Trea­sure hun­ters find coins is­sued by Rome’s Mark Antony

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - WORLD - DAVID WILKES

LON­DON: Coins is­sued by Mark Antony at the height of his love af­fair with Cleopa­tra have been found in a muddy field in Wales more than 2 000 years later.

Two friends out met­alde­tect­ing un­cov­ered the sil­ver denarii, dat­ing back to 31BC, among a hoard of 91 Ro­man coins in a shat­tered earth­en­ware pot buried 30cm un­der­ground.

Ex­perts have de­scribed the find by con­sul­tant psy­chi­a­trist Dr Richard Annear, 65, and his friend John Player, 70, as sig­nif­i­cant and say it could be worth tens of thou­sands of pounds.

The three coins is­sued by the Ro­man gen­eral and politi­cian are ex­am­ples of those he had made to pay his army as he bat­tled with his ri­val Octavian for con­trol of the em­pire.

Antony stabbed him­self with a sword af­ter he lost the Bat­tle of Ac­tium in Greece to Octavian in 31BC.

Leg­end has it that he did so be­liev­ing the Egyp­tian queen Cleopa­tra, his lover, was dead.

She was still alive, how­ever, and he is said to have been brought to die in her arms.

She had been cap­tured and some ac­counts sug­gest she later killed her­self by be­ing bit­ten by a poi­sonous snake.

Octavian went on to be­come Rome’s first em­peror and changed his name to Au­gus­tus.

The other coins in the haul date from the pe­riod of Em­peror Nero (AD 54-68) to Mar­cus Aure­lius (AD 161-80), mean­ing the hoard con­tains cur­rency is­sued by Ro­man rulers span­ning 200 years.

Annear re­ported the find near the vil­lage of Wick, South Wales, to mu­seum cu­ra­tors who re­trieved it from the ground.

It is thought the coins had been buried for safe­keep­ing by a farmer dur­ing the Ro­man oc­cu­pa­tion of Bri­tain.

Annear said yes­ter­day: “We have been in that field sev­eral times be­fore and our only finds have been poor-qual­ity Ge­or­gian ha’pen­nies.

“I was sur­prised by this find. You usu­ally find rub­bish.”

Ed­ward Besly, of the Na­tional Mu­seum of Wales, said each of the coins “rep­re­sents about a day’s pay at the time, so the hoard rep­re­sents a sig­nif­i­cant sum”.

Cardiff coroner An­drew Barkley ruled the coins, found last De­cem­ber, are “trea­sure trove”. They will go to the Trea­sure Val­u­a­tion Com­mit­tee in Lon­don to be val­ued. – Daily Mail

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