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Arras medallion

  • Object type

  • Museum number

    B.11477

  • Title (object)

    • Arras medallion
  • Denomination

    • aureus, 10
  • Description

    Electrotype of gold medallion known as 'The Arras Medallion'(obverse) Laureate, draped bust representing Constantius I, with shoulder of cuirass visible showing the pteryges (protective leather shoulder-straps).
    (reverse) London, represented by a kneeling woman (labelled LON), left, with arms outstretched in supplication as the emperor rides right towards the gates of the city; below, galley with four rowers.

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  • Producer name

  • State

    • Roman Empire
  • Authority

  • Culture/period

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Diameter: 42 millimetres
    • Weight: 36 grammes
  • Inscriptions

      • Inscription Type

        inscription
      • Inscription Position

        reverse
      • Inscription Language

        Latin
      • Inscription Content

        REDDITOR LVCIS AETERNA
      • Inscription Type

        inscription
      • Inscription Position

        obverse
      • Inscription Language

        Latin
      • Inscription Content

        FL VAL CONSTANTIVS NOBIL CAES
      • Inscription Type

        inscription
      • Inscription Position

        reverse field
      • Inscription Language

        Latin
      • Inscription Content

        LON
      • Inscription Transliteration

        Londinium
      • Inscription Type

        mintmark
      • Inscription Position

        reverse exergue
      • Inscription Content

        PTR
      • Inscription Comment

        mint signature of Trier
  • Curator's comments

    The reverse scene is visual shorthand to the events described in the panegyric (eulogy) for Constantius, performed during or not long after the celebrations of 1st March AD 297. (Nixon & Rodgers, 1994, 106) The invasion of Britain and defeat of Allectus is presented as the liberation of Britain (Panegyric of Constantius 9, 5-6). In the aftermath, Constantius's soldiers saved London from rampaging Barbarian mercenaries (Panegyric of Constantius 17, 1). They were the remnants of the rebel army who had become intent on looting the city (now that their paymaster Allectus was dead). Constantius arrives at London by a mixture of transportation (alighting on horseback from a ship). The legend proclaims Constantius as 'the restorer of the eternal light' [of Roman civilization to Britain] (see also Panegyric of Constantius 19, 2-3 for the idea of Constantius 'refreshing' Britain with the 'true light' of the empire).

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  • Bibliography

    • Bastien & Metzger 1977 218 bibliographic details
    • RIC6 34, p.167 (type) bibliographic details
  • Location

    On display: G70/dc30/no1

  • Exhibition history

    Exhibited:

    2016 16 Jul-10 Oct, York, Yorkshire Museum, Constantius: York's Forgotten Emperor

  • Subjects

  • Associated names

  • Associated places

  • Acquisition notes

    Electrotype made by E. Bourgey of Paris, 1927.

  • Department

    Coins & Medals

  • Registration number

    B.11477

Electrotype of gold medallion known as 'The Arras Medallion'

Reverse

Reproduced by permission of the artist. © The Trustees of the British Museum

Image description

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Object reference number: CGR199525

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