CENTRAL EUROPE. Boii. Nonnos, circa 44-30 BC.
Tetradrachm (Silver, 26 mm, 17.00 g, 5 h), Bratislava oppidum. Bare-headed male bust to left; before, branch with berries. Rev.
NONNO[S] Horseman galloping to right, holding sword in his right hand; all within linear-arch border. Flesche 490 (this coin
). Göbl, Hexadrachmen, pl. 6, XIV/3, 1 (same dies
). Lanz 85 (same dies
). Paulsen pl. 33, 774-7 (same dies
). Very rare. An exceptional piece, beautifully toned and of vigorous Celtic style, with a particularly impressive obverse. The reverse struck slightly off center, otherwise,
good very fine.
From the collection of C. Flesche, Künker 366, 5 April 2022, 6493 and ex Leu 83, 6 May 2002, 574.
We know for a fact that this highly impressive tetradrachm was produced in the Bratislava oppidum in the heart of today's capital of Slovakia, where archaeological digs have revealed the existence of a Celtic mint. More than 1,000 coins have been excavated in situ
, the majority of which were tetradrachms bearing Celtic names such as Ainorix, Biatec, Iantumarus, Busu, or Nonnos, as on our piece. It is commonly assumed that these were the big men of Celtic society, perhaps chieftains, or the officials overseeing coin production, as in Rome.
Roman influence on the coinage of the Bratislava oppidum is evident both in the motives and in the use of the Latin alphabet. The exact dating of the coins, on the other hand, is somewhat disputed, but it certainly ended with the destruction of the oppidum, which was traditionally linked to the activities of the Dacian king Burebista († 44 BC) in the region. However, as is so often the case when archaeological destruction layers get linked to historical events or figures, recent research has revealed a more complex picture, and it is now believed that the oppidum continued to exist until the late 1st century BC.