Tag Archives: Roman

Some Roman coins of the usurper Allectus

Some Roman coins of the usurper Allectus

Flatbed scanning and image manipulation technology have come a long way since 1997 when I first made Coins of the Romans Relating to Britain By John Y. Akerman, 1836, available for free on the internet! (See some of my earlier and more primitive scanning attempts here) So I have been revisiting this classic work to provide better quality images of the interesting woodcuts of roman coins contained in this book:

Roman coin - Allectus Adventus
Woodcut of a roman coin of Allectus (293-296AD)

Above: 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.

A very unusual coin, for Allectus at least, this particlar reverse is very similar to the now famous denarius of Carausius from the Frome Hoard, found by metal detectorist Dave Crisp. Roman Coins and Their Values, 4th revised edition, doesn’t list this particular coin, could it be a forgery inspired by the Carausius denarius, or just a very rare issue of Allectus?

Roman coin of Allectus, Galley type
Woodcut of a roman coin of Allectus (293-296AD)

Above: The classic coin of Allectus, the Galley reverse. RCV lists three different ‘Galley’ types.

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

Mystery metal detecting finds – Roman dodecahedron

Mystery metal detecting finds – Roman dodecahedron

Roman dodecahedron - mystery metal detecting finds
Photograph of a Roman dodecahedron from Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Schwarzenacker_Pentagondodekaeder1.jpg

Ever found one of these? Roman dodecahedra are believed to date from the second and third century AD, and range from 4 to 11cm in size. There are many theories about what they may have been used for, but I believe they were used as portable personal altars, possibly to a water god or spirit, others have said that they may have been used as candle holders as some of known examples were found with wax on them. They are certainly one of the more strange items that you might uncover whilst metal detecting.

Roman dodecahedra are objects that may not be immediately recognizable to a lot of metal detectorists, and I have often wondered how many more of them might be out there! If you have ever found one, leave a comment or drop me an email.

Roman dodecahedron - mystery metal detecting finds
Photograph of a Roman dodecahedron from wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Roman_dodecahedron.jpg

Other links:

Metal Detecting UK

Roman Silver Leda mirror from the Boscoreale treasure

Roman Silver Leda mirror from the Boscoreale treasure

Roman first century silver Leda mirror from the Boscoreale treasure, photo courtesy of the Louvre.
Roman first century silver Leda mirror from the Boscoreale treasure, photo courtesy of the Louvre.

Another superb piece of roman silversmithing – the Leda and the Swan mirror from the Boscoreale treasure. This piece dates from the first century AD and was found in the remains of the Boscoreale Villa, a high status dwelling just outside Pompeii, that was destroyed in 79AD by the eruption of mount Vesuvius.

Rare Carausius ‘Clasped Hands’ Denarius being offered by Dix, Noonan and Webb

Rare Carausius ‘Clasped Hands’ Denarius being offered by Dix, Noonan and Webb

Dix, Noonan and Webb are offering a very rare Carausius ‘Clasped Hands’ Denarius in their December 9th coin auction:

Carausius, Argenteus, London, laureate, draped and cuirassed bust right, rev. clasped hands, 4.19g/6h (cf. RIC 549; cf. Shiel 14-20). Very fine and very rare £600-800

There was a near perfect example of this coin found amongst the 52,503 coins of the Frome Hoard, found by Dave Crisp. See The Frome Hoard Book, by Sam Moorhead, Anna Booth and Roger Bland, page 28 for more information about this very unusual coin and an interesting theory about the meaning of the letters ‘RSR’ beneath the clasped hands from Guy de la Bedoyere. Although, John Y. Akerman writing in Coins of the Romans Relating to Britain, 1836, says “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).”

Wish I had the money for this one!

Metal Detecting UK

Silver cup with Athena seated from the Hildesheim Treasure

Probably the finest known example of the Roman silversmith’s art:

Silver cup with Athena seated from the Hildesheim Treasure. Photograph by Andreas Praefcke from Wikipedia
Silver cup with Athena seated from the Hildesheim Treasure. Photograph by Andreas Praefcke from Wikipedia

Silver cup with Athena seated from the Hildesheim treasure, discovered on October 17, 1868 on Galgenberg Hill in Hildesheim, Germany. Dating from the first century AD, this cup may have been owned and used by the commander of the lost Varus legions.

Treasure stuff from Dio Cassius – Roman Gold Rings

“As the Boii and the rest of the Gauls were continually offering for sale many articles and an especially large number of captives, the Romans became afraid that they might some day use the money against them, and accordingly forbade everybody to give to a Gaul either silver or gold coin.”

“The matter of the gold rings is as follows. Of the ancient Romans no one,—not to mention such as had once been slaves,—who had grown up as a free citizen even, was allowed to wear gold rings, save senators and knights,—as has been stated. Therefore they are given to those freedmen whom the man in power may select; although they may use gold in other ways, this is still an additional honor and distinguishes them as superior, or as capable, through having been freed, of becoming knights.”

“In this way Dacia became subject to Rome and Trajan founded cities there. The treasures of Decebalus were also discovered, though hidden beneath the Sargetia river, which ran past his palace. He had made some captives divert the course of the river and had then excavated its bed. There he had placed a large amount of silver and of gold and other objects of great value, that could endure some moisture, had heaped stones over them and piled on earth. After that he had let the river flow over them. The same captives were compelled to deposit his robes and other similar objects in neighboring caves; and when he had effected this, he made away with them to prevent their talking. But Bicilis, a comrade of his, who knew what had been done, was seized and gave this information.”

From the books of Dio Cassius on Project Gutenberg.

Frome Hoard Fundraising – The 1st of February 2011 deadline draws closer

Somerset Museum in Taunton has until February 1, 2011 to raise the £320,250 purchase price of the Frome Hoard. On top of the purchase price, money also needs to be raised to cover the ongoing costs of conserving the 52,503 third century Roman coins, discovered by metal detectorist Dave Crisp. You can donate to the Frome Hoard campaign fund online via the Art Fund web site. Not only has the Art Fund already donated £40,250 to the Frome Hoard campaign fund, but they will match, pound for pound, donations by members of the public up to a total value of £10,000.

Another way of supporting the campaign to keep the Frome Hoard in Somerset is to buy the Frome Hoard book: The Frome Hoard by Sam Moorhead, Anna Booth and Roger Bland on Amazon.co.uk, a snip at £4.49 delivered. 50p from every sale of the Frome Hoard book goes towards the campaign fund and the cost of conserving the coins. Worth every penny of the cover price for the stunning photographs of the coins of Carausius alone!

Crosby Garrett Roman Helmet Appeal – 24 Hours to Go!

Yep, I’m starting to sound like a broken record right? Donate online to the Crosby Garrett Roman Helmet Appeal or get in touch with Tullie House Museum and Art Gallery here.

The totals on the JustGiving web site stand at £8,051.22 donated online, plus £2,045.22 Gift Aid plus supplement. So we are about £410 up on yesterday. Right now, unless Tullie House Museum have received some big offline donations, things don’t look so good.