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Ancient Celtic Coin Art

6 7 All peoples of IndoEuropean descent, from India to Ireland, believed that the horse represented the divine relationship between the land and its people. During the Bronze and Iron Ages it symbolised both the spirit of the Sun and the Land. As horse warriors gained ascendency the continuity of social structures in Late Bronze Age and Early Iron Age Britain began to change. Less wealthy warriors were obligated by bonds of family or duty to the mounted warrior, so the horse also came to signify the prowess, nobility, and freedom of the upper ranks of Celtic society. Epona was one of the horse deities popular amongst the Romanised Celts of Europe. As the mare goddess protecting and nurturing the tribe she is clearly associated with symbols of abundance and fertility. The stallion, meanwhile, is the tribal chieftain, often depicted in coin art with multiple phalli denoting his supernatural potency. So images of horse and rider depict not only the elite defenders of the tribe but also the ruler and goddess of the tribal lands. As coin use spread westward, perhaps with the roaming mercenary bands of warriors now offering their skills to resist the encroachment of the civilizing boot of the Roman legions, the head and the horse remained by far the most popular coin images. TAILS the horse spirit of the land a. b. c. d. e. f. g. h. i. j. k. l.
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