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Research Coins: Feature Auction

 
75001102

Stone of Emesa

Sale: CNG 75, Lot: 1102. Estimate $750. 
Closing Date: Wednesday, 23 May 2007. 
Sold For $1000. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

Elagabalus. AD 218-222. AR Denarius (3.00 g, 1h). Antioch mint. Struck circa AD 218-219. Laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right / Slow quadriga right, bearing the sacred, conical Stone of Emesa surmounted by eagle and surrounded by four sacred parasols. RIC IV 195; Thirion 360; RSC 268. Good VF, toned. Rare.



From the Alexandre de Barros Collection.

At the age of fourteen, Varius Avitus Bassianus (Elagabalus) inherited the office of high priest of the sun-god Elagabalus at Emesa in Syria. The cult of his sun god was represented by a sacred stone, and in AD 219 when he moved from Emesa to Rome, he took the stone, probably a meteorite, with him. This coin type commemorates this event. During his reign, Elagabalus devoted his efforts to the promotion of his cult god, building a lavish temple to house the stone.