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SARERD DEI SOLIS ELAGAB



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     SARERDos. DEI SOLIS ELAGABalus. -- A
figure, clothed in the stola, stands holding in
the right hand a patera over an altar, as in the
act of sacrificing. -- On silver and bronze of
Elagabalus.
   At the period of his being elected emperor,
the son of Sośmias, whose real name was not
Antoninus, but Varius Avitus Bassianus, held
at Emesa, in Syria, the office of the Phoenician
Deity called Elagabalus, or Heliogabalus (which
his coins lead us to believe was the sun.) -- The
present is one of a set consisting of six or seven
coins (all struck A.D. 219), which bear witness
to the insane devotion of this wretched youth
for his favourite divinity ; of which he brought
to Rome both the worship and the idol (the
latter being a large black coloured stone of a
conical form) ; and built a temple, where he
himself exercised the priestly office. Herodianus,
speaking of him and his cousin Alexander, says,
they were both high priests of the Sun, which
the people of the country chiefly worshipped
under the Phoenician name of Elagabalus. So
when he had brought his oriental tutelary to
Rome, and adored him in preference to others, he
himself always adopted the title of the God, of
whom he was called Summus et Invictus
Sacerdos
. -- see Elagabalus.
   The medals convey but a faint idea of the
extravagant veneration which this half madman,
half monster, paid to the symbol of the Deity,
whose barbaric apellative has remained a nickname
to the execrable pontiff. -- The star placed
above in the field of the coin, in this and most
others of the emperor in question, signifies Deus
Sol
-- the Sun, as an object of Divine worship,
according to the religion of the Phoenicians and
other Asiatic nations. On a marble, in Muratori,
is read Junius Maternus SACER. D. S. HALAGAB.


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