Britannia, by William Camden

British COINS.

Small I IT is probable, you will expect that I should make some short remarks upon the Coins which I have here represented. But for my part, I freely declare my self at a loss, what to say to things so much obscur’d by age; and you, when you read these conjectures, will plainly perceive that I have grop’d in the dark.

I have observ’d before from CæsarCaesar , that the ancient Britains used brass-money, or rings, or plates of iron by weight; and there are those who affirm, that they have found some of these in urns. Besides which, there are found in this Island, Coins of gold, silver, and brass, of several shapes and weight; most of them hollow on one side: some without letters, others with letters curiously engraved. And I could never hear that such were dug-up in other Countries; till † † So said, ann. 1607.of late, Nicholas Faber Petrascius (a noble young Gentleman of Provence in France; who has great knowledge and sagacity in the Study of Coins,) shewed me some such, that had been found in France. But to come to those which I have here given you.

Nummi Britannici Coins table 1
Table 1: Nummi Britannici Coins

1. The first is Cunobeline’s, who flourish’d under Augustus and Tiberius; upon which (if I mistake not) are engraven the head of Janus, possibly, because at that time Britain began to be a little refined from its barbarity. For Janus is said to have first chang’d barbarity into humanity; and for that reason, to be painted with two faces, as having in effect chang’d the same visage into another form.

⌈If it be a Janus (says Mr. Walker) I had rather apply it to the shutting of Janus’s Temple by Augustus; in whose time Cunobeline liv’d at Rome; and both himself and the Britains were benefited by that general peace. But I fear, that is not the head of Janus; for the faces upon his Temple and Coins were divers, one old, the other young; but this seems made for two young women’s faces, whether Cunobeline’s wives, sisters, or children, I know not.⌉

2. The second likewise is Cunobeline’s, with his face and name; and on the reverse the mint-master, with the addition of the word TASCIA; which in British signifies a Tribute-Penny (as I am inform’d by David Powel, a person admirably skill’d in that language;) so call’d, perhaps, from the Latin Taxatio; for the Britains do not use the letter X. And on the same account, we often see Moneta upon the Roman Coins.

3. The third is also the same Cunobeline’s, with a horse and CUNO; and with an ear of corn, and CAMV. which seems to stand for Camalodunum, the palace of Cunobeline.

⌈I conceive (says Mr. Walker) the horse was so frequently stamped upon their Coins, because of their extraordinary goodness in this country (the like is upon divers Cities and Provinces in Gallia:) or, to shew, that they were, in their own opinion, excellent horse-men. The Boar also, and Bull, were Emblems of strength, courage, and fierceness: and I find that anciently the Romans used for their Ensigns, horses, wolves, bears, &c. till Caius Marius’s third Consulship, who then first ordained the Eagle only to be the standing Ensign of the Legions: as Trajan, after the Dacian War, set up Dragons for Ensigns of the Cohorts.⌉

4. The fourth, by the VER, should seem to have been coin’d at Verulam.

5. The fifth likewise, is Cunobeline’s.

6. The sixth, having no Inscription, I know nothing of.

⌈The horse (as Mr. Walker thought) seems fasten’d by one fore and the opposite hinder-foot, to some weight; as if it signified the invention of one of their Princes, to teach them some pace or motion. The wheel under him, amongst the Romans, intimated the making of an High-way for Carts: So many of which being in the Romans time made in this country, well deserved such a memorial.⌉

7. The seventh, which is Cunobelin’s, with this Inscription Tasc Novanei, and a woman’s head, I dare not directly affirm to have been the Tribute-money of the Trinovantes, who were under his government. ⌈Mr. Walker thinks, the Novanei may denote some unknown City in the Dominion of Cunobeline.⌉ ¦ ¦ Reverse, a Hog and Wolf concorporated, says Mr. Walker.Apollo with his harp and the name of Cunobeline on the reverse, bring to my mind what I have somewhere observ’d of the God Belinus; namely, that the ancient Gauls worship’d Apollo under the name of Belinus. And this is confirmed by Dioscorides; who expresly says, that the Herba Apollinarus (in the juice whereof the Gauls used to dip their arrows) was call’d in Gaulish Belinuntia. From which I durst almost make this inference, that the name of Cunobeline, as also that of Cassibilin, came originally from the worship of Apollo; as well as PhœbitiusPhoebitius and Delphidius. Unless one should rather say, that as Apollo, for his yellow hair, was called by the Greeks Greek text, and by the Latins Flavus; so he was call’d by the Britains and Gauls, Belin: Since a man of a yellow complexion, is in British call’d Melin, Belin, Felin; and for that reason, the ancient names of Belin, Cunobelin, and Cassibelin (called also Cassivellaun,) seem to import as much as Yellow Princes. For the Britains tell you, that CUNO is a name of dignity; and at this day they call a thing that is principal or chief, Cynoc. That it was a term of honour, is evident from Cungetorix, Cunobelinus, Cuneglasus, Cuneda, and Cunedagius, among the Britains; and Cyngetorix, Convictolitanus, and Conteodunus, among the ancient Gauls: all, names of Princes. And I know too, that tho’ Gildas renders Cuneglasus in Latin Lanio fulvus or furvus, i.e. a deep yellow or black butcher, yet he is called by others a sky or glass-colour’d Prince: as they also interpret Cuneda, a good Prince. But that the German Koning, and our King, came from this Cuno, I have yet no ground to believe. In the mean time, I am content to have sported thus far in a variety of Conjectures only, that I might not, by being positive, make my self a sport to others.

boadicea8. The eighth has a † Essedarius equus.Chariot-horse with a wheel underneath; and, by the BODVO on the reverse, seems to have belong’d to the people of the Boduni, or to Queen Bodicia; called also Voadicia, and Bunduica.

9. The ninth, is one on horse-back with a spear and shield; and CAERATIC in scattered letters: from which I should guess it to be a Coin of that warlike Caratacus, so much commended by Tacitus.

⌈The Britains (saith Mr. Walker) called him Caradauc, and gave him the Epithets Uric fras, strong-arms. But others read it Epatica; which may keep its native signification, since we find Parsly, the Palm, Vine, Myrtle, Cynoglossum, Laserpitium, and other plants, sometimes figured, sometimes only named, upon Coins; as you may see in Spanhemius.⌉

10. The tenth, on one side whereof is written REX under a man on horseback, and COM on the other; seems to me and others to be a Coin of Comius Atrebatensis, whom Cæsarcaesar mentions. ⌈But (says Mr. Walker) I cannot conceive this to have been Comius, made by Cæsar King of the Atrebates (Arras;) because he seems not to have had any power in Britain, where the greatest part of his stay was in prison; and at his return into his own country he headed a rebellion against the Romans. Besides, in other Coins it is Comm. which either signifies that some City, or other Community, coined it; or that it was stamped in the time of Commodus the Emperor. For I cannot think that it signified Commorus; by Gregorius Turonensis, or Venantius Fortunatus, named Duke of Britannia Armorica. A. C. 550.⌉

11. The eleventh, which has on it a little half-moon with this Inscription REX CALLE, may well relate to Callena, a famous City.

12. The twelfth has a winged head, with the word ATEVLA; and on the Reverse a Lion, with this Inscription VLATOS. All my enquiry after the meaning of these words, has been in vain. Only, I have seen the Goddess Victoria in the very same figure upon the Roman Coins; but do not yet find that the Britains ever called Victory ATEVLA. That they nam’d Victory Andate, I have already observ’d from Dio; but whether that was the same with ANDARTA, who was worship’d by the Vocontii in Gaul, I leave to the Judgment of others.

13. Here also you see the thirteenth, with the word DIAS in a Pentagon; and on the reverse, a horse.

⌈This (says Mr. Walker, who speaks of it as an Octogon) seems to have been the Coin of a Christian Prince; for by it the Christians anciently figured the Font for baptism. In Gruter’s Inscriptions † † Pag.1166.are verses of St. Ambrose, upon the Font of St. Tecla,

Octogonus fons est munere dignus eo.
Hoc numero decuit sacri baptismatis aulam
Surgere, quo populo vera salus rediit

The Font an Octogon, deserves the honour.
A number, which befits that sacred Vessel,
Wherein Salvation is restor’d to Man.

And it is a common observation, that as six was the number of Antichrist, so eight, of true Christianity.⌉

14. The fourteenth, with a hog, and this inscription VANOC; and the head of a Goddess, possibly of Venus, or of † † So, Speed.Venutius, mentioned by Tacitus, ⌈as a valiant King of the Brigantes, and married to Cartismandua, who betrayed the noble and gallant Caractacus. Mr. Walker thinks the other side to be a wolf and boar, two fierce beasts joyned together, and the head of a town or city, and so Vano Civit.⌉

15. The fifteenth, a head with a helmet upon it, and DVRNACO; but whether he was that Dumnacus, a Prince of the Andes, whom Cæsar mentions, I know not. ⌈Durnacum (says Mr. Walker) is the City of Tournay, and the head is, as they usually decipher Cities.⌉

16. The sixteenth, with a horse, and ORCETI, which (says Mr. Walker) if rightly spell’d, is some City unknown to us. On the other side, is a Woman’s head.⌉

17. The seventeenth, the Image of Augustus, and Tascia; on the reverse, a bull pushing.

18. The eighteenth, CVNO within a laurel Crown; and on the reverse, a horse, with TASCE.

I have likewise seen another with Pegasus and CAMV; and on the reverse, a man’s head with an helmet, and a shield between ears of corn, and CVNO. Another, with a horse ill-shap’d, and EISV, perhaps ISVRIVS; and on the reverse, an ear of corn. Another, a soldier with a spear; and on the reverse, between a wreath or chain, SOLIDV. I cannot believe, that it was the piece of money called Solidus, which in that age was always gold; whereas this is silver.

Solidurii. It may with greater probability be referr’d to the Solidurii; for so the ancient Gauls called those † Viros devotos. Cæs. Com.who had resolved to live and die together. The terms were these, That they should enjoy all the advantages of life in common; and that if violence was offer’d to any of them, they should either joyn in the same fortune, or kill themselves. Nor was there ever any of these, that refused to die, after the party was slain to whose friendship he had so devoted himself. Whether Soldiers, who as stipendiaries are devoted to some Prince or State, and are call’d in several nations of Europe almost by the same name, Soldiers, Soldats, Soldados, &c. whether these (I say) had their name from the Soldurii, is a point which I had rather recommend to the consideration of others, than determin my self. Tho’ I am inclin’d to another opinion, that they were call’d Solidarii in after ages, to distinguish them from such as by reason of their Feudal tenures, serv’d without the solidi or pay.

Whether this sort of money pass’d currant in the way of trade and exchange, or was at first coin’d for some special use; is a question among the learned. My opinion (if I may be allow’d to interpose it) is this.

After Cæsarcaesar had appointed how much tribute should be paid yearly by the Britains, and they were oppress’d (under Augustus) with the payment of † Portoria.Customs, both for exporting and importing commodities; and had by degrees other taxes laid upon them, namely for * * Sativis.corn-grounds, plantations, groves, pasturage of greater and lesser cattle; as being now in the condition of subjects, not of slaves: I have thought that such Coins were first stamp’d for these uses; for greater cattle, with a horse; for lesser, with a hog; for woods, with a tree; and for corn-ground, with an ear of corn; as that of Verulam or St. Albans, which is inscrib’d VERV.

Pro Tributo Capitationis. But those with a Man’s head, seem to have been coined † for Poll-money, which was personal, or laid upon the Head of every single person; upon women, at twelve, and upon men, at fourteen years of age. boadicea Which Bunduica or Boadicia, Queen of the Britains, complains of to her subjects in these words: Ye graze and ye plow for the Romans; nay, ye pay an annual tribute for your very bodies. I have thought, that in old time there was a certain sort of money coin’d on purpose for this use; seeing in Scripture it is called expresly the Tribute-money, and Hesychius interprets it, Greek text, Greek text Greek text, i.e. Census, a certain piece of money paid for every head. And I am the more confirm’d in this opinion, because in some of them there is the Mint-master stamping the money, with TASCIA, which among the Britains signifies a Tribute-penny. Not but I grant, that afterwards these came into common use. Nor can I reconcile my self to the judgment of those, who would have the hog, the horse, the ear, the Janus, &c. to be the Arms of particular People, or Princes; since we find by the foregoing Coins, that one and the same Prince and People us’d several of these, as Cunobeline stamp’d upon his coins a hog, a horse, an ear, and other things.

But whether this Tribute-money was coined by the Romans, or the Provincials, or their Kings, when the whole world was tax’d by Augustus; I cannot say. One may guess them to have been stamp’d by the British Kings; since Britain, from the time of Julius Cæsar to that of Claudius, liv’d under its own Laws, and was left to be govern’d by its own Kings; and since also they have stamp’d on them the effigies and titles of British Princes. For it was a receiv’d custom among the Romans, to have Kings as their instruments of slavery; who, as they were in some measure the Allies of the Romans, by degrees (as is usual for the conquer’d) fell into their customs, and seem to have begun to coin their money by the Roman methods and weights; and to stamp their own names upon it. But we find a contrary instance in JudæaJudaea, as gather’d from our Saviour’s Answer, That they had Cæsar’s Image and Superscription, and therefore were probably coin’d by the Romans. Which Cardinal C. Baronius, a most admirable Ecclesiastical Historian, tells us in these words:
It was a custom among the Romans, that money should be coin’d by the Emperors according to the tribute or tax, and should not always keep the same Standard; but rise or fall in proportion to the increase or decrease of tributes. It differed herein from common money, that this had always the same value, but the tax or tribute-money was alter’d according to the different quality of the tribute: Tho’ some learned men do not agree with Baronius in this point.

British COINS,
Which are added
To those of Mr. CAMDEN.

Tab. I.

THE Coins which follow, are partly out of Speed’s History, partly from other friends. Before we come to the particulars, I desire to premise in general,

I. That we find very little mention of the Britains, or their affairs, till Julius Cæsar; who left a brief but material description of the country and people, and of their manners and customs; particularly, concerning their traffick, and the great instrument of it, money: which, he saith, was not Coin, but rings and pieces of brass and iron, deliver’d out by weight; as it was also in the beginning at Rome. So that they had no mark upon their metals of exchange; which seems somewhat odd, seeing the invention is so easie, ready, and useful for human conversation. But especially, since in Abraham’s time, coined or stamped money was current amongst merchants, and called by a particular name, shekel, taken (it may be) from the weight of it. And Jacob is said to have given or paid to Hemor, father of Sichem, for part of a field, centum agnos; which is interpreted, not lambs, but pretio argenti; commonly explained, centum probatos nummos, tried pieces.Acts 7. 16. This ignorance, I say, is strange; except we affirm the Transmigration of the Predecessors of the Britains, to have been before Abraham’s time, from the Northern parts of Asia (not so well civilized as the Eastern;) where Coin seems to have been antiently, even before Abraham, the current instrument of traffick. Long before Cæsar’s time, Polybius tells us, that these Islands were frequented both by Greeks and PhœniciansPhoenicians , trading for tinn and other commodities. But it seems those crafty people were careful to conceal from these, generally accounted, heavy Northern nations, the value and usefulness of money.

II. The Coins I have seen of the Britains, for the most part are neither gold nor good silver, but of mixed metals; and those compositions very different, and not as yet by any, that I know, endeavoured to be discover’d: perhaps, because the quantities of them are so small, and their value taken from the fairness of their impression. Nor can we give any certain account of their weight, because we have very few of one stamp, or perfect; and some of them also may be probably thought counterfeited.

III. The Coins of the Britains are not unlike those of the antient Gauls; as those of our Saxons are not unlike those of the first race of the Kings of the Franks, who settled in France near the time that the Saxons invaded Britain: concerning which a farther account shall be given by and by. But in this, we find the Saxons (as the English after them,) to differ both from the Gauls and Franks, that they did not so often change the weight or value of their Coins, much less raised and decryed the same piece, according to the pleasure or necessities of the Prince. An action, lawful indeed; but, without very great caution, detrimental and prejudicial to the Subject. But in this, themselves confess the English to understand their interest better than the French.

IV. I can hardly satisfie my self, why we have so many Coins of Cunobeline, and so few of other Princes more famous, at least in Roman story; (for of British Historians, we have none, certainly, more antient than Gildas; and he only speaks of those near or of his own time.) But we have nothing of Caratacus, Arviragus, &c. but conjectural. Some of those of Cunobeline, I know, are modern; perhaps also Cuno, signifying (as Camden observes) a Prince, may be applied (especially since many Coins have no more than Cuno,) to divers Princes, as it is added to the end of the names of several, mentioned in Gildas; perhaps also he reigned a long time. But the best reason seems to be, either because he lived some while at Rome; or that London was then a famous city for trade; and therefore had both more money, and better preserved.

19. The * * Mr. Camden hath only 18 British Coins.nineteenth is in Mr. Speed, but the letters ill wrought and placed: he reads it Casibelan, the first General of the Britains against the Romans. His country seems to have been North of the Thames, and to have comprehended part of Hartford and Buckingham Shires. Yet he conquer’d the chief City of Imanuentius, whom he slew, and whose son MandubratiusSee Tab.II. Co.4. fled to Cæsarcaesar in France, and brought him hither.

20. The twentieth is of Cunobeline, son of Theomantius, nephew to Casibelan; by the British writers called Kymboline. The head seems to be of a woman. On the Reverse, a Sphinx, a figure so acceptable to Augustus, that he engraved it upon his seal. Wherefore, it may be, it was placed upon this Coin, to please the Emperor, a more than ordinary friend to Cunobeline, who was declared a friend to the Romans; and who is said to have lived many years in Rome.

23. In the twenty-third, seems to be the head of a City: The Inscription Vanit. seems to be the same with Vanoc. Co.8.

24. The twenty-fourth seems not to be the head of a person, but of a place, probably Camalodunum, when Christian.

25. The twenty-fifth, Arivogius, is, both by Speed and Archbishop Usher, thought to be Arviragus; of whom more Co.27. Ononus I understand not.

26. The twenty-sixth is probably of Cartismandua, Queen of the Brigantes, whereof Caledonia was one part. A woman infamous for betraying the warlike Caractacus into the hands of the Romans, and for abusing her valiant husband Venutius.

27. The twenty-seventh, a crowned head, with many strings of pearls about it, is thought to be Arviragus. I wish there were more than bare conjectures for it. For I do not find that Arviragus was a Christian, as this Coin declares, there being a cross and a string of pearls about it; an ordinary ornament of the Cross, in the first peaceable times of the Church. HardingVit. Basing., I think, is the only Author who affirms him a Christian: but it is generally said of him, erga Religionem Christianam bene affectus, that he was well affected to the Christian Religion, and that he gave to the first preachers of Glassenbury so many hides of land, as helped much to maintain them. And Gildas saith, that it was well known, that the Christian Religion was brought into Britain in the latter end of Tiberius’s time. He lived in great reputation in Domitian’s time, whose flatterers, upon some prodigies appearing, foretold to him some great good fortune, as that Arviragus should be thrown down from his chariot.

29.boadicea The twenty-ninth Dr. Plot, who hath published these three, thinks to be Prasutagus and Boadicia; but I see no resemblance of one or more faces. I rather imagine it to be some fortification.

31. The one and thirtieth was put into my hands, as belonging to York; which in Antoninus and antient Authors, is written Eburacum. But I take it to be a Gallick Coin, and to signifie either the Eburovices, or rather Eburones, who were inhabitants of the country of Liege. The head seems to be of a City, rather than, as Bouteroue thinks, of Ambiorix, Cotivulcus, or some other of their Princes.

33. The three and thirtieth also was meant to design some city or country, it may be of the Auscii (now Ausch in Gascoine) or some other, unknown. It is to be noted, that after the example of the Romans (who stamped the armed head of a young woman, probably Rome, a notable Virago, who gave name to the city, with the word Roma, on one side of their Coin,) other cities and countries placed also the head; yet not always helmeted, but commonly in the dress of the place where coined.

British Coins. Tab. II.

Nummi Britannici Coins table 2
Table 2: Nummi Britannici Coins

1. That the first was of some British Prince in esteem for an holy man, I collect from the pearls about his head, set in the ancient form of a glory: as also by the hand under the horse, for the reverse. Many of these British coins are adorned with pearls. I conceive the reason to be, the plenty of them in this country; so great, that Julius Cæsar is said to have undertaken his expedition for obtaining them, and that at his return he dedicated a shield covered with British Pearl, in the Temple of Venus.Gretzer, l.1. c.15, 16. In some coins of Constantine the Great, and of Arcadius, Eudoxia, and others, is an hand signifying some favourable action of Providence towards them: as, reaching to take Constantine into heaven, crowning Arcadius, &c. In this, it may intimate the sustaining of his Cavalry. This is only conjecture; since we know not the person.

2, 3. The second, as Mr. Thoresby observes, seems to have been a Prince considerably engaged either in making or repairing the great military roads or high-ways, as is intimated by the Wheel below the horse. This, and the third, by their rugged and unhandsome looks, seem to have been some of the ancient British Princes; but the letters being worn out, we are forbid to guess who they were.

4. The fourth is Cassivelaunus; others name him Cassibelinus or Velanus, as if he were a Prince of the Cassii, a people not far from the Trinobantes; part of the dominion of his brother Imanuentius, whom he slew, and also deposed his son Mandubratius, who thereupon fled to Cæsar, and was restored by him to his just dominion. But this action caused Mandubratius to be looked upon as an enemy and traitor to his country, and so hated, that he accompanied Cæsar in all his wars; and left the Kingdom to his son, or nephew, Cunobeline. His son lived in Rome with the favour of Augustus and the Senate, who declared him a Friend of the Romans, as is plainly intimated in that Speech of the generous Prince Caractacus. From these transactions we may observe, 1. That the Romans, by this submission and request of Mandubratius, had a just cause of War against Cassibelinus, and consequently against all the Britains, who chose him their General. 2. That this conquest was exceedingly beneficial to the nation and country; which, by the Romans, acquired civility, if not humanity also, and prudent government; good husbandry too, and improvement of wealth and trade both by sea and land; and these prepared them for receiving the Gospel. 3. That the Britains quickly apprehended these benefits and advantages; and therefore more readily embraced, and more cheerfully, than most other nations, submitted to the laws and customs of the Romans; as appears by Tacitus in the life of Agricola. And though it may be, that the doctrine of the Druids, despising the heathen Gods, and acknowledging only one God and rewards and punishments after death, might contribute to their embracing the Gospel; yet I think that the very great courage, high generosity, and excellent parts of the people, did more, when they were once convinced, that the Roman laws and government were better than their own.

5. Of the fifth, the letters are too imperfect: If the reverse be not a pavilion, or seat of state, I know not what it is.

6. The sixth seems to be a Visor, the letters now not visible: or it might be ill-made in imitation of Commodus, who is usually set forth with his head wrap’d in a Lion’s skin, feigning himself to be Hercules.

7. The seventh is a British, rough, uncomb’d head; the letters are vanished. Those above the Horse on the reverse seem to be set the averse way, from the right to the left hand.

8. The eighth, as likewise the twenty-fourth and thirty-sixth, seem to be a Ship or Galley with oars. In Mons. Bouteroue, in Clothaire, An. Ch. 511. the figure is better expressed, than in ours. It was coined by a Christian Prince or City; because all of them are adorned with crosses, either upon the stern or yards. Serm.22. de Divers. S. Augustin saith: It is necessary for us to be in the ship, and to be carried in the wood that can pass through the sea of this world. This wood is the Cross of our Lord. Paulinus seems to refer it to the yards, Et rate ornata† The title of Safety.
Chrys. Quod Christus sit Deus.
titulo salutis. S. Chrys. rather to the stern, Crux * * Guide of Sailors.navigantium gubernaculum. The same doth Ephr. Syrus. Upon divers Coins of the Roman Emperors, is a stern joyned to a globe; as if they steer’d the whole world. On the reverse is Duro, which I question not was Durobernia or Canterbury, now the chief seat of the great Archbishop and Primate of the Nation.

9. The ninth is an Horse, under the Sun and Moon: whether it signified (according to their opinion) that beast to be chiefly subject to those Planets; or, that next the Sun and Moon, the chiefest benefit they reaped was from the Horse, or what other imagination; I am ignorant.

10. The tenth is an Head, and I think, foreign, not British; most of those being without ornament, but this hath a Crown or Garland. And what if Dubno should be mistaken for Dumnorix, or some other Prince unknown to us?

11. The eleventh hath an Head with a Diadem of two rows of Pearls; perhaps for some of the oriental Emperors, and, not unlikely, of Constantine the Great, both for the goodness of the face, and his being one of the first who carried that sort of Diadem. He may well be placed here, as being born of a British Lady. The reverse is a Dove hovering over a Cross, an emblem not unusual in the first times of Christianity; intimating that the Cross is made beneficial unto us by the Holy Spirit. Maffeius and Osorius testifie, that the Christians at their first coming to Maliapor, (the city of St. Thomas) found such a one there engraved in stone, in his own time, as was verily believed. The like is reported by Bosius in the vault of St. John Lateran; and by Chiffietius upon an Altar-stone in Besançon.Besancon

12. The twelfth of Cunobeline: the letters upon the reverse begin the name of some place; but what, I know not.

13. The thirteenth, by the letters BR, seems to be the head of Britannia, as there were many the like of Rome and other places: the reverse is also, according to many Roman Coins, a man on horse-back, as engaged in that exercise which they called Decursio.

14. The fourteenth seems to be a Woman’s Head, with a Crown; the letters worn out. On the reverse, compared with the sixteenth, twenty-fourth, and thirty-fifth, there seems to be inscribed some sacred vessel or utensil.

15, 16, 17, 18. The fifteenth, seventeenth, and eighteenth, having no inscriptions, are to us unintelligible. The sixteenth seems an ill-shapen Galley with the keel upwards.

19. The nineteenth seems to be the head of some Town or Country: some say, that Julius Cæsarcaesar, but it is more certain, that Claudius, brought one or more Elephants into Britain against their enemies.

20. The twentieth hath an Head covered with an antick sort of Helmet. The reverse seems to be an ill-fashioned Gryphon. It is somewhat strange, that those fond kinds of imagination should have lasted so long, and in these remote parts of the world.

21, 22. Concerning the twenty-first, See Tab.1. c.29. What it, or the twenty-second signifies, I cannot imagin.

23. The twenty-third seems to be the figure of an ordinary British foot-soldier, with a headpiece and armour down to his thighs; and a club upon his shoulder.

24. The twenty-fourth hath a Galley with a Cross upon the stern, yet not at the handle of the stern, being upon the wrong side of it. (Vid. Coin 8.) The letters I understand not, as neither the reverse. 25. The twenty-fifth also is utterly unknown.

26. The twenty-sixth seems to be the head of some of the Gothic kings of Spain; the like being found in Ant. Augustinus, and Monsieur le Blanc. On the reverse, is a kind of Dragon, which is seen also upon the Greek and Gallick Coins, as well as British. Pag.58. Such a one as this, is by Monsieur le Blanc described for Childebert’s.

27, 28, 29. The twenty-seventh, twenty-eighth, and twenty-ninth, having Runic inscriptions, might probably be made for some of the kings of Cumberland, in which County are still extant some Runic Monuments.

30. The thirtieth hath an Head, which I would gladly believe to be of Arviragus; because on the reverse is an Essedarius or Covinarius, a fighter upon a chariot, with his dart, or such like weapon, in one hand, and his quiver of arrows at his back. A kind of fight, which was strange to Julius Cæsar, and forced him to turn his back.

Territa quæsitis ostendit terga Britannis.

Great Cæsar flies the Britains he had sought.

So terrible was it to the Romans, that his flatterers upon some imagin’d prodigy, took it to be an omen of the overthrow of Arviragus, a very couragious and warlike Prince. De temone Britanno excidet Arviragus.

31. The thirty-first is, in the learned Monsieur Bouteroue’s judgment (from whom it is copied) supposed to be king Lucius, the first Christian king of Britain. The truth of whose story is largely discoursed by Archbishop Usher in his Primord. Eccles. Britan. where he seems to say, that it is confirmed by all Historians, that king Lucius, king in Britain, was the first Christian king in the world. Pag. 41, 42. (Which also seems strongly confirmed by what he saith, That the Scots beyond the wall, did under Victor I. (immediate successor to Euaristus, under whom Lucius was converted) receive also the Christian Faith:) But that there is some difference about the time when king Lucius lived, and greater about what part of Britain he reigned in; as likewise, concerning his resigning the kingdom, and going to preach the Gospel in Bavaria, and being martyr’d near Coire, in the Grisons Country, then call’d Rhætia.


32. The thirty-second also is out of Monsieur Bouteroue, who rationally thinks it to be the head of Boadicia, wife to Prasutagus king of Norfolk and Suffolk, &c. a woman of prodigious wit and courage. Gildas calls her LeænamLeaenam boadicea dolosam, the crafty or deceitful Lionness. She slew 80000 of the Romans, and destroy’d their chief City and Colony, Camulodunum; and Verulamium also, and some say London. She slew the ninth Legion; but being overcome by Paulinus, she either died of grief, as some say; or by poison, as others.

33. The thirty-third is easily intelligible.Musaeum museum

34. The thirty-fourth is explained in the description of Westmorland. “It was, saith Mr. Thoresby, part of the Cabinet of the old Lord Fairfax (the General;) of whose Executors it was purchased, with the rest of his Medals, by Mr. John Thoresby of Leeds, in whose Musæum it now remains, and is the principal glory of it. For tho’ there be some Runick Inscriptions yet remaining upon Rocks, and some very antique Monuments, this is the only piece of money (whether ever designed to be current, or preserved as an Amulet, I pretend not to determin) with an intelligible Runick Inscription, in any Collection in Europe.”

35. The reverse of the thirty-fifth seems to be a Tabernacle, or some such holy vessel, standing upon a foot, and having a Cross upon the top. I understand it not; nor any of the rest, being all ancient Runic characters: nor doth it appear whether they belong to this Country, or to Spain. The Runic Characters anciently were the writing of the Visi, or Western Goths, who lived in Denmark, Norway, Jutland, &c. For the Ostro, or Eastern Goths of Sweden, and those Countries, swarmed, and conquered, Eastward, in and towards Asia: who, though they seem to have had the same language with the Visigoths, yet had a different character; which was framed as it seems from the Greek, some say by Ulphilas their Bishop, near or upon the Black-sea. It is still preserved in the copy of the Gospels translated into that language by him; and is for the most part extant in that they call the Codex Argenteus, being wholly written in silver letters, and preserv’d with great and deserved veneration in Sweden: but transcribed, and printed, by the very worthy and learned person Mr. Franc. Junius, the younger. But the Visigoths seem to be those who came Westward; who conquer’d part of Italy, and of France; and all Spain, and part of Africk; where they reigned in great splendor many years, till the invasion of the Moors. They also acquired the Northern Parts of Britain, keeping (as it seemeth) their ancient Runic Characters. And though I have seen most of the ancient Runic Coins, either in Ant. Augustinus, Paruta, or Lastannoza’s book de las monedas desconocidas; yet I have only set down those which are new to me, and which being sent by that very courteous, intelligent, and diligent Antiquary, Mr. Ralph Thoresby of Leeds in Yorkshire, I conceive rather belong to those of Northumberland, Cumberland, &c.⌉

Last updated Friday, March 7, 2014 at 13:06