The Age of Gallienus
Ancient Coin Collecting 101
Ancient Coin Prices 101
Ancient Coin Dates
Ancient Coin Lesson Plans
Ancient Coins & Modern Fakes
Ancient Metal Arrowheads
Ancient Oil Lamps
Ancient Wages and Prices
Ancient Weights and Scales
Anonymous Class A Folles
Armenian Numismatics Page
A Cabinet of Greek Coins
Caesarean and Actian Eras
Campgates of Constantine
A Case of Counterfeits
Byzantine Christian Themes
Coins of Pontius Pilate
Conditions of Manufacture
Corinth Coins and Cults
Countermarked in Late Antiquity
Denarii of Otho
Die Alignment 101
Dictionary of Roman Coins
Doug Smith's Ancient Coins
Edict on Prices
ERIC - Rarity Tables
The Evolving Ancient Coin Market
Facing Portrait of Augustus
Fel Temp Reparatio
Fertility Pregnancy and Childbirth
Friend or Foe
The Gallic Empire
Greek Coin Denominations
Greek Mythology Link
Greek Numismatic Dictionary
Hellenistic Names & their Meanings
Helvetica's ID Help Page
The Hexastyle Temple of Caligula
Identifying Ancient Metal Arrowheads
Illustrated Ancient Coin Glossary
Important Collection Auctions
Islamic Rulers and Dynasties
Julian II: The Beard and the Bull
Julius Caesar - The Funeral Speech
People in the Bible Who Issued Coins
Imperial Mints of Philip the Arab
Later Roman Coinage
Library of Ancient Coinage
Life in Ancient Rome
List of Kings of Judea
Maps of the Ancient World
Museum Collections Available Online
The [Not] Cuirassed Elephant
Not in RIC
Numismatic Excellence Award
Pi-Style Athens Tetradrachms
Pricing and Grading Roman Coins
Reading Judean Coins
Representations of Alexander the Great
Roman Coin Attribution 101
Rome and China
Satyrs and Nymphs
The Sign that Changed the World
Silver Content of Parthian Drachms
Star of Bethlehem Coins
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum
Taras Drachms with Owl Left
The Temple Tax
The Temple Tax Hoard
Travels of Paul
Tribute Penny Debate Continued (2015)
Tribute Penny Debate Revisited (2006)
Uncleaned Ancient Coins 101
What I Like About Ancient Coins
Who was Trajan Decius
(From Alex G. Malloy Auction Sale XLVI, June 24, 1997 - used with permission)
The mid-fourth century B.C. saw the flow of the Celtic incursions down the Danube River. The pressure of the advancing Celts caused the Thracian Triballi to push on to the Macedonian frontiers. Alexander the Great, just crowned king in the spring of 335, crossed the Haemus Mountains and the Danube, pursuing and finally defeating the Triballi. The Celts, impressed by the young ruler, sent a delegation to swear allegiance to him. The oath they swore to Alexander was still used by the Irish Celts same 1000 years later: ' 'We will keep faith unless the sky fall and crush us, or the earth open and swallow us or the sea rise and overwhelm us."1
The Celtic tribes of the third century B.C. had established their domain all along the Danube River from its sources down to the Danubian Delta on the Black Sea. Rather than forming a distinct and recognizable over-class, they tended to assimilate and blend with their conquered foes. The eastern Danubian Celts would copy the primary coin of the region that they controlled. The Larissa drachm with facing bust of Larissa and standing horse reverse was copied north of Thessaly. The coinage of Philip and Alexander was a popular design used especially north of Macedonia. The Celtic kingdom of Tylis copied Alexander tetradrachms and drachms for two generations, from 275 to 225 B.C.2 Along the coast of the Black Sea, the Thasos tetradrachm was subject to Celtic copies. Most of these coins were copied in silver.
Celtic power and influence were strong in Thrace and Dacia during the second and first centuries B.C. (the middle La Tene period)3 Celts served as mercenaries on both sides of the struggles between the Macedonian kings. during the Mithradatic Wars, and later against Rome in the Macedonian Wars.
The nature of Celtic coinage is imitative, copying the coins of the nearby region.4 The bronze and potin coinage of the first century B.C. in Gaul has been extensively researched. But little work has been published on the small change markets of the eastern Danubian region during the second and first centuries B.C.
A series of coins was struck in the Serdi region of Moesia, ranging from the Danube down to the Macedonian border all along the rivers Oeseus and Strymon to the western part of the Haemus Mountains, an area which is now western Bulgaria. This coin type, in the Celtic tradition, was copied after the rare Konion Macedonian issue struck after 187 B.C. The Macedonian bronze coin has an obverse showing the head of the river-god Strymon right, wreathed in corn. The reverse has a trident with dolphins between the prongs. The choice of this issue is appropriate to the Celts as the river Strymon runs through the Serdi region. These coins were certainly official Celtic issues due to the various over-strikes found on coins of Pella, Thessalonica and Amphipolis, all struck after 187 B.C. This obviously dates the Serdi Celtic copies to after 187 B.C. Of the 88 coins studied here, all were randomly found in Southwestern Bulgaria, placing the coining area in the Serdi region.
The obverse encountered is predominantly from a very worn die depicting the River Strymon, or a very crude rendering of the River Strymon also from overused obverse dies. The portrait most often encountered is a simplified linear barbaric rendering.
The reverse shown is the trident, and is usually much clearer than the obverse. The die cutting of this reverse is simple and easy to copy, making it a good choice for imitative coinage. The eight different trident types are illustrated below.
In addition, the trident reverse is divided into six groups, as follows:
Group 1. Better quality rendering with inscription similar to MAKEDONWN.
Group 2. Inscription MAKEDONWN retrograde.
Group 3. Inscription but illiterate.
Group 4. No inscription, but one to three symbols or letters.
Group 5. No inscriptions or symbols.
Group 6. No inscription, with random pellets.
For another article on the type see:
Mac Gonagle, Brendan. Celtic Strymon/Trident Coinage. (2014).
Available online: https://www.academia.edu/6355583/Celtic_Strymon_Trident_Coinage