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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.


Crispus, Caesar, 1 March 317 - 326 A.D.

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Crispus' earliest issue. On 1 March 317, Constantine the Great and co-emperor Licinius elevated their sons Crispus, Constantine II (still an baby) and Licinius II to Caesars. After this arrangement, Constantine ruled the dioceses Pannonia and Macedonia, and established his residence at Sirmium, from where he prepared a campaign against the Goths and Sarmatians.
RL76319. Billon reduced follis, RIC VII London 115 (R2), SRCV IV 16718, Cohen VII 136, Choice EF, excellent centering and strike, some die wear, weight 3.243 g, maximum diameter 20.1 mm, die axis 0o, 1st officina, Londinium (London, England) mint, 1st issue, 1 Mar - end 317 A.D.; obverse CRISPVS NOB CAES, laureate and cuirassed bust right; reverse SOLI INVICTO COMITI (to the unconquered Sun, minister [of the Emperor]), Sol standing left, radiate, nude but for chlamys over left shoulder, raising right hand commanding the sun to rise, globe in left hand, S - P across fields, PLN in exergue; scarce; $155.00 (137.95)


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, tribune of the people 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 (133.50)


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; $135.00 (120.15)


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; $130.00 (115.70)


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; $130.00 (115.70)


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

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In 233, Alexander celebrated a triumph in Rome to observe his "victory" the previous year over the Persians. He was forced to leave for the Rhine frontier, where the Alamanni had invaded Swabia. German tribes destroyed Roman forts and plundered the countryside at the Limes Germanicus.
RB71744. Bronze as, SRCV II 8091, RIC IV 543, BMCRE VI 966, Cohen IV 455, Choice aVF, excellent portrait and centering, Sol's head flatly struck, weight 10.435 g, maximum diameter 24.5 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, 235 A.D.; obverse IMP ALEXANDER PIVS AVG, laureate and draped bust right; reverse P M TR P XIIII 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, S - C across fields; $125.00 (111.25)


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; $110.00 (97.90)


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; $110.00 (97.90)


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

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The name and the image of the sun god were frequently displayed on the coins of Rome. Apollo, in particular, was the object of homage in those dreadful times when the spread of plague depopulated the empire. But in the period when paganism was falling to the spread of Christianity, the emperors invoked the sun god Sol more than ever. The last inscription referring to Sol Invictus dates to 387 and there were enough devotees in the 5th century that Saint Augustine found it necessary to preach against them.
RL77106. Billon follis, RIC VII Lyons 1 (S), Bastien XI 537, Cohen VII 536, SRCV IV 16066, Hunter V -, Choice EF, well centered and struck, excellent bust, nice reverse, weight 3.772 g, maximum diameter 22.6 mm, die axis 180o, 1st officina, Lugdunum (Lyon, France) mint, 313 - 314 A.D.; obverse IMP CONSTANTINVS P F AVG, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, from behind; 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, globe in left hand, S - F at sides, PLG in exergue; scarce; $105.00 (93.45)


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

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On May 21 the Orthodox Christian Church celebrates the "Feast of the Holy Great Sovereigns Constantine and Helen, Equal to the Apostles."
RT77400. Billon follis, RIC VII Rome 27, SRCV IV 16097, Cohen VII -, Choice VF, silvering, clashed dies, weight 3.046 g, maximum diameter 21.3 mm, die axis 0o, 1st 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, globe in left hand, R over X on left, F on right, P R in exergue; $105.00 (93.45)




    



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Sol