Tag Archive: Tyle

UD: November 2016






One of the great archaeological mysteries which has occupied academics on the Balkans since the 19th century has been the search for the elusive capital of the Celtic kingdom in eastern Thrace – Tyle/Τύλις, which is mentioned by Polybius (iv 45-46):
“after they (the Celts) crushed the Thracians and turned the town of Tyle into the capital of their kingdom”.



















UD: December 2016



Rennes Region (Bretagne). Gold Stater (7.72 g) struck c. 2nd century BC.



One of the most iconic symbols on Celtic coinage, the oval shield appears either alone or as a central element in the artistic composition on Celtic coins (and other artifacts) across Europe and Asia-Minor in the 3-1 century BC period, as well as being represented on numerous Greek and Roman images depicting Celtic military equipment.



deio br.

Kings Of Galatia, Deiotaros I (c. 62-40 BC) AE. Obverse: Laureate head of Zeus right. Reverse: Large monogram and Celtic oval shield



tascio reverse.

Mounted warrior with oval shield on the reverse of a silver issue of Tasciovanus – King of the Catuvellauni tribe in southern England (25-10 BC)


carnyx gold stater caesar 48 bc

Celtic military equipment, including oval shield and carnyx, represented on the reverse of a Roman gold stater (c. 48 BC)



The fact that oval shields are depicted with such frequency by both the Celts themselves and their enemies, in such a broad spatial and temporal context, logically indicates that they had a political and cultural significance that went beyond their purely military function, i.e. also served as a symbol of political authority and power.


Rennes Region (Bretagne). Gold Stater (7.72 g) struck c. 2nd century BC.

Mounted Goddess with oval shield depicted on the reverse of a Celtic gold stater from the Rennes Region, Brittany (2nd century BC)





Among the Balkan Celts oval shields first appear on coinage of the ‘Tyle’ state in today’s eastern Bulgaria in the mid 3rd century BC, and are to be found on both tetradrachms and bronze issues of the Celtic kings of Thrace during this period.


kav. bronze

Bronze issue of the Celtic king Cavaros with oval shield on the reverse – minted at Arkovna (Varna reg.), Bulgaria (2nd half of the 3rd c. BC)





a - kerseb

Reverse of a tetradrachm of Kersebaul, one of the Celtic kings of the ‘Tyle’ state in today’s eastern Bulgaria (mid 3rd c. BC)






Also noteworthy in this context are the Celtic shield coins minted by the Greek city of Mesembria (modern Nesebar) on the Black Sea coast during this period. These coins, which feature a helmet on the obverse and a Celtic oval shield on the reverse (viewed from within; Price 1991, Karaytov 2000, Mac Gonagle 2013) illustrate the influence of the Celtic state on the Greek Black Sea colonies during the 3rd c. BC – a phenomenon also testified to by archaeological evidence, and confirmed in ancient sources (Lazarov 2010, Manov 2010, Mac Gonagle 2013).


mess shield

Bronze Mesembria Celtic Shield Issue (last quarter of the 3rd c. BC)
(After Karaytov 2000)


Also connected to the Tyle state are the Apros Celtic shield coins minted in today’s European Turkey in the second half of the 3rd century BC, which provide further archaeological evidence, again confirmed in ancient sources, that the area of south-eastern Thrace, including the immediate environs of Byzantium, was under Celtic control during this period (Manov 2010, Lazarov 2010, Mac Gonagle 2013). Exactly which tribe minted the Apros coins remains unclear, but one possibility is that that they were produced by the Aegosages tribe prior to their migration into Asia-Minor in the summer of 218 BC.




Bronze Celtic shield coins minted at Apros (After Draganov 2001)
(Apros was located either at present-day Kestridge or further west near present-day Kermian, both in European Turkey above the Thracian Chersones and on the route of the later Via Egnatia)
On the Aegosages tribe see: https://balkancelts.wordpress.com/2012/10/01/death-of-a-dream-the-aegosages-massacre/





Statue of a Celtic chieftain wearing a sagum, and holding an oval shield and torc  – from Mondragon (Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur), France

(late 2nd / early 1st c. BC)











Literature Cited

Dimitrov K. (2010) Celts, Greeks and Thracians in Thrace During the Third Century BC. Interactions in History and Culture. In: In Search of Celtic Tylis in Thrace (III c BC). Sofia 2010. P. 51- 66
Draganov D. (2001) Coins of the Unknown Mint of Apros in Thrace. НСФ 8, 1-2, 25-31.
Kарайтов И. (1996) Месамбрия и келтският цар Кавар. In: More 4, 9-10, 10-14; Kарайтов И. (2000) Месамбрия и владитетелите на крайбрежна Тракия (според нумизматични данни) – INMB 3, 66-81
Карайтов И. (2000) Месамбрия и владетилите на крайбрежна тракия според нумизтични данни. Известия на Народния Музий Бургас. Том 3, 2000. 66- 82
Lazarov L. (2010) The Celtic State In the Time of Cavaros. In: In Search of Celtic Tylis in Thrace (III c BC). Sofia 2010. P. 97-113
Mac Gonagle B. (2013) https://www.academia.edu/5420363/THE_TYLE_EXPERIMENT
Manov M. (2010) In Search of Tyle (Tylis). Problems of Localization. In: In Search of Celtic Tylis in Thrace (III c BC). Sofia 2010. P. 89 – 96
Price M. J. (1991) The Coinage in the Name of Alexander the Great and Philip Arhideus. A British Museum Catalog, vol. 1, Zurich-London.
Topalov S. (2001) Contributions to the Study of the Coinage and History In the Lands of Eastern Thrace from the end of the 4th c. BC to the end of the 3rd c. BC. Sofia 2001







Mac Congail















UD: November 2016







One would imagine that an invasion by hundreds of thousands of barbarians would have a catastrophic effect on the economy of a region. However, this presumption has been challenged in recent years by the archaeological and numismatic data emerging from the territory which fell under the control of the ‘barbarian’ Tyle state in eastern Thrace during the 3rd c. BC.


The traditional description of the Celtic tribes who arrived in this area has been one of ‘thirsty savages’ or ‘gangs of mercenaries’ (latest Emilov 2007, 2010), and we have been repeatedly informed that ‘their aim was not to settle, but money and booty which could be acquired in different ways … by attacking wealthy cities, and by ravaging the countryside’ (Nixon 1977, cited by Mitchell 1993; Emilov 2010). However, repeating a simplistic stereotype does not make it true, particularly when the depiction of a culture entirely contradicts all the available archaeological and historical evidence. In this case the facts tell a rather surprising tale – a barbarian invasion that brought political stability and economic prosperity in its wake…




S.E. Thrace map




















Over the past few years a large amount of new archaeological material has been found in Bulgaria which sheds new light on Celtic settlement in this region. This includes a variety of metal, glass, and ceramic artifacts from sites across the country which, according to Prof. L. Vagalinski (Vice Director of the Bulgarian National Archaeological Institute and Museum), once again raises serious questions about the Celtic presence in today’s Bulgaria (Vagalinski 2002, 2007).




The Roman historian Justinius (Pomp. Trog) xx v 1-3) informs us that in the wake of the main Celtic invasion led by Brennos a second wave of Celts arrived on the territory of today’s Bulgaria. Consisting of 15,000 infantry and 3,000 horse, this army, according to Justinius, destroyed the forces of the Thracian Getae and Triballi tribes.

 The capital of the aforementioned Getae tribe in the 4th / 3rd c. BC was situated at Helis (now part of Sboryanovo archaeological reserve) in northeastern Bulgaria, famous for the spectacular Thracian tombs discovered in the area (Fig. 1). Recently published Celtic material from this site includes ceramic vessels (Fig. 2) which were found in a pit by the fortification wall. A Sinope amphora stamp from 273 BC lay at the bottom of the pit which was covered by ruins of the curtain wall which collapsed in the earthquake in circa 250 B.C. The Celtic ceramic can therefore be dated to the second quarter of the 3rd c. B.C. (Vagalinski 2007: P74; cat. # 18-19)  Further Celtic finds from the site such as a bronze La Téne B2/C Hohlbucklering discovered in 1987 and a further example 11 years later (Megaw 2004, 98) (Fig. 3), bracelets, glass ‘Eye Beads’ (Fig. 4 – see also ‘Little Glass Men’ article) as well as evidence of on-site production of La Têne double-spring brooches (Megaw 2004: 103 and fig. 9, 7 – 11,13) provide further archaeological evidence of  Celtic presence in this area.

Fig 1  Interior of one of the 4th/ 3rd c. BC tombs at Helis (Sboryanovo archaeological reserve)




Fig. 2   Celtic Pottery from Helis (After Vagalinski 2007)




Fig. 3  Bronze Celtic Hohlbucklering from Helis (after Megaw 2004)




Fig. 4 Celtic ‘Eye Beads’ from the tomb in tumulus 18 at Helis (After Gergova, Katevski



What is not present at Helis, however, nor any other Thracian settlement in Bulgaria during this period, is evidence of destruction which would indicate conflict between the local Thracian population and the newly arrived Celts. Indeed, archaeological evidence from Helis and throughout Eastern Bulgaria indicates a period of economic prosperity after the Celtic arrival in the area. At present archaeological data would appear to contradict the dramatic version described by Justinius. Instead it appears to show a more gradual and largely peaceful Celtic migration into the area. (Lazarov 2010)




ARKOVNA/ DALGOPOL                  


The situation at the Arkovna hillfort near Dalgopol (Varna region) is even more clear. Due to the commendable and objective work of the Bulgarian archaeologists L. Lazarov and Dr. M. Manov, Celtic settlement in the Dalgopol area, and in particular at the Celtic hillfort at Arkovna, is the best documented in the region. (See Manov 2010, Lazarov 2010 with cited lit.) The wealth of Celtic material published from this area over the decades has recently been augmented by further numismatic and archaeological evidence. This includes Celtic coinage of the Cavaros type (Fig. 6), La Têne fibulae, finger rings, belt elements, golden ornaments with filigree, parts of helmets, chain-mail, glass bracelets, ‘Eye Beads’, knives, and Celtic ceramic. (Fig. 7 – 10) The Arkovna site was certainly the centre (or at least one of the centers) of the Celtic ‘Tyle’ state which controlled most of today’s eastern Bulgaria in the 3rd c. BC.

  To the west this Celtic kingdom certainly controlled the region of Veliko Tarnovo as far as the Jantra river; the southern border was somewhere to the south of Kabyle and near Appolonia on the Black Sea coast; in the north it reached to the Danube and had contact with Celtic groups north of the river. This state undoubtedly had a significant Thracian content, with the Celtic cultural and military element remaining dominant. (Lazarov 2010)




Fig. 5  Arkovna hill – Centre of the Celtic ‘Tyle’ state in eastern Bulgaria

Fig. 6  Bronze coins of the Celtic king Cavaros (220’s – 210’s BC) from Arkovna/ Dalgopol and surrounding region. (After Lazarov 2010)




Fig. 7  Celtic fibulae and bracelets from Arkovna/ Dalgopol and surrounding area (After
Lazarov 2010)




Fig. 8 Celtic finger rings, belt elements and golden ornaments with filigree from Dalgopol and surrounding area (After Lazarov 2010)




Fig. 9 Celtic weapons and armour (helmet cheek guard, chain-mail and knife) from Dalgopol (After Lazarov 2010)




Fig. 10 – Celtic ceramic, glass ‘eye beads’ and glass bracelets from the Celtic hillfort at Arkovna (After Lazarov 2010)







Further recent finds of Celtic material again come from northeastern Bulgaria – from the Black Sea colony of Bizone (modern Kavarna, Dobruja region). Celtic ceramic from the Bizone / Kavarna site includes jugs, pots and other table pottery with the same technical characteristics – brown to grey-black clay with significant sand inclusions, rough external surface, and burnished decoration. (Fig. 11)

Fig. 11  Celtic ceramic from Bizone/ Kavarna (After Vagalinski 2007)





The Kavarna ceramic has a number of parallels in Celtic complexes along the Serbian part of the Danube and has been dated to the 1st c. BC / 1st c. AD. Other Celtic material found at the site as well as substantial Celtic numismatic material found in the Kavarna area dating from the 3rd – 1st c. BC confirm Celtic settlement in this area in the pre-Roman and Roman period. (See numismatics section and ‘Little Glass Men’ article)







Other finds of La Têne pottery from the early Roman period are concentrated in the northwestern part of Bulgaria – in the Vidin and Montana regions – an area traditionally associated with the Scordisci tirbes. The finds include bowls, jugs, pots and dolia (fig. 12 )

Examples have so far been published from three Celtic settlements:

  1. Under the Roman fortification Castra Martis (today’s Kula, Vidin region)
  2. Near the village of Jakimovo (Montana region)
  3. Near the village of Valchedrum (Montana region)

It is interesting to note that both Jakimovo and Valchedrum lie on the small Tsibiritza river, the same river  on which the village of Gorni Tsibir, where the gold Celtic torc dating from the 4th c. BC was found, is situated. (See ‘The Danube Torc’ article) All of the recently published Celtic ceramic from this area has been dated to the 1st c. BC / 1st c. AD. (Vagalinski 2007)




Fig. 12 Celtic ceramic from Valchedrum, Jakimovo (After Vagalinski 2007)





The Celtic pottery recently found in north-central Bulgaria comes from a location 2 km. northeast of the village of Krivina, Russe region. The site lies 1 km. south of the Danube. A large vessel found is of late La Têne slip decorated pottery which was popular among Celtic tribes from Normandy and southwest Germany to the west, up to Serbia in the east and particularly in the Danube region. It was used primarily by Celtic aristocracy and is often found, as in the case of the Krivina find, together with late La Têne burnished ceramics. Any question that this was imported into Thrace is ruled out by the fact that the Krivina ceramic was found together with the kiln in which it was produced. Тhe kiln itself was unusually large (max diameter 2.30 – 2.40 m.). Together with the luxury Celtic ceramic was found hand-made ‘Thracian’ vessels which indicates influence of the coexistence of Celts and Thracians in this part of Bulgaria. The same phenomenon is to be observed along the Serbian part of the Danube. (Vagalinski op cit)

 The Krivina kiln, a two-part kiln with two fireplaces and a diametrical grate, is of a typical Celtic type. The use of slip dates the Bulgarian pottery because this technique first  appeared among the Balkan Celts at the end of the 1st c. BC under Roman influence. This Celtic pottery is thus dated to the end of the 1st c. BC / beginning of the 1st c. AD.  (Loc cit)





Fig. 13  Celtic ceramic from Krivina (After Vagalinski 2007)

The above data clearly shows Celtic ceramic production on the territory of today’s Bulgaria from the 3rd c. BC until the Roman period. The same is the case with production of Celtic metal objects (see Part 2 of this study). In spite of this, and all the other numismatic and archaeological evidence, some Bulgarian academics continue to insist that there was never a Celtic political or ethnic presence on the territory of today’s Bulgaria. Such claims, in the face of аll the scientific evidence to the contrary, cast serious doubt on the objectivity of those concerned. In conclusion, one can only echo the sentiments of Prof. Vagalinski (2002, 2007) who has repeatedly called for a thorough and, above all, impartial evaluation of this ever increasing body of evidence.


Gergova, Katevski 2008 = Gergova D. Katevski I. Archaeology and Geophysics in the Sboryanovo National Reserve (North-East Bulgaria). In: Geoarchaeology and Archaeomineralogy (Eds. R. I. Kostov, B. Gaydarska, M. Gurova). Proceedings of the International Conference, 29-30 October 2008, 374-379.

Lazarov 2010 = Lazarov L. The Celtic Tylite State in the time of Cavaros. In: In Search of Celtic Tylis in Thrace (III c. B.C.). Proceedings of the Interdisciplinary Colloquium arranged by the Archaeological Institute and Museum at Sofia and the Welsh Department, Aberystwyth University held at the National Archaeological Institute and Museum. Sofia 2010. P. 97 – 114.

Megaw 2004 = Megaw J.V.S. In the Footsteps of Brennos? Further Archaeological Evidence for Celts in the Balkans. In: Hӓnsel B.,  Studenikova E. (eds.) Zwischen Karpaten und Ӓgӓis. Neolithikim und ӓltere Bronzezeit. Gedenkschrift für Viera Nemejcova–Pavukova. Rahden/Westf. 93 – 107.

Vaglinski 2002 = Vaglinski L. F., Burnished Pottery from the first century  to the beginning of the seventh century AD  from the region of the lower Danube (Bulgaria) Sofia 2002.

Vagalinski 2007 = Vagalinski L. F., Celtic Pottery in Northern Bulgaria. In: The Lower Danube in Antiquity (VI c. B.C. – VI c. A.D.). International Archaeological Conference. Bulgaria – Tutrakan, 6-7.10.2005. p. 72-83. Sofia 2007.

Mac Congail





PART 1 – Philip III/ Cavaros model



The most discussed political entity established in the wake of the Celtic migration into the Balkans in the 4th/ 3rd c. BC is the ‘Kingdom of Tyle’ in today’s eastern Bulgaria. Following the assault on Delphi a body of Celts who had belonged to Brennos’ central army returned to Thrace under a leader called Comantorios and subsequently “…crushed the Thracians and turned the town of Tyle into a capital of their kingdom” (Poly. iv, 45-46). Celtic military power during this period would appear to have been considerable. A campaign in Thrace by the Syrian king Antiochus II “to take back his cities in Thrace” (Polybius, Historia universalis, xviii 51, 3-6), in the 250’s of the 3rd c. BC, was unsuccessful. Antiochus was accompanied during this campaign by two Thracian nobles – Teres and Dromichaetes (Polaen. Strat., iv, 16), probably with the intent of regaining the territory recently lost to them in Thrace. Few details are known of this conflict between the Syrian and his Thracian allies and the Celtic tribes in eastern Bulgaria except for the fact that the former Thracian capital at Seuthopolis (Kazanlak) was destroyed during the ensuing events. However, recent archaeological evidence clearly shows Celtic settlement in this area both before and after the destruction of the city. (See ‘The Golden Empire of Orpheus’ article – Archaeology section). Whether it was destroyed by the Syrian forces or the Celts themselves remains unclear. Shortly afterwards Antiochus and his army withdrew from Thrace. Another Syrian king, Antiochus Hierax, who landed in Thrace in 228/227 BC was killed by the Celts soon after his arrival. (Pompeius Trogus, Prologi XXVII)

 The coins of the kings of the Celtic ‘Tyle’ state in E. Bulgaria from the 3rd c. BC are concentrated in the area of today’s Bulgaria stretching from the Stranja mountains in the south to the Dobruja region in the north. The best known and recorded of these were issued by the Celtic leader Cavaros, but emissions of three other Celtic ‘kings’ (Orsoalt, Kersebaul and Lilarki) are also recorded in eastern Bulgaria from this period.(1)
Heavy concentrations of Cavaros coins (3rd c. BC – fig. 1/2) have been found in the Dalgopol area (Arkovna Peak, the villages of Asparukhovo and Sladka Voda), Provadia area (Provadia, Blaskovo, Bozvelijsko, Venchan, Kiten, Nenovo, Petrov Dol, and Chajka), the Vetreno municipality, Varna region (the villages of Nevsha and Neofit Rilski) and on the southern slopes of the Eastern Balkan range in the Burgas region (the villages of Sadievo, Cherna Mogila, Malka Polyana, Mirolyubovo, Ruen, Prosnik, Goritsa, Emona and Yabalchevo). Other Cavaros issues in this area of eastern Bulgaria have been found at the villages of Kosovo, Devnya, Bilka, as well as from Appolonia (Sozopol), Odessos (Varna) and Messambria (Nessebar) on the Black Sea coast. (2) To this one may add the Aitos-Karnobat area which connects this area of Bulgaria with the Sliven-Cabyle (Jambol) – Nova Zagora –Stara Zagora region which has produced a number of similar finds.(3) Of particular interest are several bronze issues of Cavaros, discovered in the Southern Dobruja region (Bozhurets, Septemvrijtsi and Sveti Nikola near Kavarna) which, along with recent discoveries of La Têne material from north eastern Bulgaria (see archaeology section), indicate that during this period (3rd c. BC) the Celtic state reached the southern bank of the Danube river.(4)


Fig. 1

Cavaros bronze; SNG BM 195; SNG Cop 1175; Cabyle mint.



Claims by some Bulgarian historians that the Celtic state in e. Bugaria during this period was ‘insignificant’(5) should be seen in their proper political context. The fact is that during the 3rd c. BC the Celts controlled the economic relations of Thrace with the Greek world.(6) The Hellenistic city of Cabyle (Jambol) continued to flourish under Cavaros and at least one of the Pontic harbors south of Burgas Bay was certainly under direct Celtic control.(7) The monetary policy of Cavaros followed those of many other ‘Hellenistic’ rulers and Cavaros’ silver tetradrachms based on those of Philip III Arrhidaeus (fig. 2) were accepted as pan-Mediterranean currency.(8)
The Hellenistic nature of the Celtic state in today’s eastern Bulgaria was a unique experiment. From a numismatic perspective it produced coinage based closely on Hellenistic models bearing the names of the Celtic ‘kings’ inscribed in Greek. The Hellenistic nature of the coinage and their circulation together with coins of the Greek Black Sea colonies, particularly Messambria(9), clearly illustrates the Hellenophilic leanings of the Celtic king Cavaros, something also attested to in historical sources where he is referred to as ‘a friend of the Greeks’. Ironically, it was probably the Hellenophilic nature of Cavaros’ state which led to its collapse.(10)


Fig. 2

Cavaros Silver Tetradrachma minted in Cabyle (Jambol) (225-215 BC)(11)




According to Bulgarian historians, the collapse of the ‘Tyle’ state at the end of the 3rd c. BC marked the end of all Celtic presence on the territory of today’s Bulgaria. This version of history completely contradicts the numismatic facts which clearly show that between the end of the 3rd c. BC and the imposition of Roman rule the only coinage produced by the native population in Bulgaria were actually Celtic coins based on Macedonian and Greek models.

From the 2nd c. BC a radical change is to be observed in Celtic coinage in Bulgaria. Attempts to ‘imitate’ Hellenistic models are largely abandoned, as is the use of the Greek alphabet. Instead we see the evolution of highly stylized/abstract issues which results in a unique abstract-iconic art style by the 1st c. BC. (fig. 3-5) In Bulgaria this process is to be observed not only on the Philip III / Cavaros coinage, but also on Celtic Philip II and Thasos ‘imitations’, as well as the Zaravetz lead and bronze issues from north-eastern Bulgaria and the Scordisci Strymon/Trident coins from western Bulgaria. (See sections 2-10)

The abstract Celtic coins from the II-I c. BC (fig. 3-5), evolved from the Philip III / Cavaros model, are found not only on the territory of the ‘Tyle’ state of the III c. BC, but also in today’s northern Bulgaria, Romania, Serbia and Hungary. Particularly high concentrations have been found in the Mutenia area of Romania and the Lovech and Russe areas of n. Bulgaria, indicating that these areas were the main centers of production of this type of Celtic coin.

In Bulgaria the first coins of this type were discovered in 1910 at Pirgovo (Russe district)(12) Why this hoard has still not been properly published, 101 years after its discovery, is a question for the relevant Bulgarian authorities. The same question may be posed about another massive hoard of Celtic coins, again containing Philip III ‘imitations’, discovered during the communist period in the same village (Map 1 # 1-2) (13) as well as other hoards of such Celtic coins found in the Russe region at Belyanovo (Zenovo district – Map 1 # 3)(14), Ostritza and Pepelina  (Both Dve Mogili district – Map 1 # 4, 30).(15)

Further hoards of Philip III model Celtic coins have been recorded from other parts of Bulgaria over the last century, none of which have not been made available for academic publication. These include examples from:

Glavatzi – (Krivodol district, Vratza region) (Map 1 # 6)(16)

Lometz – (Troyan district, Lovech region)(Map 1 # 7)(17)

Choba – (Brezovo district, Plovdiv region) (Map 1 #8)(18)

Chavdar – (Chavdar district, Sofia region)(Map 1 #9)(19)

Glojene – (Teteven district, Lovech region) (Map 1 # 10)(20)

Kamenovo – (Kubrat district, Razgrad region) (Map 1 # 11)(21)

Pordim – Pordim district, Pleven region (Map 1 #12)(22)

A further hoard discovered ‘Between Lovech and Vratza’ (Map 1 # 13)(23)


Fig. 3

Celtic Drachma (Philip III model) – II c. BC



In recent years further examples of the same coins have been recorded from Alexandrovo (Burgas reg. / map 1 # 14)(24), Altimir (Vratza reg. / map 1 #15)(25), Beloslav (Varna reg. / map 1 #16)(26), Burgas (map 1 #17)(27), Dolna Zlatnitza (Targovischte reg. / map 1 # 19)(28), Gorna Oryachovitza (Veliko Tarnovo reg. / map 1 #18)(29), Stara Zagora (map 1 #20)(30), Schumen (map 1 #21)(31), Lovech (map 1 #22)(32), Montana (map 1 # 23)(33), Radanovo (Veliko Tarnovo reg. / map 1 #24)(34), Razgrad (map 1 # 25)(35), Russe (map 1 #26)(36), Veliko Tarnovo (map 1 #27)(37), Samovodene (Veliko Tarnovo region / map 1 # 29)(38), Slana Bara (Vidin region / map 1 #31)(39), and Plovdiv ( Map 1 # 28).(40)

Particularly interesting is the recent publication of such coins from the Chirpan (Stara Zagora) area of Central Bulgaria (fig. 4-5/ Map 1 #29)(41) which illustrates that a ‘Celtic enclave’ existed in this area also into the Roman period.(42) The coins discovered during archaeological excavations at the Bratya Daskalovi site have been dated to circa 50 BC and were found together with other Celtic (Thasos model – see ‘Thasos’ section; on other coins from the Bratya Daskalovi site see Numismatics section 9 – ‘Plunder Coins’) issues, clearly indicating that the local coinage been produced and circulating in this region of Bulgaria at the time of the Roman conquest was Celtic ‘imitations’ of Macedonian and Greek models.



Fig. 4

Fig. 5

Fig. 4/5 – Celtic silver drachmas from Bratya Daskalovi, Chirpan (circa 50 BC)
(After Prokopov et al 2011)



It should be borne in mind that only one type of Celtic coinage is under discussion in this section – the Philip III/ Cavaros model. Other Celtic issues produced in Bulgaria during this period such as the Philip II and Thasos models, Zaravetz coins (n.e. Bulgaria) and the Strymon/Trident coins produced by the Scordisci/ Serdi in w. Bulgaria, will be discussed separately. What is most interesting about all this ‘barbarian’ coinage is not its wide geographical dispersion throughout the region, nor the unique art style presented on the coins. What is most significant is the fact that all the native coinage produced in Bulgaria from the end of the 3rd c. BC to the end of the 1st c. BC was produced by a local Celtic population who, according to Bulgarian historians, did not exist.





 Map 1




Map 2 (see also numismatics section 10 – ‘Shield Coins’)



* On other Celtic coinage from Bulgaria see numismatics sections 2-13





1. Mac Congail 2010 = Мак Конгал Б. и Крусева-Мак Конгал Б., Хората, които превърнаха в слънце. Варварските изкуство и религия на Балканите. (The Men Who Became The Sun: Barbarian Art and Religion on the Balkans). Plovdiv.
2. Lazarov 2010
3. Dimitrov 2010: 57; Lazarov 2003 = Лазаров Л. Тетрадрахма скордисков из крепости на вершине Арковна. In: Нумизматични проучвания и материали. Veliko Tarnovo. P. 40-52.; Mac Congail 2008:70 (attached Pdf.) with relevant references.
4. Lazarov 2010
5. Fol 1975: 192-194; Tacheva 1987: 32-33; see The Golden Empire of Orpheus – Archaeology section
6. Gerov 1967:33 = Геров Б. Проучвания върху западнотракийските земи през римско време II. – Годишник на Софийския университет. Факултет по западни филологии 61,1. р. 3-102; Domaradski 1984; Dimitrov 2010:51
7. Gerassimov (1958) The Alexandrine tetradrachms of Cabyle in Thrace. In: Centennial volume of the American Numismatic Society. New York. P. 273-277; Dimitrov 2010
8. Lazarov 2010; Dimitrov 2010. Some authors suggest that the Cavaros coins are based on those of Alexander III which differ little in terms of iconography from those of Philip III. This is a moot point.
9. Karaitov 1996: 11; 2000: 72-73 = Kарайтов И. (1996) Месамбрия и келтският цар Кавар. In: More 4, 9-10, 10-14; Kарайтов И. (2000) Месамбрия и владитетелите на крайбрежна Тракия (според нумизматични данни) – INMB 3, 66-81
10. Polybius, Universalis, iv 46.4; see Mac Congail 2008: 71-77
11. Price M., The Coinage in the Name of Alexander the Great and Philip Arrhidaeus. Vol. 1, Zurich-London. 1991. P. 175; Mac Congail 2008: 70
12. Dessewffy, G. (1910). Barbár pénzei, XVII:429-439; Gerassimov 1938 = Герасимов, Т. Колективни находки на монети през 1937 и 1938 г.: In: ИБАД 1938:455
13. Youroukova 1978 = Юрукова Й. (1978) Монетните находки, открити в България през 1975 и 1976 г. In: Археология, XX, 1978-4:58; Nedialkova 2010 = Недялкова T. Варваризирани подражания на антични монети в Тракия IV-I в.пр.н.е. (магистърска теза), Софийски университет „Св. Климент Охридски” Исторически факултет, Катедра Археология, София, 2010
14. A vessel containing 300 Celtic tetradrachmae – Philip III model – and 3 Celtic tetradrachmae of the Philip II model. (Pink, K. 1974: Tab. XII, 247-250 = Pink K., Die Münzprägung des Ostkelten. 1974; Gerasimov 1963 = Герасимов, Т. Съкровища от монети, намерени в България през 1960 и 1961. In: ИАИ 1963-26:257-270.
15. In the vicinity of the village a vessel was found containing 50 Celtic tetradrachmae – Philip III model (2nd – 1st c. BC) – Gerrasimov 1962 = Т. Герасимов. Съкровища от монети, открити в България през 1962 – В: ИБАИ, XXVII). In Rousse itself a hoard of 53 Celtic imitations of Philip II drachmae and 3 Philip III drachmae was found in the Sredna Kupa area (MAP # 5) in 1953 (Nedialkova 2010); At Pepelina 12 Celtic issues of this type were found – Preda C. Istoria monedei in Dacia preromana. Colectia Biblioteca Bancii Nationale 25. p. 219. Bucharest 1998.
16. GOTA (Göbl, R. 1973: Ostkeltischer Typenatlas. Braunschweig. 1973) type 574/575/576/577 It would seem that this was a very large hoard containing 244 coins – Gerrasimov 1937 = Герасимов T. Колективни находки на монети през 1934, 1935 и 1936 г. В: ИБАИ, XI, 1, 1937:320
17. In the vicinity of Lometz a large hoard of silver Celtic drachmae was uncovered at the beginning of the 20th century. The trove included over 100 Celtic silver drachmae (Alexander/Philip III type – GOTA – 574 (and variation) /575/576 and 577) as well as a gold ring with a gem. (Мушмов 1926, p. 324 = Noe, no. 622; Pink 1974, 87) Prokopov et al 2011: P. 49. n. 33 = Prokopov I., Paunov E., Filipova S. Coins and Coin Hoards from the excavation of two burial mounds near the village of Bratya Daskalovi, Stara Zagora Region. In: Тонкова М. (ed.) Thraco-Roman dynastic centre in the Chirpan heights area. Sofia 2011) (Map 1 #7)
18. 63 Celtic tetradrachmae – Philip III model (2nd – 1st c. BC) – (Gerassimov Т. 1962 = Герасимов T. Монетни съкровища, намерени в България през 1958 и 1959 г. In: ИАИ, 25, 1962:225-237.
19. GOTA – 574/575/576/577(LMC); Gerassimov 1934 = Т. Герасимов. Колективни находки на монети през 1933 и 1934 г. – In: ИБАИ, VIII, 1934:473
20. In the vicinity of the village a hoard of Celtic tetradrachmae has been found – Philip III model (2nd – 1st c. B.C.) – Youroukova 1978 = Й. Юрукова. Монетните находки, открити в България през 1973 и 1974 г. In: Археология, XX, 1978-2:72; Nedialkova 2010.
21. GOTA – 574/575/576/577 (LMC) – Gerasimov 1963 = Герасимов, Т. 1963б: Съкровища от монети, намерени в България през 1960 и 1961. In: ИАИ 1963-26:257-270.
22. Gerasimov 1962 = Т. Герасимов. Съкровища от монети, открити в България през 1962 – In: ИБАИ, XXVII.
23. According to Prokopov et al (2011) this find will be published ‘shortly’ in CCCHBulg.IV . Prokopov et al. 2011: 49 n. 33.
24. LMC. GOTA – 574/575/576/577 (LMC = Wendling E., Le Borgne de La Villandre J., L’Euroatlas des Monnaies Celtes, Chapitre II C – http://www.celtic-coin agora.com)
25. GOTA – 574/575/576/577 – LCM
26. Loc cit
27. Loc cit
28. Loc cit
29. Loc cit
30. Discovered in 1973. 16 examples apparently of the later highly abstract issues (I c. BC) – Youroukova 1978 = Й. Юрукова. Монетните находки, открити в България през 1973 и 1974 г. In : Археология, XX, 1978-2:72
31. Topalov 2001:121-122 = Topalov S. Contributions to the Study of the Coinage and History In the Lands of Eastern Thrace from the end of the 4th c. BC to the end of the 3rd c. BC. Sofia 2001
32. GOTA – 574/575/576/577. A massive find of these coins from nearby Lometz indicates that these were probably produced in the Lovech area. (LMC)
33. Loc cit
34. Loc cit
35  GOTA – 574/575/576/577 (LMC); Topalov op cit.
36. LMC
37. Topalov op. cit.

38. Preda 1998: 219

39. Thompson M. et al. An Inventory of Greek Coin Hoards. Vol. 1. Americam Numismatic Society (1973) p. 69. Hoard # 454
40. LMC
41. Prokopov I., Paunov E., Filipova S. Coins and Coin Hoards form the excavation of two burial mounds near the village of Bratya Daskalovi, Stara Zagora Region. In: Тонкова М. (ed.) Thraco-Roman dynastic centre in the Chirpan heights area. Sofia 2011.
P. 44-53; Map 1 # 29)
42. loc cit







Rolltier Bohemia Boii late 2 c. BC

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