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CARA is Caratacus, son of Cunobelinus, confirmed

CARA is Caratacus, son of Cunobelinus, confirmed

Caratacus Boar’s Head CARCaratacus Boar’s Head

Caratacus Boar’s Head. c.AD40-43. Silver minim. 8mm. 0.27g. CAR in centre of flan, ringed-pellet above and below, beaded border./ Boar’s head right, CV below. ABC−, VA−, BMC−, S−. PAS: FASAM-EB7789, Coin News, October 2016 (this coin). Recently discovered type, previously unpublished. Good VF, neat flan, clear CAR, bold boar’s head.EXCESSIVELY RARE only one other known, in private collection.

For 150 years numismatists have wondered if coins inscribed CARA (see previous coin) were really struck by Caratacus, the celebrated son of Cunobelinus who fought for eight years against the Roman conquest of Britain. Sir John Evans (1890) thought there were two Caratacus’s – one a son of Tasciovanos, the other a son of Cunobelinus. Even as recently as 1996 Richard Hobbs of the British Museum had problems reconciling CARA coins with the Caratacus of Dio Cassius (History 90.20) and Tacitus (Annals 22.33). However, due to the recent discovery of this silver minim, there can no longer be any doubt that CARA and the historical Caratacus are one and the same person. The letters CV unequivocally confirm that Cunobelinus was the father of Caratacus. This excessively rare minim – the first offered for public sale – was found by metdet Andrew Aartsen on 28 April 2016 at Greywell, Hampshire, less than ten miles from Calleva (Silchester) where it was probably minted. Its historical and numismatic importance cannot be overstated (1)

Images copyright Chris Rudd. (1) Thank you Chris Rudd  for images and text

This coin is in the Chris Rudd 20th November 2016 Auction

Coins News November 2016 features an article by Chris Rudd

WHO WAS CARATACUS? How a new discovery helps to resolve an old controversy

Chris Rudd >  “FOR over 400 years people have been trying to attribute coins to Caratacus—some rightly, others wrongly. In 1581 the
antiquarian historian William Camden illustrated a gold stater of Epaticcus (ABC 1343) in his monumental Britannia,
misread the legend as CEARITIC and said it was “a coine of that warlike prince, Caratacus”. Another antiquarian,
Reverend William Stukeley (1687–1765), copied Camden’s drawing of the Epaticcus stater onto his own plates, but changed
the inscription to CARATIC, which better suited Stukeley’s equally mistaken attribution to CARATICVS, as he called the
prince…..Worse was to follow”


In the article Chris Rudd lays out the numismatic error upon compounded error over the centuries; error echoed even now by disputing archaeologists.

Chris Rudd > “Personally, I’ve never had the slightest doubt that CARA coins were issued by the Caratacus attested by Roman authors and by medieval Welsh tradition. Moreover, the vast majority of experts in British iron age coins and British iron age archaeology are of the same mind. So what, I wonder, would convince the few remaining die-hard CARA-doubters and CARA-deniers? Would a coin that is inscribed with the names of both Caratacus and Cunobelinus? Well, I’m delighted to be able to tell these CARA-doubters and CARA-deniers and the readers of COIN NEWS that such a coin has been found.

“On Thursday, April 28, 2016, metal detectorist Andrew Aartsen found a silver minim at Greywell, Hampshire, well within the former territory of the Atrebates, which Caratacus invaded or inherited, and less than ten miles from their capital of Calleva (modern Silchester), which Caratacus is thought to have occupied and where the minim was probably minted. Like the CARA silver unit (ABC 1376), this tiny coin— only 8 millimetres in diameter, only 0.27 grams in weight—looks just like a silver minim of Epaticcus (ABC 1370), except for the two all-important names it carries. The obverse is inscribed CAR for Caratacus— who else could it reasonably be? The reverse is inscribed CV for Cunobelinus—who else could it reasonably
be, knowing as we do that several ancient and medieval authors have described Caratacus as the son of Cunobelinus? We also know that it was the custom of pre-Roman, pro-Roman princes north and south of the Thames to cite the name of their father on their coins (patronymic is the numismatic term) as proof of their royal legitimacy. As far as I’m concerned, this newly discovered minim is the “missing link”—the ultimate piece of numismatic evidence that southern coins inscribed CARA or CAR were issued by the historical Caratacus. Never before has such a small silver coin likely to have such a large influence on confirming the identity and paternity of a famous British ruler. Well done, Andy, for finding it!” !

Thank you Chris Rudd and Coin News Magazine which is published by Token Publishing https://www.tokenpublishing.com

Ecclesiastical Moneyers