The Seven Day Week and Roman Imperial Ideology
The Roman seven day week started with Julius Caesar in 45 BC. The Roman Empire was a complex blend of many different calendars and the seven day week became official under Emperor Constantine. The order of the days of the week do not make sense in astronomical terms and the reason for their order has been lost to time. I propose Roman Imperial ideology is contained within the order of the planets, the days of the week and in the sequence of Roman gods. It is well known each day of the week honors a particular Roman astrologic diety. Let's take a closer look.
Honoring the Sun, Sol invictus. The Roman Emperor is frequently seen with a radiate crown representing his association with the Sun. The above coin has the Roman Emperor Probus on the obverse. Sol Invictus is on the reverse
PHOTO ABOVE: CNG COINS
Moon Day. The Roman Empress was associated the the moon. As described in previous posts the crescent below her portrait is frequently a double crescent. This is a representation of her power and the lower crescent is solar. She is the moon "eclipsing" the sun. A solar eclipse is a rare event. This portrait is meant to evoke fear and terror of the Roman Queen. Rome ruled through fear and terror, not love, kindness, and understanding. This portrait type of the Roman Empress became popular under Julia Domna. Please see previous post on Roman Queen Solar Crescent Portraits.
PHOTO ABOVE: Romae Aeternae Numismatics
"Mars day" In the English language the Roman gods were substituted with Norse gods. After the Romans paid homage to the lights which govern the day and night, the third day of the week was dedicated to Mars, the Roman war god. As I described in previous posts Mars was the father of Romulus and Remus through rape. He conceived them with a human mother at a solar eclipse. Rome was founded by Romulus after he killed Remus at a solar eclipse. Romulus then disappeared during a solar eclipse. Rome was a martial society and the symbolism of solar eclipses and war are present on their coins. War , expansion and the founding of cities in the name of the emperor fill Roman literature. It is no coincidence "Mars day" follows "Sunday", "Moonday", and the theology of solar eclipse, war, rape, and conquest. Rome borrowed many theologic constructs from other cultures. The first coin above is from the culture of Pontus in modern-day Turkey. Ares or Mars is on the obverse. The reverse shows a sword with the star and crescent of a solar eclipse. The second coin below is Crispus Caesar son of "Constantine the Great." Mars is on the reverse with a star and crescent below. Note Mars is not wearing pants.
FORUM COINS top, ANCIENT IMPORTS bottom
Mercury day, the caduceus is an instrument of Hermes or Mercury. It is a symbol of trade and commerce. it is often depicted with "clasped hands" indicating Roman peace and harmony. The caduceus is not a medical icon. The mythology represents Mercury breaking two snakes up from a fight. The winged addition represents speed , which is essential for safety and trade. Following "Mars day" or Tuesday, Roman trade was essential to incorporating a conquered city or country into a productive Roman Empire. The above coin is from Antioch with Vespasian on the obverse. Minted in 74 AD, after the First Jewish War, it likely represents bringing the conquered Judean Province back into the trade of the Roman administrative capitol at Antioch.
PHOTOS ABOVE: ATHENA NUMISMATICS
Dedicated to Jupiter. Business agreements were put into contract form at the Temple of Jupiter Capitolinus in Rome. The phrase "By Jove", or "By Jupiter," represents an oath to Jupiter that the contract would be upheld or you would be "struck by lightning." With commerce comes Roman law and order and the administration of the Roman government. Note the lightning rods on the above temple in Rome. This coin was explained in a previous post.
PHOTO ABOVE ZUZIM
After honoring the Sun and Moon, fighting and conquering the enemies of the Roman State, establishing trade and government, come the "good things of the Roman life." Friday honors the Roman god Venus. The god of Roman love, beauty, virtue. Note again that Roman society dedicates itself to war and conquest. Venus is on the reverse of the above coin by Julius Caesar. She is holding Nike or "Victoria." The lower coin has Julia Domna on the obverse and the Temple of Aphrodite or Venus on the reverse. Note this temple has a star and crescent above it representative of a solar eclipse. Temple prostitutes were employed in the worship of Venus. The star and crescent represent Mars who was known to have had an affair with Venus. The Temple of Venus and the star and crescent of a solar eclipse represents"Love and War", "Venus and Mars." Again "love," battlelust and reproduction to make more soldiers for the expansion of Roman dominance.
ANCIENT IMPORTS top, ATHENA NUMISMATICS below
The last day of the seven day week honors Saturn. Saturn or Kronos was the father of Jupiter. In Roman mythology Saturn ruled the world in the golden age of happiness and virtue. Through the Roman Imperial ideology of the seven day week, Roman society was to bring the world back to this golden age of Roman victory, peace, and worship of the Emperor and the Roman gods. Saturn is on the obverse on this coin minted in Rome in 57 BC. The reverse displays Victoria crowning Roma with victory while she is sitting on a pile of weapons.
The next coin emphasizes the Roman victory at Metaurus during the Second Punic War in 207 BC.
The Battle of Metaurus was the turning point in the Second Punic War in favor of Rome. These coins are representative of absolute core concepts of Roman theology to preserve the Roman state. Rome was fighting for her survival against Carthage. Note how the Romans placed the solar crescent on the 207 BC coin reverse. The Roman god of victory crowns the head of Roma. The solar eclipse of 208 BC was seen by both sides and later interpreted in light of the Roman victory at Metaurus. Saturn on the coin obverse is shown to unify the concepts of:
1. Sun/Moon worship , Roman Republic, Emperor or Empress worship, Roman Empire, Sunday and Monday
2. War/Agriculture, Mars, Tuesday
3. Commerce/Resolution of conflict, Mercury, Wednesday
4. Regulation/Government, Jupiter, Thursday
5. Pleasure/Benefits of the Roman State, Venus,
6. Conquest of the World to return it to the ideal Roman state, Saturday, Saturn
PHOTOS ABOVE: HARTFORD COIN COMPANY, GERMANIA INFERIOR NUMISMATICS