The Beaurains Treasure
Multiples
by Claudia Ghezzi

A very precious treasure of the Roman age was discovered in Beaurains (Pas-de-Calais) on 21st September 1922. It was hidden in pottery vessel containing a silver one. Unfortunately its knowledge was compromised by the theft occurred the same night, and the consequent sale of part of it on the antiquarian market. Therefore, it is estimated that only 7/10th of the total objects were recovered.

The treasure of Beaurains, although reduced, is still fairly large. It includes twenty-three pieces of jewelry (necklaces, bracelets, earrings, buckles, rings, pendants, some of which also with coins set in them), silver objects (a candlestick, two spoons, an ingot), 472 coins, including 25 gold multiples of the Tetrarchic period and issued by Constantine I. The multiples, stricken in the mints of Trier and Rome, were probably gifts received by the owner of the treasure during his career as officer of the imperial army, between 285 and 310 A.D. Their value ranges from four to ten aurei, and from one and a half to nine solidi.

A multiple of ten aurei is exceptional for the beauty of its types, which have a deep ideological meaning. It was issued to celebrate the reconquest of Britannia by Constantius I Caesar in 296 A.D.. For this the legend on the Reverse celebrates him as "he who brought back the eternal light" of Roman civilization to British people, symbolized by the personification of Londinium, (London) welcoming on her knees the Emperor outside the city walls.

The date of concealment of the treasure must be set after 315 A.D., year of issue of the latest coin.



Click on the images of the coins to enlarge them


Multiplo da cinque
aurei di
Costanzo I

Multiplo da dieci
aurei di
Costanzo I

Multiplo da cinque
aurei di
Diocleziano

Multiplo da quattro
aurei di
Massimiano

Multiplo da quattro
aurei di
Costanzo I

© 2008 UCSC Milano