Today in 274 CE, the Roman Emperor Aurelius dedicated a temple to Sol Invictus, the Unconquered Sun. Sol Invictus was a patron of soldiers as well as the official sun god of the later Roman Empire. The Aurelian family (gens Aurelian) was associated with Sol Invictus, so the Emperor elevated the sun god after his own victories in the East. The dedication of the temple coincided with Dies Natalis Solis Invicti, the Birthday of the Unconquered Sun.
There is some debate over what celebrations took place in honor of this festival, and indeed the observations seem to have varied over the years. According to the Colchester Archaeologist, “…an ‘unusually large number’ of chariot-races were held in Rome on the 25th December for the ludi Solis – apparently, 36 chariot-races were held on that day instead of the usual twelve.” During his reign the Emperor Constantine made the practice of Christianity legal in Rome, but continued to have his coins inscribed with the words, “Sol Invicto Comiti,” meaning “Committed to the Invincible Sun.”
In honor of the unconquered sun please enjoy this feast suggested by solar correspondences.
- Winter Citrus Salad with Honey Dressing
- Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup
- Veggie Mediterranean Quiche
- Lemon-Infused Mediterranean Lentils
- Honey Cake