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Astronomical Symbols on Roman Coins

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Abstract Ancient Roman coins are rich in astronomical symbols. These symbols range from simple crescents (such as the moon) to star groups (such as the Pleiades), and often provide historical records on astronomical events such as lunar eclipses, comets, and supernovae. The early Roman Emperors were quite adept at utilizing astronomical events such as the appearance of comets for their political ambitions. Julius Caesar was "deified" by the appearance of a comet at the time of his funeral, and Augustus Caesar used this as numismatic propaganda to sway public support. Romans added astronomical symbols on their coins to express specific meanings as follows: Devine symbol. Omen to be used as a talisman. Symbol for the movement of stars in the sky, related to certain events. Symbols of astronomical phenomena such as comet, solar eclipse, to express some particular political events. Symbol of immortality and eternity.

10.1163/2213860910X00323
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/content/journals/10.1163/2213860910x00323
2010-01-01
2016-12-11

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