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Roman Empire

Ruler: Julia Mamaea Mother of Severus Alexander
Reigned: died 235 AD
Denomination: AR Denarius
Mint: Rome
Date of Issue: 231 AD
Obverse: Bust draped right wearing a diadem (stephane). "IVLIA MAMAEA AVG."
Reverse: Juno seated left, holding flower and swathed infant. "IVNO AVGUSTAE"
Reference: RSC 32, RCV 2309, RCVM 8211, RIC 341
Weight: 2.9 gms
Diameter: 19.5 mm

The "Syrian Princesses" Julia Maesa, Julia Soaemias, Julia Mamaea

  • Julia Maesa, was the daughter of Julius Bassianus, priest of the Sun-god, and was born at Emesa,in Syria.She was the sister of Julia Domna, wife of Septimius Severus. She married Julius Avitus.
  • Julia Soaemias was the younger daughter of Julius Avitus and Julia Maesa, and therefore niece of Julia Domna. She was the mother of Elagabalus
  • Julia Mamaea was the eldest daughter of Julius Avitus and Julia Maesa. She was the mother of Severus Alexander
  • To place her son, Elagabalus, on the throne in place of Macrinus, Julia Soaemias and her mother, Julia Maesa, invented the story that Elagabalus was the illegitimate son of Caracalla who was murdered in 217 AD.
  • Telling this story to the troops - who still loved Caracalla - as well as paying them money, Maesa succeeded in getting them to defeat Macrinus. Thus, in 218 AD, Elagabalus became emperor.
  • Elagabalus shocked Roman society with his licentious ways, but Soaemias joined in by taking a string of lovers.
  • In 222 AD, with Elagabalus growing more and more unpopular, Julia Maesa finally decided to do away with her daughter and grandson before the army revolted.
  • She had Elagabalus adopt his thirteen year old brother, Alexianus, as his heir.
  • Although Elagabalus gave Alexianus some power, he grew suspicious of him and planned to have him murdered.
  • The Praetorian Guard, who liked Alexianus, got wind of the plot and invited the boy, his mother Mamaea, and grandmother Maesa to the safety of their camp. The worried Elagabalus cut a deal.
  • Later Elagabalus had second thoughts and once more planned to kill his brother, but this time the Praetorian Guard had had enough. They proclaimed Alexianus emperor as Severus Alexander.
  • They searched the palace for Elagabalus and found him and Julia Soaemias in each others' arms hiding in a palace privy. They were killed and their corpses dragged through the streets and thrown into the Tiber. (208 AD)
  • Julia Maesa and Julia Mamaea became Alexander's co-regents.
  • Julia Maesa died c. 223-5 AD.

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