Romans in Pannonia
Looking at the history books, the conquest of Pannonia has parallels
with the conquest of Britain. Both were invaded at roughly the
same time; both had rebellions by the Celt tribes who lived there,
who killed the earlier settlers, and were put down with brutal
Roman resettlement started about 10 AD and the area became more important
as the route to Dacia. The Danube became the frontier of the Roman
world for hundreds of years. A fleet was maintained there and many
forts and garrison towns were built . Larger roman settlements such
as Mursa, Cibalia and Marsonia grew on the flat plain between the
rivers Drava and Sava.
One would expect then, a rich deposit of roman coins in the region,
and this is so, though coins from 1st century BC - 1st century AD
have been very much fewer than expected.
The large amount
of soldiery in the mid-3rd century prompted the establishments of
two mints in the region; at Siscia (Sisak) and Sirmium (Srijemska
Mitrovice). Needless to say, coins from these mints are the most
common. In fact, so many so-called rare coins have been rescued by
us that the rarity ratings for them have dropped considerably .
Roman Silver & Bronze Coinage
The mainstay of the roman coinage was the silver denarius. By
the time of it's demise in 248 AD, it had been around for 460 year.
Bronze coins (in order of size and value, Sestertius, Dupondius
and As) were introduced and were common in the 1st and 2nd centuries,
but fell into disuse gradually and by the mid 3rd century the Antoninianus
was practically the only coin being produced.
The denarius had
dropped to less than 50% silver by the time of it's demise about
250 AD, and it's succesor, the Antoninianus, introduced by Caracalla
as a "double denarius",
though starting off
with about 50% silver, soon became a worthless bronze coin before
The speed of the collapse of the monetary system can be seen
in the short reign of Trajan Decius. Over the two year period
of his rule, the Antoninianus fell from 40% silver to 22% silver.
Consecutive rulers raised the silver content up at the start of
their reign but by the end the value had dropped considerably.
The reign of Gallienus saw the opening of many regional mints but
saw the lowest level of quality ever in roman coinage, with the
Antoninianus now no more than a crudely stamped mishapen piece
of copper alloy.
Reforms were made to the coinage by Aurelian and
Diocletian and the Follis became the standard coin, usually silver
washed, though this became smaller and more worthless under the
reign of Constantine. Silver was reintroduced about 355 with the Siliqua
and that lasted until the year 400. Bronze declined gradually in
size to about 12 mm or less. it wasn't until the reform of Anastasius
I (491-518) that these sad little coins were finally discontinued.
Roman Provincial Coinage
Provincial mints are those not classed as issuing imperial coinage.
These abounded earlier in many city states, and later by roman
colonies at the fringes of the empire. The most important one regarding
finds in this region, is Viminacium in the province of Moesia Superior.
This mint produced sestertius sized bronzes between 239 - 295,
when elsewhere in the empire the quality of coinage was dropping
and getting smaller. These coins are very common finds. In one
field, Moesian coins of Philip (244-249) outnumber even the
later 4th century common types.
Other provincial coins are mainly from Stobi in Macedonia and Nicaea
in Bithynia (northern Turkey).
By far the most numerous of Roman personal artefacts. Fibulae
come in a myriad of shapes and sizes, and have proved to be very
regional in design. The Dolphin brooch, one of the most common
designs of fibulae to be found in Britain, isn't even represented
here. The same goes for the Trumpet brooch and half a dozen other
types commonly found in the west.
The Knee fibulas presented here have been given subclasses according
to our own logical arrangement; don't try to find them under that
classification in any book on the subject!
Only one silver fibula has been found, along with two in iron,
one of which is complete and functional.