At the heart of symbolism

The celestial horse


The Parasii tribe

The Celtic “tribe”, called “Parasii” by the Romans, was established in the 3rd century before our era in a region which later became Paris. At that time, the Greek merchants visited regularly into the territories occupied by the Celts. For their part, the Celts sent expeditions towards Greece. It is during this period that the Celts implemented their first coinage, drawing their inspiration from the Greek's monetary system.

The “Parasii tribe” achieved an unrivalled quality in coin striking and showed an unequalled aesthetic and technical mastery. A golden stater from the 1st century before our era represents, under a particularly stylized form, a head on the obverse and a horse in a bolted or pearl frame on the reverse.

Face on the obverse of a golden staterHorse on the reverse of a golden stater
Source: regional museum Dobrée in Nantes (France)

The Ursa Major (in red) and the Pleiades (in blue)Some people wanted to see a fishing net in the triangular form above the horse. Now, such a net is hard to come by. And if it were something completely different ? And if it appeared that the pearls caught within the net represented a stylized form of the starry night. We know that night always prevailed over daylight within the Celtic tradition. While looking more closely at the design, we observe that pearls trimming the animal's head and neck draw a well known 7 star constellation, the Ursa Major (in red), which plays a dominant role in the Celtic tradition. A little lower, another group of 7 stars (in blue) represents, for the Greeks, the Pleiades located in the Taurus constellation. On the left, a third group of 6 stars describes Cassiopeia (in green) with its associated star 1. Cassiopeia represented a god's residence for the Celtes and a legendary character in the Greek tradition. As expected, Ursa Major and Cassiopeia are opposed in comparison with the polar star symbolized by the centre of the coin. Are we transported into the Olympian sky ? Are we in the presence of Pegasus, the winged horse of the Greek mythology ? There is not much difference between saying that and seeing Poseidon's features on the other side face. It is true that rippled hair evoke the sea ~~~ And what about the Celts ? They would be there for the setting only! Certainly not!

First of all, the horse is an important figure in different traditions. Next, the number 7 plays a key role in various traditional forms. And above all, the Ursa Major of the Celtic tradition and the Pleiades of the Greek tradition mean one thing only. All the ancient traditions stemmed from a unique source, the primeval tradition. That is the universal character that the Celts wanted to make obvious through this stater as we will endeavour do in the...

1 back Thank you to Mr Cédric Caron for the information about Cassiopeia, which reinforces even more the representation of the starry night.

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