Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Alegandron, Jul 14, 2020.

  1. Alegandron

    Alegandron "ΤΩΙ ΚΡΑΤΙΣΤΩΙ..." ΜΕΓΑΣ ΑΛΕΞΑΝΔΡΟΣ, June 323 BCE Supporter

    Help me understand a term: Celator.

    It is defined as “conceals, hides” in Latin.

    Why do we insist to use an incorrect term in numismatics?

    I have looked on several other coin sites, checked translators, but Celator has only been defined as conceals, hides.

    I have been in manufacturing for over 40 years. I have had machine tool dies as well as hand dies made. Some dies were under the size of a coin, some were quite large, having to use an over 2,500-ton press.

    Everyone who made the dies (very skilled hand process), were all called DIE-CUTTERS. (It did not matter what country, the person was called a die-cutter.)

    So, please help me... what is a Celator? What is the basis this term is used in numismatics?
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  3. Ocatarinetabellatchitchix

    Ocatarinetabellatchitchix Supporter! Supporter

  4. Spaniard

    Spaniard Well-Known Member

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  5. Ryro

    Ryro You'll never be lovelier than you are now... Supporter

    Great question my man!
    And great article @Ocatarinetabellatchitchix !
    So essentially, only very specific and highly skilled Greek craftsmen from the late archaic to early classic period MIGHT even deserve the title, "Celator"... and here I am like a sucker, for years, thinking its any die engraver:facepalm::eggface: thanks to my affinity for a super fun magazine that had amazing knowledgeable contributers... and this is the first I'm hearing of it:punch::sour:awkward:yawn:
    Anyway, here's my only coin that might've had its die cut by a "celator" ,(though the date range seemed ambiguous Kimon was mentioned... not that this was him:happy:):
  6. Alwin

    Alwin Supporter! Supporter

    Latin celtis = engraver chisel
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2020
  7. David Atherton

    David Atherton Flavian Fanatic

    I always thought celator should only apply to those working in jewellery and it's more accurate to call those working in coin 'engravers'.

    *Edit* Curtis Clay defined it more accurately in the above Forvm link.
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2020
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  8. Alegandron

    Alegandron "ΤΩΙ ΚΡΑΤΙΣΤΩΙ..." ΜΕΓΑΣ ΑΛΕΞΑΝΔΡΟΣ, June 323 BCE Supporter

    Yes, I had read that also, several years ago.

    Celator is incorrect, just a made up whim.

    Ok: Die cutter / Die engraver.

    Thank you!
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  9. Clavdivs

    Clavdivs Supporter! Supporter

    Curious question - with your background in manufacturing what then is the difference between a Die Cutter and a Die Maker?

    My understanding (with not near your experience) has always been that a Die Maker "makes/creates" the dies (as in the "Tool and Die Maker" trade).. while the cutter would USE the dies (or jigs) within the manufacturing process to cut out shapes or join or otherwise manipulate material. Again.. open to correction on this.
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2020
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  10. Al Kowsky

    Al Kowsky Supporter! Supporter

  11. Sulla80

    Sulla80 one coin at a time Supporter

    I think the magazine was just missing a letter:

    , ōris, m. caelo: an artisan in basso-relievo, a carver, engraver
    - Charlton T. Lewis, Charles Short, A Latin Dictionary, 1879

    "Neque enim scientia desiderat instrumentum, quae potest esse consummata, etiamsi nihil faciat, sed ille artifex, ut caelator caelum et pictor penicilla."

    "Knowledge needs no instruments, for it may be complete although it produces nothing, but the artist must have them. The engraver cannot work without his chisel nor the painter without his brush."
    -Quintilian, Institutio Oratoria 2.24
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  12. Alegandron

    Alegandron "ΤΩΙ ΚΡΑΤΙΣΤΩΙ..." ΜΕΓΑΣ ΑΛΕΞΑΝΔΡΟΣ, June 323 BCE Supporter

    Great question, die-maker / cutter is interchangeable. We used cutter as, in many cases, the dies were physically cut by the die maker. If you cut them in the US or Europe, a die maker / cutter works 8 hr shifts, and will only work on that one die. In China, they will assign 8hr shifts with 3 cutters over a 24 hour period. So, many times I would get dies, that were normally 90-120 days to cut, polish, and finish in Europe or USA; to 30-40 days from China. This was for injection molding.

    Stamping dies were similar, but that process was shorter.

    I called a Tooling Maker the company that offered making dies / tooling to my specifications. Sometimes the person cutting the dies were called makers, also.

    So, to answer further: we called the person actually running the stamping or injection mold machines a Press Operator. They actually performed actions to cause the tooling to stamp / press / cut / mold, etc. from the Stamping or Press Machine. It had to be a two handed switch operation, so that we KNEW their hands were no where near the tooling during operation. I have seen many a factory not adhering to this process, and you would have people lose hands, fingers, and other body parts. Even loss of “private parts”. Most factories employ these safeties, but I had been in many 3rd world areas, back many years ago, when safeties were not put in place or were ignored for costing reasons.

    My factories manufactured injection molding, drop forging, stamping, blanking, pour casting, grinding, hand-assembly, wrapping, and many other processes for steel and plastic making. I was also involved in wood products manufacturing, blow film, knitting fabrics, and many other process manufacturing.

    I enjoyed making things, but I also enjoyed creating things, based upon responding to needs and wants of our end-users. I have been fortunate to have been in approx 500 or so factories worldwide over the years. Run several of them myself.
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2020
  13. Clavdivs

    Clavdivs Supporter! Supporter

    Thank you for the clarification.
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  14. Alegandron

    Alegandron "ΤΩΙ ΚΡΑΤΙΣΤΩΙ..." ΜΕΓΑΣ ΑΛΕΞΑΝΔΡΟΣ, June 323 BCE Supporter

    I am no expert. It was pretty much the vernacular used in the industries that I worked in.
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  15. TIF

    TIF Well that didn't last long :D Supporter

    It irks me too :D. I tend to say "engraver" or "die engraver" instead of the baffling term "celator". Die cutter is okay as well.
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  16. Alegandron

    Alegandron "ΤΩΙ ΚΡΑΤΙΣΤΩΙ..." ΜΕΓΑΣ ΑΛΕΞΑΝΔΡΟΣ, June 323 BCE Supporter

    “Engraver” works on such small die cutting as coins. Lol, it would be hard to call it “engraving” on some of the large dies / tooling that we employed. :)
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2020
  17. DonnaML

    DonnaML Supporter! Supporter

    Coincidentally, I mentioned in the Fonteius/galley thread a couple of days ago that back in 1990, John Melville Jones's Dictionary of Ancient Roman Coins had already objected to the use of the term "caelator" or "celator" for coin die engravers. See p. 43:

    This is the entry for "Scalptor," at p. 281:

    Jones doesn't identify the person or persons who had misused the term celator, so I don't know if he was referring to Sayles (whose publication began three years before Jones published his book) and/or others. In a Google Books search with results ordered by date, I found nothing from before 1987 using celator or caelator to refer to engravers of ancient coin dies. Instead, the term caelator seems to have been used to refer to, e.g., ancient engravers of inscriptions on bronze and copper plates, and to casters of inscribed bronze stamps (signacula) (see The Oxford Handbook of Roman Epigraphy p. 113 (2015)) (https://www.google.com/books/edition/The_Oxford_Handbook_of_Roman_Epigraphy/Z2bDBAAAQBAJ?hl=en&gbpv=1&dq="caelator"&pg=PA113&printsec=frontcover), as well as to engravers of silver, gold, and other precious metals. I noted citations to Cicero, Quintilian, and Pliny the Elder for such uses of the term.
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2020
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