Subject:      Re: ancient celtic coins in Europe
From: (Yuri Kuchinsky)
Date:         1997/07/04
Message-ID:   <5pj6hd$nqh$>
Newsgroups:   sci.archaeology,sci.lang,alt.pagan,soc.culture.celtic

MTM ([22] wrote:
: Yuri Kuchinsky wrote:

: > : >As far as the antiquity of oghams, has anyone heard about Celtic
coins : > : >minted in Europe around 2c. bce? These coins feature oghams.
I can post : > : >more info about these coins. This is all we need to
prove that oghams were : > : >much more ancient than is commonly believed.


: Could it be that you gentlemen are thinking of the coins from a region
: of Brittany, called "Armorica"? They date up to about 56 b.p., when J.
: Caesar completed his conquest of the area. I have one before me at the
: moment ...


Thanks for your input, but I was thinking of quite different coins.

The following information comes from the Epigraphic Society Occasional
Publications (ESOP), vol. 14, 1985, p. 97. Here Barry Fell, the first to
point out these ogham inscriptions, provides an illustration of one of
these Celtic coins, from Gaul, with ogham script on them.  Another mention
-- of different but similar coins from Spain -- and an illustration is in
his BRONZE AGE AMERICA, 1982, which should be a lot easier to find than

Four specimens of such "Gaulish-Celtic" coins are in the Muenzkabinett of
the Historical Museum, Frankfurt am Main. These silver coins are dated by
the Museum authorities to 2nd century bce, according to Fell. The one coin
that Fell illustrates in the article is 17 mm in diameter, and weighs 2.9
g.. The name of the Celtic tribe that issued these coins was "the
Elusates", and Fell tells us that their name is written in Ogham script on
the reverse of the coin. Another ogham inscription is on the obverse.
According to Fell, "ogham consaine" (a form of ogham script that does not
include vowels) is being used.

I don't claim to know for sure if Fell's reading is correct, but I can
certainly say that the inscriptions look very much like ogham.

Another similar coin portrayed in Fell's BRONZE AGE AMERICA, p. 257, is
from Aquitania, in Spain. It is a silver drachma of the Celtic tribe known
as the Sotiati, a community of Gauls inhabiting the area ca. the third and
second centuries bce.

It seems very striking to me that the coins from Spain and from Gaul look
very similar. Of course they are of the same age. Besides the oghams, the
coins feature circular designs, and some strange geometric shapes (that
appear very much like tadpoles, or like comets with their tails). If
anything, the coins look a lot like modern abstract paintings!

Best regards,


Yuri Kuchinsky   | "Where there is the Tree of Knowledge, there
     -=-         | is always Paradise: so say the most ancient
 in Toronto      | and the most modern serpents."  F. Nietzsche
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