Tincomarus / Tincommius

Tincomarus  was a king of the Iron Age Belgic tribe of the Atrebates who lived in southern central Britain shortly before the Roman invasion.  His name was previously reconstructed as Tincommius, based on abbreviated coin legends and a damaged mention in Augustus’s Res Gestae, but since 1996 coins have been discovered which give his full name.

The eldest son of Commius the Younger, with whom it would appear he jointly ruled for a number of years until his fathers death in c.20BC. It is possible that during the period of joint rule, Tincommius governed the southern half of the Atrebatean realm, operating from the oppidum of Noviomagus, and upon his succession he preferred to stay at the southerly sea port. This left his brother Eppillus to govern the northern territory from Calleva, and was to be the undoing of the lazy Tincommius, for it is from this time that the oppidum at Calleva developed into the main centre of Atrebatean power, under the rule of Eppilus.

Numismatic evidence of Tincomarus

Little is known of his reign although numismatic evidence suggests that he was more sympathetic to Rome than his father was in later years. In around 5BC, it would appear that diplomatic initiatives were instated between Tincommius and the emperor which concluded with a formal treaty. His gold staters issued around this time, inscribed with TINC in a recessed panel on the obverse and a very romanised version of the Atrebatean triple-tailed horse on the reverse, suggests that he had acquired the services of a Roman moneyer. Recent metallurgical research has shown that the issue of silver units associated with the TINC staters have almost exactly the same alloy content as contemporary Roman denarii, leading us to conclude that the bullion for this issue almost certainly came from Rome. These evident pro-Roman sympathies, in direct opposition to those of his father, possibly caused a breakaway faction of Atrebatean nobles to found the tribe of the Dobunni at this time. Before 7AD he fell victim to a coup hatched by his younger brother Eppillus and was removed from the throne, whereupon he travelled to Rome to plead his case for reinstatement before Augustus. He was refused however, because Augustus was in no position to mount a military campaign in Britain at this time, and to keep a friendly face at Calleva, Eppillus was recognised by Rome as king.