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Annia Faustina, 3rd Wife of Elagabalus, Augusta, 221 A.D.
Annia Faustina was descended from an aristocratic family; her grandmothers were sisters, and daughters of Marcus Aurelius and Faustina II. Annia was married to former consul and Moesian legatus Bassus. Elagabalus' had outraged all of Rome when he took a Vestal Virgin, Aquilia Severa, as wife. After that public image disaster, his advisors (chiefly his grandmother Julia Maesa) forced him to divorce and seek a Roman woman from an illustrious family to regain some respectability. Being the granddaughter of Marcus Aurelius made Faustina the ideal candidate, except that she was married. No problem for an Emperor. Elagabalus condemned her husband to death for treasonable remarks and activities, whether real or imagined. With Bassus executed, he forbid Annia to mourn her dead husband and arrangements for seventeen-year-old Elagabalus' third wedding proceeded. The wedding was held in 221, but Elagabalus soon found a way to divorce her. He then remarried Aquilia Severa. Julia Maesa realized Elagabalus would have to be replaced if she were to retain power, otherwise the populace would rebel and all would be lost. She persuaded him to name her other grandson as caesar and within a year Elagabalus and his mother were dead; Severus Alexander was emperor. Julia Maesa remained the foremost power behind the throne until she died naturally in 225. After her marriage to Elagabalus ended, Annia Aurelia Faustina returned with her children to her Pisidian estate, where she remained for the rest of her life.