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or SOAE'MIAS, JU'LIA, the daughter of Julia Maesa, and the mother of Elagabalus, either by her husband Sextus Varius Marcellus, or, according to the report industriously circulated with her own consent, by Caracalla.

Of her early history we know nothing, but it is manifest that she must have been living at the Roman court under the protection of her aunt Julia Domna, about A. D. 204, otherwise the story with regard to the origin of her son, who was born in the following year, would have been palpably impossible. In the battle which transferred the empire from Macrinus to Elagabalus, she is said to have decided the fortune of the day, having succeeded in rallying the flving soldiers by prayers and entreaties, and by placing her boy in their path. Being forthwith created Augusta, she became the chosen counsellor of the youthful prince, and seems to have encouraged and shared his follies and enormities. She took a place in the senate, which then, for the first time, witnessed the intrusion of a woman, and was herself the president of a sort of female parliament, which held its sittings in the Quirinal, and published edicts for the regulation of all matters connected with the morals, dress, etiquette, and equipage of the matrons. She was slain by the praetorians, in the arms of her son, on the 11th of March, A. D. 222, and her body, after having been subjected to every indignity, was cast into a common sewer. [See CARACALLA; ELAGABALUS; JULIA DOMNA ; MACRINUS.]

Further Information

Lamprid. Elagab. 2; D. C. 78.30, 38; Herodian 5.5, &c.; Scaliger, in Chronic. Euseb. p. 232; Eckhel, vol. vii. p. 264.

Her name and titles

Her name, according to Herodian and Dio Cassius, ought to be written SOEMIS; on all Roman and most Greek medals it appears as Soaemias. In the text of the Augustan historians, Capitolinus and Lampridius, we find the corrupt form Semiamira. In Greek inscriptions she is styled Bassiana, from her grandfather, the founder of the family. With regard to the title JULIA, see JULIA DOMNA.


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204 AD (1)
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