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usurpers of imperial power, has been briefly noticed in our compendium of historical events relating to the ascendancy of the Romans in Britain; and allusions to it occur in several pages of the “Beauties."* Carausius is the favourite hero of many Medallists; and his reign (certainly an era of some consequence in the naval annals of Britain) affords numerous curious and rare medals, particularly in the small brass; but the cool investigator will, perhaps, deem the labours mis-spent, which have extended through several volumes, in enquiries concerning the medallic history of this adventurous Emperor, even when the name of his wife, Oriuna, is added to the sum of interest.t
The curiosity is naturally excited, as to the cause of the great abundance in which Roman coins are found, in the various situations noticed in a previous page; and I must own that, in iny opinion, not any conjectures yet presented are fully satisfactory. In regard to such coins as are discovered enclosed in vessels, and buried in the earth, it has been supposed that it was a usual practice with the Romans to hoard their money in such a situation,
• The leading particulars of this eventful story are stated in the Beauties for Oxfordshire, p. 536.
+ It is observed by Mr. Gough that the subject of Carausius and his coins has been exhausted in the following works: “ Histoire de Carausius, Empereur de la Grande Bretagne, &c. Par. 1740.” 4to. Dr. Stukeley's “ Me. dallic History of Carausius, 1757, and 1759.” 2 vols. 4 to. His “ Palæographia Britannica, No. III. Oo Oriuna, wife of Carausius, 1752." 4to. “Two Dissertations on Carausius, Emperor of Britain, together with that of bis supposed wise and son; a third, also, of him and his successor Allectus, with a letter to Dr. Stukeley on the first volume of his History of Carausius," 4to; and “ Further observations on Carausius and Oriuna, 1756.” 4to The two last were by Dr. Kennedy, physician to the Middlesex hospital, who possessed a collection of the coins of Carausius, amounting to 256 specimens, nine of which were of fine silver. The controversy was closed by an anonymous history of Carausius, or “an examination of what had been advanced on that subject by Genebrier and Stukeley, &c. 1762 ” 4to.-In Gough's edit. of Camden, Plate Roman coins, are engraved two of the coins of Carausius, from a plate in the work of Dr. Kennedy,
and the following two lines of Horace are adduced in support of the supposition :
Quid juvat immensum te Argenti Pondus, et Avri
Sat. Lib. I. Sat. I.
It is observed, that the servant in the Gospel, who did not trade with the talent entrusted to him, went and digged in the earth, and hid his Lord's money. The following remark appears of considerable weight, in respect to the discovery of vessels containing coins in subterranean situations: “ Among the mili. tary, it seems likely that the method of burying money would be pursued in general; for, as the Roman forces were paid in copper money, called therefore Es militare, a service of any duration would occasion such an accumulation of this ponderous coin, as could not be carried about by the soldier, with any convenience, in his numerous excursive marches. The surest mode, therefore, of securing his treasure until he returned to his garrison, would be to deposit it in a spot known only to himself. But, as it frequently happened that these veterans died before they had an opportunity of revisiting their hoards, the know. ledge of them would be necessarily lost with their owners, and they would coutinue in the places where they were originally deposited, until accident, or curiosity, again brought them to light.”*
Camden altributes the abundance in which these coins are found, to the imperial edict which prohibited the melting down of ancient money.
It may be safely supposed, that the whole of the Roman money discovered in Britain, was not actually left in the soil, or in other places of secretion, by the Romans themselves. Kennet [in general so judicious in his remarks] is certainly subject
* Iter Britanniarum, &c. p. 55.
to error, according to all probability of conjecture, when, in his “ Parochial Antiquities,” he surmises that these invaders, at their final departure from Britain, buried their money in the ground, under the hope of retorning and regaining it. The omens of disjunction were too decisive to allow of our believing that they could descend to such a weakness, especially when we remember the slow progress with which those indications had advanced towards a crisis.
But the circulation of Roman money in Britain, did not cease with the departure of the warlike and predominating people under whose influence its was minted. In its natural course, as a medium of traffic under a government long deemed secure, it had penetrated every recess of the British province, and formed equally the hoard of the artificer, busbandman, and merchant. That it prevailed as a currency for many years after the Romans abandoned Britain, would appear to be unquestionable; and a considerable proportion of the secreted masses of money, or scattered gleanings of Roman coin, found in many parts of the island, may, perhaps, with a rationality of conclusion, be referred to the fruitless precaution, or the terrified negligence, of the Britons, when their towns were threatened by northern invaders; or were involved, by their assault, in a smoking volume of ruin. .
Among other opinions, it has been thought that the Romans left large quantities of their money in different places," as incontestible proofs of the once Roman greatness, and undeniable memorials of the immensity of their dominions.”—In aid of such a notion, it may be remarked, that much the greater number of the coins thus discovered are of copper,
It is stated by Mr. Reynolds, in his Introduction to the Itinerary of Antoninus, as a conjecture of the Bishop of Cloyne, “ that the barbarians who destroyed the towns did not know, or despised, the use of copper money; and therefore left it among the ruins.” This opinion is supported, by observing that “the Roman coins found on the site of desolated towns, are chiefly 03
copper, bad and worn; and they are generally scattered equally over the surface of the ruined town.”
Each of these causes may have assisted in producing the incontestible fact, of Roman money being almost daily found in such abundance, as to convey an assurance of a very large circulation of specie during the ascendant of that people in Bric' tain. But it will be obvious, that such of the ascribed causes as appear most efficacious, are adopted on conjecture only, how. ever ingenious those conjectures may be deemed.
ALTARS, AND OTHER INSCRIBED STONES, AND PIECES OF SCULPTURE.—We have good authority for believing that the Romans introduced, with a liberal, is not with a judicious hand, the art of sculpture to the conquered districts of this island. It is well known that they were extremely fond of adorning with statues, both the public and private buildings of the imperial * city, in the first and second centuries; and mutilated vestiges of such circumstances of decoration have been often found in Britain, although rarely preserved with due care. Gildas notices the numerous statues of heathen deities, connected with religious temples, which were remaining, even at the date at which he wrote. *
That the Romans sedulously introduced statnes of their fanciful deities, during their efforts to eradicate the religion of the Druids, may, indeed, be readily imagined; and that ornamental statues were frequently placed in their principal private build. ings, is evident from fragments discovered on several occasions, and particularly from those found at Woodchester, in Gloucestershire.
It must necessarily be supposed that such pieces of sculpture as were used in ornamenting great public buildings, or the prin. cipal mansions of the affluent and tasteful, were procured from the imperial sity. But it is unquestionable that many sculptors
from Rome practised their art in this country, during the more settled ages of the Roman domination over Britain. It is to be regretted that only few specimeus, of either kind, are known to exist at the present time.* The introduction of Christianity led to the destruction of images designed for heathen worship; and the relics of such statues as adorned the private domus, or villa, are comparatively few in number, and are generally of indifferent execution. Those who are anxious to uphold the dignity of Roman art in all its circumstances, may imagine that the invaders removed the most valuable works of the statuary, when they finally quitted the island; but the less impassioned will, perhaps, believe that the refined arts, even when stimulated by the wishes of Roman voluptuousness, languished on the soil of this distant province; and that Britain was not constituted the depositary of any costly and transcendant works in the sculptor's department of talent, whilst subject to the military sway of the Romans.
It is, at any rate, certain that the principal remains of Roman sculpture in Britain, consist of figures cut in Basso and Alto Relievo, ou altars and various monuments. Some few of these exhibit an indication of taste and skill; but the greater number are equally coarse in design and execution. The intention and usual character of altars, and other inscribed O4
• Leland, writing in the reign of Henry the Eiglith, notices various pieces of sculpture at Bath, which had been rescued from the ruins of the buildings to which they originally appertained, and were then inserted in the city walls.' Some interestiug discoveries of Roman antiquities, comprising a fine head in bronze (supposed to be that of Apollo) have since occurred at the same place, and are mentioned in the Beauties for Somersetshire, p. 362 -366. One of the most elegant specimens of Roman proficiency in the fine arts, that have been discovered in this country, was found at Ribchester, in the year 1796. This is a helmet of Bronze, “ ornamented with basso relievos, representing armed men, with horses, &c. in various attitudes of skirmishing." Ao account of this discovery is inserted in the Vetusta Monzo merta, the Archeologia, the Bcauties for Lancashire, p. 152, &c.