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OTD 105 BCE: Rome's Republic shows what disunity looks like at The Battle of Arausio


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(Roman losses at Arausio are described as being up to 80,000 troops as well as another 40,000 auxiliary troops (allies) and servants)

2127 years ago the Battle of Arausio took place, at a site between the town of Arausio and the Rhône river. Two Roman armies, commanded by squabbling commanders, proconsul Quintus Servilius Caepio and consul Gnaeus Mallius Maximus, clashed with the migratory tribes of the Cimbri aaaaaand LOST! Due to their own egos and general incompetence.


Total losses numbered up to 120,000 soldiers, the entirety of both armies. This surpasses the amount of Roman losses at Cannae, Hannibal's masterclass in generalship. And ultimately would lead to the Marian reforms, that would save the empire *though it can be said that Marius and Sulla would be the death nails of the Republic. 

Some coins of the Republic from the time:

Balbus sure was bent out of shape over it 😉


L. Thorius Balbus, Denarius, Rome, 105 BCE AR (3,74 gr 20 MM6 H) Head of Juno Sospita r., wearing goat-skin behind, downwards, I S M R, Rv. Bull charging r. above, control letter, O below. L THORIVS in ex. BALBVS. Crawford 316/1 Thoria 1 Sydenham 598.

Cabinet toning

Mars certainly didn't bring home this victory



Denarius 108 or 107, AR 3.97 g. Draped bust of Victory r.; below chin, Ú. Rev. L•VALERI / FLACCI Mars walking l., holding spear and trophy over l. shoulder; before, apex and behind, corn ear. Babelon Valeria 11. Sydenham 565. Crawford 306/1. 

Son of a loser!


Q. Servilius Caepio, 100 BC. Denarius (Silver, 19.5 mm, 3.87 g, 11 h), Rome. PISO · / CAEPIO · Q Laureate head of Saturn to right; behind, harpa; below, trident. Rev. AD · FRV · EMV / EX · S · C Two quaestors seated left on stools between two wheat stalks. Babelon (Calpurnia) 5. Crawford 330/1a. Sydenham 603. Die-break on obverse, otherwise, very fine.

From the Trausnitz Collection, ex G. Hirsch 187, 19 September 1995, 865

Purchased from Nomos Obols Feb 2021

"Talk about being a born loser. Just like his dad, also named Servilius, our Servilius would lose an entire army (though, you could say that his dad lost 2 armies on account of his unwillingness to work with his Sr officer due to him being a novus homo) while fighting what he would have considered inferiors, due to his massive ego. Though, unlike his pops, whom was banished from Rome and forbidden fire and water within eight hundred miles of the city, the younger Servilius would die in battle along with his troops at the hands of the Marsi during the second year of the Social Wars."

Three Cimbri carnyx players are depicted at right on plate E of the Gundestrup cauldron.


(Three Cimbri carnyx players are depicted at right on plate E of the Gundestrup cauldron)


L. Cosconius M.f.

118 BCE. AR Serrate Denarius (17 MM, 3.53g, 6h). Narbo mint. Helmeted head of Roma right; X (mark of value) to left / Gallic warrior (Bituitus, king of the Averni?)driving galloping biga right, hurling spear and holding shield and carnyx. Crawford 282/2; Sydenham 521; Cosconia 1.

 Some different Celtic tribes:


GAUL, Northwest. Coriosolites. Circa 100-50 BC. BI Stater (19mm, 6.28 g, 6h). Celticized head right, hair in large spiral curls, S-like ear / Devolved charioteer-in-biga right; quadrilateral banner hanging from lash to right, [boar below]. Depeyrot, NC VIII, 186; D&T 2340. Brown surfaces, hard green encrustation. VF.

Purchased from CNG March 2021


CELTIC, Northeast. Gaul, Remi. Circa 100-50 BC. Potin AE Figure running right, holding torque and spear / Beast right; uncertain ornaments above and below. D&T 155; Depeyrot, NC VII, 29; CCCBM III 483–506; De la Tour 8124. 6,31gr. Purchased from Art & Coins #2 Jan 2022


CARNUTES (Beauce region) (2nd - 1st centuries BC) Gossip with the diabolical head and the wolf

16.4mm, 3.81g. R3

LT.manque - DT.2612 - BN.? - PK.43 var. - BMCC.S285

Obv: Spooky head on the left, a drop-shaped globule, possibly human flesh, in the mouth.

Rev: Stylized and gendered (if you don't know what that means, look closer) wolf on the left, the tail between the legs and a cross/crucifix over the back.

Unearthed Sept 2021 Burgundy region of France

It's hard not to enjoy the under dog taking a "W" now and again. Thanks for celebrating with me and please post and coins, thoughts etc from this period!

Edited by Ryro
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[ @Ryro this is just a placeholder to remind myself to put together some Republican coins from this period in the near future. Otherwise I might forget! I love your post, by the way, even if I tend to be highly skeptical of military casualty numbers from ancient sources. I simply don't believe that logistics were sufficiently advanced back then to support armies anywhere near the size necessary for the figures to be accurate. I think the figures are almost always wildly exaggerated.]

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