L: Coin of Constantine R: Bactreates.
5th-7th c European Germanic Migration Metalwork
(c. 375 - c. 750)
Faversham. Kent. Great Britain.
Oxford. Ashmolean Museum.
The Celts and other so-called "barbarian" peoples used Hellenistic and Roman coins as models, but later transformed them for their own use, as we see here. A coin like the one of Constantine, shown on the left, clearly served as the model for the Bactreates that were used as coins by various barbarian groups, including the Celts. The portrait head still dominates the central representation in the Celtic coin, but has been almost completely submerged in the profusion of decorative interlace that surrounds it.
Although abstraction was the dominant aesthetic of the Northerners, pronounced stylistic variations existed among the various cultures and groups. Major differences can be found in the peoples we identify as Celtic and those we identify as Germanic. The Celts once covered a large area of Central Europe and France, but later were pushed by other groups to England and from there to Wales, back to Brittany and eventually most settled in Ireland.
The Germanic peoples were originally centered around the Baltic Sea in Northern Germany and Southern Scandinavia. We will later discuss the great migrations of the various Germanic tribes, but first I would like to show you the type of art produced by the Germans and the Celts during the Bronze Age and Iron Ages.
EUROPEAN | L: Coin of Constantine R: Bactreates. | 400-700 | Germanic | Germanic Migration