I began to answer you line by line but I can't see any point in it. I don't
know why you're going to such lengths to refute a point of view you despise
so very much. You could so easily have ignored me or mumbled something
polite. If you hadn't attacked me so savagely I'd have just smiled and
nodded and agreed to differ. I won't forget the lessons I've learned here,
and I'll undervalue my own viewpoint much less now that I've seen how little
value there is in that of the 'experts' who oppose all opinions not their
own with hysterical rage and hatred.
I'm sorry for you, for your lack of dignity, self-control, and credibility.
I am unsubscribing as of asap.
----- Original Message -----
From: "John Hooker" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Tuesday, 16 April 2002 5:29 AM
Subject: Re: Caesar on the Gauls
> Hi Vyvyan,
> >I'm saying that if you want to make intelligent, informed conjectures
> >the possible meaning of an antique inscription you can't ignore a
> >meaning in a language in use at the time to which the coin belongs,
> >especially if there is one that fits in spelling and meaning as well. It
> >must be considered along with all other viable hypotheses.
> The coin is Belgic, and typically so. The legend is also in keeping with
> other Celtic coins. But, as you brought up the idea that the inscription
> could be possibly Latin, I gave you a solid list of evidence and examples
> that demonstrates that this idea of yours is wrong.
No. It supports your hypothesis, without proving it, and doesn't even
> >Chris has come up with another hypothesis. It is farther-fetched than
> Nothing is farther-fetched than your hypothesis. Chris has given you solid
> linguistic and numismatic evidence. Obviously, Chris focuses more on the
> linguistic as it is his specialty, as I focus on the numismatic as it is
> mine. We both have enough familiarity with other forms of evidence to see
> that our ideas are well supported.
I must say that you have given me quite the opposite impression. I
interpret the unwarranted ferocity of your hatred of me personally, and your
insults and jibes as a defensiveness and wonder what you've got to defend
from an amateur who only glances at what appears to be evidence that doesn't
support your hypothesis and gets savaged for it. It certainly has
undermined your credibility in my eyes at least.
I really did sign on to this list with the innocent intention of
participating in a sharing of ideas from which all would learn. I had no
idea I'd have to defend myself from so much hatred. I'm seriously in shock.
I wasn't expecting to be taken up on it to this extent, and attacked on a
line by line basis for offering a point of view. I have learned a lot, and
it doesn't reflect well on you. I can't imagine what I did to incur your
> >> I knew it would be a lot easier than the "esu praso" inscription.
> >ESUPRASTO, not ESU PRASO. Are you saying it isn't a Latin phrase?
> >consulting any impartial Latin scholar expert in provincial languages of
> >time. Or even glancing at some of the work being done on it by experts
> >Latin. Having your finger on the pulse, surely you'd know of any such
> >being done. You and Chris both seem to me to be utterly ignorant of any
> >work but Chris's very recent effort, which appears to have been come up
> >simply to support you against me in a war you've made by refusing to
> >acknowledge that there remain, in the absence of clinching evidence, many
> >possibilities, all of which should be closely examined by scholars of
> >integrity and skill.
> A number of scholars of integrity and skill have examined this legend.
> of them have given any merit to your translation.
We saw what they did with the SUBESUPRASTO before the full legend was
examined, didn't we? It was a blind, wild, uninformed guess, wasn't it. So
you'll forgive me for not taking the above as doing my hypothesis the least
amount of harm.
> >I do know that a Latin translation is possible and I do believe it is
> >seriously very relevant to the study of the coins concerned. Not to have
> >examined all possibilities, or to have overlooked this one seems to me to
> >represent a serious departure from scholarly integrity, and should be
> It is not relevant to these coins at all. The only connection you have
> offered that is factual is that the coins were minted at a time when Latin
> was used.
Also that it has an immediately possible and appropriate Latin meaning,
while a 'Gaulish' one is ony hypothetical and its meaning bizarre.
This is not strong evidence if we knew nothing about Roman and
> Gaulish coins, and nothing about the Gallic war and the Nervii.
There is very little proven knowledge and not much to go on, that much I do
What we do
> know about these subjects says that this is not a Latin coin legend. You,
> on the other hand, have not examined this evidence at all, but have
> invented reasons that could support your idea. You have offered no real
> evidence, just a bunch of "could haves" that themselves demonstrate no
> knowledge of these subjects.
It has an appropriate Latin meaning. It hasn't got a Gaulish one, except
one hypothetically derived by guesswork with a most unlikely meaning.
When given actual evidence, you ignore it and
> attack the knowledge and integrity of those that have offered it.
Yes, evidence, but not conclusive and not strong enough to overcome my
objection that it is more plausibly a Latin inscription than a Gaulish one.
> >It does exist as a Latin word, and you should have known it. Your
> >credibility as a scholar is seriously compromised, and collapses
> >if you continue to deny that that FACT is relevant.
> This particular fact of a Latin word that corresponds to this coin legend
> is irrelevant in the face of all the other evidence. If you have any other
> evidence then present it. No amount of rudeness and insults on your part
> can strengthen your argument. It is sad that you feel you have to resort
That was not rudeness, nor an insult. It was a straight and honest remark.
I have not received a single email from you, Chris or Ray and one or two
others that did not contain insults and barbs. I confess I'm utterly
bewildered. I have not encountered so much such unwarranted hatred for
offering a point of view before. I was expecting a civilised atmosphere in
which it would be safe to learn to participate in Celtic Studies.
> >After all, you did for Vercingetorix.
> >No one has faulted my interpretation.
> Untrue, Chris did on the 29th March, and emphatically so. Ray did also on
> the same day.
No they didn't. They only offered another opinion, and most of the emphasis
was on hurting me personally as much as they could. They succeeded. I'm
stunned at you.
> >I'm sure you know a lot about all these things, but it is appalling that
> >didn't know that it had a Latin meaning which has a high degree of
> >appropriateness, and it's clear that you hadn't even a clue that there
> >possible 'Celtic' one.
> First there is no appropriateness in a Nervii coin of this period having a
> Latin legend at all, and second, I picked this example because the legend
> is in keeping with many other legends on Celtic coins.
You said before it was Belgic.
> >None of these unusual circumstances have any precedent
> >> that you can point to, nor were any of these circumstances evidenced
> >That VIROS is a Latin word is not an unprecedented circumstance it is a
> >simple fact.
> I am talking about coin legends. Please try to keep on topic. Give me
> examples of coin legends issued, or authorized by Romans that support your
VIROS is a coin legend.
> >I mentioned that my knowledge of Latin is slight, but that VIROS is in my
> >vocabulary and certainly means 'troops' or 'men'.
> This has nothing to do with these coins. So what if one word resembles
> >you have
> >> not exhibited any knowledge of Roman, or provincial Roman coin legends.
> >None of which would change the FACT that the inscription has a direct
> >translation that is appropriate and in my opinion it is irresponsible for
> >scholars to have ignored this.
> Why do you keep saying it is appropriate. It is not. I picked it because
> all the evidence shows that it is not Latin. As I said, you are seeing
> horses in the clouds. You are not seeing a Latin word, you are seeing a
> word that looks like one.
> >> So you see, there is no reason to assume
> >I only hypothesise.
> >that VIROS on a coin of the Nervii
> >> would have any Roman authority at all. It would be illegal.
> >Sorry I miss your logic here. Are you saying that there are signs on
> >coins that prove that they were minted under Roman authorisation?
> You cut off the sentence. There are no signs on these coins that any Roman
> was involved with their issue at all. If a Roman made, or authorized such
> coin he would be breaking Roman law. There are no other examples where
> coins were issued without authority that I am aware of in Imperatorial or
> Imperial times, with the exception of the coins of Athens. The reason for
> the Athenian coins is fairly obvious.
> > If so
> >what's the problem? They'd be legal. Or are you saying that the coins
> >unauthorised and have no marks on them that acknowledge Roman
> >and are therefore illegal?
> > And how does this relate to the possibility that
> >VIROS is the acc pl of the Latin word for man or soldier.
> The Nervii had no prior contact with the Romans. They did not trade with
> anyone and they were vehemently anti-Roman.
> >> Roman soldiers would accept whatever booty they were given. Their pay
> >> different. It was highly regulated and standardized.
> >And never late and they never improvised? I doubt it.
> No, never late, and never impovised. If you have any evidence to the
> contrary then present it.
> >What possible evidence can you base this on? IF such an
> >> absurd event happened, then the resulting coins would have to be
> >> with the issuing authority. The legend that you propose is not in
> >> with any other Roman coin legend either in it's content, or in the
> >> of its language.
> >Why is the idea of a Belgic mint absurd? You yourself have said that
> >'Celts' minted coins of inferior gold alloy. That means they had mints.
> >You yourself say the coins are Belgaean. It is quite possible that the
> >Romans captured a mint
> I wish you would read what I actually said. A Belgic mint is not absurd. A
> permanent, and constantly staffed Belgic mint would be rather absurd, but
> capturing and then using a Belgic mint is absurd on so many levels. The
> coins were issued to finance the fight against the Romans. They had no
> other reasons to make coins. Coins would have been made wherever. There
> would be no physical mint to capture. The Romans would have no need to use
> inferior technology to mint coins and would not have done so.
> >> I have made a guess that some of these Nervii coins were issued in
> >> to their client tribes for their continuing support. But this is a
> >> based on available evidence.
> >Yes, and why should they put a Latin inscription on them?
> It is not a Latin legend.
> >For 'we know' you should have said, 'according to Caesar', whose
> >is not considered by all scholars to be reliable. I find it shonky.
> Give me a single example where Caesar lied.
> >We can sometimes even track the retreat lines of Gauls
> >> by the hoards of coins that they hurriedly buried as they fled.
> >Do these hoards of coins bear the word VIROS?
> The Ledringhem hoard (Nord, 1852, consisting of a vase containing 15 to 18
> litres of Gaulish coins. -- containing 5 of the 13 VIROS coins recorded in
> the B.N. catalogue)
> >So my guess
> >> fits all of the available evidence.
> >No, it jars with the linguistic evidence, that there is an inscription
> >has a Latin meaning that you would have me believe has never been
> >investigated before.
> Then you should reconsider your singular evidence in the face of my
> multiple evidence, No
> >> >Yes, but if you happened to capture a mint you'd use what you found
> >> >You would need to have it attested that they had a tradition of not
> >> >plundering Celtic mints or stores of gold and using it for their own
> >> >purposes. I find this very unlikely.
> >> The Romans plundered everything, everwhere they could. They did not
> >> using these "mints", nor did they start farming if they captured a
> >> There was no need for them to start issuing coins when they were
> >> battles. What on earth do you think the Roman soldiers would have done
> >> the money -- there were no shops. Or do you imagine they only fought
> >> the week and then took off to a nearby town to booze it up on the
> >> at the local bar?
> >Are you now suggesting that Roman soldiers weren't paid at all? But you
> >told me earlier that they always took their own mint along with them on
> >campaign, that they always paid their ordinary soldiers in silver
> >I myself can't think for the life of me what they'd have spent it on.
> >Weren't they fond of gambling? But that they were paid is undeniable, I
> Roman soldiers were paid. A travelling mint is unusual but was used, for
> example, by Mark Antony at a later date. They would not have needed money
> in that part of Gaul, because there was nothing for them to spend it on.
> The locals did not use money in the way that we, or the Romans of the
> understood. There were no traders, no shops.
> >> Yes, there is. I have listed all of the evidence.
> >You asserted that they were Belgaean coins, not Nerviian.
> Further confirmation that you have not studied the subject. Belgica is a
> part of Gaul and had many tribes living there. The Nervii were Belgic.
> >No. I'm repeating what I have said because you haven't answered. You've
> >only repeated that you have interpreted a lot of circumstantial evidence
> >precluding a possible Latin translation for a word that without
> >or hypothesising anything at all has a plausible meaning in Latin and no
> >meaning except a hypothetical one that leaves a lot of questions
> >in hypothetical Old Celtic. And you haven't even consulted an impartial
> >Latin scholar with expertise in provincial Latin dialects.
> There are many Gaulish coin legends that you might see as Latin. This does
> not mean that they are. The Nerviian coins are a good example of why such
> an interpretation would be wrong. Gaulish names end in OS. VIR is common
> both Latin abbreviations and in Gaulish names. If you insist that what you
> are seeing is Latin, and not Gaulish, then it is your task to present
> evidence to support this idea. You have not done this in the case of the
> Nervii, and you will not be able to do this. This is why I picked the
> example of the Nervii. I will not continue this ridiculous discussion
> unless you present some evidence as to why these coins could have Latin
> inscriptions. There are many words that look like other unrelated words in
> other languages. There are many langauges that have a common root and thus
> similar looking words can have similar meanings. To me, a Gallic war
> Nerviian coin with a Latin legend is absurd in the face of the other
> evidence. That you even think that the name Vercingetorix is Latin, leads
> me to believe that you will always ignore all other evidence. That you did
> not even remember the other messages refuting your Vercingetorix
> interpretation confirms this.
> Hooker & Perron, Total Project Coordination
> Database-Web...Graphics...Custom Maps...Colour Suites...Expert Systems
> Building the Celtic Coin Index on the Web:
> Outgoing mail is certified Virus Free.
> Checked by AVG anti-virus system (http://www.grisoft.com).
> Version: 6.0.310 / Virus Database: 171 - Release Date: 12/19/01