biatec

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CELTIC, Danube Region, The Boii, Biatec Series - 2nd - 1st century BCE

AR hexadrachm, 17.18 gm, toned good VF ex CNG; Kostial 62ff; Göbl-Boier, plate II/I

OBV: Jugate heads right (Honos and Virtua or Apollo and Mars), one laureate, the other wearing a cap, vines and beaded border around

REV: Warrior on Celticised horse right, holding a branch with berries over right shoulder, vines in field, in exergue, BIATEC

Obverse was probably copied from Q. Fufius Kalenus and Mucius Cordus of 70 BC (Craw 403/1, Syd 797, RSC Fufia 1) The vines are reminescent of those on the Gundestrup cauldron.

Coins struck at that time in the area of present day Bratislava are unique in the Celtic world of that time. They were made from high quality metal - silver and gold. Such coins bear inscriptions in capital letters, in Latin: BIATEC, NONNOS, DEVIL, BUSU, BUSSUMARUS, TITTO - a total of 14 different inscriptions, of which the inscription BIATEC appears most frequently (therefore all these coins have come to be known by the name "Biatec", although in specialist literature they are usually referred to as "hexadrachms of the Bratislava type"). Latin letters were used for the first time on the territory. According to the latest research, these inscriptions may represent the names of local rulers.

The coins have a diameter of 25 mm and a weight of 16.5 -17 g. The obverse usually shows various depictions of a head. The reverse usually shows a horseman, but various mythological motifs also occur, for example a harpy (a bird with a womans head), a centaur (a horse with the upper part of a man), a griffin (a winged lion with the head of an eagle), a coiled dragon, or symbols of real animals. With its wealth of motifs, the Bratislava Celtic mint might well be said to compare favourably with the Roman mints of the time.

The most important find of coins of the "Biatec" type was made during excavations for the Tatra Banka building in Bratislava in 1923, when 76 large and 324 small coins, were found scattered over 1-2 m2, in a layer containing La Tene pottery.