Bob Van Arsdell submitted these notes on the meaning of coin images inspired by the item about goats on ancient coins. Thank you! Lots to think about.
I enjoyed the overview of goats on ancient coins - surprised how many there are. The idea they're a fertility symbol, and thus carry an appropriate message for coins is certainly plausible.
The goat also appears on an ancient British coin, copied from an image on a Roman denarius. One must begin to suspect the goat might not mean the same thing in different cultures over such a long period of time.
I wrote how semiotic analysis can unravel the story in these kinds of situations. Here's the link:
My most recent article in the series explores further how to winnow out the meaning of coin images in complicated situations:
For much of numismatic writing, the meaning of ancient coin images has been studied at the Art 101 level of understanding: typology, chronology, and sources of inspiration. Semiotic Theory gives us a tool to move well beyond this.
To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:
GOATS ON ANCIENT COINS
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