Romano-British Empire, Allectus, Summer 293 - 296 A.D.

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Allectus was Carausius ' successor in the breakaway province of Britain. He came to power by murdering his predecessor but lacked the ability to keep his small province separate from the empire proper. He was defeated by Constantius I probably in 296 A.D.



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Burnett, A. "The Coinage of Allectus: Chronology and Interpretation" in BNJ 54 (1984), pp. 21 - 40. Available Online
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Mintmark sequences Allectus


Londinium (London, England)

S-P / ML (c. mid 293 - 294)

S-A / ML (c. 294 - 295)

S-P / MSL (c. 294 - 295)

QL (295 - 296)

Camulodunum (Colchester, England)

S - P / C (c. mid 293 - 295)

S - P / CL (295)

QC (295 - 296)


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ALLECTUS, one of the usurpers during the reigns of Diocletian and Maximian. His family, country and time of birth remain unknown. 

Following the fortunes of Carausius, he became his Praetorian Prefect, and took part in the administration of his government in Britain.

Although skilled in war, and held in repute by the soldiers, yet whatever good qualities he possessed were darkened by his avarice, and sullied by his ambition. Many were the acts of injustice which he is said to have committed, under the influence of these two-fold vices ; and fearing the resentment of Carausius, he came to the base and treacherous resolution of assassinating his benefactor and companion in arms.

Having perpetrated his foul crime, he employed his ill-gotten wealth in corrupting the legionaries as well as the sea forces. They declared him Imperator and Augustus, and he became the successor of Carausius, A.D. 293.

Constantius Chlorus being then in Gaul, resolved to terminate the usurpation of Allectus, he prepared a fleet, which he divided into two squadrons, on board one of which he embarked himself, giving the command of the other to his prefect Asclepiodotus. That commander made, in a skillful manner, his descent upon the British shores; and instantly marched against Allectus, who had prepared for this expedition against him from the commencement of his reign. A battle ensued, which ended in favor of Constantius ' general. The usurper was slain on the field  of battle, after having held the sovereignty of Britain during three years. It was in consequence of this victory, gained by his lieutenant, that Constantius was enabled to re-establish the supremacy of Imperial Rome in Britain, A.D. 296, ten years after the government of that island had been separated from it.

On his coins he is styled IMP. ( or IMP.C. ) ALLECTVS P. F. AVG., or only P. AVG. or ALLECTVS P.F. AVG or IMP. C. ALLECTVS P. F. I. AVG. where the I occurs, it is to be read Invictus

The gold and silver ( the latter generally of a very base quality ), are of the highest rarity. The brass ( small ) are also many of them rare. they bear a well-executed bust , giving Allectus the appearance of a man of 50 or thereabouts. The head on the gold is laureate; on the silver and brass, radiated.  Altogether the portrait is of marked character, and may be regarded as a good likeness of the man.

The annexed cut is executed from a remarkably well-preserved third brass, covered with dark brown patina, stated to have been found within the area of the roman camp at Caister (Venta Icenorum), near Norwich. (The coin is now in the possession of Mr. W. Bensley).
Obv. IMP. C. ALLECTVS P.F. AVG Radiate head of Allectus
REV. TEMPORVM FELICITAS. Felicitas standing with Caduceus and horn of plenty.
In the fields S. A. on the exergue M.S.L.
Eckhel observes that whilst the coins of Carausius have their merit on account of their various legends and types which they exhibit, the coins of Allectus recommend themselves, in no other respect, than for their greater rarity. The same illustrious teacher in numismatics, also speaks of the reverse as common and trite, enumerating such as Pax, Providentia, Oriens, Salus- but he could not have been aware of the numerous other varieties that exist, and which swell the catalogue in Mr. Akerman 's work, such as the Adventus Aug.- Aequitas Aug.- Comes Aug.- Dianae Reduci.- Felicitas Seculi.- Fides Militum.- Hilaritas.- Jovi Conservatori.- Moneta Aug.- Pietas Aug.- Romae Aeternae.- Spes Publica.- Temporum Felicitas.- Victoria Aug.  etc.
Referring to the valuable treatise " on the coins of the Romans relating to Britain " by the well-known and esteemed author above named, for an ampler monetal notice of Allectus, we shall take this occasion to quote one more new variety in the list of reverses on this usurper 's coins, discovered ( amongst others of Roman mintage ) at Lillyhorn, near oakridge commons, and communicated. through Mr. Roach Smith, F.S.A. to the British Archaeological Association, by Mr. T. Baker.  It reads .. ICTORI. GER.  Victoria Germanica.  In the exergue C.; in the fields, S.P. trophy and captives
" This reverse ( observes Mr. Smith ), although common on coins of the period, had not been previously noticed on those of Allectus. Doubts have been thrown on the historical importance of some of the coins of Carausius and Allectus from their close resemblance in type to those of the predecessors, of which it is therefore alleged, they are imitations. There are, however, many which certainly cannot be placed in this category, as they afford types both novel and appropriate." And Mr. Smith suggests that the coin now first published, may have been struck to record a victory gained by Allectus over some of the German or Saxon pirates, infesting the British coast.

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