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GM25491

Julian II, 'Taurus' Ae 28.

Julian II (AD 361-363), Ae 28mm, Heraclea, AD 361-363, D N FL CL IVLIANVS P F AVG, pearl-diademed, draped, and cuirassed bust right, rev. SECVRITAS REI PVB, bull standing to right, head facing, two stars above, SMHA in exergue, 7.40g, 28mm, 6h (RIC VIII, 101). Dense, hard deposit over a detailed strike, extremely fine.

Julian the Apostate reinstated paganism, or the Hellenistic polytheism of the ancient world, as the religion of the Roman Empire, and the reverse type of this coin is perhaps the last pagan type in the Roman series. Explanations for the choice of a bull as the reverse type include the Apis bull of Egypt or, popularly, the constellation of Taurus suggested by the inclusion of the two stars in the field. These may represent Elnath and Zeta Tauri, the horns of Taurus, though traditionally that constellation faces left.

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