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Ancient Celtic Coin Art

16 17 The tree was a sacred icon in the spiritual life of the Iron Age, as it was to their predecessors of the Neolithic and Bronze Ages. The tree represented the centre of the world, the focus of tribal identity, and from its numinous presence the gods could be contacted. Sacred groves were present in all tribal territories and there may also have been shrines with totemlike constructions rather than living trees. Inverted tree trunks and trees ritually buried in deep pits as well as recorded stories of tribes carrying off their defeated enemys sacred tree all suggest the prime importance of this symbol. The tree was the centre of the tribe, symbol of its legitimacy, its abundance and its rootedness in the land. It represented the spiritual strength of the ancestors the family tree and also the chieftain who by his strength nourished, protected and sheltered his people. Some coins clearly depict a tree or branch as their main image. Others are more enigmatic and may show the bile or sanctuary tree supported or protected by a lattice of scaffolding. Trees are also shown within landscapes with sun, stars and rivers and crescent moons. One striking set of gold coins have abstract branchlike patterns as if looking into the deep undergrowth of a forest. SACREd TREES upholders of the tribe d. e. f. g. h. i. j. k. l. m. n. a. b. c.
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