Coin of Cunobelin (Colchester)
Cunobelin ruled from around AD 10 – 40 and issued a range of coinage types across the south-east of Britain.
Prior to the Roman invasion Colchester was called Camulodunum, meaning ‘the fortress of Camulos’, a native war god. From about 50 BC it was the tribal capital of the Trinovantes. Later it became the capital of an untied Trinovantes with the Catuvellauni tribe under Cunobelin. Cunobelin ruled from around AD 10 – 40 and issued a range of coinage types across the south-east of Britain.
What were the coins used for?
In the Iron Age coinage was used to convey the power and authority of tribal leaders. Cunobelin’s coins weren’t used as a form of currency as we understand it but as a means of spreading his authority and influence. This meant that the geographical spread of Cunobelin’s coinage could be seen to correlate to his sphere of influence.
The images on British Iron Age coins were influenced by Roman and Hellenistic issues. Cunobelin’s coin features a horse on the reverse which represents military strength. The ear of corn symbolizes the importance of agriculture in the economy of Iron Age Britain.
What do the engravings mean?
Monograms were commonly used on coinage throughout the south of England. Made up of letters from the Latin alphabet, these monograms were shortened versions of the names of the leaders and capital cities. CAM stood for Camulodunum (Colchester), and CVNO denoted was a shortened version of his name.
Pictured above is an Iron Age gold stater of Cunobelin c.AD 10-40, minted at Camulodunum. This example has been miss struck and heavily worn as the complete inscription is no longer visible.
Iron Age Collections