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Ancient Celtic Coin Art

40 41 Besides the horse and boar, many other animals appear in Celtic coin art. Exotic or mythological creatures may refer to allegiances with other parts of the Roman Empire camels and crocodiles, for example, suggest links to North Africa. Griffins and winged horses may have signified exotic spirits, powerful sources of unusual power. Some animals become naturalisedlions are transmuted into fierce but anonymous monsters, or even domesticated cats. Dogs and hounds are domestic protectors, but wolves, identified by their needle teeth and gaping jaws, are more likely to represent warrior bands. Nonpredatory creatures, like hares, lizards, toads, dolphins and whales may be clan totems or refer to particular individuals. Bulls and stags both show the territorial fierceness of the clan leader. Bears, fierce warriors also regarded as skilled healers, appear infrequently on coins see 51f, though bear claws motifs are more common. Waterbirds ducks, swans and cranes appear on many coins, often with a pellet in their beaks. They become the emissaries between the human and spirit Otherworlds. The tribal leader, as the protector of sacred spaces especially of upsidedown reflective watery places, and with the ability to mediate between his people and divine powers thus can be seen as taking on the role of the duck. A MENAGERIE OF POWER animals everywhere a. b. c. d. e. f. g. h. g. i. j. k. l.
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