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Ancient Celtic Coin Art

18 19 GuARdIANS OF THE TRIBE spiritual weapons and blessings There are several groups of Celtic coin images that depict animals fiercely guarding a tree, or of warriors riding out with branches held in their hands e.g. previous page 16c. We can be fairly certain that most appearances of trees and branches on Iron Age coins represent the tribe, its people and its spiritual identity, while a snarling beast prowling around the tree most probably represents the spiritual guardian of the tribe, the warleader or chieftain also the sponsor and distributor of the coin. The leaders name may also be indicated here. For example, hounds quite frequently appear as guardians and the name prefix Hound of seems to have been popular, as in the famous examples of Cunobelinus, hound of sun god Beli and Cuchulain, hound of Cooley. Trees shown beneath the rump of a horse may similarly represent the warrior carried by the power of the goddess of the land in the form of the horse sheltering and defending the people of the tribe the tree. Branches and trees sometimes replace the riders lance or are carried like a battle standard, serving as spiritual weapons and assuring victory because of the spiritual blessings and source of power that the tree represents. c. d. a. b.
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