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Ancient Celtic Coin Art

42 43 The movements of the stars and planets were an important part of the Celtic worldview. Stars and planets were clearly visible spirits of power whose behaviour very obviously directed or dictated events in the world, the seasons being the most obvious. Similarly, a comet rising in the skies above Rome confirmed the deification of Julius Ceasar and a star on coins of this time celebrate this dynastic victory. Juxtaposed animals and other objects on Celtic coins might be tribal totems or protectors, but also could be significant constellations like Orion, the Great Bear, Draco, the Pleiedes or zodiacal glyphs. Tattooing and body painting mimics the night sky, an overlay of symbolic imagery that transformed the Iron Age Celt into an Otherworldly spirit. The northern tribe of Picts were so named by Greeks and Romans because they were the painted ones, and Classical commentators wrote of the fierce and unnerving apparition of the Celtic warrior, naked except for his or her blue warpaint, torc and weapons. The Celts used the woad plant to create a deep blue astringent and antiseptic dye, mixing the crushed and fermented leaves with fat or oil in a complex and messy procedure. The multitude of tiny seed pods are a striking, shiny blue black and closely resemble the convex, oval shape of the Celtic shield. STAR PATTERNS and tattoos f. a. b. c. d. e. g. h. i. j. k. l. m.
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