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AURORA. - he daughter of Titan, and harbinger of the Sun, appears as a winged figure, between four horses, whose reins she holds, on a coin of L. Plancus. - See Plautia gens.
There is also another image of "the rosy fingered" demi-goddess, on a brass medallion of Trajan (below).
The obverse bears the head of Trajan, and the legend DIVO NERVAE TRAIANO AVG.
The reverse legend is S P Q R DIVO TRAIANO PARTHICO. The type represents Aurora holding in her right hand a lighted torch, and in her left a palm branch. She stands in a chariot drawn conjointly by a lion and a wild boar. Hercules precedes, holding a club on his right shoulder. - See Tristan, who gives an engraving of this reverse in T. i. p. 404 of his Commentaires, of which an accurate copy is furnished in the foregoing cut.
On this very remarkable relic of monetal antiquity, the author of Doctrina makes the following explanatory animadversions, in the 442nd page of his sixth volume, where he classes it amongst those, which were undoubtedly minted on the occasion of the triumphal honours decreed to Trajan after his death:-
"This beautiful coin (vi. 442), on account of its singular type, I have determined by no means to overlook, although aware that by some it is reckoned amongst the contorniati. The appropriate management of the allegory, and the connection between the obverse and reverse, which is scarcely ever observable in the whole batch of contorniates, induce me without hesitation to concur with Havercamp, in rescuing it from that inferior class of medals. ut I am not at all satisfied with the interpretations, far-fetched and beside the purpose, which have been applied to it, as well by Erizzo as by Tristan, and lastly by Havercamp himself. For, in the design of this precious medallion (says Eckhel) I recognise the triumph of Aurora, brought about under the auspices of Trajan, a second Hercules, with the vanquished barbarians reduced like wild beasts to her yoke. It is easy, indeed, to prove, that the figure in the chariot represents Aurora; and not, as others have thought, Victory, or a winged Diana. By common consent, the wings and the torch belong to Aurora alone. You see her winged on denarii of the Plautia family. She bears a torch on a famous Alexandrine coin, with a head of Lucius Verus. It was, in fact, a long established custom, to denote countries situated towards the east, by a figure of the Sun, or of Aurora. Thus on gold coins of Trajan, struck after he had set out on the Parthian campaign, you may frequently percieve a head of the Sun; and at the time that Lucius Verus was engaged in a war with the Parthians, a coin was struck at Alexandria, with the type of Aurora, and the inscription H omega, the Greek word for Aurora. - And lastly, ORIENS AVG. with a type of the Sun, or Aurora, indicates that quarter of the globe, which furnished the emperors with occasions both of war and of glory. On this principle too, Virgil calls the eastern countries Aurorae populos, or vires Orientis. With equal elegance of idea, the Nemaean lion and the boar of Erymanthus, yoked to a chariot, serve to signify the Parthians vanquished by the new Hercules, like monsters pernicious to the Roman world, and just brought to submission. Thus we read, that Sesostris was carried in public procession, on a triumphal car, drawn by the kings whom he had conquered in battle. The present coin, then, allegorises, in a felicitous manner, the Roman provinces of the east delivered from the Parthians; the latter people reduced to the condition of servitude; and Trajan himself the avenger; it being for this rason that, omitting his other titles of Germanicus, and Dacicus, he is here styled only Parthicus."