Carausius                286 - 293

Carausius came from a sailing background and thanks to his abilities in this area he was commissioned by Maximianus to build a fleet to control the widespread pirating along the coasts of Gaul and Britain. Carausius was successful in this regard but it was soon discovered that he was personally profiting from the loot seized from the pirates. When Carausius heard that an arrest warrant had been issued for him he fled to Britain and declared himself emperor. Taking advantage of the fact that Maximianus had bigger headaches at the moment with fighting German barbarians, Carausius quickly rallied an army together and brought Britain under his firm control. In a silent appeal to be legitimately recognized by the greater empire, he issued coins commemorating his "fellow" emperors Maximianus and Diocletian. This tactic did little to appease either, of course, and Maximianus dispatched Constantius Chlorus to deal with him. In the meantime, Carausius was murdered by one of his own men, Allectus, who felt ready to take a stab at being emperor himself.


AE Antoninianus 287--293 A.D.

London 292--293 A.D.

4.14 g., 22 mm.

Obv. IMP C CARAVSIVS PF AVG: Radiate, draped, and cuirassed bust right

Rev. PAX AVGGGG S P MLXXI: Pax standing left, holding branch and slanting scepter;

from self-declared "joint reign" with Diocletian and Maximian

RIC-143 (Rare); Carson, "Carausius et Fratres sui," no. 16

NOTE: The three G's in the reverse legend sow that Carausius was extending recognizance to Diocletian and Maximian, in a failed attempt at reconciliation; die break from S to scepter in left reverse field

AE Antoninianus 287--293 A.D.

22 mm. (Prior to peace

ca. 290 A,D,)

Obv. IMP CARAVSIVS P AVG: Radiate, draped, and cuirassed bust right

Rev. SPES PVBL:ICA S C: Spes facing left, holding flower and hitching skirt

RIC V, 522