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204b. Julia Maesa29 viewsJulia Maesa (about 170- about 226) was daughter of Julius Bassianus, priest of the sun god Heliogabalus, the patron god of Emesa in the Roman province of Syria, and grandmother of the Roman emperor Elagabalus. Like her younger sister Julia Domna, she was among the most important women ever to exercise power behind the throne in the Roman empire.

Julia Maesa was married to Julius Avitus and had two daughters, Julia Mamaea and Julia Soaemias, each one mother of an emperor. Following the accession to the throne of her brother in law Septimius Severus, Julia Maesa moved to Rome to live with her sister. After the murder of her nephew Caracalla, and the suicide of Julia Domna, she was compelled to return to Syria. But the new emperor Macrinus did not proscribe her and allowed her to keep her money. In Syria, Maesa engaged in a plot to overthrow Macrinus and place one of her grandsons, Elagabalus son of Julia Soaemias, in his place. In order to legitimise this pretension, mother and daughter rumoured that the 14-year-old boy was Caracalla's illegitimate son. The Julias were successful, mainly due to the fact that Macrinus was of an obscure origin without the proper political connections, and Elagabalus became emperor.

For her loyalty and support, Elagabalus honored Julia Maesa with the title Augusta avia Augusti (Augusta, grandmother of Augustus). When the teenager proved to be a disaster as emperor (even taking the liberty of marrying a Vestal virgin), Julia Maesa decided to promote Alexander Severus, another of her grandsons. Elagabalus was forced to adopt Alexander as son and was murdered shortly afterwards.

Julia Maesa died in an uncertain date around 226 AD and, like her sister Domna before her, was deified.

Julia Maesa Denarius. PVDICITIA, Pudicitia seated left, raising veil and holding sceptre.

Julia Maesa Denarius. IVLIA MAESA AVG, draped bust right / PVDICITIA, Pudicitia seated left, raising veil and holding sceptre. RIC 268, RSC 36. s2183. No.1502. nVF.
RSC 444, RIC 88
204c. Julia Soaemias29 viewsJulia Soaemias Bassiana (180-March 11, 222) was the daughter of Julia Maesa, a powerful Roman woman of Syrian origin, and Julius Avitus. She was niece of emperor Septimius Severus and sister of Julia Avita Mamaea.

She was married to Sextus Varius Marcellus, a Syrian Roman of an Equestrian family (meaning not a member of the Roman senate). As members of the imperial Roman family, they lived in Rome, where their numerous children were born. In 217, her cousin emperor Caracalla was killed and Macrinus ascended to the imperial throne. Julia's family was allowed to returned to Syria with the whole of their financial assets. They would not allow the usurper to stand unopposed. Together with her mother, Julia plotted to substitute Macrinus with her son Varius Avitus Bassianus (Heliogabalus). To legitimise this plot, Julia and her mother spread the rumour that the 13-year-old boy was Caracalla's illegitimate son. In 218 Macrinus was killed and Heliogabalus became emperor. Julia then became the de facto ruler of Rome, since the teenager was concerned mainly with religious matters. Their rule was not popular and soon discontent arose. Julia Soaemias and Heliogabalus were killed by the Praetorian Guard in 222. Julia was later declared public enemy and her name erased from all records.

Julia Soaemias Denarius. 220 AD. IVLIA SOAEMIAS AVG, draped bust right / VENVS CAELESTIS, Venus seated left, holding scepter, extending her hand to Cupid standing before her. RSC 14.
205a. Julia Mamaea37 viewsJulia Avita Mamaea (180–235) was the daughter of Julia Maesa, a powerful Roman woman of Syrian origin, and Julius Avitus. She was a niece of emperor Septimius Severus and sister of Julia Soaemias Bassiana.

She was married to Gessius Marcianus had a son, later emperor Alexander Severus. Unlike her sister, Julia Mamaea was reported to be a virtuous woman, never involved in scandals. As a member of the Imperial Roman family, she watched closely the death of her cousin Caracalla and the ascent to power of her nephew Heliogabalus, the oldest grandson of Julia Maesa and her choice to the throne. But eventually Heliogabalus and his mother Julia Soaemias proved incompetent rulers and favour fell on Alexander, Julia's son. He became emperor in 222, following Heliogabalus's murder by the Praetorian Guard. Julia and her mother became regents in the name of Alexander, then 14 years old. Upon adulthood, Alexander confirmed his esteem for his mother and named her consors imperii (imperial consort). It was in this condition that she accompanied her son in his campaigns: a custom started with Julia Domna (Septimius Severus's wife). Thus she travelled to the East, for the campaign against the Parthian empire, and to the Germania provinces. Julia Mamaea was with Alexander in Moguntiacum (modern Mainz), capital of Germania Superior, when he was assassinated by his troops. She suffered the same fate.

Julia Mamaea Denarius. IVLIA MAMAEA AVG, diademed & draped bust right / VESTA, Vesta standing half-left, holding palladium & scepter. RSC 81.
Elagabalus100 viewsRIC 88, RSC 61.
Elagabalus, denarius.
19 mm 3,12 g.
Obv. IMP ANTONINVS PIVS AVG, laureate, horned, draped and bearded bust right.
Rev. INVICTVS SACERDOS AVG, Elagabalus standing half left, branch in left, offering from patera in right over altar, recumbent bull behind altar, star left.

Elagabalus (c. 203 – March 11, 222), also known as Heliogabalus or Marcus Aurelius Antoninus, was a Roman Emperor of the Severan dynasty who reigned from 218 to 222. This reverse refers to Elagabalus' role as priest of the Syrian god from whom he took his nickname. His religious fanaticism was a primary cause of his downfall.

This coin immediately became one of my favourites, because of the detailed obverse and reverse (watch the bull!) and the history behind the coin. The coin also has a beautiful dark toning.
3 commentsmars1112
Elagabalus SC in Wreath47 viewsElagabalus AE20, Antioch Syria, 218 - 220 AD, Antioch BMC 430
OBV: radiate head of Elagabalus right
REV: S dot C, Delta Epsilon above, eagle below all within laurel wreath
McAlee 788
Elagabalus was a teenaged priest of the sun god Heliogabalus, and was
infamous for his debauchery. He was a member of the powerful Syrian
clan headed by his grandmother, Julia Maesa, who engineered his rise
to power. His followers overthrew and killed his predecessor,
Macrinus, in fighting which culminated in and around Antioch. The
early part of Elagabalus' reign was spent at Antioch, after which he
traveled to Rome and took up residence there
1 commentsRomanorvm
Heliogabalus15 viewsJose C
Heliogabalus - denarius34 viewsIMP. ANTONINVS PIVS AVG. , laureate, draped and cuirassed bearded bust right, with horn on the top of the head
SVMMVS SACERDOS AVG. , Heliogabalus in High-Priest attire holding a branch and a patera above a tripod altar ; six-pointed star to le left.

RIC 146
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