In 2017, a hoard of Late Roman coins was discovered in the village of Compton Dundon in Somerset, known as “The Compton Dundon Hoard”. The hoard of 564 base metal coins of the denomination “Nummus” (previously termed “Centenionalis”) was recorded as GLO-574C93 and declared as treasure under the UK’s Treasure Act. An important large part of the hoard are coins of the usurper Emperor Magnentius and his brother Decentius (AD 350-53) – the Christogram coins of the usurper Emperors are one of the most demonstrative of the Christian faith within Roman coinage. After being recorded and partially cleaned by the British Museum, a selection of the hoard was acquired by the Museum of Somerset.
Flavius Magnus Magnentius was an usurper who ruled the Western Roman Empire from AD 350 to 353. He was of barbarian origin and joined Roman army and served in Gaul under Constans. In AD 350, Magnentius rebelled and killed Constans, and gained control over most of the Western Empire. However, the Eastern emperor Constantius II, the brother of Constans, refused to acknowledge Magnentius’ legitimacy and led a successful campaign against him. Ultimately, he was defeated and committed suicide in AD 353. During his short reign, Magnentius attempted various public and religious reform, but almost all his acts were quickly repealed by Constantius after his death.