Roman Empire

Elagabalus, Emperor AD 218-222

RIC 9d; BMC p. 546, note; Calicó 2998, Superb Extremely Fine

Rome, AD 218. IMP ANTONINVS PIVS AVG, laureate, draped and cuirassed bust of Elagabalus right. Reverse: P M TR P II COS II P P around, LIB AVG II in exergue, Elagabalus, togate, holding parazonium, seated left on platform; before him to left, Liberalitas standing left, holding abacus and cornucopiae; to left, citizen mounting stairs of the platform.

Ex LHS 95 (25 October 2005), 834

Varius Avitus Bassianus, popularly known as Elagabalus, was a young member of the priestly dynasty of Emesa who worshipped the Semitic solar deity El-Gabal. Disaffection with Macrinus in the army and the claim that Elagabalus was a son of Caracalla propelled him to the purple in AD 218. In Rome he introduced the cult of his god to Rome and even had the sacred black stone of Emesa brought to the capital. Public opinion turned against him in AD 220 when he planned to establish El-Gabal as supreme deity—greater even than Jupiter—and took a Vestal Virgin as his wife. Julia Soaemias and Julia Maesa, his mother and grandmother, tried to rein in his excesses, but in AD 222 he was murdered by the Praetorian Guard.