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Coin type

Coin type: drachma (Pautasso 11, Lejeune A2, Arslan III)
Description: obverse: right-facing female head, reverse: right-facing lion
Material (main component): silver
Average diameter: 1.5 cm0.591 in <br />
Average thickness: unknown
Average weight: 3.53 g0.00353 kg <br />0.00778 lb <br />
Workmanship: chased

Archaeological culture: unknown
Date: 4th–3rd century BC
Date derived from: typology

Number of known pieces: 1
Area of circulation: unknown
Mint / Main site: unknown
Coordinates (approx.): none

Coin legend

Idealised transliteration: anarekartoṣ 
Idealised original script: S dO2 sT sR sA sK sE sR sA sN sA s
Position: back, top
Direction of writing: sinistroverse
Script: North Italic script (Lepontic alphabet)
Letter height: 0.11 cm0.0433 in <br />
Number of letters: 11
Number of words: 1
Number of lines: 1
Inscription type: minting authority
Language: Celtic
Meaning: 'Anarekartos'

Alternative sigla: Whatmough 1933 (PID): 325
Tibiletti Bruno 1981: 36 A

Sources: Pautasso 1966: 15



First published in Friedländer 1878.

Images in Friedländer 1878: 115 (drawings of both sides [= Morandi 2004: 779, tav. II,2] and of the inscription), Sambon 1903: pl. 1, 103 (photos of both sides = Pautasso 1966: pl. LXXXVIII, fig. 452, pl. CII, fig. 511 [better quality] = Pautasso 1975b: 339, tav. I,1 = Pautasso 1984: 120, tav. II,2), Blanchet 1905: pl. II,11 (photos of both sides = Chiesa 2000: 29 = Geiser et al. 2012: 96, fig. 29).

The single specimen of the coin type was found by Friedländer in the Herzogliche Sammlung zu Gotha. Still in the Gotha collection in early 1929, when Behrendt Pick, then director of the Münzkabinett, made casts for Whatmough (PID no. 325), it appears to have been lost in the aftermath of the war. Parts of the Gotha collection were moved to Coburg during the occupation, and, between the 1960s and 1980s, the antiques cabinets ended up at the Staatliche Münzsammlung (München). That the coin was among those antiques is indicated by Colbert de Beaulieu 1960b: 462, who mentioned that it was "en caisse à Munich". Whether he saw it there himself is unclear, but Pautasso 1975b: 338 informs us that the coin had gone missing before the antiques' transferal to Munich. All the coins and medals of the original Gotha collection in Coburg, plus the complete contents of the Munich cabinets, were bought back in 2011 and are now in the Historisches Münzkabinett on Schloss Friedenstein in Gotha. According to the inventory as of 2020, however, the anarekartos-coin is not in the Münzkabinett, which corroborates Pautasso's information. (Thanks to Uta Wallenstein of the Gotha Münzkabinett and Kay Ehling and Dietrich Klose of the Staatliche Münzsammlung for checking and providing background information.) The best photograph of the inscription is the one reproduced by Blanchet (see above), also made by Pick.

The original find place of the coin is unknown; it is considered to belong in the North Italic sphere because of its legend, which is written in the Lepontic alphabet (A s) and is linguistically indubitably Celtic. It belongs with group A of coin legends in the Lepontic alphabet, represented by legends on silver drachmae based on a Massaliote model with primary distribution in the Padan plain (see Numismatics). With 3.53 g, the coin's weight is closer than that of other North Italic imitations to the net weight of the Massaliote "heavy" drachma (Pautasso 1975b: 148). The style of the coin is considered to be unusually accomplished for an imitation (Rolland 1949: 462); due to the great similarities with the Massaliote model, Chiesa 2000: 24 assumes that prototype and imitation are the work of the same engraver. Like one piece at the National Library in Paris (Pautasso 1966: 15 with tav. IV, 2) and three specimens from the La Courtine d'Ollioules hoard (Chiesa 2000: 23 f. with photos), the coin bears a small half-circle mark on both sides, behind the neck of Artemis and in front of the lion, presumably a mark of the mint. Due to its weight and trueness to the original, the coin is generally considered to be the oldest type of group A ("Proto-Padan", cf. Lejeune 1971: 124, Arslan 1994: 74, Geiser et al. 2012: 95 ff.), dating from the same time as the Massaliote "heavy" drachma – its dating therefore depends on the dating of the emissions of this model, which is under debate: the traditional low datings to ca. 300 BC at the most or even later (Friedländer, Blanchet, Pautasso, Lejeune, Villaronga) are challenged by Brenot, who dates the heavy drachma to the early 4th century BC. Morandi 2004: 508 dates the inscription to the mid-4th century based on the letter forms (but see below).

Due to the smallness of the coin, the impression is slightly incomplete, with parts of the outer ring of dots as well as the lion's tail and back leg missing, and the last letter of the legend incomplete (Pautasso 1966: 15). Pautasso 1984: 101 and Morandi 2004: 508, consulting Friedländer's drawing, consider the letter representing /t/ to have the form addT4 s rather than T s, but, judging by the photo in Blanchet, said drawing exaggerates the rotation, and T s is preferable (especially when considering the flattening of the curve which the letters follow above the lion's hindquarters).

The reading of the legend, despite the smallness of the letters, is unproblematic; as already pointed out by Friedländer (p. 116), only the lower part of the last letter sigma was transferred to the planchet, but the lower angle can be seen and makes a reading as sigma certain (also Pautasso 1966: 43 f.); the alternative reading with iota instead of sigma anarekartoi suggested by Holder AcS I: 135 can be disregarded.

anarekartos is a masculine o-stem personal name, probably naming the "issuing prince or magistrate" (PID III: 4) under whose rule the coin was struck.

The "Padan" coin legends of group A have a tradition of being associated with the Lepontians because of the alphabet used, but – as was pointed out repeatedly – this is by no means clear (see Numismatics). Lejeune 1971: 126 stresses that the legends of group A may possibly, but are not certainly linguistically Lepontic. The linguistic attribution of the name is therefore uncertain; the prefix syntagma anare- is also found in Cisalpine Gaulish anareuiśeos.

Further literature: Longpérier 1877: 635 f.; Sambon 1903: 66 f., no. 103; Blanchet 1905: 148, 242; Danielsson 1909: 22, n. 1; Pautasso 1975b passim; Tibiletti Bruno 1981: 199, no. 36A.

Corinna Salomon


AcS Alfred Holder, Alt-celtischer Sprachschatz, Leipzig: Teubner 1896–1907.
Arslan 1994 Ermanno A. Arslan, "La documentazione numismatica in Lombardia", in: Giovanni Gorini (ed.), Numismatica e archeologia del celtismo padano. Atti del convegno internazionale, Saint-Vincent 8 - 9 settembre 1989, Aosta: 1994, 73–84.
Blanchet 1905 Adrien Blanchet, Traité des monnaies gauloises. Vol. I, Paris: 1905.
Chiesa 2000 F. Chiesa, "Le Monete della Prima Fase delle Emissioni Argentee con Legende Leponzie", in: Ermanno Arslan, Riccardo Carazzetti (eds), I Leponti e la moneta. Atti della Giornata di studio "I Leponti e la moneta" in occasione del X anniversario di fondazione del Circolo Numismatico Ticinese (1986–1996) Locarno, 16 novembre 1996 in onore di Franco Chiesa, Locarno: Circolo Numismatico Ticinese 2000, 23-32.
Colbert de Beaulieu 1960b Jean-Baptiste Colbert de Beaulieu, "L'inscription TOVTIOPOVO, sur une monnaie imitée de la drachme de Marseille", Bulletin de la Société Française de Numismatique 15,8 (1960), 462–464.
Conway et al. 1933 Robert Seymour Conway, Joshua Whatmough, Sarah Elizabeth Johnson, The Prae-Italic Dialects of Italy. Vol. III: Indexes, London: Oxford University Press 1933.
Danielsson 1909 Olof August Danielsson, Zu den venetischen und lepontischen Inschriften [= Skrifter utgivna av Kungliga Humanistiska Vetenskaps-Samfundet i Uppsala 13.1], Uppsala – Leipzig: 1909.
Friedländer 1878 Julius Friedländer, "Eine nordetruskische Münzaufschrift", Zeitschrift für Numismatik 5 (1878), 115–118.
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.