CARAUSIUS, Romano-British Usurper
AE Antoninianus. 3.54g, 22.4mm
MINTED: "C" mint (Camulodunum/Clausentum), circa AD 286-293
REF: Bourne 164; Rogiet hoard 997; RIC V 336 var. (mintmark)(R4)
OBVERSE: IMP C CARAVSIVS AVG, radiate, draped, and cuirassed bust right.
REVERSE: PAX AVGGG, Pax standing left, holding branch and scepter; S-P across fields, MC in exergue.
Green patina with earthen deposits in fields. A rare variant.
The reverse legend, PAX AVGGG, translates to 'Peace of the Augustii', with the GGG indicating the co-rule of three emperors, namely, Diocletian and Maximianus, and Carausius, who struck the coin. With coinage serving as a major medium for propaganda, this was fake news at its finest, because despite the fiction of peace that the usurper Carausius was attempting to manufacture for his subjects, the legitimate emperors were certainly not intending to put up with his rule over their territories. Even as this coin circulated, final preparations were underway to unseat Carausius, with the newly appointed Caesar Constantius I reclaiming Gaul and Batavia in AD 293. Before Carausius could be beseiged in Britain, however, he was assassinated by Allectus, his finance minister.
Carausius was a naval commander under Emperor Maximianus who had been tasked to rid the English Channel of pirates around AD 286. Suspected of keeping captured treasure for himself, his execution was ordered, but Carausius instead revolted and declared himself Emperor in Britain and northern Gaul. With his fleet of ships, four legions of troops, and other foreign soldiers and mercenaries attracted to his banner, Carausius managed to stay in power for seven years, until he was betrayed and assassinated by his own finance minister, Allectus, in AD 293.
CARAUSIUS, Usurper . AD 286-293 . AE Antoninianus. Ancient fake news "PAX AVGGG"
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