THE BRITANNIC COINAGE OF CONSTANTIUS

THE BRITISH INVASION COINAGE OF CONSTANTIUS

[Constantius coin photo]
CONSTANTIUS

On this page: The production of "invasion folles" in Gaul using Lugdunese workers. The subsequent invasion and occupation of seccessionist Britain and its restoration to the Roman Empire by Constantius.

In 293 Diocletian instituted the Tetrarchy: government of the geographically divided Empire by four interacting rulers - two Augusti assisted by two subordinate Caesars which each Augustus would personally select. Diocletian, Augustus of the east, selected Galerius Maximian as his Caesar and Maximian Herculius, Augustus of the west, selected Constantius as his Caesar. The first assignment given Constantius by Maximian was to remove Carausius, the usurper Augustus of secessionist Britain, and restore that former possession to the Empire. Constantius thereupon beseiged and captured Boulogne and then wrested coastal Gaul from Carausius. Constantius now set about planning the invasion, occupation and restoration of secessionist Britain to the Empire.

CONSTANTIUS and the invasion coinage

One of the first orders of business for Constantius was to insure that a supply of reformed aes coinage - now the commonplace legal tender of the Roman Empire - was available for use not only by his occupying force, but also by the British civilian populace. To that end Constantius established a Continental Mint (exact location unknown), manned by Lugdunese workers, to produce this invasion coinage - unmarked (i.e. without a mint mark) folles issued in the names of Diocletian & Maximian Herculius as Augustus and Constantius & Galerius Maximian as Caesar.

Notes relating to unknown Continental Mint invasion coinage

Example of early reformed follis - RIC VI, Lugdunum, Group I, (ii), LA or LB, c. 295 - No. 2a, DIOCLETIAN.

[Diocletian coin photo] [Diocletian coin photo]
IMP C DIOCLETIANVS PF AVG ............................. GENIO POP -- VLI ROMANI
LA
in exergue


actual size of coin
weight: 9.0 grams

Example of early reformed follis - RIC VI, Lugdunum, Group I, (ii), LA or LB, c. 295 - No. 6, CONSTANTIUS. 2010-08-11

[Constantius coin photo] [Constantius coin photo]
CONSTANTIVS NOB CAES ............................. GENIO POPV -- LI ROMANI
LB
in exergue


actual size of coin
weight: 8.7 grams

Examples of unknown Continental Mint invasion coinage

RIC Volume VI, Lugdunum, Group I, (iv), folles, Class I, No. 14-21, c. 296, 10.5-8.75 gm, reverse axis 6 or 12 o'clock. Laureate head, right, with bare neck truncation.


RIC VI, Lugdunum, No. 14a - DIOCLETIAN

[Diocletian coin photo] [Diocletian coin photo]
IMP C DIOCLETIANVS PF AVG ............................. GENIO POPV -- LI ROMANI


actual size of coin
weight: 8.9 grams


RIC VI, Lugdunum, No. 14b - MAXIMIAN HERCULIUS

[Maximian coin photo] [Maximian coin photo]
IMP C MAXIMIANVS PF AVG ................................. GENIO POP -- VLI ROMANI


actual size of coin
weight: 8.8 grams


RIC VI, Lugdunum, No. 17a - CONSTANTIUS

[Constantius coin photo] [Constantius coin photo]
FL VAL CONSTANTIVS NOB C .............................. GENIO POPV -- LI ROMANI


actual size of coin
weight: 9.0 grams


RIC VI, Lugdunum, No. 17b - GALERIUS MAXIMIAN

[Galerius coin photo] [Galerius coin photo]
C VAL MAXIMIANVS NOB C .............................. GENIO POPV -- LI ROMANI


actual size of coin
weight: 8.5 grams

ALLECTUS - Successor Usurper Augustus of Secessionist Britain

Shortly after Constantius reconquered coastal Gaul Allectus, the chief Minister - Praetorian Prefect of Carausius, conspired to assassinate him and thereupon declared himself Augustus of Secessionist Britain. Allectus continued operation of the London and "C" Mints and coins were issued in his name and bearing his portrait.

[Allectus coin photo]
IMP C ALLECTVS PF AVG

This the obverse of a typical antoninianus (RIC V [2], London, Allectus, No. 33).

CONSTANTIUS - Restorer of Britain to the Roman Empire

In 296 Constantius launched a powerful naval invasion force against Britain in two divisions: one led by himself, which sailed from Boulogne and the other led by his Praetorian Prefect, Asclepiodotus, which sailed from the mouth of the river Seine. The mission of Constantius was to remove Allectus from power and restore Britain to the Empire. This mission was accomplished and although Constantius was in overall command of the operation, some historical sources assert it was the force under Asclepiodotus that did most of the fighting on land and in fact it was they who defeated and killed Allectus during the decisive battle. Constantius subsequently entered the city of London to proclaim his conquest as restorer of the eternal light of the Roman Empire: Redditor Lucis Aeternae.

[Constantius medallion photo]

This is a photograph of the reverse of a bronze copy of the famous ten aurei multiple (RIC VOLUME VI, TREVERI, No. 34), the original of which presently resides in the museum at Arras, commemorating the restoration of Britain to the Roman Empire by Constantius in 296. It depicts the personification of Londinium (LON) kneeling and supplicating to Constantius (on horseback) outside of the City Fortification while a galley with Roman soldiers waits on the river Thames. The inscription REDDITOR LVCIS AETERNAE proclaims Constantius as the restorer of the eternal light (of Rome). The Treveri (Trier) mint mark (PTR) is in the exergue.

Bastien records the original (unique) coin as No. 218 in his book on the Arras Hoard and mentions that galvano copies were made and sold by the Paris coin dealer Bourgey. At a weight of 23.0 grams, I think the copy depicted here was cast in bronze from one of those galvano copies. There appear to be numerous other copies in circulation in a variety of metals - brass/bronze, silver, gold, gilded copper, etc. Following are obverse and reverse depictions with attribution information:

Original unique coin attribution: RIC VOLUME VI (Treveri) No. 34

[Constantius medallion photo] [Constantius medallion photo]
FL VAL CONSTANTIVS NOBIL CAES ............. REDDITOR LVCIS AETERNAE
LON (right) PTR (exergue)


actual size of this coin copy

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