The Abraham Cowley Text and Image Archive

Solar Currency

Rhodes, Caria, AR didrachm, 387-304 BC
Obv.: Head of Sun-God Helios 3/4 r.
Rev.:In Greek characters RODION above rose, E and bunch of grapes to l.
(similar, much rarer issues in gold, for as long as Rhodes kept its autonomy)
The facing sun-god is hardly unique to the coinage of Rhodes (the ubiquitous radiate crown is itself a sun-icon), but the coinage of medieval and Renaissance Europe routinely if barely encrypts the sun's figure in other mandala-like forms, for example the rose-starburst found on gold ryals in England from Edward IV to James I. James I's "Spur Ryals" bore a motto from Mark 12:11 in allusion to what was for James the miraculous character of his rise to the throne of both Scotland and England: "A Domino factum est istud et est mirabile in oculis nostris" ("This was done by the Lord, and is miraculous in our eyes").

Caracalla, AR denarius
Obv.: Caracalla laureate hd. r.
Rev.: Radiate hd. of Sol r., PACATOR ORBIS ("Bringing Peace to the World")
Related links:
Through Concord Kingdoms Flourish
Cosmic Coordinates / Empire without End
National Portrait Gallery, London // Other Links for Kings James I, Charles I, and Charles II

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