Julia Paula, Augusta. 219/20 AD. Rome

Julia Paula, Augusta. 219/20 AD. Rome


AR Denarius, 3.41g (20mm, 6h). IVLIA PAVLA AVG Draped bust of Julia Paula to right, her hair in three waves and bound up in a queue at the back. Rev. CONCORDIA Concordia seated left on throne, holding a patera in her right hand; to left, star in field.

References:  BMC 172. Cohen 6. RIC 211

Grade:  EF (re1031)

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Julia Cornelia Paula had the misfortune to be married to the eccentric emperor Elagabalus. Her marriage was short-lived undoubtedly due to the identity confusion that plagued Elagabalus. Her father, Julius Paulus was of Greek descent and a high official in Roman society. In 219 AD, Julia Maesa, the grandmother of Elagabalus and sister of Julia Domna, wife of Septimius Severus, arranged the marriage between the two. The wedding was a lavish affair and the union was celebrated among the Roman elite. 

After only a year the marriage ended in divorce and Elagabalus took the bold and scandalous step in marrying a vestal virgin, Aquilia Severa. This act was to align himself, who he considered a disciple of the eastern sun god El-gabal, with the virgin goddess Vesta. Adding insult to injury, Elagabalus took the title of Augusta away from his ex-wife and ultimately her fate is unknown after that point. After Julia Paula, Elagabalus had two more unions (one with Annia Faustina and a second with Aquilia Severa whom he was urged to divorce and then later remarried).