Why France Has A Rooster On Its Coins

Why France Has A Rooster On Its CoinsThe unofficial national symbol of France is the Gallic Rooster. The origin of this symbol can be traced until antiquity, when the region was named by the Romans Gaul (in Latin Gallia). Caesar, in 58-52 BC, conquered all Gaul and made it a Roman province, divided in 3 but still Gaul.

The Romans also had a word, galus, that was used to describe a rooster. Since it sounded the same, every one thought that Gaul (pronounced with ‘a’ not ‘o’) came from galus.

In the 6th century AD, a Germanic population named the francs came and conquered the Roman province. They were the elite of the new nation and they borrowed their name to the placed that they ruled. But the Rooster was still a symbol of this country.

In the XVI century, more people associated this name with ancient Gaul. And it became an unofficial symbol. The French Revolution associated this symbol with the ancient gauls, the people, while the francs were considered the noblemen. The rooster was from now on the official symbol of the Republic of France with the feminine personification of Marianne.

The rooster was considered, in 1898 during the 3rd republic, to be the appropriate one for the new gold coin of 20 francs. It was designed by Jules-Clément Chaplain in 1898 in rare trial strikes and issued in 1899. It replaced “The Angel” and it was produced until 1914, with the edge DIEU PROTÉGÉ LA FRANCE or LIBERTE EGALITE FRATERNITE.

The Angel French Coin

It was also used for the 10 franc coin. The Rooster coin was one of the most popular in the whole of Europe. The French franc at that time was the most important currency in Europe. The production of these coins stopped in 1914, when the First World War started.

The population was asked to give the gold coins for the war effort and in one of the most popular propaganda poster: a rooster from a gold coin starts moving and attacks a German soldier, panicked.

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