Roman Empire

Julia Domna, Empress AD 193-217

RIC 536; BMC 48; Calicó 2641, Superb Mint State

Rome, under Septimius Severus, ca. AD 193-196. IVLIA DO-MNA AVG, draped bust of Julia Domna right. Reverse: VENER-I VICTR, Venus, with her back to the viewer, standing right, resting arm on low column beside her, holding apple and palm branch.

Ex CNG 103 (14 September 2016), 867; NAC 11 (29 April 1998), 470

Julia Domna of Emesa married Septimius Severus in the 180s, before he became the victor in the Year of the Five Emperors. By all accounts she was an educated and devoted wife cherished by her husband. She gave birth to two sons, Caracalla and Geta, who shared in their father’s reign. She frequently served as mediator between her sons, who increasingly came to hate each other. When Caracalla ordered the assassination of his brother in AD 211 he used a reconciliation brokered by his mother as the occasion. Julia Domna cradled the bloody and dying Geta in her arms after the murder, but continued as the respected Augusta during the reign of Caracalla. However, when he was murdered during the Parthian campaign in AD 217, Julia Domna committed suicide. The thought of returning to private life after years as the most powerful woman in the Empire was just too much.