30 August 2012

Interesting ancient coins

A set of ten gold coins from the Harborough Museum, in Leicestershire:
As the museum puts them on public display, curators have dated the coins to around 50 or 60 BC, made of a style symbolic of north-west France and the Low Countries, which were given the Latin name of Gallo Belgica during their Roman occupation at the time.

These origins suggests that the inhabitants of Leicestershire, known as the Corieltavi, had French connections, although the lucrative value of each piece would have made them the stuff of elite tribe members...

“You don’t normally find imported coins this far north – this is the most northerly example so far. They are usually found in the south-east of England, maybe because the area is closer to the continent, or perhaps because they had strong trade links with the Gallo-Belgic tribes.

“We think they may have been considered special because they were imported. They may have been hoarded because they were better quality gold than local coins.”
I think the design is fascinating.  Although it must (?) be culturally unrelated, the stylistic horse on the obverse looks similar to me to the Uffington White Horse.


  1. The horse motif looks remarkably like Scythian work. Like much Roman-era work, I would suspect the design of these coins was influenced by coinage circulating throughout the empire. It was an incredibly fertile time for art and design everywhere in the empire, influencing - and being influenced by - neighboring cultures.

    1. It doesn't strike me as Scythian. It's way more abstract and stick-figure-ish than any Scythian art I've seen.

  2. I notice that the coins aren't flat. Is that on purpose? Is it so that they will make a more stable stack? Or is it simply the result of being very ancient? In other words, I wonder if this is this a functional design or not?


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