The Beau Street Hoard features coins with all sorts of pictures on the back, including gods and goddesses, emperors and temples, and many different kinds of animals, both real and mythical. One of these mythical animals is the Hippocamp.
The Hippocamp is half-horse and half-fish, almost like an equine mermaid! The Roman god of the sea, Neptune, is often shown using Hippocampi to pull his chariot. We have a mosaic of a Hippocamp in the museum.
“Hippocamp” is actually a Greek word. “Hippo” means horse and “Kampos” means sea monster. We often translate it as “sea-horse”. The Etruscans (a pre-Roman civilisation in Italy) had lots of mythical animals that were half-fish, including aigikampoi (fish-tailed goats), leokampoi (fish-tailed lions), taurokampoi (fish-tailed bulls) and pardalokampoi (fish-tailed leopards).
Of course, of all the animals featured on the coins, our favourite is the Hippo! This is why the mascot for the Heritage Lottery Funded Beau Street Hoard Project is Beau the Hippo. So we decided to create our own version of a Hippo Camp.
As you can see, Beau and his friends, Phil and Gordo (named after Philip I and Gordian III, the most represented Emperors in the Hoard) are having a lovely time at the Hippo-Camp. This picture was drawn by our volunteer artist-extraordinaire. It looked like so much fun that even our stuffed animal Beau wanted a go!