Symbols of Solar Eclipses on coins of the Roman Civilization
Republic to the Christian Era
For the Romans, a solar eclipse was the greatest symbol of fear, terror and domination in nature.
Rome Mint 143 BC
This coin has the head of Roma on the obverse. Diana is on the reverse with a chariot signifying the moon. Diana is also carrying a torch. Below the chariot is a pellet within a crescent. This is most likely representative of the 147 BC solar eclipse seen by Roman troops in Carthage as the Third Punic War(149-146 BC) came to a end. In 146 BC Roman troops finally destroyed Carthage and ensured a steady grain supply to Rome. This coin would have been seen by the Roman population as validation from the heavens for their invasion of Carthage. Carthage tried to make peace with Rome and paid their debt to the Roman government from the prior wars. Rome had no intention of allowing Carthaginian self government and with a growing Roman population had to aquire the farms in Northern Africa. The solar eclipse was seen retrospectively as justification from the gods for the invasion and used as propaganda for Roman domination. The peace offerings from Carthage did not matter to the Roman government. Photo Ancient Imports.