Treasure hunters find coins issued by Rome’s Mark Antony
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