Author Topic: Lingones 'Potin aux trois poissons'  (Read 566 times)

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Offline Pellinore

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Lingones 'Potin aux trois poissons'
« on: February 17, 2018, 01:27:41 PM »
This fine little billon coin reached out to me, and now I can cradle it between my fingers.
It's a coin of the Lingones, a tribe living on the Langres plain, now department Haut-Marne.

I was much taken by the motifs on both sides. In French the coin was named 'Potin aux trois poissons', 'Billon with Three Fishes', but these living triskelis doesn't contain fishes in my opinion. One side shows three organic forms like fish bladders, reaching up to the architectonic motif from Gothic times, the 'Fischblase' or 'Schneuss' in German, see this Wikipedia article. I don't know the English term. There are also three little organisms consisting of a tailed head.

The other side shows three leeches, can't think of describing these differently. Did the leech have some symbolic meaning, that a tribe was putting these on a coin? Leeches were used for medical purposes since thousands of years. 

LaTour 8329. Castelin 604, BMC Celts III 453-458 (I only saw the first ref. for myself).
18 mm, 2.23 gr.

-- Paul


Offline Paris

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Re: Lingones 'Potin aux trois poissons'
« Reply #1 on: February 22, 2018, 06:10:41 PM »
Hi,

I never heard about the term "Lingones" for what we call "Lingons". According to Ggle, it seems "Lingones" is a 19th century or a Belgian term; but if you are searching about them in France you would have better to use "Lingons".
https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lingons

"Potin" is absolutely not "billon". Billon is a poor alloy of silver and billon coins are struck; potin is an alloy of tin, cooper and sometimes lead, and potin coins are cast. Your coin is a potin.

Offline Figleaf

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Re: Lingones 'Potin aux trois poissons'
« Reply #2 on: February 22, 2018, 06:31:25 PM »
I find Celtic art a difficult subject, since there seem to be many of them. Indeed, the British isles variant seems to prefer crosses, triskeles and spirals, but the shapes on your coin are more popular in what is now France. I have attached a picture from Wikipedia that is a fine example of French Celtic art and described as ... vegetal!

Celts were of course quite capable of abstract thinking. They might not have bothered to think of fashionable shapes in terms of "what's it supposed to be", but rather in terms of composition "that looks good there", all the more so because Celtic art often has an abstract quality to it. I would look at the decoration as a functional whole. At least one side would be a clan or power symbol (they might be two interpretations of the same symbol.) Therefore it may be connected to warfare.

Since Celts typically used round shields, it could e.g. be a shield decoration. Wikipedia mentions that there was a Celtic, later Roman fortress in Langres. The surface of what is now the "Citadelle de Langres" is roundish. It is tempting, but probably hard to prove to see the symbol as an abstract rendition of the fortress from the air, a round tower, three redoubts to protect it and a pallisade around the foot of the promontory.

Peter

Illustration by BastienM - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,
https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=19096195
An unidentified coin is a piece of metal. An identified coin is a piece of history.

Offline Pellinore

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Re: Lingones 'Potin aux trois poissons'
« Reply #3 on: February 22, 2018, 06:36:18 PM »
Hi,

I never heard about the term "Lingones" for what we call "Lingons". According to Ggle, it seems "Lingones" is a 19th century or a Belgian term; but if you are searching about them in France you would have better to use "Lingons".
https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lingons

"Potin" is absolutely not "billon". Billon is a poor alloy of silver and billon coins are struck; potin is an alloy of tin, cooper and sometimes lead, and potin coins are cast. Your coin is a potin.

O.K., a potin. I'm sure modern French use is 'Lingons' but the old Latin name is Lingones (like the English one), probably. I don't know how they called themselves.
-- Paul

Offline Paris

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Re: Lingones 'Potin aux trois poissons'
« Reply #4 on: February 22, 2018, 11:10:52 PM »
The kinds of S (on the other side than "fishes") has been interpreted as seahorses, but I really think everyone is free to interprete it as he wants!
Peter, quite surprising when I re-opened this topic, because some months ago I saw "in real" the Celtic artefact of which you published a photo! It is in the musée de Louvres, no relation with the musée du Louvre! In the city of Louvres, in the North of Paris, there is a little museum about archeology in Ile-de-France and you can see, in fact, a good modern copy of this object.