Talk:Sol Invictus

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Winter Solstice[edit]

In the Roman period the winter solstice was on 21st December as it is now. For roughly three days prior to, and three days after the solstice the movement of the rise of the sun is imperceptible. Dec 25th is the first day on which the sunrise can be seen to have moved North form its six days standstill. This is why the sun is "victorious" over the darkness. Perhaps there should be a paragraph offering some clarity about this, since it seems integral to the celebration of Sol Invictus. I'm undoing the change because its misleading to say the solstice was on the 25th Dec.Mrpearcee (talk) 06:33, 24 June 2008 (UTC)


From the wikipedia page of Elagabalus (Roman emperor from 218 AD - 222 AD):
"Elagabalus replaced Jupiter, head of the Roman pantheon, with a new god, Deus Sol Invictus, and forced leading members of Rome's government to participate in religious rites celebrating this deity, which he personally led."
This suggests he was not in fact created by Aurelian in 274..
--Ilyushin —Preceding unsigned comment added by 77.251.156.185 (talk) 07:38, 16 May 2008 (UTC)

CheeseDreams: You are probably right that "Sol Invictus" refers to several gods, and those should therefore be distinguished. It is, however, a single title, and it's worth having a history of that title's usage.

In particular, there's been some caution in recent scholarship about a hard-and-fast equation between Aurelian's imperial cult on the one hand and Mithraism on the other. An article on the title can address issues like that, where a simple disambig cannot. Bacchiad 20:36, 22 Jan 2005 (UTC)

There is no previous history of Sol Invictus before November 27, 2004, when User:CheeseDreams moved it to Sol Invictus (disambiguation). The feature "What links here" shows established links. --Wetman 23:40, 27 Nov 2004 (UTC)

I'm not sure quite what you mean by that?
The history should have moved too.
The disambiguation was to put in to allow the rock group and the two different gods to be disambiguated.
I was under the impression I had removed double redirects, but I will go and check that again.CheeseDreams 23:46, 27 Nov 2004 (UTC)
  • So, entering "Sol Invictus" at Wikipedia (a reasonable enough quest), will the reader reach information on the Roman cult of the "Unconquered Sun"? --Wetman 03:06, 28 Nov 2004 (UTC)
Which Roman cult dedicated to which "unconquerable sun" ?
Thus the redirect to a disambiguation page. CheeseDreams 12:06, 28 Nov 2004 (UTC)
(Which Roman cult? User:CheeseDreams has offered Wikipedians an entry "Festival of the birth of the Unconquered Sun", with unusual assertions that bear looking into... --Wetman 21:21, 28 Nov 2004 (UTC))
Actually no, that is a complete lie. I did not write the article Festival of the birth of the Unconquered Sun, nor have I made any significant contribution to it. See that article's history for proof. Apology please. CheeseDreams 00:41, 29 Nov 2004 (UTC)

(Our tactful contributor's name appears twice in the Page history there. I mistook this for contributions. My error. --Wetman 00:45, 29 Nov 2004 (UTC))

So a further accusations rather than a real apology? See Wikipedia:Civility and Wikipedia:Assume good faith. CheeseDreams 00:56, 29 Nov 2004 (UTC)

There are a couple of points worth noting, that call into question some of the assertions in this article:

  1. The earliest dated mention of Sol Invictus is an inscription of AD 158, i.e. long before Elagabal.
The location and some description of this AD 158 inscription will be essential, so that this assertion can be followed by by interested readers.
  1. Sol is depicted in Roman art continuously from the 1st c. BC to the 4th c. AD with a very consistent iconography. There is no way to tell from the iconography whether a Sol is Indiges or Invictus.
If the art here is numismatics, bas-reliefs or sculpture it would be better to say so. One or two famous examples that we should all know about should be pointed out.
  1. Invictus (Greek aniketos) is used in many contexts, and is closely linked to Alexander the Great and Hercules. -- Anon
Additionally, the cult of Hercules was closely linked to the Julio-Claudians. See the fresco illus. at Herculaneum.

(Wetman's suggestions interpolated in italics.)

Sounds good. Feel free to edit away. Bacchiad 07:19, 29 Jan 2005 (UTC)

this is an old conversation i know but i thought i should point out that the winter solstice did not occur on the 21st during the roman period. at the time the julian calendar was put into affect Bruma (tr: winter solstice/shortest day) was said to occur on December 25.

this is why sol invictus lasted until the 25th when they converted to the calendar. the 21st wasnt a reoccurring date for the solstice until the gregorian calendar was adjusted in the late 16th century.99.140.208.150 (talk) 19:40, 10 April 2009 (UTC)

Edit suggestions[edit]

  • "titulature": if this show-stopper does convey more specific information than "title", and if that information is relevant to Sol Invictus, it should be expanded. Otherwise "title" is sufficient.
  • Coin-collector's gallery of images: The coin of Aurelian was integrated with the text. The tiny gallery shot does not show the detail that makes this illustration relevant.
  • The bold plug for a band at the heading: a conventional For the band, see... would be less distracting. --Wetman 6 July 2005 19:52 (UTC)
I agree with the others, but the reference to the band must be placed at the beginning, since someone looking for the band isn't expected to read the whole article.--Panairjdde 7 July 2005 10:14 (UTC)
Now I've given it the simple standard redirect heading, without bolding, without extra hyperlinks. --Wetman 7 July 2005 19:52 (UTC)

"Unlike the earlier, agrarian cult of Sol Indiges ("the native sun" or "the invoked sun" - the etymology and meaning of the word "indiges" is disputed"

Native sun is not probable, why would the Romans need to differentiate between a native and foreign sun centuries before the 'oriental' sun god was adopted? Most scholars now think Indiges means 'divine ancestor' and refers to Sol's ancestral role to the Latin people via Latinus.

New essay needs citations[edit]

Parts see also through external links are on the page twice —Preceding unsigned comment added by 76.115.199.56 (talk) 03:52, 5 December 2008 (UTC)

"However, given evidence for a substantial Christian population in the empire by Aurelian's reign, an earlier Christian tradition associating March 25 and December 25 with the conception and birth of Jesus respectively, and the already existing use of solar language for Jesus among Christians (based on Malachi 4:2), it is also possible that Aurelian tried to appropriate an existing Christian observance for his festival of the Unconquered Sun."

Quite an assertion! --Wetman 05:20, 15 September 2005 (UTC)

Reference[edit]

It would be nice to have a reference for "Aurelian dedicated the Sol Invictus Temple on Dec 25, 274", I'm pretty sure it is correct but don't happen to have a reference at the moment. It might be in the references cited by Gibbon (see link on page). References might be provided in Eliade's Encyclopedia of Religions.

From Catholic Encyclopedia Christmas [1]: "Natalis Invicti. The well-known solar feast, however, of Natalis Invicti, celebrated on 25 December, has a strong claim on the responsibility for our December date. For the history of the solar cult, its position in the Roman Empire, and syncretism with Mithraism, see Cumont's epoch-making "Textes et Monuments" etc., I, ii, 4, 6, p. 355. Mommsen (Corpus Inscriptionum Latinarum, 12, p. 338) has collected the evidence for the feast, which reached its climax of popularity under Aurelian in 274. Filippo del Torre in 1700 first saw its importance; it is marked, as has been said, without addition in Philocalus' Calendar."

  • These references in Cumont are wrong. The reference in the CIL does not mention Aurelian. 84.69.54.28 21:10, 10 February 2006 (UTC)

Strange that a Catholic Encyclopedia reference is wrong. It might be a scanning error in the online edition, perhaps a print edition would have the correct reference.

This is the Zosimus reference Zosimus: "Aurelianus ... erected that sumptuous temple of the sun, which he ornamented with all the sacred spoils that he brought from Palmyra; placing in it the statues of the sun and Belus"

Gibbon cites Eusebius' Chronicon, that may be the source of the 274 date.

Gibbon: "Vopiscus in Hist. August. 222. [Aurel. c; 39.] Zosimus, l. i. [c. 61, p. 53] p. 56. He placed it in the images of Belus and of the Sun, which he has brought from Palmyra. It was dedicated in the fourth year of his reign (Euseb. in Chron. [an. CCLXXV.]), but was most assuredly begun immediately on his accession."

It's in Jerome's Chronicle: "Aurelian builds a temple to the Sun -275" (probably means late 274, does note 4th year of Aurelian)

Syrus[edit]

Is "the scriptor Syrus" referenced on this page Ephraem Syrus (Ephrem the Syrian) or a different Syrian? Daibhid C 01:06, 27 December 2005 (UTC)

  • 'scriptor Syrus' does seem meaningless: it only means 'the Syrian writer'. Perhaps the author could supply his source?

It refers to 12th Century Syrian Bishop who wrote the reasons for 25th December being adopted as a counter to the feast of Sol Invictus, his name eludes me for the moment. See Ramsay MacMullen Paganism and Christianity in the 4th to 8th Centuries.

Read S.Hijmans in BabEsch "The Sun which did not rise in the East: The cult of Sol Invictus in the light of the non-literary evidence." Hijmans demolishes the notion that Sol Invictus was an eastern divinity or even had the slightest link to the east. Sol Invictus' origins are to be found in Rome and Rome alone, not in the Orient. An Australian researcher also gave a presentation on Roman SOl Worship at a Classical Talk last year and also vehemently denied the concept of Sol Invictus being of a different origin than Sol Indiges.

Mithras?[edit]

"While not officially identified with Mithras, Aurelian's Sol borrowed many features from Mithraism, including the iconographical representation of the god as a beardless youth."

In fact, Sol depicted as a beardless youth hails from Graeco-Roman traditional imagery of Sol/Helios. See any artistic piece of the sun god from the 5th c. b.c.e onwards to see this. It has nothing to do with Mithras; in fact one of the main pieces of evidence that finally demolished the identification of Sol Invictus with Mithras was the complete differences in depiction. Mithras is almost always instantly identifiable by his Persian dress and his act of the tauroctony, Sol is never depicted in this manner.

Also, the identification of Jesus with Sol based on the painting in the Tomb of the Julii is now thought to be highly suspect. In fact, the Christian identification of the tomb is not certain. The 1950's works by Toynbee etc must be viewed with some scepticism now. See 2000, “Language, Metaphor, and the Semiotics of Roman Art: Some Thoughts on Reading the Mosaics of Mausoleum M in the Vatican Necropolis”, BABesch 75, 147-164

The references from the Catholic Encyclopedia for the Tomb of the Julii are outdated, and articles such as the above should be viewed rather than using old sources. No expert now views these as being Christian in origin.

Sol Invictus in 250[edit]

There is something suspect about using the representation in the golden tomb of 250 as Jesus=Sol Invictus. The state sun cult of Sol Invictus did not exist until 274! It has to be a representation of Helios, therefore, and so doubtfully relevant here. Roger Pearse 15:22, 28 October 2006 (UTC)

Agreed and it is also reading too much into the portrayal's meaning rather than seeing it at face value. 19th century scholars were utterly obsessed with notions of Christian development and the link with solar monotheism and saw everything within this paradigm, in fact it is often very surprising that the contextual evidence for these assertions are non-existent.
The Tomb of the Julii is a depiction of the pagan Roman Sun God, it has nothing to do with the early Christian Church. The same goes with all representations of Christ-Helios. Not one of these can be categorically stated to be of Jesus and given the context of the divine charioteer, the most obvious conclusion is that these are portrayals of Sol-Helios.
Just a note: you can indent your response with the colon (I've done it for you), and add your name and date by just using four "~" characters. Both these make it easier to read.
Glad to see that someone else has been reading Hijmans' articles. Have you seen Halsberghe's book? Richard Gordon described it online as 'wretched' and it is. Roger Pearse 22:51, 3 November 2006 (UTC)
Yes I have a copy of Halsberghe's book. Its useful as it lists all the CIL's etc etc that are relevant but yeah it is terrible in its conclusions and arguments. How many times does he contradict himself in the one work???? Sad thing is that the OCD and modern French works are still pouring out the orientalist rubbish regarding Sol.
The new version of this article is absolutely shocking and should be reverted to what it was late last year, whoever wrote it has never read Hijmans or Berrens by the look of things. Do not write on academic subjects if you are not up to date in your readings. The section on Sol and Christianity is so wrong as to be laughable. For the last time, there is nothing to indicate that the Tomb of the Julii is a Christian tomb. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by 192.43.227.18 (talk) 04:05, 11 January 2007 (UTC).

If you have a Wikipedia: Reliable sources, add it, without deleting the current reliable sources. Keep in mind wikipedia policy of No Original Research. 75.0.1.106 08:09, 21 January 2007 (UTC)

The works by Hijmans are almost 10 years old, and Berrens is at least 2-3 years old now and far more reputable than Halsberghe. Even the briefest search on Halsberghe on google will reveal what most experts think of him.

Halsberghe is not a reliable source, all experts on Roman helioaltry consider him a joke. Again, please read Hijmans people!!!! —Preceding unsigned comment added by 192.43.227.18 (talk) 05:28, 12 October 2007 (UTC)

This article is heavy christian influenced... it's not a surprise... the cult of Sol Invictus is very arcaic and is present in almost every ancient culture. In the Roman Era was worldwide in expansion since the time of Pompey The Great, and had an Imperial favour since Settimius Severus and then Elagabalus, so Aurelian is NOT the first Emperor that had worshiped Sol Invictus.

Archaic?? Hardly. The cult of Sol is indeed archaic, but there is no evidence for the epithet invictus being attached to Sol before the reign of Antoninus Pius. The god worshipped by Elagabalus is not the same as that worshipped by Aurelian, and Septimius Severus was primarily devoted to Serapis and showed very little sign of devotion to Sol, in fact, no more than many other emperors (in fact, Gallienus showed far more devotion that SS did.) —Preceding unsigned comment added by 192.43.227.18 (talk) 05:28, 12 October 2007 (UTC)

Sol Invictus or Christmas first?[edit]

The following mystification has been removed here, for editing:

The Sol Invictus festival ran from December 22 to December 25. It has traditionally been assumed that eradicating the remnants of this pagan holiday was a reason why Christmas was picked by the early Catholic leaders as the birthday of Jesus Christ. More recently there is evidence that Christian celebration of Christmas pre-dates the Sol Invictus festival [1].
I do understand that traditionally it has been assumed that the Christians picked on 25th December to replace the Sol Invictus festival. However more recently it has been recognised that there is increasing evidence for the priority of Christmas (as a celebration at least). If you revert an article you should explain why you are doing so. Mercury543210 20:16, 26 January 2007 (UTC)

Please briefly edit into the article the "evidence" noted in your source,which has been moved here for editing. Merely alluding to it is deceptive. Tighe's central assertion might well be quoted, for a start: "The pagan festival of the “Birth of the Unconquered Son” instituted by the Roman Emperor Aurelian on 25 December 274, was almost certainly an attempt to create a pagan alternative to a date that was already of some significance to Roman Christians." He admits that "it is true that the first evidence of Christians celebrating December 25th as the date of the Lord’s nativity comes from Rome some years after Aurelian, in A.D. 336." He then introduces a series of red herrings concerning various Christian attempts to settle the birth of Jesus on 25 December, but his conclusion is sound: "Christmas (December 25th) is a feast of Western Christian origin. In Constantinople it appears to have been introduced in 379 or 380." Neither Tighe's convolutions nor his own conclusions demonstrate his thesis. This mumbo-jumbo is no better than run-of-the-mill special pleading by any mediocre Wikipedian. It is not suitable for inclusion in a neutral presentation of the facts of Sol Invictus. --Wetman 20:24, 26 January 2007 (UTC)

I believe we are all united in the aim of providing the most objective and accurate information. I find that some of comments made by Wetman rather unhelpful. Phrases like 'hocus pocus' and 'mumbo-jumbo' are better left in Harry Potter. Tighe's article should not be caricatured. If it is felt that Tighe made claims beyond the evidence, then cite the basis for this. IMHO, Tighe's article makes a reasonable argument and is widely cited.

-> "If it is felt that Tighe made claims beyond the evidence, then cite the basis for this." Sorry, but this is not how peer-reviewing process works. It is Tighe's burden to prove that he is correct, not other's people burden to prove that he is incorrect. I've looked at Tighe's article and I couldn't find his references - what are his sources?! I've been doing research based on scientific journal articles and those have references crawling out of their pages. This Touchstone journal doesn't seem to be very thorough with their peer-review process (if they even are a peer-review magazine). Also, who is citing Tighe's article is a question. If it's evangelical ministers, then I'd hold off with the conclusion that he's correct. If it's professors of history backing up his claims, then I'd be willing to bite the information.

The earliest reference to Christmas being celebrated on 25th Decmember dates to 243AD, see Schmidt, Alvin, J.(2001), "Under the Influence", HarperCollins, p377-9. This pre-dates Aurelian's decree by about 30 years. Apparently a full discussion is given in Thomas J. Talley’s "The Origins of the Liturgical Year", 2nd edition (College-ville, MN: Liturgical Press, 1991), pp. 9–10, 85–103, and incidentally is cited by Tighe, but I've not read this. If anyone has I would be interested in hearing their views.
Whether Jesus was, or was not, born on this day is deeply irrelevant. To paraphrase Origen "only sinners celebrate their birthday" . Not a view I hold myself!
I do believe we are all united in ensuring that this entry gives a fair and balanced overview of the history and does not perpetuate any 'myth'. Our exchange of views should be done in a manner which brings us all forward towards a consensus and without having to resort to 'mumbo-jumbo'. Mercury543210 16:02, 28 January 2007 (UTC)

I just don't understand why there is such sentences in this article : " Other recent Christian commentators also agree that..." and so what ? If we quote Christian commentators, why not the pastafarians ? How could Christian commentators be reliable ? They're not looking for the truth, they want to prove that JC has existed and was born on 25 December. Let's stand with the facts :
- nobody knows when the Christ, if ever he has existed, was born
- we know that the cult of Sol Invictus was celebrated on 25 december
- it's very common that christian religions exploit pagans cult to their benefits, when they are unable to censor it. Just like Bill Gates will buy any product he's unable to compete with, in order to make his own.
- Christmas celebration may have started from the 4th century, but has not been an important feast before the middle age.
So let's stop the christian propaganda, please.

Taz0 23:02, 21 June 2008 (UTC)

The article says "the earliest record of the celebration of Christ's birthday on December 25 dates to 243 A.D." I was under the impression that the earliest record came from the Chronography of 354, which would probably (though not necessarily) mean Sol Invictus came first, before Christmas. Does anyone know precisely what this 243 A.D. document is? Drekadair (talk) 22:14, 24 May 2009 (UTC)

As Tighe stated, "There is some fleeting evidence that at least some first- and second-century Christians thought of March 25th or April 6th as the date of Christ’s birth, but rather quickly the assignment of March 25th as the date of Christ’s conception prevailed." (italics used for emphasis by poster) That is quite a minuscule thread of info to posit that the first Christian Christmas celebration happened in 243 A.D.. For it to be of "an important day to Christians", I would suggest it be a day where a majority of Christians, rather than having some "fleeting evidence" from "at least some" people, would recognize the March 25th date. Then to lead to the conclusion that these people thought that saints were born and died on the same day, then take the 9 month spread (for Mary to be pregnant with Jesus) to mean that there was a celebration on December 25th of 243 A.D.,... this is getting a little loose in providing factual, un-biased, information.--Apensity | Factcheck.org - Source Watch - Textual Criticism (talk) 05:09, 1 December 2009 (UTC)
  1. ^ Tighe, William J. Calculating Christmas, 2003

Opening essay[edit]

At some point someone wrote an essay in the introduction, ignoring the remainder of the article. I've moved this out -- let's keep the introduction (a) brief and (b) uncontroversial -- to a separate section.

The essay itself contains much very dubious material. References offered do not consist of scholarship or primary sources, but to general encyclopedias. It also duplicates other sections on the page. I've therefore pruned it very aggressively down to what seems to be (a) not already discussed (b) not proper to other pages such as Mithras or Christmas and (c) actually factually correct and backed up by works such as Halsberghe.

The real problem with Sol Invictus is the sheer lack of ancient data, and the quantity of modern myth-making. If we insist on either primary sources or scholarship, and reference both, that would seem more useful?

If someone reckons more can be rescued, by all means restore it. Roger Pearse 11:26, 30 May 2007 (UTC)

I am not a specialist of this question, but it seems you are deleting a lot of referenced material here. The fact that the data provided "do not consist of scholarship or primary sources, but to general encyclopedias" is not sufficient in itself, as "general encyclopedias" clearly can be used for referencing purposes, and are often preferable to even primary sources.PHG 06:26, 31 May 2007 (UTC)
Well leave the crap in there then. Silly idiot. Roger Pearse 14:37, 4 June 2007 (UTC)
One needs an overriding justification, like factual errors, to delete sourced material. The best way to improve the opening is to give it better balance with more rather than less information, sourcing your additions. --Wetman 23:37, 4 June 2007 (UTC)
For what it's worth, I liked RP's ed. It did seem to tidy things up and make it clearer. I think the very short intro followed bya section on dating is a good approach. I also agree with Wetman that we have to be careful about sources but that general sources can be useful and more readable. I am however concerned about using such an old edition of the Catholic Encyclopaedia, especially as the reference link seems to have been 'butchered'. Mercury543210 21:49, 5 June 2007 (UTC)

More recent not POV?[edit]

The reason I've held fairly fast to the phrase 'more recent' is simply that the Catholic Ency. ref is over 70 years (1917 vs 1991) older than the two refs cited. I'm using 1991 as I believe both the sources cited ref. back to Talley’s book. The original 'scholarly consensus' is being revised (reviewed?) in the light of 'more recent' (yep, that phrase again) work. Hence it seems to be a statement of fact and not POV. If you would prefer another phrase which covers the same territory then please suggest it. Thanks. Mercury543210 22:07, 18 July 2007 (UTC)

Sol Iustitiae?[edit]

What is the basis for the RC claim that this epithet, familiar from Iam, Christe, sol iustitiae— demonstrably tenth century but claimed to be Ambrosian of the sixth century in spite of its rhymes!— was used in the beginning of the third century? Even Catholic Encyclopedia needs to provide a citation. --Wetman 14:21, 7 August 2007 (UTC)

I think it's in Cyprian somewhere. Roger Pearse 13:53, 23 October 2008 (UTC) —Preceding unsigned comment added by Roger Pearse (talkcontribs)

NPOV dispute regarding "use of the phrase" section[edit]

This section says that the Catholic Encyclopedia's claim (in 1908) that Christmas was based off of Sol Invictus is "no longer credible." The question of whether a claim is credible or not is a obviously a point of view. It does appear that many Christians (including the Pope) now dispute that Christmas was based off of Sol Invictus. My problem is that the section appears to be implying that the point of view that Sol Invictus was an attempt by the Pagans to co-opt Christmas is right. This section needs to be balanced with opposing points of view. Life, Liberty, Property (talk) 00:43, 18 December 2007 (UTC)

Hopefully this is not a matter of POV but of history. The evidence for the Sol Invictus festival is increasingly that was instituted to distract from the increasingly popular cult of Christianity. The other edits do not belong here, they are about a different festival which shares the same date! I have accordingly removed them. Mercury543210 (talk) 14:03, 19 December 2007 (UTC)

Bogus stuff in phrase section[edit]

The following dubious-looking paragraph plainly doesn't belong in the phrase section, and duplicates stuff lower down.:

December 21st is and was the date of the winter solstice, which the Romans called bruma. For three days before the 21st and three days afterward the movement of the sun is imperceptible. The 25th December is the first day that the dawn of the sun can be perceived to have moved North from its most Southerly solstice position. Dies Natalis Solis Invicti was the celebration of the rebirth of the sun, for from then on daylight hours would grow longer and the nights shorter.[1]

The reference to the EB is fake; the EB article contains nothing of the kind. Someone dumped a series of statements in this section, all with fake references. I've deleted or moved them all. Roger Pearse 13:54, 23 October 2008 (UTC) —Preceding unsigned comment added by Roger Pearse (talkcontribs)

  1. ^ "Sol." Encyclopædia Britannica, Chicago (2006).

Fixed Text Repeat[edit]

I fixed a text repeat which caused all of the text on the page from use of term to Constantine to repeat once. Try to be more careful if your going to edit this page people. --Stelionis Ignigenae (talk) 10:44, 7 November 2008 (UTC)

Sabbath to Sunday Comment[edit]

"In the meantime, the Christians, who had for a long time separated themselves from their Jewish forebears, had made the Day of the Sun their holy day rather than continuing their religious celebrations on the Day of Saturn, the Jewish Sabbath."

Removed above unsourced statement from the article. The evidence from many sources show Christians were worshiping on Sunday long before the time of Constantine. See DA Carson's book From Sabbath to Lord's Day (1999). Lamorak (talk) 03:12, 7 January 2009 (UTC)

"On the first day of the week we came together to break bread" - Acts 20:7 Clearly. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 98.176.12.43 (talk) 01:59, 7 January 2011 (UTC)

Actually no both the commenters on January 7, 2009 and January 7, 2011 are wrong. And that can be seen simply at Sabbath in Christianity from there; "The origin of Sunday worship in the 1st or 2nd century remains a debated point. Often first-day worship (Sunday morning or Saturday night) was practiced alongside observance of seventh-day Sabbath rest[11] and was a widespread Christian tradition by the 2nd century;[1][22] over time, Sunday thus came to be known as Lord's Day and, later, a rest day.

On March 7, 321, the Roman Emperor Constantine issued a decree making Sunday a day of rest from labor, stating:[23]

All judges and city people and the craftsmen shall rest upon the venerable day of the sun. Country people, however, may freely attend to the cultivation of the fields, because it frequently happens that no other days are better adapted for planting the grain in the furrows or the vines in trenches. So that the advantage given by heavenly providence may not for the occasion of a short time perish.

Ellen G. White states that ecumenical councils generally each pressed Sabbath down slightly lower and exalted Sunday correspondingly, and that the bishops eventually urged Constantine to syncretize the worship day to promote the nominal acceptance of Christianity by pagans. But "while many God-fearing Christians were gradually led to regard Sunday as possessing a degree of sacredness, they still held [seventh-day] Sabbath."[24][11]

Some church authorities opposed widespread seventh-day Sabbath observance as a Judaizing tendency.[11] For example, the Council of Laodicea (canon 29) required Christians to separate from Jewish laws and traditions, stating that Christians must not Judaize by resting on Sabbath, but must work that day and then, if possible, rest on the Lord's Day, and that any found to be Judaizers were declared anathema from Christ.[25] This was consistent with Constantine's personal position towards Jewry,[26][27] which has been described by the primitive Christianity movement as being anti-Semitic, antinomian, and persecution of seventh-day observers.[citation needed] Simultaneously Rabbinical Judaism was distinguishing itself from primitive Christianity. White says that the Roman bishops "demanded ... that the Sabbath be profaned; and they denounced in the strongest language those who dared to show it honour. It was only by fleeing from the power of Rome that any could obey God's law in peace."[28]" Historylover4 (talk) 08:34, 14 May 2012 (UTC)

Yes confused about SunDay Sol Invictus[edit]

Was SunDay always the Day of the Sun? Was Helios and or Appollo worshiped on that day? Thanks!(snpmapl120921stcent.)Andreisme (talk) 01:10, 13 April 2009 (UTC)

Inappropriate Source Material[edit]

The article on Sol Invictus is fatally flawed.

Citing the "Catholic Encyclopedia" in the basic information about Sol Invictus is like taking a Capulet's word regarding the character of a Montague. The lack of pagan and/or historical references reduces this article to mere propaganda. It is no more approptiate to cite an overtly Christian source regarding Sol Invictus than it is to cite an overtly Christian source about Ramadan or the Druids or the biography of Buddha.

This needs to be remedied or this article needs to be deleted.

Rimeice (talk) 17:42, 27 November 2009 (UTC)

Welcome to Wikipedia. Your neutral report on a more balanced modern published source, cited in a footnote, would improve this article, no doubt.--Wetman (talk) 17:48, 27 November 2009 (UTC)

This entire article is a working example of christian revisionist vandalism. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 173.174.79.63 (talkcontribs)

Day Length[edit]

I removed the following text:

December 25 is 4 days after the winter solstice (from Latin solstitium, "the sun stays still"), and in this period, with the days starting to become visibly longer and the nights shorter, December 25 would have been a logical date to choose as the day of the rebirth of the sun, imagery then utilized by the Christian community.

because it was patently incorrect. Using the United States Naval Observatory calculations, the sun is above the horizon in Rome, on 12/21/2009, from 0735 through 1642 local time, for a solar day length of 9:07. Civil twilight calculations yield a day of 10:11 of non-night conditions. On 12/25, the sun is above the horizon from 0736 through 1644 local time, for a solar day length of 9:08. Civil twilight calculations yield a day length of 10:11. The days are not noticeably longer on 12/25 than on 12/21.

Just to extend the concept, I did similar calculations for Fairbanks, AK. Both civil twilight and solar time above the horizon advance only by 2 minutes, not significantly longer.

We need to keep nonsense speculation out of Wikipedia. Don't quote a supposition (your own or somebody else's), especially when the facts can be readily ascertained! This is Wikipedia, not Wikispeculatoria! John Elder (talk) 21:12, 20 December 2009 (UTC)

copy-editing proposals[edit]

Um, I've given the article some attention; well OK, quite drastic de-shrubbing. It was quite tricky to read, partly becaiuse the sol/sol invictus debate went rather overboard. Anyway, I'll come back to it. Haploidavey (talk) 02:45, 16 January 2010 (UTC)

  • Surely we don't need to deal with "errors of fact", by discussing them at length (see Aurelian especially). We should assume that people come to find out about sol invictus, not how "wrong" the scholarship has been. Scholarly dispute should take a back seat - maybe a section at the end. This has been tagged quite a while, so I'll just go ahead and chop. This page is on my watchlist. Haploidavey (talk) 03:22, 16 January 2010 (UTC)

Well, I didn't chop. The change needs consensus, doesn't it? Haploidavey (talk) 03:31, 16 January 2010 (UTC)

  • The current lede does not serve the subject or readers as a balanced and accurate summary of article content. I intend reverting to any of several older, clearer, more neutral versions. Haploidavey (talk) 17:13, 17 January 2010 (UTC)
  • The section on Sol Invictus and Christianity is long and disputatious. It doesn't have to be; could we shorten it, please? Assertions and counter-assertions can be served as cited summaries, preferably (as ever) from modern scholarship. Haploidavey (talk) 17:13, 17 January 2010 (UTC)

Sources[edit]

The pdf of Hijmans is the original dissertation, and is not peer-reviewed. Sorry to be so pedantic - I'll trawl googlebooks for alternatives and replace as & when. Haploidavey (talk) 11:54, 16 January 2010 (UTC)

Actually, not sorry at all. For a start, we don't cite dissertations, least of all to "prove" our own favourite theory and the author who seems to say it best. The article's supposed to be on Sol Invictus, not a shop-window for this or that theory over all others (as in the lede). Please, some rigour. And if this article should not serve a particular viewpoint, its references should not be served up as fodder (or straw men) for partisan argument. If a reference is truly not worth reading it should be junked. Otherwise leave it in, cite what it says and junk the value judgment (as in "here's a work that's outdated or just plain wrong and not to be taken seriously" or words to that effect).Haploidavey (talk) 15:54, 16 January 2010 (UTC) The latter now removed and citation formats sorted out by User:Ash. Haploidavey (talk) 16:33, 16 January 2010 (UTC)

The PDF link may be the un-peer-reviewed version but is it fair to assume that this catalogued version OCLC 435630858 with associated ISBN is the peer-reviewed and published version?—Ash (talk) 16:36, 16 January 2010 (UTC)
Hmmm... I'm not sure it has had published peer reviews; very little seems to link to it, or cite it, but that's hardly surprising given the publication date. On the other hand, it's an interesting and useful stepping-off point for further searches and Hijman's own references and citations will be useful. I suggest leaving as is for now; at a pinch, we can resort to Imperial cult scholarship, which as a whole is broad, topic-related and plentiful. Regards. Haploidavey (talk) 16:57, 16 January 2010 (UTC)

I think it's safe to say that Hijmans is presenting positions which have wide support among contemporary scholars dealing with Sol. Chapters 1, 6, 7, 8 and parts of 9 are all based on previously published articles which appeared in solid peer reviewed venues. His 1996 article (Sol Invictus is Roman, not Syrian)is repeatedly cited and accepted by Matern, Wallraff and Berrens, i.e. the three most comprehensive studies to appear on Sol in the past decade. Does anyone know of scholars dealing with Sol who have addressed and refuted his conclusions in that or any other article he published? As for the book, the only part that is new here is the presentation and analysis of the images of Sol (chapters 2 - 4), but that whole section is not relevant to the Wiki article. So what Hijmans is quoted on in the Wiki article is all based in peer-reviewed publications. We could refer to those rather than his dissertation, but because only the dissertation is online, it offers readers the only easy access to this material. Besides being peer-reviewed, his most important conclusion has been accepted by other Sol-specialists. We can't get around that. The problem is that these scholars are saying the opposite of what has previously been claimed, (and they are backing that up with solid evidence). We can't amalgamate diametrically opposing views. But in my opinion, simply presenting the new views without contrasting them with the old would be confusing to Wiki readers, who will find the old views in other encyclopedias and won't know why there are such differences. Do we rewrite the wiki entry along a dichotomy: traditional views versus recent ones (Halsberghe versus Berrens, Wallraff, Matern and Hijmans)?Sacerdos solis (talk) 21:25, 21 January 2010 (UTC)

It's good to have your response. We need have no problem in accurate representation of the relevant scholarship and recent developments. And of course, Hijmans' interpretation is neither novel nor revolutionary. I'll even say I entirely agree with him; but I'll do so here, not in the article. The article presents the scholarship - or rather, the scholarly consensus. No dichotomy I can see, unless as an artefact of scholarly theory or personal preference: and as ever, "The Truth" must elude us on all fronts, else we fail our readers.
There could still be a problem with translation; we're an English wiki, and our content should be verifiable in English wherever possible. The same applies to cross-references and citations; so whatever you can turn up in English will be very useful indeed. I'll also order a paper copy of Hijmans' (the latest version, not the dissertation/thesis), in English translation. This will probably reach me in a few days. It's not that I don't assume good faith; I always prefer to read things for myself whenever possible. And don't forget, we can request additional citation through judicious tagging - nothing wrong with tags in moderation. Haploidavey (talk) 14:18, 25 January 2010 (UTC)
I emailed Steven Hijmans. He very kindly provided the academic background to his linked, online work on Sol Invictus. It was reviewed and passed under Dutch academic rules, by three professors; two (if I remember rightly) were independent of his University. He now teaches in Canada - similar speciality, as far as I can make out - and has offered to respond to my queries on this topic. His dissertation is due for publication (probably with very minor amendments) sometime mid-2010. Under the circumstances, his online version might be OK as a pro tem. source. The usual, essential caveats on balance and POV will apply to how its used. Haploidavey (talk) 15:23, 23 February 2010 (UTC)

Any contentions Hijmans is setting forth need to be reduced to short footnotes, until the a majority of academia concede to his position. That is the way we handle these alleged "revelations" in the world of academics. Manson48 (talk) 01:12, 14 March 2010 (UTC)

I think the way to handle all this is simply not to make a decision ourselves on the points in dispute among scholars in the article. Just report what the scholars say, giving their name: "z says this(ref with verbatim quote); y says this (ref with verbatim quote). z says that the majority of scholars think this (ref with verbatim quote and english translation of, if necesary)". We shouldn't present someone (implicitly or otherwise) as "the view of scholarship" unless we can quote a scholar to the effect that his view *is* the consensus. In this way we get info, and we avoid controversy. Most scholars refer to the position generally accepted, whether they agree with it or not. Hijmans does, for instance. And if the scholars disagree about the consensus, well, we just report that too! 95.150.209.20 (talk) 20:58, 1 November 2010 (UTC)

Finding the right balance between new scholarship and older views is always tricky, I guess. But when new scholarship points out errors of fact in the old, do we then still give credence to the old views? For example: in the opening paragraph the entry states that the cult of Sol Invictus was founded by Aurelian in AD 274. Hijmans of course rejected this 14 years ago, and Berrens reinforced this in 2004, both with pretty straightforward evidence: Berrens, e.g., cites coins of Sol with the legend Sol Invictus minted by emperors like Gallienus, well before 274. How much more do Berrens,, Hijmans and others need to do, before we accept their views? Likewise, we can't simply ignore all the coins of Sol minted before Aurelian, and extensively discussed by Berrens, the way the opening paragraph does now. My suggestion: we go for the most recent scholarship so lng as it's unchallenged and not brand new (say less tha 5years old). —Preceding unsigned comment added by Archaioman (talkcontribs) 22:25, 9 November 2010 (UTC)

Vandalism of header[edit]

People, the header seems to have been vandalised by some person pasting in large chunks of the Mithras article and its references (I recognise my own work!) and linking it with various undocuemnted claims linking Mithras and Sol Invictus. As far as I know this is almost entirely something suggested by people who don't know Latin and think Mithras Sol Invictus 'must' be Sol Invictus. The header should anyway be short, not the abomination that was present. I hope this is OK. Roger Pearse (talk) 11:24, 1 November 2010 (UTC)

I've added more to the summary, and tried to keep it to 3-4 sentences, all referenced, and highlighting the points of interest. 95.150.209.20 (talk) 20:59, 1 November 2010 (UTC)

December 25 as Christmas[edit]

The article states that Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger (Pope Benedict XVI) has challenged the theory that December 25 was adopted as the date for Christmas from the existing date of Sol Invictus, arguing that the date was determined simply by calculating nine months after March 25, taken as the day of Jesus's conception (Feast of the Annunciation). This begs the question, then, of how the March 25 date was determined. Is it possible that it was calculated from the December 25 date? — Loadmaster (talk) 16:58, 22 November 2010 (UTC)

If my (poor) memory serves me correctly, wasn't there a mention of the December 25th date somewhere in Sextus Julius Africanus' works? Does anyone have the resources to look it up, and inform me if I was mistaken? -- Ever Confused, StudentInsomniac 06:00, 28 December 2010 (UTC)
You might want to scroll through this Google books link [2] which discusses the origin of the date, making an interesting point about lingering veneration of the sun by 5th century Christians. Dougweller (talk) 08:27, 28 December 2010 (UTC)
And mentions Sextus Julius Africanus here: [3] --Dougweller (talk) 08:31, 28 December 2010 (UTC)

New Catholic Encyclopedia 1967[edit]

If there isn't an external source for this clear garbage (as if the Catholic Church would defame it's own festival), I'm removing it. It's uncited, and if uncited, almost certainly a false claim. 98.176.12.43 (talk) 02:01, 7 January 2011 (UTC)

Don't be so zealous. It is cited. The New Catholic Encyclopedia is a standard reference work, found in almost all libraries. 75.15.201.235 (talk) 17:14, 20 March 2011 (UTC)

Seriously challenged?[edit]

This is clearly the view of the editor - it may also be the view of the source, but it isn't attributed to the source. The way it is written it is being stated as fact in Wikipedia's voice, which is a breach ofn WP:NPOV. It's also inappropriate in the lead to take sides in this way. It's fine to say "according to X this view has been seriously challenged" in the body of the text, and for the lead to say the view has been challenged (and we don't need a source for that in the lead, all we need is sourced challenges to the view in the body of the article). I hope the editor will remove this. Dougweller (talk) 12:28, 15 December 2012 (UTC)

I agree. Esoglou (talk) 15:42, 15 December 2012 (UTC)
I also agree. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 108.223.25.180 (talk) 13:10, 2 December 2013 (UTC)

"Pure Conjecture"[edit]

"The confusion surrounding Aurelian's reforms has been significant, much of it rooted in the mistaken opinion that he was introducing a new cult, which, as is now clear, he was not. The following constitute the most common errors of fact attributed to Aurelian and his reforms. .......................... This is not only pure conjecture, but goes against the best evidence available."

I wonder if the article would be easier to follow if it presented the agreed upon conclusions of scholars directly, with less pure conjecture interwoven.

That might then be followed by a section on the previous beliefs now regarded as in error.

Just a thought. It's an intriguing story. Thank you. Wanderer57 (talk) 02:44, 20 December 2012 (UTC)

Well spotted. That was all added by a single editor trying to argue a point in violation of WP:NPOV. I've removed it and replaced it with a short summary of the debate from a 2012 source. No details but they can be added later - but should follow our policy of NPOV. Thanks. Dougweller (talk) 11:36, 20 December 2012 (UTC)


Constantine[edit]

I have reasons to think that the mentioned date 'Constantine decreed (March 7, 321) dies Solis—day of the sun, "Sunday"—as the Roman day of rest [CJ3.12.2]:' is perhaps wrong!

What I found till now:

The theory that Constantine also changed the Sabbath is pure nonsense. According to the great Christian historian Eusebius, Constantine did issue an edict forbidding work on that day throughout the Empire. Here is a copy of that edict: .. That edict never made it into the Roman law code. According to the Theodosian Code, all Constantine did was close the courts on the day that he called Dies Solis. Here is a copy of that edict: Emperor Constantine Augustus to Helpidius. Just as it appears to Us most unseemly that the Day of the Sun (Dies Solis), which is celebrated on account of its own veneration, should be occupied with legal altercations and with noxious controversies of the litigation of contending parties, so it is pleasant and fitting that those acts which are especially desired shall be accomplished on that day. Therefore all men shall have the right to emancipate and to manumit on this festive day, and the legal formalities thereof are not forbidden. Posted on the fifth day before the nones of July at Cagliari in the year of the second consulship of Crispus and Constantine Caesars. -July 3, 321. .. Emperor Leo I legislated the first Christian Sabbath law!! Constantine has been called the first "Christian" Emperor....Nothing could be further from the truth....Emperor Leo I was the first truly Christian Roman Emperor. In 469, the Emperor passed a law commanding all to cease work on the Christian Sabbath. Catholic Christians needed no law to tell them to observe the Sabbath. Whereever they preached the Gospel, they introduced the 7 day week with the Sabbath Day for Christian worship. http://www.reformation.org/lords-day-sabbath.html

03.7. =ante diem V (quintum) Nonas Iulias/Quinctilis #-0753 AUC

For several centuries, Christians observed Sunday simply as a day of worship, without being able to give it the specific meaning of Sabbath rest. Only in the fourth century did the civil law of the Roman Empire recognize the weekly recurrence, determining that on "the day of the sun" the judges, the people of the cities and the various trade corporations would not work. (The Edict of Constantine, 3 July 321) http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/john_paul_ii/apost_letters/documents/hf_jp-ii_apl_05071998_dies-domini_en.html

Edict of Constantine on 3 July 321 CE http://www.considerthis.net/Files/Textfile/trinity.htm

The Apostolic Letter below Dies Domini was released Tuesday, July 8, 1998 by the Holy Father and deals with reasserting Sundays as God's day when we return to family interests and reserve this sacred day for rest and charity as God intended. .. Sunday: Day of Joy, Rest and Solidarity - For several centuries, Christians observed Sunday simply as a day of worship, without being able to give it the specific meaning of Sabbath rest. Only in the fourth century did the civil law of the Roman Empire recognize the weekly recurrence, determining that on "the day of the sun" the judges, the people of the cities and the various trade corporations would not work. (Cf. The Edict of Constantine, 3 July 321: Codex Theodosianus II, tit. 8, 1, ed. T. Mommsen, 12, p. 87; Codex Iustiniani, 3, 12, 2, ed. P. Krueger, p. 248.) http://www.dailycatholic.org/issue/July/jul30vic.htm

Wdew (talk) 10:37, 7 March 2013 (UTC)

"Sol invictus" != "Christians didn't steal Christmas"[edit]

Almost half of this article is dedicated to the theme of "Christians didn't steal Christmas", and it cites... the Catholic encyclopaedia for most of its sources, to make an argument that doesn't at all reflect consensus on the subject.

Sol Invictus was a major Roman holiday (amongst others), and much more can be said on the subject. I suggest moving the abovementioned section to an article of its own. Cheers. THEPROMENADER 07:30, 25 December 2013 (UTC)

Under "Sol Invictus and Christianity and Judaism," the article states "The Jewish calendar date of 14 Nisan was believed to be that of the beginning of creation..." This wording is possibly too ambiguous as the reader could conclude that Jews at some point actually believed this (versus Christians erroneously concluded that Jews believed this). The surrounding context does not sufficiently point to Christians operating under false assumptions. Perhaps where "old tradition" is mentioned, some clarifying verbiage? 4Sandra77 (talk) 23:04, 15 September 2014 (UTC)

See for yourself how the Talmud says that the world was actually created on 14 Nisan, that 14 Nisan was the date of the Exodus, and that 14 Nisan was the date both of birth and of death of great figures. For the apparent contradiction with the celebration of creation on 1 Tishrei, not 14 Nisan, read the explanation Aryeh Kaplan gives in his chapter "Sounding the Shofar of Mercy". Esoglou (talk) 06:58, 16 September 2014 (UTC)

Appears biased[edit]

Hello all,

This wikipedia page offers quite a bit of argument and evidence on the premise that Christianity did NOT steal from Dies Natalis Solis Invicti, but very little on the arguments/evidence that contribute to the theory that it DID. I'm not saying that I know one or the other to be true, only that the article comes off looking very biased, looking like a defense of Christianity rather than a presentation of all the facts. Also, if this article is going to spend so much time to trying to assert that Christianity did not steal from Dies Natalis Solis Invicti, and is therefore a totally original holiday, then Saturnalia should definitely be brought up as an obvious challenge to that assertion. While it was held on the 17-23 of December (instead of exactly on the 25th), the similarities are too much to dismiss (winter religious holiday, gift giving, partying, caroling in the streets, feasts, etc). The wiki page for Saturnalia even mentions that it likely influenced Christmas celebrations.

Again, I am not saying I know the truth of the matter one way or the other. Only that I am accustomed to wiki pages appearing to present all facts, not look like a total defense of one argument, as this article definitely gives that off. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Ezmode (talkcontribs) 14:58, 22 September 2014 (UTC)

Interesting idea – if a reliable source could be found for it (read WP:OR). The fun of the Saturnalia celebration may have influenced some customs that have become linked with Christmas, but it is hard to see it as explaining the origin of the Christian feast. Perhaps you can find some reliable source that does put forward that idea. Esoglou (talk) 08:21, 23 September 2014 (UTC)