Featured Augusti & Caesars who campaigned in Britain

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by jamesicus, Jun 27, 2020.

  1. jamesicus

    jamesicus Supporter! Supporter

    Portrait Coins depicting Caesars and Augusti who campaigned in Britain.

    * All images formatted by @furryfrog02

    Four Augusti died in Britain:

    SEPTIMIUS SEVERUS - at Eboracum (York), AD 211, while campaigning in the north.

    CARAUSIUS - in southern Britain, AD 293, assassinated by his Chief Minister, Allectus.

    ALLECTUS - in southern Britain, AD 296, killed in battle with the invading force of Constantius.

    CONSTANTIUS (Chlorus) - at Eboracum (York), AD 306, while campaigning in the north.

    Julius Caesar:

    In 55 BC Julius Caesar became the first Roman Imperator to set foot in Britain. He fought skirmishes with local Chieftains in the south east of the country eventually departing Britain later that year to resume his campaign in Gaul. He returned in early 54 BC and successfully subjugated the Britannic forces only to abandon the campaign later in the year.

    Denarius, Crawford, Roman Republican Coins (RRC), No. 480/8 (March 44 BC - Alfoldi)

    Coin obverse depiction: Julius Caesar wreathed head facing right

    Inscription clockwise from right: CAESAR DICT PERPETVO (Dictator in Perpetuity)

    Coin reverse depiction: Venus Genetrix standing, facing left, holding statuette of victory on palm of right hand and supporting vertical scepter with left hand

    Inscription vertical to right: L BVCA (L. Aemilius Buca, Moneyer)

    Weight: 3.5g


    Claudius perceived that it was imperative for him to accomplish a great feat of arms in order to enhance his prestige with the Senate and prove himself worthy of the title of Augustus. His own father NERO CLAUDIUS DRUSUS and brother GERMANICUS had been acclaimed as great military leaders on the northern frontier and he was determined to emulate their successes. His predecessor (and nephew), CALIGULA, had set out to conquer Britain and add that island outpost to the Empire, but had failed. Now Claudius was determined to fulfill that mission and to that end in AD 43 he dispatched an advanced force consisting of four legions commanded by a renowned general, AULUS PLAUTIUS to invade Britain and engage the Britannic forces there.

    Shortly thereafter Claudius landed in Britain and assumed command of the army led by General Plautius. In short order Claudius accepted the surrender of the Britannic forces, appointed Plautius Governor of Britannia and subsequently returned to Rome to celebrate his Triumph and enhance his entitlement by the Senate as Father of the Country - PATER PATRIAE (PP), and exalted servant of the People - OB CIVES SERVATOS.

    Sestertius, RIC Vol. I, Rome, No. 112, 50-54AD (36mm, 28.2gm)

    Obverse depiction: Claudius, laureate head facing right


    Reverse depiction: Civic Oak Wreath

    Inscription in four lines:

    EX SC
    P P

    (within Civic wreath)

    Septimius Severus and his sons Caracalla & Geta:

    In AD 208 SEPTIMIUS SEVERUS set out for Britain accompanied by his sons CARACALLA and GETA (who fought along side him during the campaign) with the avowed aim of restoring the much damaged Hadrian's wall and subduing the warlike native tribes of northern Britain and Caledonia (Scotland). In AD 211 he became terminally ill during the campaign, and after proclaiming Victory over Britannia, he withdrew to his headquarters at Eboracum (York) where he died later that year

    Septimius Severus, Denarius, RIC Vol. IV, No. 335

    Obverse: Septimius Severus,, Laureate head facing right

    Inscription clockwise from bottom: SEVERVS PIVS AVG BRIT

    Reverse: Victory (Britannia?) seated left writing on shield

    Inscription: VICTORIAE BRIT

    Caracalla, Denarius, RIC Vol. IV, No. 231a

    Obverse: Caracalla, Laureate head facing right

    Inscription clockwise from bottom: ANTONINVS PIVS AVG BRIT

    Reverse: winged Victory advancing right holding trophy

    Inscription: VICTORIAE BRIT

    Geta, Denarius, RIC Vol. IV, No. 91

    Obverse: Geta, Laureate head facing right

    Inscription clockwise from bottom: P SEPT GETA PIVS AVG BRIT

    Reverse: Victory standing left holding wreath and palm branch

    Inscription: VICTORIAE BRIT

    The usurper Augusti of secessionist Britain - Carausius & Allectus:

    The political and military turmoil of the third century spawned numerous external assaults on the Roman Empire. One of these was the incessant seafaring piracy in the waters surrounding the Roman occupied island outpost of Britain. In 286 Maximian Herculius, in his capacity as Dyarch Augustus of the West, designated a highly regarded military commander named Marcus Aurelius Mausaeus Carausius, of Flemish descent, to head a fleet of ships who's mission was to eliminate, or at least severely curtail, this piracy. Carausius had distinguished himself by outstanding leadership and military prowess, especially as a naval "Admiral", in the Gallic campaigns. Carausius established his operational base at the coastal city of Boulogne (Gesoriacum) in Roman occupied northern Gaul. Carausius did indeed accomplish his mission, but reports of corruption and extortion led Maximian Herculius to dispatch a fleet of ships in order to remove Carausius from command. However, Carausius proved too strong and he repulsed the attack.

    Carausius subsequently used his continental base to launch an invasion force to occupy and subjugate Britain. Landing in the north, Carausius secured the support of the native Picts and, advancing south, confronted and defeated the forces of the Roman Governor. Having thus conquered the Island, he proclaimed himself Augustus of a Secessionist Britain, becoming an effective and efficient Administrator using the Roman Imperial governmental framework as a model. He maintained control of Boulogne and coastal northern Gaul. Carausius established two mints in Britain: one at London (Londinium) and the other at Colchester (Camulodunum - Clausentum) and a Continental mint in Gaul.

    The coins depicted here were minted in Britain at the London (Londinium) mint.

    Carausius, Antoninianus, RIC V (2), No. 475:

    IMP C CARAVSIVS PF AVG ......................................... PA - X - AVG | S .....P

    Draped, radiate, bust
    London Mint.
    3.9 gm.

    Allectus, the chief minister of Carausius, assassinated him (or orchestrated his assassination) in AD 293. He continued operation of the British Carausian mints and coins were issued in his name and bearing his portrait

    Allectus, Antoninianus, RIC V (2), No. 33:

    IMP C ALLECTVS P F AVG ............................. PA - X - AVG ..... S (Pax standing left) A

    M L in reverse exergue.

    Cuirassed, radiate, bust
    London mint
    5.1 gm.
    Allectus died in battle with the invading force of Constantius in southern Britain AD 296

    Constantius and his son Constantine

    In AD 296 Constantius, then Caesar of the West, invaded secessionist Britain and restored it to the Empire as directed by Maximian Herculius, Augustus of the West

    RIC Volume VI, Lugdunum, No. 17a, Constantius, Caesar of the West:

    FL VAL CONSTANTIVS NOB C .............................. GENIO POPV -- LI ROMANI

    Earliest obverse legend
    10.1 gm.
    Britannia invasion coinage produced in Gaul at unknown Continental mint

    RIC VI, Londinium, No. 47, Constantius, Augustus of the West:

    CT (Cloke & Toone), No. 4.02.003, 1 May 305 - 26 July 306, Rarity: S


    Constantius was elevated to Augustus of the West after the Abdication of Diocletian and Maximian Herculius
    He Died at Eboracum (York) while campaigning against the warlike tribes of the North in AD 306
    On his death bed, Constantius conferred Imperium on his son and companion, Constantine.

    RIC VI, Londinium, No. 89b, Constantine, Caesar of the West:

    CT (Cloke & Toone), No. 5.03.004, c. November - December AD 307, Rarity: R

    FL VAL CONSTANTINVS NOB C ........................... GENIO - POP ROM
    PLN in reverse exergue

    Draped, laureate, bust
    Genius with head towered and loins draped
    Issued shortly after the death of Constantius following recognition as Caesar of the West by Galerius
    9.3 gm.
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2020
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  3. Gavin Richardson

    Gavin Richardson Well-Known Member

    Nice write-up James. I often wonder if the early London coins of Constantine are most accurate in terms of portrait--if the die engravers had ever laid eyes on him.
    jamesicus likes this.
  4. Victor_Clark

    Victor_Clark standing on the shoulders of giants Dealer

    The FEL TEMP galley type likely reference a visit to Britain circa 342-3 by Constans to quell a rebellion.

    Curtisimo, galba68, thejewk and 13 others like this.
  5. furryfrog02

    furryfrog02 Well-Known Member

    Great write up James. I am particularly fond of that Septimius Severus. I've only seen one other seated Victory and that was from @dougsmit
  6. ancient coin hunter

    ancient coin hunter I dig ancient coins...

    Denarius of Severus featuring Neptune, most likely commemorating his visit to Britain by sea.

    Septimius Severus, A.R. Denarius, Rome mint, 210 C.E.

    3.3 grams, 19.1 mm

    Obverse: Laureate head right, SEVERVS PIVS AVG


    Neptune standing left, nude but for cloak over left shoulder and right arm, right foot on rock, right arm resting on right knee, trident vertical behind in left hand.


    Curtisimo, galba68, randygeki and 9 others like this.
  7. CoinDoctorYT

    CoinDoctorYT Well-Known Member

    Ya, personally I love those campaign coins. Even though they are common, I like to collect every emperor who issued them. Very cool writeup. I feel like I learn so much from these keep doing it!

    Aside from that, I just wanted to share this new coin I bought, Constantine II PROVIDENTIAE, Campgate. Very well centered and about AU grade.

    Screen Shot 2020-06-19 at 9.57.16 PM copy 4.png
  8. jamesicus

    jamesicus Supporter! Supporter

    I am afraid this post requires quite a bit of “tweaking” via edit. I have been under the weather the past few days and I was anxious to get this posted.

    I want to note the much appreciated help that @furryfrog02 afforded me - he formatted all of the pics I used in the post via email as I wasn’t able to do it myself right now - a good friend indeed.
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2020
  9. jamesicus

    jamesicus Supporter! Supporter

    Last edited: Jun 29, 2020
  10. furryfrog02

    furryfrog02 Well-Known Member

  11. jamesicus

    jamesicus Supporter! Supporter

    Nice coin @ancient coin hunter - thank you for posting it.
    ancient coin hunter likes this.
  12. jamesicus

    jamesicus Supporter! Supporter

    Thanks Victor.
  13. jamesicus

    jamesicus Supporter! Supporter

    Thanks Gavin.
  14. cmezner

    cmezner Supporter! Supporter

    Forgot completely that I have this denarius, probably because the head doesn't look like Geta at all (in my eyes...); I think it looks much more like Caracalla.

    The inscription on the obverse starts with "P SEPT" can someone please clarify what this means - as always, I am just confused :confused: even though, hopefully I have the right RIC number

    Denarius, Rome, 211 AD
    18.5 x 20 mm, 3.035 g
    RIC IV Geta 79;

    Ob.: P SEPT GETA PIVS AVG BRIT Laureate bearded head right
    Rev.: TR P III COS II P P Janus, in himation, nude to waist, standing front, looking left and right, drapery over left arm, holding scepter (or spear) in right hand and thunderbolt in left hand

    upload_2020-6-28_21-10-3.png upload_2020-6-28_21-10-14.png
    Marsyas Mike, DonnaML, singig and 5 others like this.
  15. rg3

    rg3 Well-Known Member

    Thank you for the informative write up. Here is an interesting little number (RIC IV 229) I picked up from the Morris collection on Heritage a while back: lf (5).jpeg lf (4).jpeg

    The reverse supposedly depicts the river god Tyne (as in Newcastle). Here is a modern day interpretation: https://www.icysedgwick.com/river-god-tyne/
  16. CoinDoctorYT

    CoinDoctorYT Well-Known Member

    rg3 and ancient coin hunter like this.
  17. DCCR

    DCCR New Member

    This article may be of interest to people. It's about all the Roman coins that feature Britain in some way.
    rg3 likes this.
  18. dougsmit

    dougsmit Member Supporter

    Publius Septimius Geta. Septimius Severus renamed his elder son after Marcus Aurelius but Geta retained the family name of the Septimii. Publius Septimius Geta was also the name of the father of Septimius Severus and the brother of Septimius Severus. The grandfather of the emperor Lucius Septimius Severus was also named Lucius Septimius Severus. Roman families tended to recycle names so it is OK to be a bit confused.
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2020
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  19. cmezner

    cmezner Supporter! Supporter

    Thank you so much @dougsmit, appreciate very much your clarification.
  20. jamesicus

    jamesicus Supporter! Supporter

    Caracalla was originally named Lucius Septimius Bassianus as a child, but then renamed Marcus Aurelius Antoninus by his father, Septimius Severus,(to imply association with the Antonine family (?). Caracalla was a nickname bestowed upon him because of his habit of wearing a Gallic hooded tunic by that name.
    cmezner and ancient coin hunter like this.
  21. dltsrq

    dltsrq Grumpy Old Man

    There is some evidence that Carinus also campaigned in Britain. He was awarded the title Britannicus Maximus in 284, shared by Numerian. The contemporary poet Nemesianus singles out Carinus for "lately a successful war under the North Star" (nuper bella sub Arcto felici). An interesting possibility.
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