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Pacifier of the World

CNG 111, Lot: 751. Estimate $15000.
Sold for $12000. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

Septimius Severus. AD 193-211. AV Aureus (20mm, 6.93 g, 6h). Rome mint. Struck AD 208. SEVERVS PIVS AVG, laureate head right / PACATOR ORBIS, radiate and draped bust of Sol right. RIC IV 282; Calicó 2487a (same dies as illustration); BMCRE 353; Biaggi 1082; Jameson 164; Mazzini 355; CNG 61, 1868 (same rev. die). Near EF, minor peck mark and small flan flaw on obverse. Rare.

From the Brexit Collection. Ex Hess-Divo AG 307 (7 June 2007), lot 1647; Münzen und Medaillen AG 64 (30 January 1984), lot 268.

The legend PACATOR ORBIS may be translated as “Pacifier of the World.” It is seen for the first time on a Roman coin with this issue of AD 207-208, accompanied by the radiate bust of Sol Invictus, whose worship within the Roman Empire began its rise to prominence in the reign of Severus. The cult likely was brought back by the legions of Severus after his campaigns against the Parthians circa AD 197. Solar worship was well established among the Persic peoples of the East, and the cult of Mithras (also associated with Sol) was already popular among the legions. Within a few decades the solar cult would become quasi-monotheistic and the last great rival of Christianity within the Roman Empire.