L. Augustus with crown of Sol Invictus. R. Sol Invictus
L. 1st c BCE-1st c CE R. 1st-3rd c Roman Roman Imperial (Augustan) Applied Art
(27 BCE - 14)
L. c. 15 BCE-14 CE R. 1-300
L. 1st c BCE-1st c CE R. 1st-3rd c
Roman Imperial (Augustan)
L. Cologne. Romisch-Germanisches Museum, R. Cairo. Egyptian Museum.
The Sun God Ra had a very long history in Egypt, but the use of the radiate halo came late, and was probably introduced during the great mixing of cultures that happened during the late Hellenistic period. The transcendent majesty of the Sun god was captured in these words:
Listen and learn what manner of god I am: \My head the firmament, the sea my belly,
Earth for my feet, my ears in aether fixed,
And radiant sunlight my far-flashing eye.
---Oracle of Serapis
On the right is an Egyptian rendition of the sun god with a radiate halo, who probably symbolizes Sol Invictus, the Invincible Sun. On the left is a cameo of Augustus wearing the radiate crown, which could reflect his victory over Cleopatra and Anthony and his conquest of the Egyptian realm.
The radiate crown or halo was first used as a symbol for the sun god, and it was taken over by the Roman emperors as a symbol of power. Later we will see that the halo was taken over by Christ, when Christianity was recognized as the state religion of the empire.
L. AUGUSTAN R. Romano-Egyptian| L. Augustus with crown of Sol Invictus. R. Sol Invictus | | Roman | Augustan