Epona or Andarta?CELTIC GAUL. Northwest Region. The Redones. Ca. 2nd century BC. AV stater (21mm, 8.04 gm, 9h). Large laureate head of Apollo right of slightly Celticized style / Naked female rider on horseback right (Epona or Andarta?), holding a shield in left hand and a spear in right hand, grain ear before, lightning bolt below. DT 2082-2084. BN 6757. Hucher "l'Art gaulois" pl. 53. Extremely rare. Good Very Fine.
Ex Vinchon (20 December 2006), lot 356; Collection Numismatique d'un amateur d'art (Vinchon, 29 October 2002), lot 34.
The horseback rider on the reverse of this extremely rare stater appears to be female, a distinct departure from the usual Celtic imitation of the Philip II Apollo / biga types. At least one scholar identifies the rider as Epona, a Celtic goddess who protects horses and guides souls into the afterlife. However, Epona, who was later worshipped throughout the Roman Empire, is usually shown in a less militant pose than seen here, so the figure may instead be Andarta, a Gallic war goddess later adopted by the Iceni in Britain as Andraste, and invoked by the warrior queen Boudica during her revolt against Rome.
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