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Plate 71   Trinovantes & Catuvellauni  <info 1>  < 2 >  < 3 >  < 4 >

Page 4

The tribe operated two mints, one at Verulamium, the other at Camulodunum. Initially, the Verulamium mint produced most of the coins, but it was overshadowed by Camulodunum in the first century A.D. The remains of both mints have been found during archaeological excavations.

It has long been asserted Caesar gave coin-manufacturing assistance during his visit in 54 B.C., because the coins of the period display Romanizing influences. Training was probably unnecessary, however, because the moneyers would have been expert metal-workers already. The die-cutting on Whaddon Chase staters is excellent, but surprisingly, the dies were cut in soft metal. They broke up quickly and many of the existing pieces show die-damage. Sometimes depressions appear where the die surface heaved up during punching. Normally, the heaved surfaces would have been planed off, but this was not done for some reason. All this suggests that the minting was hurried, not unusual for a time of war.

The Trinovantes/Catuvellauni continued to produce coins after the War, and there appears to be little reduction in the amount produced. A silver coinage started either during the War or just after. Shortly after Commius placed his name on the Atrebatic/Regnan coinage, the tribe began its own dynastic series, probably around 40 B.C. By this time the tribe was producing bronze coins for small change, as well as gold and silver. The series of inscribed coins gives the names of the successive tribal leaders for the next eighty years.

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THURROCK TYPE cast bronzes are occasionally found as single finds in Essex. A few have been found in the Thames River and one coin was found in Dorset. Many single finds and one small hoard have been found in Kent, prompting some to the conclusion they are a Kentish issue. The coins cannot have been used for a very long time. Three interpretations are likely: 1) they have a Gaulish origin and were briefly imported, 2) they have a British origin and represent the first coinage of the Trinovantes/Catuvellauni, or 3) they are a Kentish issue. Although similar coins are reported from the Continent (Castelin, 1978, numbers 477 to 485), they are not sufficiently alike to have a common Gaulish origin. Thus, of the three interpretations, the Gaulish origin appears the least likely. The Thurrock Hoard, representing a complete corpus of the series, would have been very difficult to assemble outside the mint – it very well may be a hoard of mint scrap. Thus, the suggestion here is that the Thurrock Hoard was produced in the vicinity of the findspot – the coins representing a Trinovantian/Catuvellaunian issue.

Thurrock Types appear to have been influenced by the Prototype Period cast bronzes of the Cantii, dating them about l00 to 90 B.C. Within twenty years, the tribe was striking its own gold coinage.
The Trinovantes/Catuvellauni were one of the earliest tribes to begin striking gold staters, with the introduction of the CLACTON TYPE about 70 B.C. A hoard of these was found with Ambiani Abstract Type staters at Clacton beach. This type, like all the early types struck in Britain was, short-lived—submerged by the large influx of Gallic War staters. About the middle of the war, the tribe began to strike the WHADDON CHASE TYPE, and continued to produce coins until the Claudian invasion a hundred years later.

The Trinovantes/Catuvellauni apparently collaborated with the Romans during the War. They probably did this by hampering trade between the Durotriges and the Armorican tribes, by competing for supplies within Britain. They may have delivered supplies directly to the Roman army, as well. The tribe obtained a large amount of gold for this effort and evidently became the recipient of wine-trading rights with the Romans. This favour ultimately gave the tribe an economic superiority over all the other tribes in the southeast after the war.

Continued….

Page 2

But what was this group group?

That two tribes existed is not in doubt. Caesar mentions the Trinovantes in his Gallic War commentaries, stating they were probably the most powerful tribe in southern Britain. The Catuvellauni are mentioned on an inscribed Roman stone from Hadrian's wall. There were two minting centres in the territory, at the tribal oppida of Verulamium and Camulodunum, suggesting two political centres existed. However, the coinage is a unified one since the two tribal groups must have merged into a single economic unit before they started producing coins.

As a result, the tribes cannot be distinguished numismatically, and they are referred to as the Trinovantes/Catuvellauni. For all practical purposes, by the introduction of the Whaddon Chase Type about 55 B.C., they had come to act as one economically, and perhaps had been doing so as early as 125 B.C.
The inscribed coinage argues in addition for political unity by 40 B.C. The dynastic coins show an orderly succession of rulers, except for a brief period around the turn of the millenium. This appears to have been an Interregnum, during which the succession was disputed.

The Trinovantes/Catuvellauni occupied the entire territory immediately north of the Thames. They were bounded on the north-east by the Iceni, on the south by the Cantii and Atrebates/Regni, on the north the by the Corieltauvi, and on the west, probably, by the Dobunni. Thus, they were in physical contact with all the tribes of the south-east, and in a position to exert influence.
By 125 B.C.. they were importing coins from the Ambiani on the Continent, and shared the cross-Channel trade with the Cantii and Atrebates/Regni. Large Flan, Defaced Die and Abstract Type gold coins are found throughout their territory in quantity.

When the Cantii began casting bronze coins about 100 B.C., the Trinovantes/Catuvellauni followed this lead and produced their own cast coinage for a brief period. In the early 1980s a small hoard of unusual cast bronze coins was dispersed in Europe, about 100 to 300 pieces with an alleged 'Folkestone findspot'. At first this was dismissed as incorrect, and the coins branded Gaulish. However, during the late summer of 1987 a hoard of about 2,000 cast bronzes, including the unusual type, were found in a pit in the vicinity of West Thurrock, Essex.

The coins occurred in at least sixteen varieties, with a reasonable typological progression. One coin had a large protrusion of flash which would have broken off had the coin been moved any great distance. In general, the hoard appeared to be made up of coins collected by a mint, perhaps for remelting. No other evidence of minting activity was noted at the site, but it appears the mint cannot have been far away.

Continued….

Page 1

Coinage of the Trinovantes/Catuvellauni

Traditionally, the Trinovantes and Catuvellauni were considered distinct tribes, each with its own coinage. An elaborate history, written from the coin inscriptions, described a long intertribal warfare. The Trinovantes received blow after devastating blow from the warlike Catuvellauni and lost Camulodunum, their tribal capital, several times in the process.

The evidence was founded partially on Caesar's writings – the ruler of the Trinovantes had been killed by Cassivellaunus. Cassivellaunus was assumed to be a ruler of the Catuvellauni, though Caesar never stated so. The rest of the support came from an analysis of the findspots of the Dynastic coins.

Today, this history is considered a myth – the coin evidence no longer supports continual internecine warfare north of the Thames. Cassivellaunus' tribal origin is not mentioned by any contemporary writer and there is no indication he was the ruler of the Catuvellauni. The similarity of the tribal and personal names is coincidence, not a link between the two. Furthermore, recent analyses of the findspot distributions indicate the coins circulated farther afield than previously thought. The territory north of the Thames can no longer be separated into two distinct coin-using zones.

Instead, the coinage is seen today as that of a single economic group— coin types appear in succession and circulate not only throughout the area immediately north of the Thames, but into Icenian and Cantian territory as well. Metrology and typology show the inscriptions on the dynastic issues are those of successive rulers, not contemporary adversaries.

In general, the picture today is of a powerful, united tribe occupying the area north of the Thames. This unified tribe had economic influence beyond its borders which increased throughout the period of the coinage. The tribal group ultimately controlled the economy of the Cantii, and to a lesser extent the economies of the Iceni and Atrebates/Regni.

But what was this group group?

Continued….

Earlier Dynastic Issues    <info>     Tasciovanus    <info>

The Coinage of Tasciovanus

Dubnovellaunus-in-Essex is followed by Tasciovanus, who adds his name to
the silver and bronze coins, as well as the gold. Tasciovanus' coins show a bewildering variety of types, with increasingly Romanized images.

At the end of the reign, Tasciovanus' name was linked with others and there was a period in which several new names appeared alone. The departure of Tasciovanus from the throne, evidently without a strong successor, resulted in a contest for the tribal leadership. An Interregnum ensued throughout the south-east of Britain. Several rulers of neighbouring tribes disappeared at the time and there was military activity in Kent involving the Atrebates/Regni/Belgae, during which Trinovantian/Catuvellaunian coins ceased to circulate amongst the Cantii. Peace was restored upon the elevation of Cunobeline to the throne about 10 A.D.

Two mints were in operation during Tasciovanus' reign, with Verulamium and Camulodunum both striking gold coins with mint names. The coinage is divided into three issues, distinguished by the increasing Romanization of the staters. Privy-marking, if used during this period, is difficult to identify because of the wide variety of types. The sequence of issues is not completely proven and represents an opportunity for original research.

Tasciovanus managed to maintain the weight of the stater near the 5.6 gramme standard of his predecessor, but during the Interregnum this drops to 5.4. Some of the participants in the struggle for the throne had to issue light weight staters and others were unable to issue gold coins at all. Some of the coins may represent local issues struck in emergencies, signaling the temporary absence of a central coin-producing authority.

It was once thought the coins inscribed ANDOCO were those of a western ruler, and those inscribed DUBNOVELLAUNUS an eastern one, proving the existence of two tribes, the Catuvellauni and the Trinovantes. However, the findspot distributions of these coins arc now seen to be more dispersed than initially thought, and it is probably too much to read a political division from them. Andoco and Dubnovellaunus-in-Essex are almost certainly sequential rulers.

The Trinovantian/Catuvellaunian coinage displayed a great diversity of types under Tasciovanus. The use of bronze coinage came into extensive use as the tribe's fortune steadily improved and a thriving economy demanded increasing quantities of small change. Although Cunobeline is credited with the great prosperity of the next century, clearly this has its roots in the reign of Tasciovanus, and probably earlier.

The tribe's influence had begun to expand in southern Britain during the rule of Addedomaros and this grows under Dubnovellaunus and Tasciovanus. It appears the time from 55 B.C. to 43 A.D is one of those episodes in British history in which a succession of strong, capable rulers created flourishing growth and prosperity. The reigns of Addedomaros, Dubnovellaunus, Tasciovanus and Cunobeline deserve recognition as one of the great dynasties.

Early Dynastic Issues of the Trinovantes and Catuvellauni

In 1944, Derek Allen published an analysis of the inscribed coins of Ancient Britain. This drew heavily on the findspot distributions of the various issues and enabled him to assign rulers to territories with better precision than had hitherto been possible. Allen thus completed the process begun by William Stukeley in the 1720's, and carried on by Akerman, Poste, Evans and Brooke.

In 1951, C. E. Stevens elaborated Allen's work by adding historical data. The resulting story presented a dramatic picture of Ancient Britain after Caesar's invasions. It described rulers interacting with Rome, squabbling amongst themselves, and generally engaging in endemic warfare. Some tribal rulers were deposed and fled to Rome for protection. A vivid imagination could allow one to see hoards of woad-painted warriors streaming back and forth between St. Albans and Colchester. It was a popular image, perpetuating the story of the Celtic tribes as primitive barbarians, ready to be included in the Roman Empire and receive the benefits of civilization.

Not everyone was satisfied with this story and the supporting details. C.F.C. Hawkes' annotated copy of Stevens' paper is covered with pencilled-in objections to Stevens' analysis. But the story was so attractive, it became the accepted wisdom of the 1950's and 60's.

By the mid-1970's too many questions were being raised, by Warwick Rodwell and others, and these brought the doubts to the fore. By 1989, in writing Celtic Coinage of Britain, most of the story was thrown out, and replaced with a "Simple Version". Two large areas, one south and one north of the Thames were ruled by a profusion of rulers in succession. A multiplicity of issuing authorities were replaced with just two – the Trinovantes/Catuvellauni and the Atrebates/Regni. The opinion was that the findspot distributions had been over-interpreted and the multiplicity of tribes could not be disentangled.

This story was, in turn, not accepted by everyone. Many wanted to retain much of the Allen-Stevens version. People were willing to go as far as ignoring the evidence to do this. Although the coinage of Addedomaros was admittedly found throughout the region north of the Thames, it was possible for one writer to "still suspect" a Catuvellaunian origin.

In 2000 and 2006, John Creighton offered a "Third Vision" of the tribal situation. This suggests a much greater role for Rome in manipulating British rulers, with British Kings perhaps raised as "obsides" in Rome. It suggests that Rome may have given military assistance to some British Rulers before the invasion of 43 A.D. It also sensibly suggests that "conquests" by one ruler over another may be little more than alliances arranged peaceably via marriages between households.

Which story is the best? Those that are most elaborate should require the most analytical support. Most of the support for multiple issuing authorities comes from findspot distributions. A careful reading of Warwick Rodwell's 1981 paper will show how dangerous this is. The findspots maps do not define where the coins were made – they define where the coins went out circulation at best. At the worst, they merely show "where people have gone looking for coins". An objection, seldom discussed, is the enormous "void" in the maps for the Greater London Area. London and its suburbs have largely obliterated any possible evidence. Such a distortion could easily create an Eastern and Western distribution, when in fact, none actually existed. Finally, the suspicion that the findspot maps have more to say about economic matters than political ones, should be taken seriously.

So which version to use, the Allen-Stevens "Endemic Warfare" one, the Celtic Coinage of Britain "Simple Version", or Creighton's "Third Vision"? Frankly, all three must be recognized for what they are - interpretations based on insufficient and sometimes unreliable data. Despite much posturing, there is little to choose between them, and certainly no proof that one is better than the others. Because this catalogue attempts to offer a picture of the structure of Ancient British Coinage, rather than just a set of photos with identification numbers, it has to choose a model. Consequently, it continues to use the "Simple Version" proposed in 1989. It admits the possibility that a more textured version may be a truer picture, and recognizes the useful contribution of Creighton to the unfolding debate.

 

Tasciovanus First Coinage    <info>  

Tasciovanus First Coinage

Tasciovanus' first coins are distinguished by staters with Celticized horses and the crossed wreath motif. These have their inspiration in the Middle Whaddon Chase Types.

An innovation on the obverse, however, gives us one of the few examples seen on coins of the "Celtic joke". In many examples of Celtic decorative art, a face is hidden in what is otherwise an abstract pattern. The viewer is challenged to find it, and once he does, he never fails to see it on subsequent viewings having become privy to the joke. The first coinage staters all have a pair of faces hidden in the crossed Apollo wreath, made up of a pair of pelle-tin-ring motifs for eyes, a pellet for a nose, and a small crescent for a mouth.

The silver and bronze issues of the First Coinage have been defined as the Celticized types, with the Romanized coins assigned to the Second and Third Coinages.

Bronze Coins1705.011707.011707.031709.01

1707.03

1707 - 03    Tasciovanus First Coinage    25-20 B.C.    ER
Bronze Unit    2.3 gms.    17 mm

Earliest Record: Van Arsdell, 1989

OBV: Celticized head right
Identifying points:
     1) as 1707 - 01, but inscription is VER (instead of VERL)

REV: Celticized horse left
Identifying points:
     1) as 1707 - 01, but inscription is VER (instead of VIIR)

CLASSIFICATION: Trinovantian M

NOTES: Verulamium mint.
                The reverse design is adapted from a Roman denarius of L. Rusticus.

Blank1711.011713.011715.011717.01

1717.01

1717 - 01    Tasciovanus First Coinage    25-20 B.C.    ER
Bronze Unit    1.3 gms.    15 mm

Earliest Record: Mack, 1975

OBV: Inscription and uncertain objects
Identifying points:
     1) VER or VERL below line

REV: Celticized horse right
Identifying points:
     1) horse is grazing
     2) crescent above horse
     3) ring above horse, may actually be a pellet-in-ring motif

CLASSIFICATION: Trinovantian M

NOTES: Coin is too poorly preserved to identify obverse image.
                Verulamium mint.
                The reverse design may be adapted from Ptolemaic seals. Also, an                       intaglio from Corbridge, and seals from Edfu and Cyrene carry                       similar devices.

1715.01

1715 - 01    Tasciovanus First Coinage    25-20 B.C.    ER
Bronze Unit    13 mm

Earliest Records: Birch 1847, Neville 1847, 1849a, Evans 1864

OBV: Celticized head left
Identifying points:
     1) head similar to that on 1705 - 01, but faces opposite direction
     2) VER in front of face

REV: Celticized goat right
Identifying points:
     1) pellet-in-ring motif below animal
     2) wind flower above animal

CLASSIFICATION: Trinovantian M

NOTES: Verulamium mint.
                Some in museums.

1713.01

1713 - 01    Tasciovanus First Coinage    25-20 B.C.    ER
Bronze Unit    2.3 gms.    16 mm

Earliest Record: Evans, 1864

OBV: Pattern of crossed lines
Identifying points:
     1) cruciform pattern made up of lines, pellets and rings
     2) pellets in field

REV: Boar right
Identifying points:
     1) crescent above boar
     2) VER below boar

CLASSIFICATION: Trinovantian M

NOTES: Verulamium mint.
                Some in museums.

1711.01

1711 - 01    Tasciovanus First Coinage    25-20 B.C.    ER
Bronze Unit    2.3 gms.    14 mm

Earliest Record: Evans, 1864

OBV: Celticized head right
Identifying points:
     1) as 1707 - 01 but different inscription
     2) TASC in front of lace

REV: Celticized Pegasus left
Identifying points:
     1) pellet-in-ring motifs above and in front of Pegasus
     2) three elongated pellets above Pegasus appear to be disintegrated                bucranium

CLASSIFICATION: Trinovantian M

NOTES: Verulamium mint.
                Some in museums.

1709.01

1709 - 01    Tasciovanus First Coinage    25-20 B.C.    ER
Bronze Unit    2.4 gms.    14 mm

Earliest Record: Evans, 1864

OBV: Celticized head right
Identifying points:
     1) as 1707 - 03

REV: Celticized horse left
Identifying points:
     1) pellet-in-ring motif above horse
     2) probable sunflower in front of horse
     3) TAS below horse
     4) exergual line below

CLASSIFICATION: Trinovantian M

NOTES: Verulamium mint.
               Many in museums.
               Mack declined to identify animal as a horse.

1707.01

1707 - 01    Tasciovanus First Coinage    25-20 B.C.    ER
Bronze Unit    2.3-2.6 gms.    15 mm

Earliest Record: Evans, 1864

OBV: Celticized head right
Identifying points:
     1) similar to 1705 - 01
     2) head somewhat more lifelike
     3) VERL in front of face

REV: Celticized horse left
Identifying points:
     1) pellet-in-ring motif above horse
     2) sunflower in front of horse
     3) VIIR below horse
     4) exergual line below

CLASSIFICATION: Trinovantian M

NOTES: Verulamium mint.
               Many in museums.
               The reverse design is adapted from a Roman
                     denarius of L. Rusticus.

1705.01

1705 - 01    Tasciovanus First Coinage    25-20 B.C.    ER
Bronze Unit    1.9 gms.    15 mm

Earliest Record: Evans, 1864

OBV: Celticized heads right, jugate
Identifying points:
     1) hair made up of short curves
     2) pellets for mouth
     3) hook for ear

REV: Celticized ram left
Identifying points:
     1) wild flowers around ram
     2) TASC above ram
     3) pellet-in-ring motif above ram

CLASSIFICATION: Trinovantian M

NOTES: Mint is not identified, but is probably Verulamium.
                Many in museums.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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