Maximinus 1 or "Thrax," the Roman Emperor from 235-238 AD is generally credited by historians as ushering in the decline of the Western Roman Empire. He was born in Moesia on the western shore of the Black Sea and rose to power to become emperor after the solar eclipse of 234 AD.
Note the obverse of the above coin with Thrax's portrait. The coin was minted in the Roman Province of Cilicia in 235 AD. The lion was symbolic for this region and it continued with the later Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia from 1198-1375 AD. The Romans would use animals as symbols for regions, the crocodile for Egypt, the ram for Israel and/or the Levant, the bull for Hispania, the elephant for Africa/Carthage. Those who have followed the Antioch ram coin series and its relationship to the rebellions in Israel will see the similarities with the above coin.
The Apostle Paul was from Tarsus in Cilicia. It is located on the southern coast of modern day Turkey. Cilicia was an early Christian stronghold in the Pagan Roman world. Two varieties of the above coin exist, one with the lion looking back at the star and crescent( symbolic for the solar eclipse seen in 234 AD) and one with the lion looking forward. The Emperor Thrax hated Christianity and began the persecutions of Christians which continued until the time of Constantine. He had church leaders killed and it is not too hard to suggest the same theme of "do not rebel against the emperor," is being communicated to two populations in Cilicia, one Christian and the other pagan.
The Roman emperors chose the star and crescent( Solar Eclipses) to symbolize the ideals of the Roman Empire,
1. Fear of authority on the individual level.
2. Terror on the population that would not recognize the Roman Emperor as master of the world.
3. The pagan right of the Roman Empire to dominate and control the world.
Jesus Christ came to change these thoughts and the Roman Empire
FOR GOD SO LOVED THE WORLD THAT HE GAVE HIS ONE AND ONLY SON, THAT WHOEVER BELIEVES IN HIM SHALL NOT PERISH BUT HAVE ETERNAL LIFE
Photo Pars Coins