Collection History: Donated in 1897 by Dr. Wilson A. Farnsworth
Minted in Tripolis.
The emperor Aurelian ruled from 270 to 275 AD. In 274, he made the cult of “Sol Invictus,” the Unconquered Sun, an official cult alongside the traditional Roman cults. The god was greatly favored by emperors after Aurelian and is often seen on coins minted up to the reign of Constantine. By placing an image of the god on the reverse, this coin creates a connection between the emperor and the divine. The Roman gens of Aurelian was even associated with the cult of Sol. The globe that rests in Sol’s left hand symbolizes his (and thus Aurelian’s) dominion over the civilized world. Allison Gamble 2013.