Sol Invictus (Unconquered Sun) was the official sun god of the later Roman Empire and a patron of soldiers. In 274 AD the Roman emperor Aurelian made it an official cult alongside the traditional Roman cults. The god was favored by emperors after Aurelian’s reign and his image appeared on their coinage until Constantine I. The last known inscription referring to Sol Invictus dates to 387 AD, and there were enough devotees left in the 5th century that Augustine found it necessary to preach against them.
Roman Bronze Statuette of Sol Invictus, 2nd-3rd Century AD
Found circa 1830 on the outskirts of Montdidier, Somme, France. In ancient times this was the Roman province of Gallia Belgica.
Sol Invictus (“Unconquered Sun”) was the official sun god of the later Roman Empire and a patron of soldiers. In 274 AD the Roman emperor Aurelian made it an official cult alongside the traditional Roman cults. Scholars disagree about whether the new deity was a refoundation of the ancient Latin cult of Sol, a revival of the cult of Elagabalus or completely new. The god was favored by emperors after Aurelian and appeared on their coins until Constantine I. The last inscription referring to Sol Invictus dates to AD 387, and there were enough devotees in the 5th century that Augustine found it necessary to preach against them.
▲▲In Late Antiquity a cult of Helios Megistos (“Great Helios”) (Sol Invictus) drew to the image of Helios a number of syncretic elements▲▲
Orphic hymn TO THE SUN [HELIOS]
The Fumigation from Frankinsence and Manna. Hear golden Titan, whose eternal eye with broad survey, illumines all the sky. Self-born, unwearied in diffusing light, and to all eyes the mirrour of delight: Lord of the seasons, with thy fiery car and leaping coursers, beaming light from far: With thy right hand the source of morning light, and with thy left the father of the night. Agile and vig'rous, venerable Sun, fiery and bright around the heav'ns you run. Foe to the wicked, but the good man’s guide, o'er all his steps propitious you preside: With various founding, golden lyre, ‘tis mine to fill the world with harmony divine. Father of ages, guide of prosp'rous deeds, the world’s commander, borne by lucid steeds, Immortal Jove [Zeus], all-searching, bearing light, source of existence, pure and fiery bright Bearer of fruit, almighty lord of years, agil and warm, whom ev'ry pow'r reveres. Great eye of Nature and the starry skies, doom’d with immortal flames to set and rise Dispensing justice, lover of the stream, the world’s great despot, and o'er all supreme. Faithful defender, and the eye of right, of steeds the ruler, and of life the light: With founding whip four fiery steeds you guide, when in the car of day you glorious ride. Propitious on these mystic labours shine, and bless thy suppliants with a life divine.