The Julian Solar Eclipse of 49 BC, the beginning of the Roman Empire
A very interesting coin minted in Rome in 48 BC. In 49 BC Julius Caesar crossed the Rubicon river and plunged the Roman Republic into several civil wars eventually leading to the creation of the Empire under Augustus. The solar eclipse of 50 BC has several representations on the above coin.
The above coin by moneyer Albinus Bruti F had the Roman war god Mars on the obverse. He is wearing a helmet with a crescent type design that is likely a solar crescent representing the 50 BC above eclipse. Notice it is partial which is what the view would have been from the city of Rome. The reverse has crossed Gallic carnyces (Gallic war trumpets) with two shields present above and below. Is the lower shield a depiction of the annular solar eclipse seen by the Romans or Gauls? This coin was probably issued in tribute to Julius Caesar entering Rome in 49 BC. It shows Gallic war instruments captured in Caesar's conquest of Gaul, something that the population of Rome would have been very impressed with. Remember the Gaul Chief Vercingetorix was executed in Rome by Caesar as part of the celebrations of the Roman victory over the Gauls.
It is important to note the partial crescent on Mars is symbolic with Roman expansion and domination associated with solar eclipse events, please see a prior post on the Roman god of war, Mars. Also the lower shield on the reverse looks like a Macedonian "star" shield. Julius Caesar's hero was Alexander the Great. Alexander the Great started his expansion after a large solar eclipse in 335 BC and it is likely that the Macedonian star shield is a representation of this solar eclipse. Note this symbol is seen in conjunction with a crescent on some legion standards of Marc Antony.
Julius Caesar and the Romans were masters of observation. They could easy see these signs and incorporated their meanings into their daily lives. The Roman mythologic solar eclipse trinity is, see prior posts,
1. The Roman war god Mars conceived Romulus and Remus at a solar eclipse.
2. Romulus killed Remus at a solar eclipse and founded the city of Rome.
3. Romulus disappeared at a solar eclipse.
It is ironic the above coin moneyer later was one of the assassins of Julius Caesar in 44 BC.
Germania Inferior Numismatics