Somerset Hoard: ~52000 Roman Coins

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  • #1
Astronuc
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UK treasure hunter finds 52,000 Roman coins
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100708/ap_on_re_eu/eu_britain_roman_coins [Broken]

LONDON – A treasure hunter has found about 52,500 Roman coins, one of the largest such discoveries ever in Britain, officials said Thursday.

The hoard, which was valued at 3.3 million pounds ($5 million), includes hundreds of coins bearing the image of Marcus Aurelius Carausius, who seized power in Britain and northern France in the late third century and proclaimed himself emperor.

Dave Crisp, a treasure hunter using a metal detector, located the coins in April in a field in southwestern England, according to the Somerset County Council and the Portable Antiquities Scheme.

The coins were buried in a large jar about a foot (30 centimeters) deep and weighed about 160 kilograms (350 pounds) in all.
. . . .
The hoard is one of the largest ever found in Britain, and will reveal more about the nation's history in the third century, said Roger Bland, of the British Museum. The find includes more than 760 coins from the reign of Carausius, the Roman naval officer who seized power in 286 and ruled until he was assassinated in 293.
. . . .
Last year, a hoard of Anglo-Saxon coins and jewelry was discovered in Staffordshire, England. The so-called Stafforshire Hoard included more than 1,500 objects, mostly made from gold.
 
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  • #2
arildno
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Fantastic!

Perhaps placed there by a sub-commander of Carausius providing a nest egg for himself, hoping to weather the wrath of Diocletian?
 
  • #3
Astronuc
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It is nice that the finder did not retrieve the pot immediately, but went to authorities who arranged for archeologists to carefully excavate the location - at least that's what I gleened from the article. It will be interesting to see what else is found in the area.

I think it's rather interesting timing of this and Evo's thread on the Arthurian legend.

I'd like to explore more the transition from Roman England to Anglo Saxon England.

I'm particularly interested in the history and kings of Wessex.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_monarchs_of_Wessex
 
  • #4
arildno
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It is nice that the finder did not retrieve the pot immediately, but went to authorities who arranged for archeologists to carefully excavate the location - at least that's what I gleened from the article. It will be interesting to see what else is found in the area.

I think it's rather interesting timing of this and Evo's thread on the Arthurian legend.

I'd like to explore more the transition from Roman England to Anglo Saxon England.

I'm particularly interested in the history and kings of Wessex.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_monarchs_of_Wessex
In that case, you should practise your German (or Anglo-Saxon) on Felix Liebermann's monumental work "Die Gesetze der Angelsachsen", a variorum text of all known law texts (and their variants) from the early 7th century and onwards.
Including of course, the laws of Ine&Alfred of Wessex.

Lots of info here, if you can stomach it.

Here is the first volume, just 754 pages, best regards from archive.org! :smile:
http://www.archive.org/details/diegesetzederang01liebuoft

(PS: Since Liebermann's collection contains the ORIGINAL texts in anglo-saxon&latin, his work is still the standard bible for professional historians within the study of anglosaxon law, a century after his compilation&analysis)


An interesting line of research, I would think, would be to study similarities/heritages in the transition from Romano-celtic to germanic laws.

Another point:
I assume you have read De Excidio by Gildas, Astronuc?
 
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  • #5
Evo
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Arildno, your wealth of knowledge of history amazes me. :!!) I used to love it when you and marcus would share some of that knowledge with me. The Heimskringla thread opened up a new world for me. I have spent countless hours reading great sagas thanks to you two.
 
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arildno
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Arildno, your wealth of knowledge of history amazes me. :!!) I used to love it when you and marcus would share some of that knowledge with me. The Heimskringla thread opened up a new world for me. I have spent countless hours reading great sagas thanks to you two.
I hope I will oblige in the future as well..:shy:
 
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Arildno, your wealth of knowledge of history amazes me. :!!) I used to love it when you and marcus would share some of that knowledge with me. The Heimskringla thread opened up a new world for me. I have spent countless hours reading great sagas thanks to you two.
I so agree Evo, its interesting to discover tid-bits of history. I also lost more then a few hours reading in the Heimskringla thread. So many reasons to love PF.

And bravo to Dave Crisp, he did everything right.
 
  • #8
Astronuc
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In that case, you should practise your German (or Anglo-Saxon) on Felix Liebermann's monumental work "Die Gesetze der Angelsachsen", a variorum text of all known law texts (and their variants) from the early 7th century and onwards.
Including of course, the laws of Ine&Alfred of Wessex.

Lots of info here, if you can stomach it.

Here is the first volume, just 754 pages, best regards from archive.org! :smile:
http://www.archive.org/details/diegesetzederang01liebuoft

. . .

Another point:
I assume you have read De Excidio by Gildas, Astronuc?
Thanks for the link to diegesetzederang01liebuoft. I downloaded the pdf.

I've read bits and pieces of De Excidio. I struggle with the language of Gildas, just as I struggle with Bede or Gibbon. For me their writing to too verbose and full of ancillary detail, which is mostly anecdotal and most likely fictional.

I rely on modern scholars to sift through the chaff and stalks and separate out the kernels of history.
 
  • #9
arildno
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Thanks for the link to diegesetzederang01liebuoft. I downloaded the pdf.
As you've probably noticed, if you read it in book format, the double page contains a single column of German translation at the extreme end of right page, whereas the corresponding columns on the left&right contains the Anglo-saxon variants.
Unfortunately, Latin was de rigeur for scholars in Liebermann's day, so from around William the Conqueror and onwards (up to henry the first, I think), German is dispensed with...:frown:
I've read bits and pieces of De Excidio. I struggle with the language of Gildas, just as I struggle with Bede or Gibbon. For me their writing to too verbose and full of ancillary detail, which is mostly anecdotal and most likely fictional.
And repetitious...

I rely on modern scholars to sift through the chaff and stalks and separate out the kernels of history.
That's their claim for a justified existence, isn't it? :wink:
 
  • #10
Astronuc
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As you've probably noticed, if you read it in book format, the double page contains a single column of German translation at the extreme end of right page, whereas the corresponding columns on the left&right contains the various Anglo-saxon variants.
Unfortunately, Latin was de rigeur for scholars in Liebermann's day, so from around William the Conqueror and onwards (up to henry the first, I think), German is dispensed with...:frown:
I share your :frown:. I'm actually more interested in the German and the evolution of the language. Unfortunately, there weren't a lot of German scholars, and obviously because Latin was the scholarly language, most of the literature is in Latin.

And repetitious...
Yeah - very wordy and repetitious. :yuck:

That's their claim for a justified existence, isn't it? :wink:
I appreciate their effort.
 
  • #11
arildno
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There is a lot of information in the Anglo-Saxon laws, some of them extremely surprising.
The very first of the law collections, that of Aethelbaert of Kent (issued around 601-604AD) is by nominally Christian ruler, but betrays very little dependence on, say, canon law or Roman law.

The so-called "divorce laws" of Aethelberth, that also stipulates the widow's share of her late husband's fortune, show an appreciation of the female that might come as a surprise.
In German, they read:

"78. Wenn sie lebende Nachkommenschaft gebiert,
erhalte sie das halbe Vermögen [des Haushalts] , wenn
[ihr] Mann vor [ihr] stirbt.

79. Wenn sie mit [ihrer beider] Kindern ausscheiden
will [aus dem Haushalte] , erhalte sie das halbe
Vermögen [des Haushalts].

80. Wenn der Ehemann [die Kinder i] behalten
will, [werde sie bedacht] wie Ein Kind[estheil].

81. Wenn sie Nachkommenschaft nicht gebiert,
erhalten [bei Auflösung der Ehe ihre ] Vatersippen
[das] Gut [der Frau] und [die vom Manne ihr bei der
Hochzeit gegebene] Morgengabe.
"

In my translation, this would be:
"78. If she births live children, she is to have half the estate if her husband dies before her"
(Whether this is granted to the maintenance of only post-mortem born children, or an award for having birthed children in general would be a source of contention between historians)

"79. If she wish to leave the household with both her children, she is to gain half the property"
(Again, it is unclear whether this regards a divorce from her husband (that would make it an extremely generous divorce law), or if she has the option after her husband's death to leave her husband's familial estate (presumably going back to her own), and receive the maintenance that is to provision under-age children)

"80. When the husband will keep the children, she gains a portion equal to a child's inheritance"
(This is clearly a divorce law settlement; that the woman was given a share of her husband's estate equal to that of a child is reminiscent of the widow's law of Germanic peoples like the visigoths who, indeed, stipulated this as the proper widow's portion)

"81. If the marriage did not produce any children, she (or, rather, her family) is given back her estates (upon dissolution of the marrige), along with the morning gift given to her at the wedding"
 
  • #13
arildno
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Some interesting commentary on Æthelberht’s code here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Æthelberht_of_Kent#Law_code
Halsall at Fordham is a great source for many aspects of history.
This is the page of for the Anglo-Saxon dooms:
http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/source/560-975dooms.html#The%20Laws%20of%20%C6thelberht

Liebermann contains the complete dooms or lawbooks, whereas Fordham presents a judicious selection in modernized English.

The introuction page to Paul Halsall's "Internet History Source books project" can be found here:
http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/
 
  • #14
Astronuc
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Fordham also has the text of Gildas
http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/basis/gildas-full.html

I'd like to find more information on the areas of Elmet, Deira and Mercia. My ancestors are from Elmet, or the borders among Northumbria, Mercia and Deira.

There have been occasional finds of Roman coins in the area.
 
  • #15
arildno
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  • #17
arildno
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Interesting little peice on page xviii - the author manages to work in King Arthur son of Utherpendragon and Igerna.
That would be Geoffrey of Monmouth's (largely mythical) genealogical tree, I think.

As to Mercia, Kerslakes 1879 booklet "Vestiges of the supremacy of Mercia" (about 70 pages) is freely downloadable here:
http://www.archive.org/stream/cu31924031417110#page/n3/mode/2up
 
  • #18
Astronuc
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From one of my ancestral towns:

Numerous Roman coins have been found at various times, and among them several of Gordianus and other emperors, enclosed in a large silver cup turned up by the plough in 1986. The town, which is of great antiquity, appears to have arisen with Lancaster, Manchester, and other towns in the county, soon after its conquest by Agricola, in the year seventy-nine, and derives its name either from Colunio, the supposed name of the Roman station, or from the Saxon Culme, coal, with which the neighborhood abounds: it is situated on an elevated point of land between the river Calder and the Leeds and Liverpool canal; the streets are paved, and the inhabitants are amply supplied with water conveyed by pipes from Flass spring, about two miles distant, under the management of a company formed for that purpose.
Thanks Arild, I also found it here - http://www2.glos.ac.uk/bgas/tbgas/v003/bg003106.pdf

Check this out! - http://www.bgas.org.uk/tbgas/bgc001.htm [Broken]
 
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  • #19
Astronuc
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Speaking of hoards of Roman coins in the UK,

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Silsden_Hoard

Well, it's not much of a hoard, but
The Silsden Hoard was found to contain 27 gold staters dating from the 1st century AD. Most of the coins were issued by Cunobelinus, at various times throughout his reign. Others were issued by his brother Epaticcus. Coins of the Corieltauvi were also part of the hoard.
. . . .
The hoard is one of three found in the former territories of the Brigantes, all of which contain Corieltauvian coins. It is thought that the hoards were deposited by British refugees fleeing the Roman invasion of AD 43, under the Emperor Claudius and, as such, . . . .
http://www.bradfordmuseums.org/minitours/html/coins.html [Broken] (Don't know if link works, but one can find it through the museum site - http://www.bradfordmuseums.org/minitours/index.htm [Broken])

Apparently the Silsden Hoard in on permanent loan to the Cliffe Castle Museum in Keighley.
 
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  • #20
arildno
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Speaking of hoards of Roman coins in the UK,

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Silsden_Hoard

Well, it's not much of a hoard, but
Interesting, thanks!

I knew that "Cymbeline" was one of the client kings of Rome prior to the Claudian invasion (he's mentioned as such in Tacitus), but I was unaware that we had coins from his as well.

There was a massive influx of gold in the Roman economy by Julius Caesar's conquest of Gaul, and the probably equally bloody pacification campaigns Agrippa led in Gaul a generation after that (Agrippa was Octavian's second-in-command, and son-in-law).

I would think a crucial Roman policy in order to finally secure Gaul would be to close off Britain as a safe haven for rebels, so Agrippa must have used large resources to buy solid allies in southern Britain (the generation just before Cymbeline, or so).
Control of the southern gold mines in Gaul gave him just that...
 
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  • #21
Astronuc
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I have to look at this more closely, but this is interesting.

The Roman conquest of Britain began in 43 AD but advance beyond the Humber did not take place until the early 70s AD. This was because the people in the area known as the Brigantes by the Romans became a Roman client state. When their leadership changed becoming more hostile to Rome Roman General Quintus Petillius Cerialis led the Ninth Legion north from Lincoln across the Humber.
from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eboracum#Origins
Eboracum was a fort and city in Roman Britain. It shared the same site as modern York, located in North Yorkshire, England.
Could the coins have arrived earlier than 43 AD, or they were just transported by Roman Ninth Legion under General Quintus Petillius Cerialis?
 
  • #22
arildno
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I have to look at this more closely, but this is interesting.

from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eboracum#Origins
Also check up on Queen Cartimandua of the Brigantes at the time of Boudica revolt.
By being a staunch supporter of the Romans, who handed over to them numerous key rebels for executions, Rome was able to tighten their grip after 43AD, and also, later on, crush Boudica's revolt and the Britons' hopes to throw off the Roman yoke.
A traitoress to her people, perhaps, but a very intriguing figure!
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cartimandua

Could the coins have arrived earlier than 43 AD, or they were just transported by Roman Ninth Legion under General Quintus Petillius Cerialis?
I would think gold coins could be in circulation for a long time. It is not improbable in my view that on their journey northwards they went into Boudicas' treasury or that of the Icenians (her tribe), that became the leading Roman client state under her husband Prasutagus.
(It was the Romans' seizure of his wealth&kingdom after his death that ignited the Boudica revolt).

Or, possibly, the gold went into Cartimundias treasury early on in her career (she had to be paid for her treason, perhaps when handing over the chief rebel Caratacus in 51AD?)
 
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  • #23
Astronuc
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Interesting possibilities, Arild.

Now back to Bristol/Gloucester area - actually Cirencester.

Transactions of the Bristol and Gloucestershire Archaeological Society
Vol. 8 (1883-84)
Recent Roman "Finds" in Cirencester. by T. B. Bravender. 8 (1883-84)
http://www2.glos.ac.uk/bgas/tbgas/v008/bg008309.pdf

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cirencester
The Roman name for this place was Corinium, which is thought to have been associated with the ancient British Dobunni tribe, having the same root word as the River Churn. The earliest known reference to the town was by Ptolemy in AD 150.
Transactions of the Bristol and Gloucestershire Archaeological Society
Vol. 19 (1894-95)
Notes on a great Hoard of Roman Coins found at Bishop's Wood. by M. E. Bagnall-Oakeley. 19 (1894-95)
http://www2.glos.ac.uk/bgas/tbgas/v019/bg019399.pdf
 

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