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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ Themes & Provenance ▸ Gods, Non-Olympian ▸ SolView Options:  |  |  |   

Sol

Sol sometimes called Sol Invictus ("Unconquered Sun") was the solar deity in Ancient Roman religion. Worship of Sol began early but seems to have become more significant from the reign of Aurelian until the abolition of paganism under Theodosius I.


Roman Republic, P. Clodius M.f. Turrinus, 42 B.C.

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In October 42 B.C., the Republican army was defeated by the legions Antony and Octavian at Philippi. Cassius and Brutus committed suicide. Brutus' body was brought to Antonius' camp, where he cast his purple paludamentum over his dead body and ordered an honorable funeral for his erstwhile comrade. The Republican cause was crushed; Rome rested in the hands of the Second Triumvirate.
RR85018. Silver denarius, Crawford 494/21, Sydenham 1115, Sear Imperators 182, RSC I Claudia 17, BMCRR Rome 4287, Russo RBW 1726, SRCV I 491, VF, broad flan, porous and a little rough, weight 3.296 g, maximum diameter 18.0 mm, die axis 45o, Rome mint, c. 42 B.C.; obverse radiate head of Sol right, quiver behind; reverse crescent moon with horns upward, surrounded above by five six-pointed stars in a semi-circle, PCLODIVS over MF below; scarce; $270.00 SALE PRICE $243.00


Caracalla, 28 January 198 - 8 April 217 A.D.

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In 200 A.D. Septimius Severus visited the provinces of Syria, Palestine, and Arabia. Palestine, benefiting from the benevolent policies of Severus, had a significant economic revival.
RS85000. Silver denarius, RIC IV 30a; RSC III 413; BMCRE V p. 190, 179; Hunter III p. 51, 9; SRCV II 6857, Choice gVF, fine style, superb boy portrait, full circle centering on a broad flan, light toning, small edge cracks, weight 3.555 g, maximum diameter 20.0 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, 200 A.D.; obverse ANTONINVS AVGVSTVS, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, from behind; reverse PONTIF TR P III (priest, holder of Tribunitian power for 3 years), Caracalla (as Sol) standing facing, head left, nude but for chlamys over shoulders, globe in right hand, leaning on reversed spear in left, not radiate; $150.00 SALE PRICE $135.00


Aurelian, August or September 270 - October or November 275 A.D.

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Sear identifies this denomination for Aurelian as either an as or a reduced sestertius. The as (or reduced sestertius) is a very scarce denomination this late in the empire.
RA76203. Bronze as, MER-RIC 1871, Gbl MIR 145d0(1), BnF XII 297, Hunter IV 33, SRCV III 11646, RIC V 80 var. (officina number), Hunter IV 27 var. (4th officina), VF, well centered, nice green patina, flan crack, weight 6.041 g, maximum diameter 26.7 mm, die axis 180o, 1st officina(?), Rome mint, issue 11, early - September 275; obverse IMP AVRELIANVS AVG, laureate and cuirassed bust right; reverse CONCORDIA AVG (harmony of the Emperor), Emperor and empress clasping hands, above and between them a radiate and draped bust of Sol right; $120.00 SALE PRICE $108.00


Constantine the Great, Early 307 - 22 May 337 A.D.

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On 8 October 314, at the Battle of Cibalae, Constantine defeated Licinius near Colonia Aurelia Cibalae (modern Vinkovci, Croatia). Licinius was forced to flee to Sirmium and lost all of the Balkans except for Thrace. The two Augusti initiated peace negotiations, but they failed and they would not make peace until 1 March 317.
RL85191. Billon follis, RIC VII Ticinum 21 (R1), SRCV IV 16087, Cohen VII 536, cf. Hunter V 139 (TT, 314 A.D.), Choice EF, nice portrait and reverse style, green patina, weight 3.279 g, maximum diameter 20.5 mm, die axis 0o, 3rd officina, Ticinum (Pavia, Italy) mint, 314 - 315 A.D.; obverse IMP CONSTANTINVS P F AVG, laureate and cuirassed bust right; reverse SOLI INVI-C-TO COMITI, Sol standing slightly left, radiate, nude but for chlamys over shoulders and left arm, raising right hand commanding the sun to rise, celestial globe in left hand, star in left field, TT in exergue; rare; $120.00 SALE PRICE $108.00


Severus Alexander, 13 March 222 - March 235 A.D.

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Sol Invictus ("Unconquered Sun") was the sun god of the later Roman Empire and a patron of soldiers. In 274 the Roman emperor Aurelian made it an official cult alongside the traditional Roman cults. The god was favored by emperors after Aurelian and appeared on their coins until Constantine. The last inscription referring to Sol Invictus dates to 387 and there were enough devotees in the 5th century that Augustine found it necessary to preach against them. The date 25 December was selected for Christmas to replace the popular Roman festival Dies Natalis Solis Invicti, the "Birthday of the Unconquered Sun."
RB73721. Orichalcum sestertius, RIC IV 538d, BMCRE VI 593, Hunter III 154, SRCV II 8004, Cohen IV 449 var. (bust), Choice aVF, nice portrait, well centered, nice green patina with some smoothed red areas on the reverse, light corrosion, weight 21.746 g, maximum diameter 31.7 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, 234 A.D.; obverse IMP ALEXANDER PIVS AVG, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, from the front; reverse P M TR P XIII COS III P P, Sol advancing left, radiate, nude but for chlamys over shoulders and left arm, raising right hand commanding the sun to rise, whip in left hand, S - C across field below center; $115.00 SALE PRICE $104.00


Elagabalus, 16 May 218 - 11 March 222 A.D.

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The star in the field, a symbol of the sun-god, stands for the mint of Rome.
RS77436. Silver denarius, RIC IV 40b, RSC III 184, Hunter III 49, BMCRE V p. 567, 244; cf. SRCV II 7533 (TR P III), VF, well centered, nice portrait, toned, some die wear, porous, weight 3.150 g, maximum diameter 19.1 mm, Rome mint, 221 A.D.; obverse IMP ANTONINVS PIVS AVG, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, from behind; reverse P M TR P IIII COS III P P, Sol advancing left, radiate, nude but for cloak over shoulders and left arm and flying behind, raising right hand commanding the sun to rise, whip vertical in left hand, star in left field; $115.00 SALE PRICE $104.00


Aurelian, August or September 270 - October or November 275 A.D.

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Ticinum was a municipality and an important military site (a castrum) under the Roman Empire. In 476, Odoacer defeated Flavius Orestes at Ticinum after a long siege. To punish the city for helping his rival, Odoacer destroyed it completely. After the Lombard's conquest, Pavia became the capital of their kingdom, 568 - 774.
RA70549. Billon antoninianus, MER-RIC 1550, BnF XII 634, Gbl MIR 78Ab3, RIC V 152, Venra 5548 - 5609, Hunter IV 63, Cohen VI 183, SRCV III 11587, Choice gVF, perfect centering, some silvering, light scratches, a few reverse legend letters unstruck (filled die), weight 4.655 g, maximum diameter 22.4 mm, die axis 0o, 3rd officina, Ticinum (Pavia, Italy) mint, 4th emission, late 274 A.D.; obverse IMP C AVRELIANVS AVG, radiate and cuirassed bust right; reverse PROVIDEN DEOR (the foresight of the gods), Fides on left holding standard in each hand, facing Sol, standing left, raising his right hand commanding the sun to rise and holding globe in left hand, TXXT in exergue; $95.00 SALE PRICE $85.50


Constantine the Great, Early 307 - 22 May 337 A.D.

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The Latin word comiti, during imperial times, indicated a minister of the emperor. Even the two consuls where called "comites." The reverse legend therefore reads: "to the unconquered Sun, minister [of Constantine]."
RL71417. Billon follis, RIC VII Rome 27, SRCV IV 16097, Cohen VII -, Choice VF, perfect centering, Sol's head struck a bit flat, weight 3.181 g, maximum diameter 19.1 mm, die axis 180o, 4th officina, Rome mint, 314 - 315 A.D.; obverse IMP CONSTANTINVS P F AVG, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right; reverse SOLI INVICTO COMITI (to the unconquered Sun, minister [of the Emperor]), Sol standing half left, radiate, nude but for chlamys over shoulders and left arm, raising right hand commanding the sun to rise, extending globe in left hand, R over X left, F right, R Q in ANT in exergue; $95.00 SALE PRICE $85.50


Gallienus, August 253 - September 268 A.D.

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RIC lists this type as common, but Gbl lists only a single specimen, and Coin archives lists only one from the first officina and none from the second.
RA71050. Billon antoninianus, Gbl MIR 1212f (1 example), RIC V S494, Cohen V 686, Cunetio -, VF, uneven toning, light corrosion, weight 1.781 g, maximum diameter 21.0 mm, die axis 180o, 2nd officina, Mediolanum (Milan, Italy) mint, 266 A.D.; obverse GALLIENVS AVG, radiate head right; reverse ORIENS AVG (the rising sun of the Emperor), Sol standing half left, radiate, nude but for chlamys over shoulders and left arm, raising right hand commanding the sun to rise, whip in left, S in exergue; rare; $90.00 SALE PRICE $81.00


Gordian III, 29 July 238 - 25 February 244 A.D.

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Sol Invictus ("Unconquered Sun") was the sun god of the later Roman Empire and a patron of soldiers. In 274 the Roman emperor Aurelian made it an official cult alongside the traditional Roman cults. The god was favored by emperors after Aurelian and appeared on their coins until Constantine. The last inscription referring to Sol Invictus dates to 387 and there were enough devotees in the 5th century that Augustine found it necessary to preach against them. The date 25 December was selected for Christmas to replace the popular Roman festival Dies Natalis Solis Invicti, the "Birthday of the Unconquered Sun."
RS76202. Silver denarius, RIC IV 111, RSC IV 39, Choice VF, excellent portrait, well centered, toned, porous, light marks, weight 3.115 g, maximum diameter 20.4 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 1 Jan 241 - Jul 243 A.D.; obverse IMP GORDIANVS PIVS FEL AVG, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, from behind; reverse AETERNITATI AVG, Sol standing slightly right, radiate head left, nude but for chlamys over shoulders and left arm, raising right hand commanding the sun to rise, globe in left hand; $90.00 SALE PRICE $81.00




  



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Sol