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GROUP G

Group G is the last of Class IV, and the final group in the continuum of stylistic changes from Classes VI through IV. The common feature of the coins of Group G is the new style of the driver's body, which now resembles the driver's hair and the pony's mane, all of which belong to the palmette-derived ornamental motif common in Celtic art. This form is similar in appearance to a bird's crest.

The chronology is given for the changes to the reverses in this group. I have arranged it this way as there are enough "rest points" where the design remains unchanged in certain areas for more than one die. The obverses were probably engraved in a different order: those of Coins 28 and 30 are probably adjacent, as are those of Coins 29 and 31. Also there is a strong connection with these particular coins to Coins 22 and 23 of Group F. It must remain conjecture as to whether the designs started out simple and were elaborated on, or vice versa, as there are no other elements that evolve on these coins. There is also the possibility that the die engraver kept changing his mind about the design, although it is more likely that the obverse and reverse dies were used in a different order than they were engraved in.

The chronology (reverse dies) is as follows:

Group

G

Coins

27, 28, (29, 30) , 31

Chronology of Group G Coins

Coin 27 is the first coin of Group G, and the obverse closely follows after the last coin of Group F. There are three major differences: the eye is given a stalked pupil, the inner line of the mouth ornament stops before it reaches the curl, and the back of the neck is again a continuation of the lowest hair.

The reverse of Coin 27 introduces the segmented driver's body, peculiar to this group. There is a bead at the top of the arm and the "tail" is a curved leaf shape similar to that on Coin 19. Both the driver's and the pony's heads are of the same design as those on Coin 25. The sceptre head is trifoliate and has a roughly diamond-shaped nimbus of beads.

On the obverse of Coin 28, there is a further development to the motif of the small head at the top of the nose introduced on Coin 22. The small head is given a plain crest section, and from a bead in front of its forehead a line extends, falling to a curl and upward-pointing leaf in front of the nose of the main head. The mouth ornament is plain and of the usual style, and extends from a bead in front of the lower mouth bead, instead of from below it.

On the reverse of Coin 28, the driver's head is of unusual design: the line forming the front of his face extends past his chin, curving outward to touch the sceptre staff. The beaded line at the base of his head is omitted, and in its place a plain line, starting at the top of his shoulder, follows the contour of the body section, and curves round the front of his chin, intersecting the front line of his face, and points to the mouth. His arm is again defined by two beads. The pony is given a neck section, a feature that will continue for the rest of this group. The curl of the mane is similar to that of Coin 26.

The small head at the top of the nose on Coin 29 resembles that on Coin 22, except that the diadem line does not overhang the forehead, and there is a crest. This head points downward, the back of the head at a 45 angle to the vertical. The lip beads and the mouth ornament are again in the usual position.

On the reverse of Coin 29, both the "tail" of the driver and the pony's mane terminate in a leaf and curl. This feature continues for the rest of this group. The driver's head resumes its usual appearance, and has a short line of beads at the base. The driver's arm curves down from the top section of his body.

The small head on the obverse of Coin 30 is similar to that on Coin 28, except that the line from the forehead is beaded above the solid curl. The leaf is engraved in outline, and points downward to the lips of the main head. Between the base of the small head and the nose of the main head are three "ribs" curving downward to the right, each paralleling the curve of the bridge of the nose, and each terminating in a bead.

On the reverse of Coin 30, the driver's arm follows the curve of the pony's tail closely around, and ends in the "tail" of the driver. The driver's head has neither a cheek section nor a base line.

Coin 31 is the last coin in the sequence. On the obverse, there is a small head at the top of the nose similar in style to that on Coin 29, but starting with its crest attached to the top of the main head's nose. From the lowest point of the small head, a beaded line curves round the nose and touches the upper bead of the lips on the main head. The outer line of the mouth ornament, having no room to continue, stops just in front of the lower bead at the mouth. Rybot noted another variety of this die, where the small head "overtops the first curl."

The reverse of Coin 31 resembles that of the previous coin.

There is one coin that may be part of the Class VI-to-IV continuum, the unique coin pictured as Coin 32, which cannot be placed in a class by reason of the emblem in front of the pony - a small head facing backwards, with a scroll ornament issuing from its mouth. While the style of the pony's head would seem more advanced, the style of the whisks and nose on the obverse, and the fact that there is no rein curl on the reverse, is reminiscent of Group B. However, note that the two beaded ends on the reins evident in this coin first appear in Group E. Until more examples are found, this coin must remain without a group, though it has strong stylistic connections here. Other such oddities exist in the Armorican series, so that many coins are difficult to assign to specific tribes, while some may belong to unknown subsidiary tribes or particular chieftains.

The preceding seven groups are demonstrably evolutionary in their style: whenever elements developed in these groups are found in the remaining classes, they are introduced in a different order. This shows that they were copied from prototypes in the first seven groups, and are not part of any evolutionary elements in the remaining groups. This is particularly relevant to the coins of Class II.

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