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The first British navy

  • C. E. Dove
Extract

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.

Copyright
References
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Antiquity
  • ISSN: 0003-598X
  • EISSN: 1745-1744
  • URL: /core/journals/antiquity
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