ANCIENT COINS, Claudius (41-54), Aureus, Rome, 46-7, laureate bust right, ti clavd caesar avg p m tr p vi imp xi, rev. de britann on architrave of triumphal arch, surmounted by equestrian statue, 7.83g (Calicó 349; RIC 33; C 17; Sear 1830; S 633). About very fine, rare
Sold for £6,500
Provenance: C. Anthony Collection; G.R. Blake Collection [from Seaby 1948]; SCMB July 1964 (AG 1584); A.L. Wade Collection, Glendining Auction, 27-8 October 1971, lot 544
Dix Noon Webb auction tomorrow 21st February 2018 features a powerful Lion on a denarius of Carausius.
Carausius, Denarius, London, c. 289-90, laureate, draped and cuirassed bust right, imp caravsivs pi avg, rev. virtvs saec c, radiate lion left with thunderbolt in mouth, rsr in exergue, 3.66g (Shiel –; RSC –; cf. RIC 591; Sear –). Of fine style and workmanship, extremely fine and extremely rare, an exceptional specimen £7,000-9,000
Although in direct revolt against the Emperor Diocletian in Rome, Carausius went to extraordinary lengths to legitimise the foundation of his break-away empire in Britain and portray it as a new Golden Age. Just as Augustus had done in 17BC, he represented his new power as the fulfilment of a prophecy and the longed-for re-establishment of peace. The Secular Games were celebrated as part of this cyclical rebirth at intervals of 100 or 110 years from Augustus’ date or from the foundation of the city of Rome in 753BC. Thus Claudius celebrated them in 47, Domitian in 88, Septimius Severus in 204 and Philip II in 248. The defeat of Maximian’s fleet around 289 strengthened Carausius’ position in Britain and could be seen as heralding a new age of tranquility and an appropriate moment to celebrate the Secular Games. The striking of an antoninianus (RIC 393) of similar design to those issued by previous emperors dates Carausius’ Games to his fourth Consulship, 289-90.
The design of a lion with a thunderbolt in its mouth may refer to a passage in the Thirteenth Sybilline Oracle“Then shall a dread and fearful lion come, sent from the sun, and bearing forth much flame”
[see Graham Barker: ‘The Coinage of Carausius: Developing the Golden Age Ideology through the Saecular Games’, NC 2015, pp.161-170]
A silver siliqua of “Claudius Constantine II, King of the Britons“(1), minted in Lugdunum. He is more commonly known as Constantine III, 407-411, who, declared emperor by troops in Britain in the traditional manner, took most of the remaining legions to Gaul “to attempt its rescue from the barbarians”(2). Again, taking the legions to Gaul was traditional for Emperors declared in Britain. They always felt that they must rescue Gaul too.
But in Gaul, despite achieving recognition and co-Emperorship from Honorius, Constantine III was unsuccessful and the Saxons invaded both Gaul and Britain in 409. With Irish raiders still threatening in the west and under Saxon onslaught from the sea, the Britons disavowed Constantine III, deposed his officials and instigated “fresh troop enrolled to replace those who had gone to Gaul, and military operations undertaken with vigour against the invaders.” (3)
Zozimus, based on the contemporary historian Olympiodorus, says the “Britons fought gallantly and freed their cities from the barbarians” (4). In 410 a despatch from the Emperor Honorius arrived authorizing the Britons to take measures for their own defence. (5). Britain was still a Roman province.
Meanwhile Constantine III’s position disintegrated. He was ,defeated in Italy, betrayed by Gerontius (his general in Spain), defeated again and besieged in Arles. He ended a prisoner of Honorius’ Pannonian soldier-general Constantius, the future co-Emperor Constantius III, who had him beheaded on the way to Ravenna in 411.
Constantine III, 407-411,
AR Siliqua, 15.5mm, 1.3g, Lugdunum, 408-411; obverse: D N CONSTANTINVS P F AVG, pearl-diademed, draped and cuirassed bust right / reverse: VICTORI A AAVGGG, Roma seated left on cuirass holding Victory on globe and inverted spear, SMLD in exergue; RIC X 1531, RSC 4B, small flan.
Edward Foorde, The Last Age of Roman Britain, 1925.
Geoffrey of Monmouth, Historia Regum Britanniae (The history of the kings of Britain), c. 1136.
The East Harptree Hoard was found in 1887 by a labourer searching in the Mendip hills for a new spring for the village .
He uncovered some sort of pewter jar. It contained 1,496 silver coins, five ingots of silver and a ring set with an intaglio. The coins covered the period between the reigns of Constantine the Great and Gratian – from 306 until 383.
The hoard was probably deposited around 375 – as the western Roman world destabilized and the process of Roman withdrawal from Britain had begun.
There were 718 silver coins from Julian II. This is one of them.
=============================================== Julian II, 360-363;
AR Siliqua, 18mm, 2.00 g, 12h, Lugdunum mint, 360-361; obverse: FL CL IVLIA NVS P P AVG, pearl and rosette-diademed, draped, and cuirassed bust right / reverse: VICTORIA DD NN AVG, Victory advancing left, holding wreath and palm frond, LVG in exergue;
RIC VIII 213, Lyon 259, RSC 58†d; crack at 12h, from the East Harptree Hoard.