NM·15

From Lexicon Leponticum
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Coin

Coin type

Coin type: Lejeune C1
Description: obverse: right-facing head of Apollo, reverse: right-facing head of a horse and legend
Material (main component): silver
Average diameter: 1.6 cm0.63 in <br />
Average thickness: unknown
Average weight: 2.5 g0.0025 kg <br />0.00551 lb <br />
Workmanship: cast

Archaeological culture: unknown
Date: late 3rd–early 2nd c. BC
Date derived from: typology

Number of known pieces: 480
Area of circulation: Lower Rhône valley
Mint / Main site: unknown
Coordinates (approx.): none

Coin legend

Idealised transliteration: ·a·lkouesi 
Idealised original script: punctuation3 dA3 dpunctuation3 dL sK4 dO8 dU dE dS6 dI d
Variant reading: iailkouesi
I dA3 dI dL sK4 dO8 dU dE dS6 dI d
Position: back, bottom
Orientation:
Direction of writing: dextroverse
Script: North Italic script
Letter height: 00 cm <br />0 in <br />
Number of letters: 8 - 10
Number of words: 1
Number of lines: 1
Inscription type: minting authority
Language: Celtic
Meaning: 'of Alkovesos'

Alternative sigla: Whatmough 1933 (PID): 331

Sources: Lejeune 1971: 130

Images

Commentary

Min. 480 specimens of the coin type are known; the following list comprises merely a small selection of localisable specimens:
1. Département des monnaies, médailles et antiques de la Bibliothèque nationale de France (Paris), inv. no. 2537: 2.48 g, 14x15 mm; image in the Gallica catalogue: punctuation3 dA3 dL dK4 dO8 dU dE dS6 dI d
2. Département des monnaies, médailles et antiques de la Bibliothèque nationale de France (Paris), inv. no. 2538: 2.38 g, 14.5x16.5 mm; image in the Gallica catalogue: punctuation3 dA dL dpunctuation3 dK4 dO8 dU dE dS6 sI d
3. Département des monnaies, médailles et antiques de la Bibliothèque nationale de France (Paris), inv. no. 2539: 2.6 g, 14.5x15.5 mm; image in the Gallica catalogue: punctuation3 dA dpunctuation3 dL sK4 dO8 dU dE d
4. Département des monnaies, médailles et antiques de la Bibliothèque nationale de France (Paris), inv. no. 2540: 2.36 g, 14x15 mm; image in the Gallica catalogue: punctuation3 dA dpunctuation3 dL sK4 dO8 dU dE d
5. Département des monnaies, médailles et antiques de la Bibliothèque nationale de France (Paris), inv. no. 2541: 1.85 g, 14.5x15.5 mm; image in the Gallica catalogue: punctuation3 dA dpunctuation3 dL dK4 dO8 d[
6. Département des monnaies, médailles et antiques de la Bibliothèque nationale de France (Paris), inv. no. 2542: 2.55 g, 13x16 mm; image in the Gallica catalogue: punctuation3 dA dpunctuation3 dL sK4 dO8 dU d[
7. Pautasso 1976: tav. X.30/Y; 2.7 g; Museo di Leone, cat. no. 339: punctuation3 dA3 dpunctuation3 dL dK4 dO8 dU dE d
8. Pautasso 1976: 490 f.; Collezione Danicourt a Péronne: punctuation3 dA dL dpunctuation3 dK4 dO8 dU dE dS6 sI d
9. Geiser et al. 2012: 102, fig. 37; 16 mm; private collection: punctuation3 dA3 dpunctuation3 dL sK4 dO8 dU dE dS6 dI d

Further images in Mommsen 1853: Taf. III.36A–D (drawings of legends – A = no. 2, C/D = no. 4? = Pauli 1885: Taf. I.3A–D), Blanchet 1905: pl. II.13 (photo of no. 1), Pautasso 1976: X.28 (photo of no. 5), X.29/Z (photo of no. 3), X.31 (photo of no. 4), tav. X.32/ZA (photo of no. 1), Brenot 1998: 24, fig. 5 (photo of no. 4) and 6 (photo of no. 3).

The coin type belongs with group C (type Ia) of coin legends written in the Lepontic alphabet, represented by legends on silver coins with primary distribution in the lower Rhône valley and lower Isère valley, associated most commonly with the Allobroges (see Numismatics). The dating follows Brenot 1998: 29 f. and Geiser et al. 2012: 106. Obverse right-facing head of Apollo with laurel wreath, reverse right-facing horse's head and below the dextroverse legend. Found in Portes-lès-Valence (hoard, 15 pieces), La Tronche (hoard, 12 pieces), Joncquières-Beauregard (hoard, 36 pieces), Poliénas (hoard, 427 pieces), Mandeure (1 piece), and Les Andelys (hoard, 3 pieces) (Brenot 1998: 28, tab. 1, Colbert de Beaulieu 1966: 446, Geiser et al. 2012: 103).

The legend appears in different variants: full or abbreviated to ·a·lkoue, without the second punct, with second punct and lambda transposed, more often with retrograde than regular lambda. The vertical strokes before and after alpha – particularly the second one, for which more space tends to be available due to the shape of the coin – are mostly full-length, hence the usual transliteration of the sequence as iailkouesi. The interpretation of the verticals as puncts goes back to Lejeune 1971: 130 based on the simple observation that the beginning of iailkouesi is inexplicable, while alkouesi can be straight-forwardly analysed as a dithematic personal name, both of whose elements are otherwise attested in both Transalpine and Cisalpine Celtic (see the word page). Under this assumption, the variation in the placement/presence of the puncts (and arguably also their unusual length) can be explained as due to uncertainty about their exact function and use on the part of the minters – phonetic variation as per Whathmough (PID: Glossary) being quite implausible. Lejeune's claim that the Lepontic alphabet sometimes punctuated initial vowels is, however, ad hoc; the only possible comparanda are found in other coin legends (NM·16, NM·3). As noted by Marinetti & Prosdocimi 1994: 45, correctly implemented Venetic syllabic punctuation would require lambda to be punctuated as well: ·a·l·kouesi or ·a··l·kouesi. They also question the probability of the presence of a trained Venetic scribe in the Rhône valley. The appearance of apparently phonetics-based interpunction in the present context is indeed surprising, but so is the use of a North Italic alphabet in the first place. That the Venetic alphabet, including syllabic punctuation, was known in the west is demonstrated by the imported TI·19 from the Giubiasco necropolis; the incorrect application of the system on the Gaulish coins is arguably a consequence of a lack of proper training on the part of the person who designed them. It is also possible that the puncts in the Gallo-Lepontic coin legends have no connection to Venetic syllabic punctuation, as deviant punctuation practices are known from other North Italic contexts (e.g. in the Raetic rock inscriptions, see TIR). Marinetti & Prosdocimi 1994: 45 f. further observe that the variation in the spelling together with the implausible sequences indicate that all attested variants may be erroneous copies of an unattested original. While this is pertinent in principle (and retrograde lambda specifically arouses suspicion of being the result of a misinterpreted letter sequence), in practice it leads merely to ultimately pointless speculation about the form of the purely hypothetical original, validating unverifiable emendations all the way back to Pauli's iantouesi (1885: 77). Until further variants of the legend which shed light on the stemma of attestations appear, we opt to take the available attestations at face value, and prefer Lejeune's reading ·a·lkouesi.

See also Mommsen 1853: 213 f., no. 36, CII no. 64, Pauli 1885: 4, no. 1, 76–78, Blanchet 1905: 149, 257, PID: 141 f., no. 333, Colbert de Beaulieu 1966: 445 f., Brenot 1998: 24–27.

Corinna Salomon

Bibliography

Blanchet 1905 Adrien Blanchet, Traité des monnaies gauloises. Vol. I, Paris: 1905.
Brenot 1998 Claude Brenot, "A propos des monnaies à légendes lépontiennes de Transalpine", in: Fondazione "Andrea Pautasso" per gli studi di numismatica (ed.), Forme di contatto tra moneta locale e moneta straniera nel mondo antico. Atti del Convegno internazionale, Aosta 13-14 ottobre 1995. A cura di Giovanni Gorini, Padova: Esedra Editrice 1998, 23-37.
CII Ariodante Fabretti, Corpus inscriptionum italicarum antiquioris aevi. Ordine geographico digestum et glossarium italicum, in quo omnia vocabula continentur ex umbricis, sabinis, oscis, volscis, etruscis aliisque monumentis quae supersunt, Augusta Taurinorum: 1867.
Colbert de Beaulieu 1966 Jean-Baptiste Colbert de Beaulieu, "Légendes monétaires de Gaule en caractères dérivés de l'Étrusque", in: —, Actes du 90e congrès national des sociétés savantes, Nice, 1965. Section d'archéologie, Nice: 1966, 445–450.
Geiser et al. 2012 Anne Geiser, Julia Genechesi, Nicola Scoccimarro, "Monnaie et écriture au second âge du fer autour de l'arc alpin. Une nouvelle approche des statères épigraphes attribués naguère aux Salasses", Études Celtiques 38 (2012), 77–129.