I learn something new with every one of Mike Markowitz' CoinWeek articles on ancient coinage. Here's an excerpt from an August 31, 2022 piece on the coins of the Celtiberians
The central plateau (Meseta in Spanish) was inhabited by Celtic tribes who migrated across the Pyrenees in several waves, beginning perhaps in the sixth century BCE. They merged with the indigenous population, creating a unique culture described by modern historians as
Celtiberian. Skilled metal workers, the Celtiberians developed the short, double-edged
Spanish sword that was adopted by the ancient Romans as the lethal weapon of the legions. Celtiberians fought a long series wars against Rome, from 181 BCE to their ultimate defeat by the forces of Emperor Augustus in 19 BCE.
Coins issued by Celtiberian cities are an important source for understanding this era of Spanish history, from the third century BCE to the final Roman conquest. Without the names of rulers, Celtiberian coins generally can be dated only approximately, on the basis of find context and hoard evidence. As many as 160 mints issued coins during the second and first centuries BCE, some of still uncertain location.
IBERIA, Celti/Celtitan. Circa 200-150 BCE. Æ As (33mm, 23.14 g, 12h). Diademed and draped male head right / CELTITAN, boar standing right on spear-head. O. Simkin,
The Celtic coin that says it is?, Chris Rudd FPL 107, fig. 1 (this coin); ACIP 2427; CNH 1; SNG BM Spain –. VF, mostly dark green patina, some gray and red on reverse. Extremely rare and among the finest known. Classical Numismatic Group > Electronic Auction 314 6 November 2013, Lot: 2, realized: $1,900.
Around 200-150 BCE, the town of Celti or Celtitan (now Peñaflor, on the Guadalquivir River in the province of Seville) issued large (23 gram) bronze coins depicting the head of an unidentified male on the obverse and a boar standing on a spearhead on the reverse. The reverse inscription in Latin letters is CELTITAN.
This rare piece has been described as
the only Celtic coin that says it is.
SPAIN, Ikalesken. Circa 150-100 BCE. Denarius (Silver, 18mm, 4.04 g 5). Youthful male head to right, wearing pearl necklace. Rev. IKaLESKeN Horseman with round shield riding to left, with second horse beside him. Burgos 1106. SNGBM 1190 ff. Nomos AG > Auction 14 17 May 2017. Lot: 2. Realized: 460 CHF (approx. $470).
Ikalesken (or Ikalensken, or Ikales) was a mint of uncertain location in southern Spain, possibly in the provinces of Murcia or Alicante. It struck large issues in silver and bronze. A typical silver denarius depicts a youthful male head wearing a beaded necklace on the obverse, and a helmeted rider with a round shield, with a second horse behind him, on the reverse.
Our understanding of Celtiberian coinage rests on decades of meticulous research and scholarship by the Catalan numismatist Leandre Villaronga i Garriga (1919-2015). He authored over 20 books and 300 articles, culminating in the standard reference, Ancient Coinages of the Iberian Peninsula (2011), with 802 pages in English and Catalan, often abbreviated
To read the complete article, see:
CoinWeek Ancient Coin Series: Coins of the Celtiberians
Wayne Homren, Editor
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