CELTIC, Central Europe. Pannonia. Late 3rd to 1st half of 2nd century BC. Tetradrachm (Silver, 25 mm, 10.70 g, 11 h), 'Turnierreiter' type. Laureate head of Zeus to right, with elaborate locks of hair (or a particular headdress?); before, on his upper nose, small horse walking upward. Rev. ARAΘIEΓIO (?) Celticized horseman riding left, holding spear in his right hand; below, V. Dembski 1075 (same dies). Flesche -. Lanz -. OTA pl. 12, 120.3 (same dies). A very rare and interesting type. Flan fault on the edge and with a flan crack, otherwise, very fine.
From the collection of a Swiss scholar, formed over the past thirty years.
Various attempts have been made to read the legend on the reverse of this remarkable type, one of which resulted in 'Sasthieni', a Celticized version of the Greek name 'Sosthenes' (see Leu 83 (2002), 541). An even more likely reading would be ARAΘIEΓO, or Arathiego(s), in crude Greek letters, whereas some authors prefer to see a mere imitative legend without any meaning. However, the latter explanation does not convince this cataloguer, because, while the letters are admittedly somewhat crude, they are still carefully engraved and appear consistently on at least five different reverse dies. This would indicate a well-planned and well-executed production, perhaps from a powerful local warlord named Arathiegos or, in Greek, Arathos.