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Coin Hoard from Gothic Invasion 251 AD in Bulgaria

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The year 251 AD was a disaster for the Romans. The Gothic forces, under Cniva, defeated the Roman forces at the battle of Abritus in modern-day Bulgaria. Both the Emperor Decius and his co-ruling son Herennius Etruscus were killed in battle. Before the disastrous battle, Cniva besieged Philoppolis  (Plovdiv, Bulgaria). One unfortunate resident left a hoard of coins for safety, never to return:

“[The Roman silver coin hoard] tells an interesting story about the fate of today’s Plovdiv and about a resident of the respective home who in a haste hid about 600 silver coins in a purse during an attack and burning of his home in the middle of 3rd century AD… The find in question can be connected with the historical data about the burning of the city by the Goths during that period."



The hoard of the 595 Roman silver and bronze coins hidden during the 251 AD Goth invasion and found by the archaeologists in Bulgaria’s Plovdiv include coins minted by Roman Emperors and Empresses over a period of 101 years – from 145 until 246 AD.





More specifically, the coins were minted by Roman Emperors, Empresses (and other royalties) Antonius Pius (minted in 145 – 161 AD), Commodus (minted in 190 – 191 AD), Didia Clara (minted in 193 AD), Septimius Severus (minted in 193 – 195 AD), Julia Domna (minted in 196 – 211 and 211 – 217 AD), Caracalla (minted in 199 – 200 AD and in 212 AD), Plautilla, Geta (minted in 198 – 200, 200 – 202 AD and 211 AD), Macrinus (minted in 217 AD), Elagabalus (minted in 218 – 219 AD), Julia Soaemias (minted in 218 – 222 AD), Julia Maesa (minted in 218 – 222 AD), Severus Alexander (minted in 231 – 235 AD), Julia Mamaea, Maximinus Thrax (235 – 236 AD, Paulina, Maximus (minted in 235 – 236 AD), Gordian III (minted in 238 – 239 AD), Philip I the Arab (minted in 245 AD), Philip II (minted in 244 – 246 AD), and Otacilla Severa (minted in 246 – 248 AD).





Summary: This is another example of numismatic evidence sometimes filling the gaps of an incomplete history. The year 251 AD was certainly one of crisis. Not only were an emperor and his co-ruling son killed, but the Sassanid King Shapur I, possibly sensing instability in the empire, decided to wage war on Rome with the intend of capturing Antioch.

Excellent review about the turmoil of the third century that led up to the Battle of Abritus:





guy also known as gaius

Edited by guy

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