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Worship of the Sun (1)

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12 Assyrian Identity

12 Assyrian Identity

05 Scientific knowledge and scholarly lore

02 Religious and ideological symbols and iconographic motifs

05 Scientific knowledge and scholarly lore

01 Religious and ideological doctrines and imagery

2nd century CE
Roman Empire
Roman philosophers and scholars

Tacitus, Historiae 3.24:
It was customary to worship the rising Sun (Oriens) at dawn, at the moment when its first rays struck the demons who invaded the earth in the darkness. Tacitus describes how at the battle of Bedriacum in 69 CE the soldiers of Vespasian saluted the rising sun: “A shout arose from the entire army; and the soldiers of the Third legion, according to the Syrian custom (Syria mos), hailed the rising sun.” In temples thrice a day - at dawn, at midday, and at dusk - a prayer was addressed to the heavenly source of light, the worshipper turning towards the East in the morning, towards the South at midday, and towards the West in the evening. Perhaps this custom survived in the three daily services of the early Church. The pre-eminence assigned to the “Days of the Sun” (dies Solis) also certainly contributed to the general recognition of Sunday as a holiday. This is connected with a more important fact, namely, the adoption of the week by all European nations. In the astrological system, each day was sacred to a planet, and it is probable that the worshipper prayed to the presiding star of each day in turn. There are still extant some of the prayers addressed to the planets - some in Greek and some of the pagans in Harran.

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Tacitus, Historiae 3.24


Cumont 1912, 161-163Cumont, Franz. Astrology and Religion among the Greeks and Romans. American Lectures on the History of Religions 8. New York, London: G. P. Putnam's Sons 1912.

Amar Annus

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