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The enigma of benkota, the Celtic decades and the coinage of the Ebro Valley

Blanca María Prósper


Pages 1 - 30

DOI https://doi.org/10.13173/SPR.50.1.001




The improperly called “Vasconian mints” are a group of indigenous coins held to come from the north of the Ebro valley. Most of them are of unknown origin, containing place names usually not attested in literary or epigraphical sources, some of which are demonstrably Celtic and show Celtic inflectional endings. They are far from homogeneous, but some of them have additional features in common, like a mark on. Two of them, those of Baskunez and Bentian, show an especially interesting trait: The front side shows a word benkota, traditionally held to be a place name. This makes little sense, however, and I claim this word can be read as /penkonta/, a northern Hispano- Celtic word for ‘fifty’ from PIE *penke-dkomt-2, expressing the local ratio of the indigenous bronze as to the silver denarius.



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