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SANCT DEO SOLI ELAGABAL

Latin: The holy sun god Elagabal.


DICTIONARY OF ROMAN COINS



Please add updates or make corrections to the NumisWiki text version as appropriate.
     SANCTo DEO SOLI ELAGABALo. -- Four
horses drawing a chariot, upon which is a species
of cone, surmounted by an eagle, and round it
four poles (perticś). -- Gold and silver of
Elagabalus.
   On this very rare and singular coin Elagabalus,
whom the frenzied emperor of that assumed
name worshipped as his favourite deity, is
represented under the form of a black conical
stone, drawn in state. The subject is with
surprising clearness illustrated by Herodianus. --
Vaillant interprets the word SANCTVS as used in
the legend, to meaning in this instance propitius,
or favourable.
   Respecting this public exhibition of the Syrian
God Elagabalus (or the Sun) at Rome, we learn
from the copious narrative of the historian above
quoted that the vehicle which bore it, glittering
with gold and gems, proceeded out of the city
into the suburb, where its temple stood, the
emperor going before the car, and holding the
reins. -- As to the four perticś or poles, which
encompass the body of the carriage, and sustain
as many cones, Eckhel acknowledges himself
unable to discover what they denote, "nor (he
sensibly adds) is it worth while to inquire more
fully into all the mysteries of a foolish superstition."
  The god Heliopolitanus, under which
name also the sun was worshipped, was conveyed
in the same manner at Heliopolis, for it is thus
that Macrobius writes : Vehitur enim simulacrum
dei Heliopolitani ferculo, uti vehuntur in pompa
ludorum Circensium deorum simulacra.
Sat. l. i.
-- Lampridius affirms that the son of Soaemias
was the priest of Heliogabalus, or of Jupiter, or
of the Sun, as if it were doubtful which, unless
they were all considered as identical.
   Mr. Akerman, in alluding to the conical shaped
stone represented on Latin coins of Elagabalus,
observes that "they appear on many Imperial
Greek coins."  The same able numismatist
remarks that "the gods of the ancient Greeks
were originally worshipped under such forms ;
so that the veneration of Elagabalus for his
block of stone is not deserving of the ridicule it
has met with. In a superstitious age, the feeling
was natural enough." -- For an apposite
passage from Winkelman on the subject of stone
worship, see Akerman's "Descriptive Catalogue,"
vol. i. p. 414 ; and SACER. DEI. SOLIS. ELAGAB.

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