Wolf-headed Axe and Horned Helmet

 

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One of the delights of Caesar’s early Civil war coinage (RRC 452) is the attention that is given to the military attributes.  Often the axe is off flan on the silver or worn away so as to obscure the wolf (or dog) head terminus (it is easier to see on the gold; cf. also 532/1).  Also notice the Gallic helmet is imagined with double horns.   Crawford does not both to mention either feature.  I’m worried a little about this axe.  Compare it to the axe on the reverse of Caesar’s famous elephant coin.

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The theme of this reverse is clearly priestly implements, but I can’t find a single other non-Caesarean priestly axe with an animal terminus.  They might exist (I didn’t waste that much time on this!), but they certainly aren’t common.  (Cf. priestly implements on architectural relief, numismatic examples).  So is the wolf headed axe specifically Caesarean?  Or Gallic? Or both?  Did Caesar make his own axe as high priest a trophy of his Gallic victories?  Now that’s a highly speculative claim.  OR, is the axe next to the trophy actually more like the wreath on this other Cesarean coin:

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There is a strong contrast between the attributes of the trophies on this series.   It is hard not to imagine that a different victory is not here being celebrated.  Is that a Macedonian shield?

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