Featured The mystery of AMANDUS

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Ocatarinetabellatchitchix, Jun 26, 2020.

  1. Ocatarinetabellatchitchix

    Ocatarinetabellatchitchix Supporter! Supporter

    Eutropius IX, 21 : He thus became master of the Roman empire; and when the peasants in Gaul made an insurrection, giving their faction the name of Bagaudae, and having for leaders Amandus and Aelianus, he despatched Maximian Herculius, with the authority of Caesar, to suppress them. Maximian, in a few battles of little importance, subdued the rustic multitude, and restored peace to Gaul.

    285 AD
    The crisis of the third century in the Roman Empire is almost over. But not entirely. In Gaul, a group of peasants called the bagaudae rebelled against the grinding taxation and garnishing of their lands, harvests and manpower by the predatory agents of the late Roman state. After the death of the emperor Carinus, forty-nine cities revolt, including Paris, Sens, Troyes, Auxerre and Meaux. A man named Amandus took the head of this small army (with the help of Aelianus). After having been given the title of Emperor, he carried desolation everywhere, ravaging the countryside, burning the villages and ransoming the cities. The emperor Diocletian sent against them Maximianus Herculius who weakened him by several small fights, then forced him to entrench themselves in a sort of citadel near Paris. Maximianus took control of this fortress, destroyed it , and killed all who were there. Amandus perished during this war.

    The big question is: did Amandus ever minted coins bearing his name ? David Woods wrote an interesting paper on this usurper in 2001, and gave this opinion :"the two alleged specimens of his coinage that have survived into the modern age have been widely condemned as Renaissance forgerie". Finally his conclusion was "that he did not in fact issue coinage". Woods was talking about 2 coins, but it seems that 6 specimens exist. I will let you judge by yourself about the authenticity of the rare coins of Amandus (I could only find pictures of two of them); the first one is the Bibliothèque Nationale de France, Paris. It is considered by almost all expert as a Middle Ages fake. Here it is :


    The second one is from the collection of Sir Arthur Evans. It is now owned by the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford : IMP S AMANDVS PF AVG / SALVS AVG


    The other examples are owned by private collectors : one was once in the Pembroke Collection (when the collection was sold in 1848, the coin #1445 was described as "tooled and false) https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=nyp.33433082505672&view=1up&seq=11, another one from the Turin Royal Collection and rumours says that Bank Leu AG have one in Zurich. Now let's go back in time and try to discover what famous numismatists have to say about Amandus' coinage.
    The first expert who wrote about an Amandus example is Anselmo Banduri in 1718 ( Numismata Imperatorum Romanorum).He described a radiate head with the obverse legend IMP CC AMANDVS PF AVG with reverse SPES PA IV P III. He also talked about another specimen confirmed by Mezzabarbas with the legend IMP C CN SAL AMANDVS PF AVG.


    In 1791 and 1796, both Tanini and Eckhel (Doctrina Numorum Veterum) agreed about the first coin of Banduri and add another one from the Pembroke collection with the reverse VENVS AVG.


    Eckhel 1796

    But there was a change of opinion in the numismatic community from 1815. Mionnet (Description de Médailles Antiques Grecques et Romaines) stated that Amandus' coin should "be strongly suspected".

    Mionnet 1815

    J.Y.Akerman (A descriptive catalogue of Rare and Unedited Roman Coins) also gave his point of view about these coins in 1834 saying that "their authenticity is doubted".


    More recently, around 1930, Percy Webb examined the antoninianus owned by the Ashmolean Museum and was hesitant to dismiss it from the Roman Imperial Coinage ; he admitted the possibility that it was genuine. So what do you think about Amandus' coinage ? Before you give your opinion, please remember that a similar discussion perhaps happened 20 years ago, but about the Domitian II only known coin. Do you remember the end of the story ? https://www.cointalk.com/threads/15-years-ago-the-resurrection-of-an-emperor.332210/
    It is very possible that a metal detectorist ( hopefully our own @galba68 ) will soon discover a die match coin of one of the suspected example discussed above... In the meantime, let me show you two wonderful genuine Amandus examples sold on ebay not so long ago. And please post your coins of Maximianus Herculius, Diocletian or even better, Amandus the Gallic Usurper !


    Last edited: Jun 27, 2020
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  3. CoinDoctorYT

    CoinDoctorYT Well-Known Member

    I love the stories of the usurpers and false emperors. A very intriguing part of forgotten history.
  4. ancient coin hunter

    ancient coin hunter Basileus Megalos

    Seems like there are authentic issues of Amandus, would be great to add one to the collection. But it is highly unlikely that that will ever happen!
  5. Ocatarinetabellatchitchix

    Ocatarinetabellatchitchix Supporter! Supporter

    The commander in chief :
    Antioch Ae Follis
    26mm 9.29g

    And the hitman :
    Maximianus Herculius
    Roma Ae Nummus
    18mm 2.58g
    galba68, Alegandron, zumbly and 3 others like this.
  6. Limes

    Limes Supporter! Supporter

    Lovely write-up again @Ocatarinetabellatchitchix, very informative. Never heard of Amandus before.

    Here's my only coin of Diocletian.
  7. Suarez

    Suarez Well-Known Member

    I know this isn't going to be what you wanted to read but all four presented are clear forgeries. The first one is an altered reduced follis of later date (probably Galerius), the second an altered Allectus and the last two recent inventions.

    However, I would never say never ;-)

  8. Ocatarinetabellatchitchix

    Ocatarinetabellatchitchix Supporter! Supporter

    The first one is clearly a forgery. The last 2 are what I call "tourist fakes". The Ashmolean Museum' specimen had been examined in hand by Percy Webb and he did not condemned it...let's just say I wouldn't bet against him.:meh:
  9. 7Calbrey

    7Calbrey Well-Known Member

    At least, those presumed forgeries have paved the way to shed light on a short period of French or European revolt against the tyranny of the Roman Empire. I don't know to which degree we can still admit that they are pieces of History anyway
  10. Ricardo123

    Ricardo123 Well-Known Member

    I think i have the twin? of your Maximianus Herculius
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