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This is a silver quinarius of the Sequani, a celtic tribe inhabiting the Besancon region of France. The obverse bears the legend Q Doci (Quintus Docios?) and presumably his helmeted bust. The reverse bears the legend Sam F (Sam Filius?) and a galloping horse.

 

Quintus Docius was probably a Sequani magistrate in favour with Rome. This coin was probably struck approx 57/56 BC according to most recent research findings but otherwise generally asserted as 65-50 BC.

 

1003173.jpg

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Very interesting. Were they in federation with the Romans?

 

Yes and no. You have to go a wee bit pre-Roman invasion to gain an appreciation of the later events.

 

The Sequani found that there was significant economic benefits to trading with the Romans, and this led to increased conflict with the neighbouring Haedui (Aeduen) who also had the same economic aspirations and were a rising power and threat. To counter the threat, the Sequani entered into an alliance with other neighbouring tribes, including the Arveni. This led to the Sequani making significant territorial gains from the Haedui . However circa 72-71 bc and much against the counsel of their allies, the Sequani made a singularly stupid mistake of inviting the Swedor (Suebi), a germanic tribe under Ariovistus, to enter the conflict on their side. Unfortunately for the Sequani, the Swedor didn't really have much care as to who or what they plundered and proceeded to occupy about 1/3rd of the Sequani territories, massacring anyone and laying waste to everything in their path. The Sequani were basically reduced to slavery and requested Roman intervention.

 

In 58 bc Julius Caesar forced the germanic tribes back out of Gaul but in the process enforced the return of territory taken from the Haedui, which in turn displeased the Sequani.

 

When Vercingetorix rebelled against Julius Caesar in 52 bc the Sequani joined in the revolt, but shared in the subsequent defeat at Alesia and suffered from Caesar's displeasure. He was not gracious in his treatment of the Sequani. The Haedui however had supported Caesar in countering the revolt and were thereafter held in esteem as allies of Rome and retained preferential status thereafter.

 

Moving forward a number of decades to the death of Vitelius, the Sequani refused to join Gallic revolt against Rome (led by Civilis and Sabinus) and managed to force Sabinus back out of their territories. In mark of appreciation,the Romans built a triumphal arch in Besancon, the capital town of the Sequani.

 

The coin in question appears to have been issues shortly after Julius Caesar defeated the Swedor and etablished his `protectorate' hence the probability of Q Doci being a magistrate in favour with the Romans.

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I swear American history pales in violence compared to early European history.

 

I'm no expert in American history, but my understanding of the Aztec, Toltec and Inca cultures would lead me to disagree with you. I think that the Aztecs, Toltecs, and Incas might also disagree with you if they could provide voice to their territorial disputes with neighbouring tribes and their first hand experience of the Spanish `Conquistadores'. Remarkable similarities to, but much bloodier than the Roman colonisation of Celtic Gaul.

 

While (to my knowledge that is) we do not have any examples of coinage from these American cultures to relate to, we do have copious examples of cob coinage minted by the conquistadores which was subsequently transported from the `the Americas / new world' back home to Spain. Unfortunately these pieces are not classified as `ancient' so perhaps should be reserved for debate in a different forum (?)

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While (to my knowledge that is) we do not have any examples of coinage from these American cultures to relate to, we do have copious examples of cob coinage minted by the conquistadores which was subsequently transported from the `the Americas / new world' back home to Spain. Unfortunately these pieces are not classified as `ancient' so perhaps should be reserved for debate in a different forum (?)

 

No coinage, but with relative advanced and complex economies (certainly on par with the Celts) there must be many instances of Indigenous American proto-money from the Iriquois to the Incas

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No coinage, but with relative advanced and complex economies (certainly on par with the Celts) there must be many instances of Indigenous American proto-money from the Iriquois to the Incas

 

Trade / barter with neighboring tribes is a `given' but i suspect there was no proto-money involved unless we are talking in terms of animal pelts / livestock / weapons / tools. Trade / barter within the tribe (internal economy).....well i'm just not convinced of the inevitability of proto-money being in play in relation to native Americans. I could be wrong, but I don't think anything has been identified as being `proto-money' as yet (?), at least not for the time period up to the Spanish Conquistadores? That does not mean that it didn't exist but.....what was it?

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I don't know for sure Ian, but I've heard people talking about Aztec axes used for money. I do know that the SE North American tribes had a pretty elaborate tribute system from weaker tribes to the stronger ones. The proto-money is based on what others have told me in conversation without any corroboration. Books on the indigenous economy before the arrival of the Europeans aren't overly abundant.

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Here's an example of a silver denarius of the Sequani tribe minted circa 100 - 65 bc. It is quite a beautiful coin in hand but it defies my ability to capture this using a flat bed scanner!!

 

The obverse has a bust facing left, to the left of which is the legend `Togirix', who is presumed to have been a chieftan of the tribe pre the Roman occupation of Gaul. The reverse has a horse galloping to the left. below is the outile of a serpent. Above is the legend `Togirix' (mainly off the flan).

 

1003513.jpg

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There was an elaborate shell bead "money" system throughout California and the Southwest. Northern California and the Northwest had another system based on a different type of shell. In the Northwest, traders had tattoo marks on their arms to value shell strings based on the length of the shells (larger shells had higher value). In southern California, you had villages that specialized in producing shell beads and they supported an a trade system based on the beads. One system that helped maintain value was the need for shell beads to be destroyed in mourning ceremonies. I suspect that many of our difficulties in understanding early "money" stems from the fact that the items were used in a variety of different kinds of economies, some that facilitated trade and storing value and some that facilitated religious activities and other esoteric stores of value. Neither correspond directly to our modern sense of money and a monetary economy. They are interesting nonetheless.

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