Rome, Sol Invictus (Sun God) Coin

Date: c. 309 - 319 CE
Roman Empire

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Item Description:

These bronze coins feature Sol Invictus, an ancient Roman sun god with ties to the evolution of early Christianity. They were minted under Constantine the Great from 309 to 319 CE, though this design was used by both previous and future emperors.

The worship of Sol Invictus had a heavy influence on the celebration of Christmas. The main festival dedicated to Sol Invictus was known as the Dies Natalis Solis Invicti, or "birthday of the invincible sun," which was celebrated on the 25th of December. This date would later be later recognized as the birth of Jesus Christ in Christianity, to help make the empire's transition to Christianity easier. Early Christian practices and beliefs about the Nativity of Jesus intersected and diverged from pagan solar worship and festivals, eventually morphing into a holiday with traits from both religions.

Sol Invictus, or "the Unconquerable Sun," was a later iteration of an earlier sun god, Sol. His worship was revived by Emperor Aurelian in 274 AD, who made him the chief god of the empire. He is often depicted driving a chariot through the sky, and wearing a sun crown symbolizing rays of light—this would later become one of the inspirations behind halos in Christian art.

Sol Invictus would remain prominent in Rome until the conversion of Constantine the Great to Christianity in 312 CE. However, coins bearing his name would continue to be minted for a few years after this, and worship of Sol Invictus continued until at least the fifth century.

Each coin features a portrait of Constantine I on the obverse side, and Sol Invictus on the reverse. The image of Sol Invictus will be mostly clear and complete on every coin.

Includes a Certificate of Authenticity.

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