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403. Carausius37 viewsMarcus Aurelius Mausaeus Carausius (d. 293) was a Roman usurper in Britain and northern Gaul (286Ė293, Carausian Revolt).

Carausius was a man of humble origin, a Menapian from Belgic Gaul who distinguished himself during Maximian's campaign against the Bagaudae rebels in Gaul in 286. As a result, he was appointed to command the Classis Britannica, a fleet based in the English Channel, with the responsibility of eliminating Frankish and Saxon pirates who had been raiding the coast. However, he was suspected of keeping captured treasure for himself, and even of allowing the pirates to carry out raids and enrich themselves before taking action against them, and Maximian ordered his execution. In late 286 or early 287 Carausius learned of this sentence and responded by declaring himself Emperor of Britain and northern Gaul.

He could count on the alliegance of the three legions based in Britain, as well as one in northern Gaul. How he was able to win support from the army when his command had been sea-based is uncertain. The emperor briefly assumed the title Britannicus Maximus in 285, and the British towns of Wroxeter and Caistor by Norwich towns show signs of destruction around this time, so it is possible Carausius won the army's support during military action in Britain shortly before his rebellion. Alternatively, if the accusations of larceny are true, he could perhaps afford to buy their loyalty. He also appears to have appealed to native British dissatisfaction with Roman rule: he issued coins with legends such as Restitutor Britanniae (Restorer of Britain) and Genius Britanniae (Spirit of Britain).

Maximian, busy with wars on the Rhine, was unable to challenge him immediately, but in the Autumn of 288 he began massing troops and ships for an invasion. In 289 an invasion of Britain intended to dislodge him failed badly due to storms, although a naval defeat is also possible. An uneasy peace continued until 293, during which Rome prepared for a second effort to retake the province, while Carausius began to entertain visions of legitimacy and official recognition. He minted his own coins and brought their value in to line with Roman issues as well as acknowledging and honouring Maximian and then Diocletian. Coinage is the main source of information about the rogue emperor; his issues were initially crude but soon became more elaborate and were issued from mints in Londinium, Rotomagnus and a third site, possibly Colonia Claudia Victricensis. A milestone from Carlisle with his name on it suggests that the whole of Roman Britain was in Carausius' grasp.

It has been speculated (namely, by the historian Sheppard Frere) that the rebellion of Carausius endangered Diocletian's vision of a strong, centralized government based on his tetrarchy. In any case, by early 293 Constantius Chlorus had gained control of northern Gaul, including the rebel's stronghold and port of Bononia, on which Carausius was heavily dependent. Constantius built a mole across the harbour mouth to ensure it did not receive maritime aid.

Constantius also regained the allegiance of the rebellious Gallic legion and defeated the Franks of the Rhine mouth who seem to have been working in league with Carausius. Weakened by these setbacks, Carausius was assassinated, possibly at York, by his treasurer, Allectus.

aVF/aVF Carausius Antoninianus / Pax / Green Patina and Nice Style

Attribution: RIC 895
Date: 287-293 AD
Obverse: IMP CARAVSIVS P F AVG, radiate and draped bust right
Reverse: PAX AVG, Pax standing left, holding branch and transverse sceptre.
Size: 20.91 mm
Weight: 3 grams
706 Hadrian Sestertius Roma 132-34 AD Galley left59 viewsReference
RIC 706; Strack 837; C. 657; Banti 337

Laureate head right.

Galley moving left with stearman and five rowers; vexillum on prow.

23.61 gr
31 mm

Stack's Bowers Galleries January 2013 N.Y.I.N.C. lot 5210

An acrostolium is an ornamental extension of the stem post on the prow of an ancient warship. Often used as a symbol of victory or of power at sea. (numiswiki)
1st-4th Century AD:
The Ship in Imperial Rome

Realizing its importance, Augustus established the Roman navy along lines similar to that of the legions. In addition to a number of key harbors, from which ships could be deployed, he stationed several fleets (Latin classes) in key areas throughout the empire. Among these, the classis Britannica patrolled the channel between Gaul and Britannia, protecting the shipping lanes. Its strategic regional importance is commemorated in the coinage of several of the period usurpers from the area. M. Aurelius Postumus was the first to do so (lots 676-679). His bronze ship issues carry the legend LAETITIA AVG, emphasizing the source of imperial well-being resides in a strong navy. The usurper M. Aurelius Carausius, commander of the classis Britannica under Diocletian, struck coins commemorating, in part, his control of that fleet and its abilities in keeping the sea lanes open (lot 680). His short-lived successor, Allectus, continued the type (lots 681-684).

One important function of the navy was the transportation of the imperial family on state visits. From the time of Augustus, vessels were dispatched to carry the emperor between the capital and the provinces. One such instance is commemorated in a rare bronze as, struck at Patrae in AD 66/7 (lot 609). The reverse depicts the quinquereme used to carry Nero on his infamous tour of Greece. Hadrianís extensive travels were recorded with a wide variety of ship types struck at Rome (lots 610-622), and in the East (lot 623). An inscription from Ephesus (Syll. III 3241), records that a local captain, L. Erastus, used his ship to transport the emperor while he was in that area. A coin struck at Alexandria (lot 624) is of particular importance for, in the same year as the coin was struck AntinoŁs drowned as the imperial party was sailing up the Nile. Hadrianís successors continued to travel, now to shore up border conflicts or prepare for one of the periodic wars with Persia (lots 625-627; 631-675). By the middle of the third century AD local issues, rather than those minted at the imperial capital, recorded these events, a sign that the center of power was drifting away from Rome itself.

Warships were not the exclusive vessel of the Roman navy. Providing the empire with an uninterrupted supply of grain, as well as other necessary supplies, necessitated the construction of ship for such a purpose. Unlike the warship, which required speed and strength for ramming, the merchantman (Greek nau~ stroggulh; Latin navis oneraria) was of broader beam. Many of these vessels, like the ponto or more common actuaria resembled the shape of a trireme and could be powered by both oars and sails. Since ships of this type were used to transport vital commodities such as wine and grain, they, like the large ponto, are often those shown on coins from the Black Sea (lots 655 and 664-666). The great Roman merchantman, or corbita, often seen in part on imperial issues commemorating the annona, is more familiar (lots 607-608). Powered by two large sails, it featured a rear cabin in the shape of a swan and was the true workhorse of Roman merchant vessels; its type continued well into the Byzantine period.
3 commentsokidoki
England, County of Kent, Dover: Roman Lighthouse97 viewsA visit to Dover on 20 March 2016, the Roman Lighthouse still stands within Dover Castle, which is still an important port of Britain by the English Channel. The upper 1/3 is a mix of Medieval (when it was used as a Bell Tower) and 19th century restoration (when the Church of Saint Mary, next to it, was also restored). The Lighthouse stands on the "eastern heights". There was another on the "western heights", they both guarded the entrance into the Roman harbour of Dubris (Dover) which was also an important base for the "Classis Britannica".Masis
Mark Antony Fleet coinage159 viewsMarcus Antonius Fleet coinage (Light Series)

Conjoined heads of Marcus Antonius and Octavia right

Galley under sail right

Tarentum (?) summer 37 BC

Sear 1497, RPC 1470, CRI 296,

Very rare in any condition

Cleaned by Kevin at NRC.

The legendary Fleet coinage of Antony belongs to two series, heavy and light. The "light series" is thought to have been minted at a later date, possibly just after Antony returned from his conference with Octavian in 37 BC. The meeting saw the Pact of Tarentum. Part of that agreement saw Antony loan 120 ships to Octavian along with his Admirals Altratinus and Capito.

A fine insight into Antony's administrative abilities can be seen by his fleet coinage that came in sestertius, dupondius and as denominations. Of note is that Antony's "Fleet Coinage" shows the appearance of the first sestertius in bronze rather than silver. When Octavian (Augustus) reformed the coinage 20 years later he maintained the exact same denominations; sestertius, dupondius and as. After Actium Octavian also kept many if not all of the client Kings in their positions and territories. A strong case for Antony's capabilities as an administrator.

M. Oppius Capito occupied an important position in Antony's inner circle although little is known of him. Capito's coins are more abundant than those of his colleagues and only Capito's coins include the title "Praefectus classis" (Prefect of the fleet). Most of his coins are found in Greece and were probably minted in Piraeus, the harbor complex of Athens. Athens at this time was the home of Antony and Octavia so it is likely that Capito's mint would be located here.

Sold to Calgary Coin Jan 2016
4 commentsJay GT4
ROMAN IMPERATORIAL, Sextus Pompey, AR Denarius30 viewsRome, The Imperators.
Sextus Pompey, 42-36 BCE.
AR Denarius (3.49g; 20mm).
Sicilian mint, 42-40 BCE.

Obverse: MAG PIVS IMP ITER; Pharos of Messina with two windows and a balcony, surmounted by statue of Neptune wearing helmet and holding trident and resting foot on prow; galley with aquila passing before.

Rev: PRAEF CLAS ET ORAE MARIT EX S C; the monster, Scylla, her body terminating in two fish-tails and the foreparts of three dogs, facing left and wielding a rudder with two hands.

References: Crawford 511/4a; HCRI 335; Sydenham 1348; BMCRR (Sicily) 18-19; Banti 8/3 (this coin illustrated); Pompeia 22.

Provenance: Ex Kuenker Auction 312 (8 Oct 2018), Lot 2712; Walter Niggeler (d. 1964) Collection [Leu/Muenzen und Medaillen (21-22 Oct 1966), Lot 964].

Sextus Pompey was younger son of Pompey the Great. After Caesar's assassination, in 43 BCE, he was honored by the Senate with the title "Commander of the Fleet and Sea Coasts" (Praefectus classis et orae maritimae). Shortly following this honor, the Second Triumvirate was formed and placed Sextus' name on their proscription list. Sextus soon occupied Sicily where he provided haven to other Romans proscribed by the Triumvirs. He retained control of Sicily from 42 to 36 BCE. In 42 BCE, Octavian sent Salvidienus Rufus to dislodge Sextus, but Rufus was defeated. It was likely between this defeat of Rufus and the Pact of Misenum with the Triumvirs (39 BCE) that Sextus struck much of his coinage, including this type. The rough seas around Sicily were beneficial to Sextus and particularly rough on his enemies, thus Neptune and the marine monster Scylla, destroyer of ships, are prominently displayed on this coin.
3 commentsCarausius
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