Coins of the Romans Relating to Britain By John Y. Akerman

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Coins of the Romans Relating to Britain By John Y. Akerman. Part 2

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to events in Britain. On the first of these, Caracalla in a military dress, and Geta in the toga, stand, supporting between them a globe, while Victory holds a garland above their heads. A bound captive sits at their feet. Another coin has Victory driving a biga, with VICTORIAE AVGG.

Second brass:-


Obverse. P SEPTIMIVS GETA PIVSAVGBRlT. Publius Septimius Geta Pius Augustus Britannicus. Laureated hearded head of Geta to the right.

Reverse. VICTORIAE BEITTANNICAE. Victory seated on shields, holding a palm-branch and a shield, which she rests on her knees. Vignette en Title page.


Obverse. P SEPTIMIVSGETAPIVSAVG BRlT. Laureated and bearded head of Geta.

Reverse. VICT BRIT TR P III COS II.Victoriae Britannicae, Tribunitia Potestate tertium, Consul iterum. Victory inscribing a buckler attached to a palm-tree, her left foot resting on a helmet.

*This type would seem to allude to the milder duties of Geta in Britain, while his father and brother were absent on the northern expedition. An unique coin of Geta, in large brass, with the emperor on horseback, preceded by a soldier carrying a standard, legend, ADVENTVSA...., was purchased by Captain Smyth at the sale of Mr. Willatt's cabinet. This type evidently alludes to the return of Geta from Britain.


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Gold and silver:-

I. Obverse. PSEPTGETAPIVS AVG BRIT. Laureated head of Geta to the right.

    Reverse.VICTORIAFBRIT.Victoriae Britannicae. Victory standing to the left, holding in her right hand a garland, and in her left a palm-branch. Plate IV. No.7.

This type occurs in silver, and also in gold, if we may credit Mediobarba.


Obverse. PSEPTGETAPIVSAVGBRIT. Laureated head of Geta to the right.

Reverse. VICTQRIAEBRIT.Victory marching and hearing a trophy.


    Obverse. PSEPTGETAPIVSAVG BRIt Laureated head of Geta.

    Reverse. VICTORIAE' BRlT. Victory standing holding a branch and the hasta.


FROM the time of Geta and Caracalla down to the reign of Diocletianns, no Roman coins bear allusion to Britain; and it is very doubtful whether any were minted in the province. I except the


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numerous base denarii, cast in clay moulds made from coins of the time of Severus, which have been discovered at various times in England, and of which I have spoken elsewhere*. I have already endeavoured to shew, that it is extremely doubtful whether these cast coins were an authorised currency struck in times of emergency, or whether, as has been supposed by some, they are the work of Roman forgers (2).The numismatist will not require to be told, that the thickness of ancient coins did not admit of the modern test of ringing, and that great numbers of ancient plated coins are still in existence as evidence of the skill of Roman forgers. When, however, the authorised Roman denarii were debased, another plan appears to have been adopted by the forger, who then resorted to casting. A few years since, some extensive Roman remains were excavated at Castor, in Northamptonshire, (the Durobrivn of Antoninus), when, among other curious relics, many moulds and apparatus for casting coins were discovered. These remains have been engraved and described in a work published at the time of the discovery.

* The reader is referred to the article prefixed to my 'Descriptive Catalogue of Rare and Unedited Roman Coins,', for several particulars relative to this base money.

(2)These coins might have been cast by command of Severus, as rieces de necemfe', for the pay of his troops; yet flion Cassius expressly tells us that he acquired great wealth by his expedition in Britain.


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These implements shew the manner in which this casting was performed, and account for the strange reverses so often found on Coins of this period, which at one time sorely puzzled numismatists. It is not unusual to find a denarius of Julia Domna with the record of the tribunitian power on the reverse, which properly belongs to the reverse of Caracalla. The reason of these blunders may be thus explained. The moulds, being impressed on both sides, were often packed up to receive the fused metal without any order or arrangement, and a reverse of Caracalla or Severus might frequently be placed next to the head of Domna, and consequently produce one of those strange pieces, of which the erudite Frolich, in his 'Quatuor Tentamina,' has given us many examples.

It would appear, that, in the reign of Constantine, casting was sometimes resorted to as a cheap and expeditious method of mintage. I am led to this conclusion, from having seen at the British Museum a quantity of clay moulds, shaped exactly like those of the time of Severus. They bear the impress of the very common types of the Constantine family.


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A.D. 287 TO A.D. 293.

DOCTOR STUKELY, in his history of Carausius, says. that this usurper was a British prince and a native of Saint David's. But he has no authority for such a pedigree; and the Menapia in which Carausius was in all probability born, was a city of Batavia, not of Wales. Although the Roman historians differ in their accounts of his rank, they yet seem agreed as to the obscurity of his origin. One styles him a citizen of Menapia; another says he was of the meanest extraction; while a third describes him at once as a foundling; a sufficient proof that his birth was not noble, as Doctor Stukely would have us believe.

A digression on the utility of medallic studies would be out of place in a work like the present; but I cannot pass over in silence one circumstance relative to the coins of Carausius. His name is scarcely ever spelled rightly by historians, while on his coins we not only find the name by which he is commonly known, but also those of Marcus Aurelius, and Valerius. Genebrier has a list of the names which have been given to him by various writers; and it must be confessed that they are a ludicrous variety. They are as follow :- Caratius,


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Karentius, Carentius, Caurasius, Coravissius, Carassius, Carassus, and Crausius.Victor calls him Corausius; and Zonarns gives him the name of Crassus, and says he reigned but three years in Britain.

In the year 287, the Emperor Maximianus had just suppressed the revolt of the peasants in Gaul, when he received information of the usurpation of Caransius, who had sailed over to Britain with the Roman fleet, and assumed, with the purple, the title of Augustus. Carausius had long been celebrated as a skilful pilot and a valiant soldier; and his merit had obtained for him the command of the Roman fleet stationed at Boulogne to check the daring ravages of the German pirates. It is said that, not-withstanding the admiral's skill in naval affairs, he was unfitted for this important trust, and that he suffered the pirates to proceed upon their expeditions, and pounced upon them as they returned laden with spoil; a charge which is almost corroborated by the fact that he was possessed of great wealth at the time of his usurpation, with which he bribed the forces under his command. Arrived in Britain, he defied the vengeance of the emperors, and succeeded in ingratiating himself with the inhabitants, and the Roman troops stationed in the island. The wealth of Carausius was, it is said, reported to the emperors, who, judging, from that circumstance,


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that he was unworthy of the trust they had reposed in him, bad taken measures for his apprehension and punishment. The usurper received intelligence of his danger, and immediately made a bold and successful effort to save himself. A very remarkable and unique coin, formerly 'in the possession of the late Mr. Douce, seems to allude to this escape I It bore on the reverse, a female figure grasping in each hand a serpent, with the legend VITAVI (I have escaped!). I was anxious to obtain a drawing of this coin from that gentleman, who kindly communicated to me several unpublished types of Carausius; and was mortified to find that it had been either lost or mislaid. It is, however, accurately described in my catalogue, where I have ventured to give the following explanation of its very curious type.*

'This most extraordinary type is believed to be 'the only one Of the kind in the Roman series, 'and the coin itself is probably unique. The singularity of the device encourages an attempt at an 'explanation of its meaning. The female figure would appear to be the good genius of Carausius, 'and she grasps in each hand the enemies of her protege, the emperor DioCletian and his colleague,

*Mr. Douce, a few weeks before his death, informed me that he had made diligent search for this coin, hut without success, sud that it had probably been stolen, with other things, when he removed to his Tesidence in Gower Street.


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represented as serpents. May we not, therefore, suppose that this very curious coin was struck by 'Carausius. immediately upon his arrival in Britain, before the recognition of his title by the emperors? It seems to confirm the account of the 'historians, who inform us that the rebel admiral, previous to his carrying off the Roman fleet, had received intelligence of some meditated punishment from the emperors.'

'Time and chance' favoured the usurpation of Carausius: he arrived among the Britons, when their discontent had rendered them ripe for rebellion. Tacitus informs us, that in his time they groaned under the yoke of the Romans: they complained that instead of having one master, as formerly, they had then two; one was the governor, who exercised his cruelty upon their persons, and revelled in their blood; the other was the procurator, who seized upon and confiscated their property. They suffered from the same evils under Diocletianus and Maximianus, and therefore welcomed the arrival of Carausius. The fleet which the usurper had carried off from Boulogne, had deprived the emperors of the means of pursuit, and when, at length, after great labour and expense, a new armament was prepared, the imperial troops were an easy conquest to the experienced sailors of Carausius, on an element to which they were not


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accustomed. The rebel admiral was secure in his island retreat; and the emperors, finding that they could not punish their faithless servant, reluctantly accorded to him the title of Augustus. I say 'reluctantly,' for it is impossible that the assent of the emperors could be cordial, when it was wrinig from them by necessity. But there is another circumstance which amounts almost to a proof that the treaty was never formally ratified. Coins of Carausius with PAX AVGGG - LAETITIA AVGGGMONETA AVGGG - PROVID AVGGG and SALVS AVGGG (the three G's denoting three emperors), exist in considerable numbers, but those of Diocletianus and Maximianus, with the same indications, are of very unfrequent occurrence; a circumstance which ~ms to have escaped the notice of the discriminating and sagacious Eckhel. Now, the usurper would naturally publish the recognition of his title on his numerous coins; but we are without proof that the few coins of Diocletianus and Maximianus with AVGGG were issued by their command; on the contrary, there appear to be some grounds for supposing that they were minted by order of Carausius, for they bear in the exergue the same letters as are found on the Coins of that usurper, namely, MLXXI; and are, besides, so like in fabric to those of Carausius, that we are warranted in believing them to have been minted by his order.


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Carausius enjoyed his honours seven years, and, during that period, performed many acts which evinced his ability to rule, notwithstanding his defection from his masters. He defended the frontiers of his empire from the Caledonians, courted the friendship and alliance of the Franks, upon the confines of whose country he was born, and, in reward for their Services, instructed them in military and naval affairs. His fleets swept the seas, and, commanding the mouths of the Rhine and the Seine, ravaged the coasts, and rendered the name of the once obscure Menapian pilot as celebrated as those of the emperors. During this time, Carausius still kept possession of Boulogue; but, in the year 292, the adoption of the two Caesars, Constantius and Galerius, added strength to the Roman arms. Maximianus guarded the Rhine, and Constantius, taking command of the legions appointed for the British war, immediately laid seige to Boulogne, which, after an obstinate resistance, surrendered to the conqueror, who possessed himself of the naval stores of Carausius. Constantius then turned his arms against the Franks, and thus deprived the usurper of the assistance of that warlike people. Three years were consumed in the preparation of a fleet for the recovery of Britain; but ere it was launched, news arrived of the assassination of Carausius by his friend and prime minister, Allectus.


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The event was considered as a presage of victory to the Roman arms.

I have now to speak of the coins struck by Carausius during his reign in Britain. In my Descriptive Catalogue, I have enumerated five varieties in gold, fifty in silver, and upwards of two hundred and twenty in small brass, besides a medallion in silver, with the legend PAX AVG. The gold Coins of this usurper resemble those of Diocletianus and his colleague, being of a fine and bold, but peculiar, style of workmanship. The silver is of inferior fabric, and often of very base quality. Many of them have illegible legends, and probably were the work of ignorant moneyers, if not of forgers. Numbers of the small brass are also of very barbarous execution; but all of them bear a portrait which it is impossible to confound with any other in the Roman series.


Obverse. IMP CARAVSIVS P F AV. Imperater Ca-rausius Pius Felix Augustus.Laureated bust of Carausius to the right~ with the paluda mentum.

Reverse. EXPECTATEVENI. Await I I come! The emperor hare-headed~ holding the hasta, and joining hands with a female figure, who holds a trident: in the exergue, RSR


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This very rare coin, which is of silver and in unusually good condition, is in the splendid collection of Mr. Thomas. The same type also occurs in gold. It is difficult to assign an exact meaning to the letters RSR; but if conjecture be allowed, it seems highly probable that this coin was struck at Rutupia (Richborough in Kent). The type is singular and interesting, and seems to imply that Carausius had sounded the Britons before he ran off with the fleet from Boulogne. Genebrier, describing, probably, from an ill-preserved coin, takes the female figure for Felicity, and supposes the trident to be the long caduceus with which she is generally represented; but that it is a trident which she holds is quite evident, and that the figure is the genius of Britain will be acknowledged even by the unimaginative.

Another coin in silver in the choice collection of Mr. Brumell, of whose practised eye, and sound

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judgment I have often availed myself, is highly interesting.


obverse. IMP CARAVSIVS P F AV.Imperator Carausius Pius Felix Augustus. Laureated bust with the paludamentum to the left.

Reverse. ADVENTVS AVG emperor on horseback, his right hand elevated, his left holding the hasta: before, a captive seated on the ground. In the exergue, a thunderbolt.

Other coins with a similar type, have, in the place of the thunderbolt, the letters M L, which are generally supposed to signify Moneta Londinensis.

This is a common type on Roman coins. It celebrates the arrival of an emperor; and the coin here described, was doubtless struck upon Occasion of the usurper's landing in Britain, unless the seated captive be considered as implying a return from some victory on the northern frontiers of Britain. Be this as it may, the dress and attitude of Carausius denote that his advent is a friendly one. His right hand is raised and open, as if held out in amity and peace: ' Dextra vetat pugnas,' says Statius. A brass coin of this emperor has the legend ADVENTVS CARAVSI, with the type of the emperor on horseback.


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Obverse.IMP CARAVSIVS P F IN AVG. Imperator Carausius Pius Fehv Invictus Augustus. Bust of Carausius to the right with the spiked crown.

Reverse. MONET (A) AVGGG(Moneta Augustorum) Moneta standing with her attributes: in the field, S P; in the exergue, C. Plate V~No.3.

This rare coin of small brass is in the British Museum; it is remarkable on account of the title of Invietus. The title of Moneta was given to Juno, from monere, to admonish; the sacred geese kept in the temple of that goddess, having alarmed the Romans when the Gauls attempted to surprise the capitol by night. A temple was subsequently erected, in which the silver of the commonwealth was deposited, and this place was eventually used as the public mint.

Captain Smyth, in his excellent work on Roman medals, quaintly remarks, that 'gold has been worshipped through all ages without hypocrisy.' The respect which Carausius seems here to record for Moneta, must have been equally sincere, since it was to his wealth that he owed the success of his rebellion. The three G's on this coin denote the triple sovereignty. I leave it to the speculative to assign a meaning to the letters in the field and exergue, to decide whether the C stands for Camulodunum or Caerleon.


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    Obverse.CARAVSIVS P F AVG. Carausius Pius Felix Augustus. Laureated and armed bust of Carausius to the right.

    Reverse. CONSERVAT AVG (Conservator Augustorum) Jupiter standing, holding a thunderbolt in his right hand, sod the hasta in his left; at his feet an eagle: in the exergue M L (moneta Londinensis).

This coin is of gold, and in very fine preservation. It was bequeathed to the British Museum, by the late Mr. Cracherode, who bought it for �150. It is totally different in fabric to the silver and brass coins of Carausius; the relief is very bold, and the style of the portrait seems to have been closely copied from those of Diocletianus and Maximiaus.


    Obverse.CARAVSIVSP FAVG. Laureated and armed bust of Carausius.

    Reverse.CONSERVATORI AVGGG (Conservatori Augustorum): Hercules standing with his usual attributes: in the exergue, M L (Moneta Londinensis).

This coin, preserved in the Hunter collection, is also of gold, and of extreme rarity. Mionnet describes one with the addition of a quiver in the field. Hercules was the favourite deity of the emperor Maximianus, who assumed the surname of Hercules.


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Obverse.IMP CARAVSIVS P F AVG.Laureated head of Carausius to the right.

Reverse. LEG IIIIFL. Legio quarta Flavia. A Centaur walking to the left, holding, with both hands, a long club or pedum, which he rests on his shoulders in the exergue, C.

This coin is of silver, and in the collection of Mr. Brumell. The reverse shews that the fonith legion was attached to the usurper, who places their badge and name on his coins as an honourable distinction, as some of the Roman emperors had done before him*.The fourth legion., it would appear from this type, took, for their cognizance, that monster of heathen fable which the Greek epigrammatist describes a-

'A horse without head--a man without feet!'

*See the innumerable small brass of Gallienus, on which the badges of the various legions are displayed, and the coins of the earlier emperors, which boast of the fidelity of the Praetorian soldiers.


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and was Originally raised by Vespasian for Syria, as we learn from Dion Cassius, who says- (...)

A denarius of Septimius Severtus bears the legend LEG 1111 FL; The type above described occurs also in brass, and the services of other legions which accompanied Carausius, are recorded on his numerous coins,


Obverse. IMP C CARAVSIVSP F AVG.Bust of Carsualus to the right, with spiked crown and the paludamentum.

Reverse.GENIVS EXERCIT. Genias Exercitas. Genius standing to the left; in his right band a patera, on his left arm a cornucopia: in the field S P in the exergue, C.

This unique brass coin also shews that the usurper was anxious to testify his gratitude to the army which had enabled him to attain the sovereignty of Britain.


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AD. 298 TO A.D. 296.

ALLECTUS succeeded to a tottering throne, and his days were numbered. The shores of the continent were covered with troops, and Constantius had arranged them in such a manner that Allectus was left in doubt as to the place of his meditated landing. The usurper beheld the vast preparations with alarm and terror, but resolved to maintain, by force of arms, the power he had acquired by the basest treachery. The principal squadron, destined to make a descent upon the island, rendezvoused in the mouth of the Seine; and, under the command of the Praefect Asciepiodotus, set sail for Britain on a stormy day, and with a side wind, an adventure which the panegyrists of the time lauded as something new in the annals of Roman warfare. Fortune seemed to favour the expedition, which, under


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cover of a dense fog, eluded the fleet of Allectus, stationed off the Isle of Wight, and landed on the western coast. The praefect immediately burned his gallies; and, as the expedition was favored by fortune, he obtained great praise for this bold act. Aflectus had taken his station near London, in anticipation of the attack of Constantius who corn-mauded the fleet at Boulogne, when the news reached him of the landing of Asclepiodotus. The usurper, with rash impetuosity, hastened to meet the enemy. His troops, wearied by forced marches, encountered those of Asclepiodotus with every possible disadvantage. The result was fatal to Allectus; his army was defeated with great slaughter, and he himself perished in the conflict.

The coins of Allectus are of gold and silver, and brass, of the small size. They bear a well-executed bust with a marked character, which may be considered an accurate portrait of the usurper. The reverses are, for the most part, similar to those on the coins of Carausius. The most common is that with a galley filled with rowers, and the legends LAETITIA AVG, and VIRTVS AVG, the latter legend being most frequent. A ship was the favourite type for a state among the Romans, and Horace uses it in his ode 'Ad Rempublican.' The LAETITIA is an empty compliment to the self created emperor whose vessel soon foundered. When the VIRTVS


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accompanies this type, it would appear to denote that Allectus felt conscious of the advantage he possessed, in the fleet which guarded the shores of his island.


coin of allectus, adventus reverse

Obverse. IMP ALLECTVS P F AVG. Imperator Allectus Pius Felix Augustus.

Reverse. ADVENTVS AVG. Adventus Augusti. Allectus on horseback, his right hand raised, his left holding the hasta: before, a captive seated On the ground: in the exergue, S P C.

This coin, in the collection of the British Museum, is, perhaps, unique.

A gold coin of this usurper, in the cabinet of Mr. Brumell, is also unique. It was purchased by that gentleman at a public sale in London. This coin was, I believe, discovered at, or near, Reading, and came into the possession of a collector shortly after.


Obverse. IMP C ALLFCTVS P F* AVG. Imperater Caesar Allectus Pius Felix Augustus. Laureated head of Allectus to the right.

Reverse. PAX AVG. Pax Augusti. Peace standing to the right, her right hand holding aloft an olive

*This coin is figured in Plate II of my Descriptive Catalogue; hut the engraver has, by mistake, given P P for P F.


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branch, her left the hasta pors, transversely: in the exergue, M L (Moneta Londinensis).

Mr. Brumell possesses another coin in silver, which differs slightly from any that has been hitherto published. It has the same type and legend as the foregoing, but bears the letters S P in the field, and C in the exergue. I obtained, a short time since, a small brass coin of Allectus with this type and one of Marius, both of which were found in the Thames by the workmen employed in removing the foundation of old London Bridge.


A. D. 311, TO A. D. 337.

FROM the period of the defeat and death of Allectus, to the time of the first Constantine, no Roman coins appear to have been struck in Britain, if we except those of Maximianus, which have M L XXI in the exergue, letters and numerals, found on the coins of Carausius; but under Constantine, coins were minted with the letters P LON. in the exergue. These letters are by most antiquaries supposed to signify Pecunia Londinensis; and this conjecture is supported by the existence of many coins of Constantine and his sons, with


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letters and numerals indicating other places of mintage, such as Sirmium, Treves, Lugdunum, Arks, Siscia, Aquileia, Rome, and Alexandria, Many of them, supposed to have been struck at Lugdunum, have merely the letter L to indicate the place of mintage: they are found in immense numbers on the Continent; and on that account are not assigned to the London mint, while those with PLON are of rather unusual occurrence, and are, without doubt, the produce of the British Colony, being more frequently discovered in England, than in other countries once forming part of the Roman dominions. *It is somewhat singular that no gold or silver coins of Constantine and his sons bear the letters of the London mint. All the coins of these princes having P LOW in the exergue, are of small brass, and, as I believe, confined to particular types, which are here described.


Obverse. CONSTANTINVS AVG.Constantinus Augus-tus. Helmed bust of Constantinus with coat of mail.

Reverse. BEATA TRANQVILLITAS.(2) A quadrangular

*Jobert, desirous of giving these coins to Lugdunum (Lyons) reads the P LOW 'Percussa Lugduni in officina nona;' but Bimard assigns them to the London mint. 'Science des Medaities,' tom. ii. p.104. edh. 1739.

(2)This legend is very frequently blundered or contracted: thus - TRANQLITAS.- TRANQVILITAS, and sometimes RANQLITAS.


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altar supporting a globe, over which are three stars: on the front of the altar, VOTIS' XX: in the exergue, PLON.

This type is extremely common, with other letters, in the exergue.*These coins must have been minted in prodigious numbers in many parts of the empire, and were evidently issued in commemoration of that profound tranquillity which then reigned throughout the Roman dominions. Father Harduin has been ridiculed for seeing, in the three stars, a symbolic compliment to the three emperors; but it is certainly a more rational conjecture than many others in which that antiquary indulged. Pindar (2) tells us, that Tranquillity was the daughter of Justice, who caused towns to flourish and be-great; and Claudian, in his panegyric, calls

Antoninus Pius ' Tranquillum Pium,' and contrasts him with the war-loving Severus. Coins of the younger Constantine have the same reverse, with a galeated, laureated, or crowned bust on the obverse, as have also the coins of Crispus. (Plate V. No.6.)


Obverse.CONSTAWTINVSAVG. Laureated host of Constantinus.

*It should he mentioned that the coins of this period, in all the metals, very frequently have letters in the field, the signification of which is extremely doubtful.



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Reverse. SARMATIA - DEVICTA. Victory with a trophy in her right hand, and a palm-branch in her left, trampling on a captive seated on the ground before her: in the exergue, PLON and a crescent. Plate V. No.5.

This type is also of very frequent occurrence with other letters in the exergee. It commemorates the victory obtained by Constantine over the Sauromatas who dwelt near the PaIns Maeohs. The emperor having heard that these people had passed the Ister in boats, and pmaged his territories, immediately marched against them. The Sauromatas were led by their king, Rausimodus. Zosimus tells us that the barbarians attacked a town, the walls of which were topped with wood only, which they fired and then assaulted on all sides: but the besieged made a brave resistance; and in the height of the combat Constantine arrived, and victory decided in favour of the Roman army. Many were slain, and great numbers were made prisoners. Rausimodus saved the remainder of his army by flight, and, crossing the Ister, entered the Roman dominions: but the victor was at his heels; and again gave battle to him in a thick wood on the summit of a hill. The Romans were once more victorious, the king of the Sauromatas was left on the field, and great numbers of his followers were made captives.*

*Zosimus, lib. ii.


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Obverse. CONSTANTINVS P-F- AVG.Constantinus Pius Felix Augustus. Laureated bust of Constantinus with coat of mail.

Reverse. SOLI INVICTO- COMITI. The sun wearing the pallium, standing; his right hand elevated, his left holding a globe: in the exergue, M- LON (Moneta Londinensis).

The same type is extremely common with other letters in the exergue; and the first two of these three reverses, with the same letters in the exergue, occurs on the coins of Crispus and the younger Constantinus. The coin here described, must have been struck previously to the year of Rome 1064 (A. D. 311), when Constantine 'embraced Christianity*.'The deity on the reverse was a favourite one with his heathen predecessors.


Obverse. CONSTANTINVS' AVG. Constantinus Augustus. Helmed bust of Constantinus to the right.

* I trust to be forgiven for copying the words of the historian, in speaking of Constantine's abandonment of the gods of his forefathers. To suppose, however, that he 'embraced Christianity,' is an insult to its meek founder. He ascended the throne, reeking with the slaughter of friends whom his ambition had converted into enemies; and he quitted for ever the 'eternal city' after the murders of his wife and son, with the odious appellative of 'a second Nero. 'Great as were the abilities of Constantine, it required not the prejudice. of Zosimus to render his name hateful to humanity.


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Reverse. VIRTVS EXERCIT.Virtus Exercitum. Two captives, their hands bound behind their backs, seated on the ground; between them a labarum inscribed VOT 'XXin the exergue, P' LON. Plate V. No.3.


A. D. 307 TO A.D. 326.

THE coins of this empress, the daughter of Maximianus Hercules, and wife of Constantine the Great, are common in small brass, except those which bear the letters P LON in the exergue, which are of considerable rarity. The following coin is in the cabinet of Mr. Brumell.

Obverse. FLAV' MAX FAVSTA AVG. Ftaeia Maxima Fansta Augusta. Bust of the empress to the right.

Reverse. SALVS' REIPVBLICAE. Safety of the Republic. A woman standing holding a child on each arm: in the exergue, P LON.

This type, though doubtless intended as a compliment to the empress, is not of very easy interpretation. Do the two children represent the princes to whom Fausta had given birth, or are they typical of the Roman people? The numismatist will remember the coins of Julia Domna, on which she


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is styled 'Mater Senatus,' and 'Mater Castrorum, and the denarii of Plautilla which bear the proud boast 'Propago Imperi.'

Fausta was married to Constantine in the year 307, and by his order suffocated in a warm bath A. D. 326.Sorne assert that she was not guilty of the crime for which she suffered.


A.D. 317 TO A.D. 326.

THE coins of this prince, struck, as is generally supposed, in the London mint, are as follow:-


Obverse. FL IVLCRISPVSNOBCAES. Flavius Julius Crispus Nobilissimus Caesar. Laureated bust of Crispus with the paludamentum.

Reverse. PROVIDENTIA' CAESS. Providentia Ceasrum. The gate of a camp; above, a star: in the exergue, P LON (Pecunia Londinensis).

The same type is found on the coins of the younger Constantine.


Obverse. IVLCRISPVSNOB C. Julius Crispus Nobilissimus Cesar. Laureated head of Crispus.

Reverse.VOTX (Votis decem), within a garland, around which are the words CAESARVM NOSTRO RVM: in the exergue. P LON (Pecunia Londinensis), and a crescent.


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A.D. 317, TO A.D. 340.

THE coins of this prince resemble those of his father and brother; but many of them hear a portrait by no means resembling that of the elder Constantine. The reader will scarcely require to be reminded that this prince was the legitimate son of Constantine, by his wife Fausta, and that Crispus was also his son, but by a concubine named Minervina Crispus was put to death by command of his father, upon a charge of having attempted the chastity of the empress Fausta, who was subsequently detected in an amour with a slave. The portraits on the coins of this prince, are invariably like those of his father; but those of the younger Constantine have frequently a totally different character, a fact for which I am unable to account.

The types of the coins of this prince, with the initials of the London mint, resemble, in every respect, those of his brother Crispus, and need not therefore be described.

After this period, the minting of Roman coins appears to have been confined to the capital, and the various cities of the continent. I know of no Roman coin, subsequent to the reign of the younger Constantine, which has any indication of


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its having been struck in Britain; and it has been shewn that the Romans ceased to commemorate, on their coins, their deeds in this island after the reigns of Geta and Caracalla.Coins of the elder Constantine have reference to France and Germany; but none are known with any allusion to Britain.

Before concluding my remarks, I may advert to an opinion which has been strongly maintained by some antiquaries; namely, that many, if not all, of the Roman coins which bear records of victories obtained in Britain, were minted in the island. Nothing whatever can be advanced in support of such a conjecture. With the exception of the large brass of Britannicus (see p.11), none of the large and middle brass, which have been described, are of colonial fabric, but, on the contrary, bear, in execution, a strong resemblance to those which, we have every reason to believe, were minted at Rome: it is on this account, perhaps, that they furnish us with so little information respecting the habits and appearances of our savage ancestors. Spain, Italy, Egypt, and other provinces, are characterised on the Roman coins by their peculiar attributes; but those which relate to Britain, merely denote her insular situation, or that the sea washed her shores. On coins of Antoninus Pius, Parthia is distinguished by the quiver of arrows, Africa by


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the proboscis of the elephant; Cappadocia by mount Argeus; Spain, by her rabbit, &c.: but it would appear that the artists of the Roman mint took but little pains to obtain further information than that the shores of Britain were defended by rocks, and that the province was surrounded by the sea. Perhaps the senate considered that the representation of a naked and ill-armed barbarian, would convey but a mean idea of the power of the Roman arms, and therefore forbade a more characteristic representation of Britain.


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Page 74 (blank)


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Page 45.


THE following account, extracted from the fourteenth volume of the Archaeologia, is well deserving the attention of the Antiquary.

'Having noticed, in Camden's Britannia*, an account of some clay moulds for fabricating Roman coins, found about the beginning of the last century at Edington, in the county of Somerset, and understanding, from persons in the neighbourhood, that they still continue to be discovered there, I was induced, some time since, to go thither with a party of friends; and we were fortunate enough to be directed to a spot, where, in less than an hour's search, we picked up several hundred of them.

*Gough's Camden, vol. i. p.7l. A reference is made to Aubrey's MSS, but I searched for it to no purpose, amongst his papers preserved at the museum at Oxford; as his MSS, however, are not arranged, I may have overlooked it.


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'The field in which they were found, is a meadow that bears no marks of ever having been ploughed; which accounts for the moulds remaining so long undiscovered. It is situated at the north edge of Polden Hill, at about a quarter of a mile to the north of the village of Chilten. We were led to this particular spot, by a person who had some time before cut through a bed of them in digging a drain. They were lying promiscuously scattered over a space about four feet square, and from six inches to a foot below the surface of the ground.

'On carefully clearing away the earth which adhered to the moulds, we perceived that we had a much greater variety, as well as a larger number, than had been elsewhere discovered. Such moulds have been heretofore met with in small quantities at Ryton, in Shropshire*, and at Lingivel in Yorkshire (2), and great numbers of them at Lyons in France; but all these appear to have been of the Emperor Severus, Julia, his wife, or Antoninus, i.e. Caracalla, their son; whereas, in our collection, there are not only numerous impressions Of these, but also of Geta, Macrinus, Elagabalus, Alexander Severns, Maximinus, Maximus, Plautilla, Julia Paula, and Julia Mamiea; besides a very considerable number of reverses. Most of these moulds are in such perfect preservation, as to admit of good casts being made of them in sulphur, coloured with vermillion, some of which, together with a few of the moulds themselves, I now send for your satisfaction, and that of the Antiquarian

*Phil. Trans. Vol. xliv. page 557. (2)Phil. Trans. Vol. xxiv. page 2139.


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Society, if you should think this letter worth communicating.

'In the accounts that have been published respecting them, in England, there is very little more than the bare mention of their discovery, and of the use to which they were applied; but in the 'Histoire de l Academie des Inscriptions,'tom. iii.. P 218, there is a very well written paper on the subject, entitled, ' Observations sur 1' Usage de quelque Moules Antiques de Monnoies Romaines, decouverts a Lyons,' the principal part of which I insert in the note appended to this article, as being extremely curious in itself, and not accessible to every lover of antiquity: contenting myself, to avoid repetition, with briefly observing, that the object of the paper is to show, that these moulds were the instruments of illegal coiners, which supposition is rendered very probable by the argument there adduced, and is still farther confirmed by the following circumstances attending this last discovery of moulds at Edington.

'Though we have frequent instances, as in the moulds at Lyons, of a head on one side, and on the other a reverse, yet it often happens that there are reverses on both sides, and these entirely different from each other; which, as both impressions must have been made at the same instant, whilst the clay was moist, can only be accounted for on the supposition that the coins of several emperors were fabricated at one and the same time, and this, it is evident, could only take place in the hands of illegal coiners.

'The discovery of the wedge of base metal, found


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together with the moulds at Lyons, affords certainly a strong presumption that they were designed for the fabrication of base coins; but it is no more than a presumption: that such, however, was the use made of these which are in our possession, cannot well be doubted, since we not only found, as at Lyons, a lump of metal, but likewise in one instance, the very coin itself, lodged in its mould, and formed like the lump of a white metal resembling silver, but which, upon examination, proves to be principally tin.

'The nature of these moulds, and the unlawful purpose to which they were applied, being thus ascertained, it is natural to enquire whether we are likely to derive any useful knowledge from the great variety of figures and inscriptions found upon them? To this I am reluctantly obliged to answer, that, in my opinion, we are not. The reverses of coins have frequently been of the greatest service, by illustrating doubtful points of history, and even by bringing to light circumstances and events unknown to us before; but I do not see how the reverses on moulds ever can be made this use of; since it does not apply, with certainty, any given reverse to its proper front, unless it should happen that we are authorised by the coin itself; in which ease the additional testimony of the mould is not wanted. This consideration has deterred me from troubling you with the legends, or any particular description of the fronts and reverses. I cannot, however, help mentioning my hope that, though of great use in elucidating general history, these moulds, found at, and near Edington, in such vast


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quantities, and in such various places, may possibly hereafter contribute towards clearing up the ancient topography of that particular neighbourhood.'



'The substance of these moulds is a baked white clay. Their shape is flat and terminated by a circumference an inch in breadth. Their thickness is two lines* at the edges, and within this space it is diminished, on one or both sides of the mould, by the depth of the coin, the type of which is there impressed. We say on one or both sides of the mould, because the greater number have, on one side, the impression of a head, and on the other that of a reverse, while some of them are impressed on one side only. Each mould has a notch or indentation on one part of its edge, which reaches to the vacant space formed by the body of the impressed coin; and as the fiat shape and equality of the circumference of all the moulds adapts them for joining together in such a relative arrangement as to bring the types of heads opposite to those of the reverses, of which an impression is preserved, and in a position where all the notches meet each other, it is at once apparent, that the furrow made by these indentations serves as 5 jet or casting-hole to the group, or rouleau, formed by the junction of moulds, for casting the metal intended for the coins.

'An ingot of debased silver, found at the same time and place as these moulds, the green rust of which indicated the large proportion of copper intermixed with it, leaves no room to doubt that they had been used for casting silver rather than gold money. It appears from this description, and from the use the ancients made of these moulds, that their mode of making casts was very much like ours but what is peculiarly worthy of notice is the quality of earth they employed, which was so excellent, and so well prepared, that after 1400 years, their moulds are perfect enough to receive several castings.'

After producing many arguments to prove that the only

*The French line is about the tenth of on inch.


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legal method of coining among the Romans, was with the hammer, the author asks ;- 'What can we suppose these moulds to be, if they were not used by those forgers who superadded debasement of the' standard to counterfeit casting, by largely increasing the proportion of alloys as is evident from the quality of the ingot discovered at the same time, which coincides with the system of forgery alluded to in the Theodosian code, in the following terms: - 'Si quis nummum falsa fusione formaverit, universas ejus facultates fisco addici prrecipimus, ut in monetis tantum nostris cudendre pecunise studium frequentetur.-If any one shall fabricate coin by false casting, we command all his property to be given up to the treasury, in order that the business of coining money may be carried on only in our own mints.'

'Hence arises that remarkable difference of value which is often observed in many coins of the same reverse, of the same epoch, and under the same emperor. This way of counterfeiting money was more general than that of plating, from the time of Pliny, who remarks, that it was practised with such dexterity, that it was so difficult to distinguish a piece of money which had been coined from one cast in sand by a skilful forger, that this knowledge had become a particular art, and that some of these pieces were so well fabricated, that the curious often gave many good coins to get possession of a false one. The decline of the art of engraving, which, under Septimius Severus, was already very considerable, and the alteration which he had introduced in the standard of money, were more and more favourable to forgers and false comers, by rendering their deceptions more easy; so that the number of the moulds which have been discovered at Lyons, at different periods, leads us to think that these false comers must have existed in great numbers. Indeed, at length they became so numerous, even in the cities where there were prefects of the mint, and among the officers and workmen employed therein, that they were able to form, at Rome, under the Emperor Aurelius, a little army, who, for fear of the punishment with which they were threatened, revolted against him, and killed, at the first onset 7000 of the regular troops.'


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A FRIEND observes, that I might have ventured on a few remarks on the coins of Clodins Albinus, which bear tire title of Caesar, and which he is of opinion were minted in Britain. I, however, think otherwise, and that the coins of Albinus were struck at Rome and forwarded to the province. My reason for this conjecture is, that those pieces which bear the title of Augustus (which, it appears, was not assumed until after the open rupture with Severus), are of a fabric entirely different from those on which he is styled Caersar, are of extremely barbarous execution, and vary considerably in weight; circumstances which seem to shew that Albinus had not the means of good coinage within his reach. Within these few years past, deposits of coins of Albinus, with the title of Augustus, have been discovered in France, in which country they were, in all probability, minted, previous to the fatal battle with his rival, Severus; and these partake of that rude character to which I have alluded. Not-withstanding these facts, we cannot be certain that dies for the coins of Albinus were not forwarded to Britain, and used in mints established here. Page 20.

THE sale of Mr. Edgar's coins, to which allusion is made in page 20, was, I am informed, sui generis; several gentlemen having resolved that the collection should bring the highest possible sum; and the prices of many of the coins were consequently doubled by competition. I mention this, in order to shew that quotations of the prices of coins, sold at public sales, can seldom guide either the seller or purchaser.


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Page 41.ON a silver coin of Caracalla, in the cabinet of Mr. Brunell, Victory, instead of a standard, holds a trophy in both hands: in other respects the type resembles that described at page 40.

Page 56.

IN the time of Carausius, the city styled Caerleon was known only as 1sea Silurum; the C in the exergue must therefore refer to some other place (if it denotes a place of mintage). A friend conjectures that it may be Camulodanum.

Page 57.

THE gold coin of Carausius in the British Museum was purchased of Mr. Thane for �120, not �150.


THIS coin, though unique, differs but little from that described in Lord Oxford's sale catalogue. The figure of Peace is there given as holding the hasta, not transversely, but erect: the legend and type are, in every other respect, the same as that described at page 57. A marginal manuscript note in the catalogue, states that it was purchased by Martin Folkes for the Earl of Pembroke, for 63/ 10s.; but in the catalogue of that nobleman's collection, published in 1746, it is not described, although purchased for him four years previously. Was it subsequently discovered to be a cast from the common brass coin of Allectus with that type?

Banduri (Numismata Imperatorum Romanorum, tom. ii. p.19 gives, from Foucault, a coin of Diocletian, in second brass, bearing the very common type -Genius standing, holding a patera over an altar, with the legend GENIO POPVLI ROMANI, but with the letters LON in the exergue. The learning and research of that most laborious writer, are beyond all praise; but unfortunately be has fallen into an error not uncommon among writers of his day, namely, that of sometimes giving false or unauthenticated coins; and such may be the case with regard to the example here quoted: never the less, I have thought proper to notice it, as there is nothing but its being absent in the English cabinets I have looked over, to warrant its being pronounced doubtful. It may be that some ingenious forger had taken this very common type of Diocletian, and substituted LON for other letters frequently found on the exergue of the coins of that emperor.

It is singular, that we have no coins of Constantins Chlorus with PLON although he resided in England for some time, and died at Eboracum (York).*This fact seems to throw some doubt on the coin of Diocletian given by Banduri.

*While this sheet was in the press, accounts appeared in the provincial journals, of the discovery of Roman remains at York. Sepulchral tablets, inscriptions recording the names of the Roman legions, and numerous coins have been the result of recent excavations; and yet we seldom or ever obtain an intelligible account of the last mentioned relics, although they may, in many instances, assist in establishing the date of the inscriptions found with them. Our provincial antiquaries are delighted if they meet with a few fragments of a broken tablet, of the letters of which


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The same author (tom. ii. p 113) also quotes small brass coins Helena, the wife of Constantius Chlorus, and mother of Constantine the great, with the letters P LON in the exergue. The type, which is very common with other letters the exergue, is thus described by Banduri.

Obverse. FLHELENA AVGSTA. flavia Helena Augusta. Bust of the empress, with a diadem, to the right.

Reverse. SECVRITAS REPVBLICAE. A female figure clad in the stola and peplum standing, holding in her right hand a branch: in the exergue P LON.

they hasten to give an interpretation, while the coins, with their legends and device's entire, are slightly noticed, or are so unintelligibly described, as to be of no service who are engaged in the study of our antiquities.


Coins of the Romans Relating to Britain, Plates I - VI

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