Gary’s blog about a copper alloy token found by one of the Mudlarks a week ago, turns out to be a slightly more interesting find than Gary made out… Now, before we go any further, let me point out that, taccording to my copy of ‘First Aid for Finds’:

The removal of corrosion products by untrained personnel, can destroy detail which careful conservation, accompanied by consultation with a numismatist, could reveal… The desire to rub coins on site in order to identify them can be quite strong but should be resisted…

So we are grateful then that this particular coin was unstratified, and found orphaned from it’s context in a spoil heap. And was not rubbed by anyone on site as far as I am aware.





Thanks to the advice of Jim, one of the members of the Society of Thames Mudlarks, and the metal detectorist on the day in question, we can directly link the Prescot Street excavation with Russell Crowe … According to Jim, the coin is a varient of Roman Imperial Coinage (RIC) 1002. Obverse: M ANTONINIUS AUG TRP XXV with a laureate head
Reverse: IMP VI COS 111 S-C Victory standing right attaching a palm tree to a shield (???) on which VIC/GER is written. This coin is dated to 171AD by the TRP (TRIBUNICIA POTESTAS), which was awarded for the 25th time in that year, celebrating a Roman victory over Germanic tribes..

So, in 171AD, the Emperor, Marcus Aurelius (with an artful and understated portrayal by the late Richard Harris in Gladiator) was battling the Marcomanni, a coalition of Germanic tribes, Vandals and Sarmatians amongst others, along the upper and middle Danube, probably as a result of pressure on land resources resulting from tribal migrations west by people from North East Europe and Central Asia. The Marcomannic leader, Ballomar, crossed the Danube and slaughtered over 20,000 Romans near Carnuntum, between modern day Vienna and Bratislava. Ballomar then led some of his forces southwards towards Italy, and the remainder ravaged Noricum, on the Austrian/Slovenian border. This was the first time hostile forces had entered Italy since 101 BC, when Gaius Marius defeated the Cimbri and Teutones.

AAs Rome has trouble in Persia at the same time, it was a bit inconvienient.

Suffice to say, Romans being Romans, by the end of 171AD, the Marcomannic federation was defeated, treaties ensued and booty and prisoners taken by the Germanic forces were returned to the provinces. Marcus Aurelius took the acclamation imp. VI which appears on the coinage from this year, alongside VIC/GER (Victoria Germanica).

And there we have it. From the Upper Danube to Prescot Street via Russell Crowe in a leather tunic. Happy days.