Author Topic: Rare Celtic Britain, Cunobelin, Catuvellauni & Trinovantes.  (Read 103 times)

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Offline Spaniard

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Rare Celtic Britain, Cunobelin, Catuvellauni & Trinovantes.
« on: March 07, 2021, 11:05:04 AM »
Just picked up this little rarity from Celtic Britain as I was initially drawn to the coins reverse depiction of a metal worker and it went from there. This is my first Celtic coin and find the history really interesting.
King of the Britons "Cunobelin" ("Strong Dog"). From the Catuvellauni & Trinovantes tribes.
Cunobelin came into power around 9 AD and claimed to be the son of Tasciovanus, the previous king of the Caluvellani tribe its Capital being Verlamion (Modern day St Albans). Soon after he annexed the Trinovantes tribe that laid to the East with its Capital being Camulodunum (Modern day Colchester). The Triovantes had become allies to Rome via a treaty that had been made with Julius Caesar on his initial invasion of Britain back in 55/54 BC. This alliance continued with the accession of Augustus as the Roman military at the time were stretched to their limit due to the continual attacks in Germania. This allowed Cunobelin to become a client king to augustus and Rome and became known as the first 'King of the Britons' controlling the majority of South Eastern Britain until his death around AD 40.
I was born and grew up in Devon, the south west of England (Dumnonii terrotory), which is renowned for being 'wet, wet, wet!'. So left England 20 years ago due to the strange and sudden growth of skin between my toes! ;D
I personally feel this is why the Romans allowed client rulers in inhospitable terrains such as Britania. Their military style of battle wasn't really designed for 70% woodland and 150% wet mud!...Although they could be very versatile when focused. Keeping indigenous tribal armies such as the Trinovante and Caluvellani sweet was an easy way to annexationally hold control until they were ready!...There was definitely reciprocal trade between Rome and the Britons at this time, as archaeological digs have found a great deal of luxurious goods imported from Europe such as Italian wines and drinking vessels, olive oil, glassware and jewellery. Rome received grain, gold, silver, iron, hides, slaves and hunting dogs.........A nice little set up right up to Caligulas take over when the Romans collected all those shells!. ;)
Here it is...
Britannia, Trinovantes & Catuvellauni. Cunobelin. Circa 9-41 AD. AE Unit (2.437 g, 14mm).
Obv: Winged head left, CVNO in front, BELIN behind.
Rev: Metal worker, presumably the smith god known as Sucellus in parts of Gaul, sitting on a solid seat with a detached upright back, holding an L-shaped hammer in his right hand, left hand holding a metal bowl, there is always a distinct bun of hair behind the smith's head, TASCIO (Tascionus his father) behind, beaded border.
Van Arsdell 2097; ABC 2969; SCBC 342. Hobbs 1972-83;..VF.

Offline Figleaf

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Re: Rare Celtic Britain, Cunobelin, Catuvellauni & Trinovantes.
« Reply #1 on: March 09, 2021, 10:41:25 AM »
A fascinating piece of history in a really good state of preservation. I presume traders had already informed the tribes in Britain how Caesar had treated Gallia, so they knew what to expect. In the short run, an alliance with the invaders, who had superior military technology, made sense for the tribally divided Celts. In the long run, they couldn't win, though, as the tragic story of the Iceni shows.

Your acquisition is all the more interesting because it shows a heavy influence of realistic Roman art. One of our members, Cavaros, argues that, as relations between Romans and Celts (in his case Balkan Celts) soured, the Celts inserted their own art traditions and interpretations. In that sense, your coin is a testimony to how the relations between Romans and Celts started out well enough. It would be interesting to complement this coin with a far more abstract type.

An unidentified coin is a piece of metal. An identified coin is a piece of history.