Celtic Coinage of Britain

third edition

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Plate 11

Atrebates, Regni & Belgae    (Info)

Early Uninscribed Coinages    (Info)



Atrebatic Abstract    Uninscribed Silver    Atrebatic B    





Atrebatic Abstract    Uninscribed Bronze    Atrebatic B

V320-01 new



Coins Deleted from the Catalogue    (Info)



Note: the next four Plates have been reserved for future Atrebatic, Regnan & Belgic Uninscribed Types












Atrebates, Regni & Belgae Uninscribed Coinage


Imported Gaulish staters were the first coins used by the three tribes. Large Flan, Abstract Design and Gallic War Type coins are known from the tribal territory. The tribe began striking INSULAR TYPES sometime during the 60s B.C. These are heavier than their Gaulish prototypes, but lower in gold content. Around 55 B.C, the tribe struck the WESTERHAM TYPE staters, apparently a short-lived issue. The Westerham Type was replaced by the lighter ATREBATIC ABSTRACT TYPE later in the Gallic War.


The tribe produced an enormous number of staters and quarters during the war. At the time Commius was in collaboratation with Caesar, the tribe may have been part a scheme against the Durotriges, who had contacts with tribes in Brittany. They also may have received aid from the Romans seeking war materiel.




Coins Deleted from the Catalogue


Several coins have been deleted from the uninscribed types catalogued in this section. Three coins in Mack's Coinage of Ancient Britain, numbers 86, 87 and 87a, have been removed. Both M86 and M87 have been described as "British or Gaulish" in the past.


M87 is now suspected to be a Gaulish type. Similar coins with a boar under a horse have been found during excavations at Fanum de Chilly, France. The only example of M87 published was found at Richborough, Kent and a Kentish Cast Bronze coin was found at Fanum de Chilly, suggesting trade may have brought the Gaulish coin to Kent. M87a is a definite Fanum de Chilly type. M86, possibly carrying an image of Cernunnos, is also probably Gaulish. The long-legged horse is unusual for southern British coinage, but is completely at home amongst Gaulish types.


Many new types found in southern Britain, especially in Sussex and Hampshire, have not been added to this section of the catalogue. Silver units with pairs of animals back-to-back are similar to ones from Fanum de Chilly and are thus believed to be Gaulish. One has opposed birds above a boar on the obverse and a boar above a deer on the reverse. Another has opposed horses on the obverse and a triple-tailed horse on the reverse. This one, having a triple-tailed horse, is the most likely of these coins to be British.

A silver unit with a facing Cernunnos on the obverse awaits authentication via metallurgical analysis. Many new types have been reported since 1994, which require careful analysis and reflection. Most of this new material has been included in the section entitled "New Material".






286 - 01     Danebury Type

50-45 B.C.      Extremely Rare

Silver Unit    14 mm


Earliest Record: Van Arsdell, 1989 (Danebury 1984)


OBV: Celticized dragon right

Identifying points:

    1) dragon surrounded by pellet-in-ring motifs and crescents

    2) pellet-in-ring motif for head

    3) curved, serpent-like neck


REV: Celticized horse left

Identifying points:

    1) pellet-in-ring motif in front of horse

    2) rings near head

    3) dahlia above horse

    4) cog wheel and two pellets below horse





  - Simon Bean suggests the dragon is a horse






288 - 01    Danebury Type

50-45 B.C.      Extremely Rare

Silver Unit    14 mm


Earliest Record: Van Arsdell, 1989 (Danebury 1984)


OBV: Celticized boar left

Identifying points:

    1) three crescents above boar

    2) lines of pellets above boar

    3) large pellet inside ring of pellets below boar


REV: Celticized horse left

Identifying points:

    1) small rings around horse

    2) pellet-in-ring motif behind horse

    3) wheel above horse





  - Most are in museums






290 - 01    Danebury Type

50-45 B.C.      Extremely Rare

Silver Unit 12 mm


Earliest Record: Van Arsdell, 1989 (Danebury 1984)


OBV: Crossed wreaths

Identifying points:

    1) pellet-in-ring motif in centre

    2) crescents and pellets in angles of wreath


REV: Celticized horse left

Identifying points:

    1) dahlia above horse

    2) pellet below tail








292 - 01     Danebury Type

50-45 B.C.      Scarce

Silver Unit    12 mm


Earliest Record: Van Arsdell, 1989 (Danebury 1984)


OBV: Celticized head left

Identifying points:

    1) head in outline form

    2) semicircle with pellet for eye

    3) three pellets in front of mouth

    4) four corded lines for hair


REV: Celticized horse right

Identifying points:

    1) spiral above horse

    2) ring below horse

    3) ring in front of horse's neck neck

    4) fanlike object below horse







V293-01 new was 482-01

293 - 01    Uninscribed Type

50-45 B.C.      Very Rare

Silver Minim    0.3 gms.    8 mm


Earliest Record: Evans, 1864


OBV: Geometric pattern

Identifying points:

    1) square with concave sides

    2) central pellet-in-ring motif

    3) pellet-in-ring motif to each side of square


REV: Celticized horse left

Identifying points:

    1) pellet-in-ring motif below horse

    2) wheel above horse, probably has six spokes





  - Many found at Wanborough

  - Celtic Coin Index records indicate rarer than originally thought – fewer found at Wanborough than previously reported

  - Original rarity estimate had been provided via trade survey

  - Initially Evans associated this coin (previously 482 - 01) with some silver types of Verica, but it has long been thought an earlier type. Simon Bean has reasonably assigned it to the period just before Commius.





V320-01 new

320 - 01    Chichester Cock Type

50-45 B.C.       Scarce

Bronze Unit    19 mm    3.0 gms.


Earliest Record: Evans, 1858


OBV: Head right

Identifying points:

    1) bearded head

    2) curved lines for hair

    3) circle for ear


REV: Rooster right

Identifying points:

    1) rooster has human face on chest

    2) sunflower behind rooster

    3) pellet-in-ring motif in front of rooster





  - Reverse image could be interpreted as a head right with rooster headress

  - One example analyzed metallurgically proved to be bronze




Coinage of the Atrebates, Regni & Belgae


The Atrebates, Regni and Belgae occupied the territory that is today Berkshire, Sussex and Hampshire. Whether three distinct political groups struck coins cannot be proven today, nor can separate territories be demonstrated. The Regni are virtually unknown to history until the Roman period, and the tribal area of the Belgae is a matter of controversy. Though Belgic immigration is mentioned by Caesar, he does not specifically say where they settled, and we only have the Roman name Venta Belgarum to suggest a location. The Atrebates, also mentioned by Caesar, had tribal members on both sides of the Channel.


Traditionally, the three tribes have been treated numismatically as one. Based on the current state of research, there is no reason to change this approach. Attempts have been made to identify a separate coinage for the Belgae. These have been largely, but not entirely, based on reports of new types of silver coins published in numismatic trade lists since 1994. The coins do not appear to form a coherent issue of a single issuing authority and questions exist regarding their precise status. These enigmatic coins demand careful analysis and reflection before they are accepted as evidence for a Belgic coinage. Certainly, after the Gallic War, only one coinage circulated in the territory. It may someday come to pass that coinages for the Belgae and Regni can be identified, but only after a rigorous analysis of the new types has been completed. Most of these are listed under "New Material". For the remainder of this discussion the three tribes will be referred to simply as the "Atrebates" for the sake of brevity.


Initially, the three tribes constituted one of the most advanced groups in Britain. They had trading contacts with Belgic Gaul in the late second and early first centuries B.C., and were one of the earliest to strike coins. The earliest stater, the INSULAR TYPE struck before the Gallic War, is derived from imported Gallo-Belgic C. The next coinage, the WESTERHAM TYPE, is now felt to be inspired by the Trinovantian/Catuvellaunian coinage of the same name, struck during the Gallic War. After the war, the tribal position changed dramatically, and the Atrebates may have fallen out of favour with the Romans. It is possible the cross-Channel trading rights were given to the Trinovantes/Catuvellauni instead. A loss of trading rights may have been the result of Commius' activities during the War.


Commius, at first a supporter of Caesar, became disillusioned with the Romans and went over to Vercingetorix. After the collapse of Celtic resistance at Alesia, he fled to join the British part of his tribe. Later, the Atrebates struck coins with his name, and possibly the acceptance of Commius in Britain was the reason they fell out of favour. The change in trading rights altered the relative fortunes of the two tribes forever. By the end of the millennium, the Trinovantes/Catuvellauni had economic influence throughout southern Britain and had begun to rival the Atrebates.


The Atrebates seized the opportunity of the Trinovantian/Catuvellaunian Interregnum to mount a military incursion into Kent under their leader, Eppillus. Eppillus struck a victory stater commemorating the initial success of the expedition. The incursion was cut short, however, by the elevation of Cunobeline to the Trinovantian/Catuvellaunian throne. He drove the Atrebates out of Kent and Eppillus promptly disappeared. He is replaced on the coins by Verica, a self-styled 'son of Commius'.


Sometime before the Claudian invasion, Verica was in turn overthrown. He probably was the historical Celtic leader 'Bericus' who appeared in Rome seeking aid from Claudius. Verica was replaced on the coins by Epaticcus, who styled himself a 'son of Tasciovanus'. Whether the family-tie was real is not so important, the result was the Atrebatic leadership was now held by a Trinovantian/Catuvellaunian sympathizer. Shortly before the Claudian invasion, Epaticcus was replaced by Caratacus, the famous leader of the British resistance against the Roman invaders. The Atrebatic coinage came to an end during the forties, as Caratacus fled westwards to lead the resistance amongst the tribes in Wales. One Atrebatic leader known to history, Cogidubnus, has not yet been identified on the coinage. It seems he was not elevated to leadership until the coinage had come to an end.


The oppidum of Calleva, Silchester today, was the site of an Atrebatic mint, and the name Calleva appears on coins of Eppillus. Other leaders may have had mints elsewhere, but none have been identified. Plausible mint sites for separate Belgic or Regnan coinages have not been identified.

Copyright R. D. Van Arsdell 2017