>I don't think you can insist that it is a Celtic coin. It is stamped with
>the Roman alphabet and it is in Latin. Provincial, what's more.
No, it's Celtic. The Romans did not issue coins in Britain until much later
(and as part of their normal coinage -- not provincial), and Roman
provincial coins have other characteristics. Besides, nearly all British
Celtic coins are pre-conquest. After studying Celtic coins for over thirty
five years, I can usually at least tell if a coin is Celtic!
>> No, all of these coins are Celtic.
>The Gauls didn't use the Roman alphabet.
Perhaps if you actually looked at some Gaulish coins then you would see
that they did use the Roman alphabet. The earliest Celtic coin legend is
"EIQITIVICO" on a gold stater derived from the posthumous issues of Philip
II of Macedon. Derek Allen says the early date is attested by the use of EI
for E and that Q is not followed by V. He allows a possible 3rd cent B.C.
date, but it might be as late as the start of the 2nd cent B.C. An early
date is further confirmed by the heavy weight.
Also, the gold stater of Vercingertorix is in Latin letters, and (in case
you will claim this is a Roman coin!) the metal alloy is Gaulish and
absolutely not Roman who used very fine gold. The predecessor of
Vercingetorix also used coins of the same type with the name in Latin
letters. These are just a couple of hundreds of other examples.
Greek letters are seen on Celtic coins but they are rarer, and Allen notes
that psi, phi and omega do not occur at all. Sometimes, a mixture of Latin
and Greek letters is used (especially where there is a theta). Allen worked
out that about one in fifteen Gaulish coins contains some Greek element. I
don't think he included the use of the theta in this, but he is not
explicit. Theta shows up where other Greek letters do not (in Belgic Gaul
Put _The Coins of the Ancient Celts_ by D. F. Allen (ed. Daphne Nash),
Edinburgh, 1980. on your reading list. You can probably still buy a copy at
the Castle Bookshop in Wales -- they have a web site with a catalogue.
Allen is the giant on whose shoulders we (Celtic numismatists) all stand.
To be making his brain-child (The Celtic Coin Index) even more functional
and freely available to the world is certainly one of the high points in
the lives of both my wife (Carin Perron) and myself.
It is fine (and essential to good research) to question everything, but
always use the primary evidence as the measure -- and be careful of data
sets -- you (and everyone else) might be surprised at just how much
published primary data has been entered or written up wrong. One published
example that I dealt with (handling the actual coins at the Ashmolean
Museum as my check) showed a twenty percent error rate in the published
data sample (not an Ashmolean publication I should hasten to add). We are
building various checks into our Arethusa database for the Celtic Coin
Index to both avoid and reveal some of these errors. Double entry systems,
second party proof reading and fact checking might avert some of these
errors in research and subsequent publications.
Hooker & Perron, Total Project Coordination
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