oppose the empire.

It was therefore logical to expect that the barbarian tribes of the central and northern Balkans would quickly succumb to the Roman military machine, and the ‘Pax Romana’ which accompanied it. In fact, the conquest of Thrace would develop into a brutal and prolonged conflict which was to rage for over 150 years…

 

FULL ARTICLE:

https://balkancelts.wordpress.com/2012/05/12/the-scordisci-wars/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Κόραλλοι – The Celts in Eastern Bulgaria

 

“Who can I recite my work to here, but yellow-haired

Coralli, and the other tribes of the barbarous Danube?”

(Ovid, Ex Ponto. Book EIV.II To Cornelius Severus: A Fellow Poet)

 

Ovid’s unenthusiastic audience during his exile on the Pontus, the Celtic Coralli/Κόραλλοι tribe (Julian C. Histoire de la Gaule I 303 n. 3, Kazarov 1919:67, Domaradski 1984:111, Duridanov 1997 with cited lit.), were one of the barbarian peoples who constituted the unique

 

FULL ARTICLE:

https://www.academia.edu/36347100/CORALLI_-_Celtic_Traces_in_Eastern_Bulgaria

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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