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Lunus




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Lunus, a deity; that, by the testimony of many coins, and also according to Spartianus (Anton. Caracallus, c vii), was a peculiar object of pagan worship throughout all Asia Minor and Syria. It was in fact Luna, or the moon, adored by several nations under the figure of a man, because, as the above mentioned author affirms, they persuaded themselves that he alone would obtain obedience from his wife who worshipped Lunus as a male divinity; but that he who adored the moon as Luna that is to say, as a female divinity, could not assure himself that his wife would obey him. The Romans called him Mensis as well as Lunus.

On medals of Antioch in Pisidia (see Vaillant, Col, i p. 180), struck under Antoninus Pius, we see this deity standing, clothed in the long dress of a woman, wearing a phrygian pileus, or cap; holding the hasta in his right hand, and extending his left with a Victory in it. At his feet is what looks like an eagle, but which is described to represent gallus gallinaceus, or cock. At his back is a crescent, the characteristic attribute of Linus. The legend of the reverse is MENSIS COL CAES ANTIOCH. "The Antiochians of Pisidia by this medal (says Havercamp in Mus. Christ. 396) appear to have designed the congratulation of Antoninus Pius on some victory gained by his lieutenants under his fourth consulate (COS IIII as recorded on the side of the portrait)." It is not without a cause that mention is made of Mensus (or Month) in the inscription of the reverse, for the people of Pisidian Antioch rendered a religious worship to the month, called Ascens, as we learn by a passage from Strabo (L xii p. 557), quoted by Vaillant, in Col. TOM i p. 240. Lunus, as distinguished by the above noted attributes, appears on the reverse of a first brass of Septimius Severus, in the Colonies of Vaillant (TOM II p. 4), who shews that the worship of this god was particularly observed in Pamphylia, and that the Antiochians had consecrated this medal to Severus after his victory over Pescennius Niger. In the coin of Severus, the legend of the reverse is COL CAES ANTIOCH.



In the field are the letters S R, which Vaillant interprets Senatus Romanus; but without assigning his reasons for so doing. On the medal in question, as engraved in his "Colonies," the god Lunus is represented in male attire; a similar medal of Severus and Julia Domna (in Mus. Christinae) gives him the long robe of a female. See Antiochia Pisidia

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