Wednesday, 11 April 2018

Duplicate PAS Numbers and Trite BM Dumbdown, "Roman coins and the First Brexit"

Coineys, instead of treating coins as archaeological evidence try to narrativise them in some way, and sometimes try to 'make them relevant' by referring them to modern events. An egregious example of this is a talk given by BM coiney Sam Moorhouse in Derby this week: 'The Ashbourne Treasure, the emperor Carausius and the First Brexit'  Derby Museums 11th April 2018
Dr Sam Moorhead, National Finds Adviser for Iron Age and Roman coins at the British Museum, will discuss the discovery of gold coins at Ashbourne in 2007, one of the most important discoveries ever made relating to Britain’s very own emperor, Carausius, who broke away from the central Roman Empire in AD 286. This talk will provide the background to and history of the Carausian regime until its ultimate fall under the emperor Allectus in AD 296.
As for the numismatic evidence of whether Carausius was trying to 'Brexit' from the Roman Empire, we note that Carausius had himself depicted as a member of the Tetrarchy's college of emperors, issuing coins with the legend CARAVSIVS ET FRATRES SVI ['Carausius and his brothers'] with portraits of himself with Diocletian and Maximian. He also struck coins that showed three portrait heads on the reverse instead of the usual one, and a legend on the obverse including PAX AVGGG, the peace of three Augusti (meaning that he regarded himself as equal to the other two current Augusti, Diocletian and Maximian). This was even though the coins of the latter see this 'Brexited' island as the territory of 'pirates' beyond the realm of Roman civilization and their own coins of the time proclaim the attributes of only two Augusti, PAX AVGG. In fact, whatever their coins say, the written records give a slightly different motive for Carausius and his fellow officers seizing power in Britain.

The Ashbourne Hoard appears in the PAS database twice, bulking out numbers the first is as IARCH-D423BB  (entered 13th January 2015), and the second is as a further two entries:  DENO-651C91 () and DENO-64DAE1, both entered 17th December  2007. Both coins were found loose in 'in the backfilled spoil from a building excavation'. Here is a variant account of the discovery:   Treasure hunter finds rare Carausius coins.

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