Skip to main content Accessibility help

The first British navy

  • C. E. Dove

Among the commoner, and certainly among the most distinctive, Roman coins found in Britain are the quinarius ship-issues of Allectus—found in Britain and of course minted here. They seem to merit more comment than they have roused so far.

The linear shape of a galley does not accommodate itself to the circular shape of a coin, and Roman galley coins rate high marks for ineptitude. Prows or sterns by themselves, shown not for their own interest but as items in some larger symbolic concept, are tolerably well done. But with complete vessels we find stem-posts and stern-posts as high as the keel is long, boats shaped like bananas or like staples, and galleys fringed with so many indeterminate oars that they looklike centipedes. Some of the Allectus reverses are of this slovenly class (Mattingly and Sydenham, 1933, pl. xix, no. 16), but the better ones—and they are numerous—show a recognizable and seaworthy vessel.

Hide All
Ammianus Marcellinus: History.
Anon. 1946. Roman Britain in 1945, Journal of Roman Studies, XXXVI, 13348.
Anon. 1949. Roman Britain in 1948, Journal of Roman Studies, XXXIX, 96115.
Aulus Gellius: Nodes Atticae.
Aurelius Victor: De Caesaribus.
Caesar: De Bello Gallico.
Carson, R. A. 1959. The mints and coinage of Carausius and Allectus, J. Br. Arch. Ass., XXII, 3340.
Casson, L. 1965. Harbour and river boats of ancient Rome, Journal of Roman Studies, LV, 319.
Chadwick, N. K. 1958. The name Piet, Scottish Gaelic Studies, VIII, 14676.
Cotton, M. A., and Gathercole, P.. 1958. Excavations at Clausentum, 1951–4.
Harley, l. S. 1951. Essex Naturalist, XXVIII, pt. 5 (March), 379.
Johnstone, p. 1962. A medieval skin boat, Antiquity, XXXVI, 327.
Johnstone, p. 1964. The Bantry boat, Antiquity, XXXVIII, 27784.
Lethbridge, T. C. 1952. Boats and boatmen.
Marsden, P. R. V. 1964. Warships on Roman coins, Mariner’s Mirror (Nov.), 260.
Marsden, P. R. V. 1967. A ship of the Roman period from Blackfriars, in the City of London (Guildhall Museum publication).
Mattingly, H. and Sydenham, E. A.. 1933. Probus to Amandus, The Roman Imperial Coinage, vol. V, pt 2.
Panegyriques Latins. 1949. Tome 1 (Editions Galletier, Paris).
Raleigh, Radford, C. A.. 1946. The Roman villa at Low Ham, Proc. Somerset Arch, and Nat. Hist. Soc., XCII, 258.
Richmond, I. A. 1963. Roman Britain.
Scriptores Historiae Augustae. 1930. Bonosus.
Seneca: De Beneficiis.
Vegetius. 1885. ed. Lang, C., Epitoma Rei Militaris: Flavi Vegeti Renati (Teubner, Leipzig).
White, D. A. 1961. Litus Saxonicum: the British Saxon shore in scholarship and history (Madison, Wisconsin).
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

  • ISSN: 0003-598X
  • EISSN: 1745-1744
  • URL: /core/journals/antiquity
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *


Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed