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Roman Empire

Ruler: Carausius
Reigned: Usurper 287 - 293 AD
Denomination: Billon Antoninianus
Mint: London
Date of Issue: 290-292 AD
Obverse: Radiate, cuirassed and draped bust right."IMP. C. CARAVSIVS P.F. AVG."
Reverse: Pax standing left holding olive branch and vertical sceptre. "PAX AVG."
Mint marks:
Reference: RIC V pt2 98
Weight: 4.5 gms
Diameter: 21.7 mm

CARAUSIUS (M. Aurelius Mausaeus Carausius)

  • Carausius was of Menapian origin (north-east Gaul) and was a general under Maximian, Augustus in the west.
  • After defeating the rebellious Bagaudae in Gaul in 286, Carausius was appointed Commander of a new Channel Fleet. Based at Gessoriacum (Boulogne), this force incorporated the old Classis Britannica and was intended to thwart raids in the English Channel by Frankish and Saxon pirates.
  • Unfortunately, he had a tendency to attack the pirates on the way back from their looting, keeping the booty for himself.
  • He was summoned by Maximian to explain himself, but instead landed in 286 or 287, on the coast of North West Britain, and concluded a treaty with the Picts and Scots.
  • He marched South, defeating the forces of the Roman Governor, Quintus Bassianus, near York. He continued to London, where he proclaimed himself Augustus.
  • His territory extended over part of Northern Gaul, where some of his coins were minted at Rotomagus (Rouen).
  • In 289 his fleet defeated Maximian's. Thereafter, some of his coins were issued in the names of Maximian and Diocletian.
  • Carausius's British mints were at London and Colchester (or possible Southampton).
  • In 293 Diocletian appointed two Caesars to assist himself and Maximian, who would reign with the title of Augustus. The Caesar under Maximian, Constantius Chlorus, was given the task of re-taking the lost territories. He regained Northern Gaul and prepared for the difficult cross-channel invasion.
  • Then suddenly in the same year, Carausius was murdered by Allectus, his finance minister.

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