Posts Tagged ‘Carausius’

Money Talks–or at least gossips

Posted in General, On This Day on July 10th, 2010 by Eugene Finerman – 2 Comments

Brit Finds $5M in Roman Coins With Metal Detector

July 8)   A British treasure hunter has stumbled upon the country’s biggest-ever find of Roman coins buried in a field in southwest England.

Using a metal detector, Dave Crisp found a hoard of more than 52,000 coins buried in an enormous pot in county Somerset. The bronze and silver coins date from the third century and include some minted by self-proclaimed Emperor Carausius.

The stash has been valued at around $5 million and weighs more than 350 pounds, The Associated Press reported.

A staff member displays handfuls of coins of Tetricus I on display at the British Museum in London, Thursday, July 8.

“I have made many finds over the years, but this is my first major coin hoard,” Crisp told the BBC.

Crisp was first alerted to the stash when he found a tiny coin buried about a foot deep. The more he dug, the more coins he unearthed. After pulling up a dozen of them, he called in the experts.

It took staff at the British Museum a full month to wash the coins and three more months to catalog them, according to The Guardian.

It isn’t clear how the huge quantity of coins got into the field. A Roman road runs near the site, but there is no evidence of any Roman villa or settlement there. Archaeologists believe they may represent the life savings of an entire community and may have been buried as part of a religious ceremony.

The find may change the way the British view their Roman heritage, putting greater emphasis on the story of Carausius. Carausius was a Roman naval officer who was declared an outlaw when Emperor Maximian suspected he was making deals with pirates.

Carausius fled to Britain in 286 and declared himself emperor, ruling over Britain and part of France for seven years before being killed by his finance minister.

“”This find presents us with an opportunity to put Carausius on the map,” Roger Bland, a coins expert from the British Museum, told AP. “Schoolchildren across the country have been studying Roman Britain for decades, but are never taught about Carausius our lost British emperor.”

Actually, Carausius could have had a revived popularity after the 1988 premiere of “The Lair of the White Worm.”  The Roman usurper was mentioned, if not depicted, as being the lover of a snake goddess–played by Amanda Donahoe–who was still devouring men, in so many ways, some 1700 years later.  The story was based on a novel by Bram Stoker, who evidently was trying to avoid being a one-hit wonder.  (He failed.)  British director Ken Russell adapted the story–which is to say that he made it unrecognizable, inexplicable and way beyond kinky.  Stoker never imagined a crucified Jesus being attacked by a large white snake; that was one of Mr. Russell’s more sedate images.

Unfortunately, aside from that casual name-dropping, Carausius has never been depicted in film or television.  So, you can’t envision him within six degrees of Kevin Bacon.  Well, you are wrong.  Carausius was defying the Emperor Maximian, who at least appeared in the sword & sandal B-grade feature “Constantine and the Cross”.  Maximian was portrayed by Tino Carraro.  No, you’ve never seen him in a Sergio Leone western; Carraro wasn’t that good.  Maximian was the father-in-law of Constantine who was played by Cornel Wilde.  (So, the first Christian Emperor looked like a Hungarian Jew.)  Wilde took the Lira and the income from other awful films to finance an excellent movie called “The Naked Prey”.  He was its producer, director and star.  In the film, Wilde is a scout of a hunting party that is massacred by African tribesman.  Wilde’s character avoids summary execution but is turned loose to be hunted by a group of warriors; their leader was played by a Ken Gampu.  Mr. Gampu, a South African actor, would subsequently avoid the temptation to massacre Kevin Bacon in “The Air Up There.”

So, that is Carausius, Maximian, Tino Carraro, Cornel Wilde, Ken Gampu and Kevin Bacon:  five degrees and 1700 years.

p.s.  Here is the story of an even more interesting treasure hoard:

p.p.s.  Dour, dismal but spiritually-correct birthday, John Calvin: