«Money in the Roman Republic»

Roman Empire, Elagabalus for his Mother Julia Soaemias, Denarius

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Roman Empire, Elagabalus for his Mother Julia Soaemias, Denarius (obverse) Roman Empire, Elagabalus for his Mother Julia Soaemias, Denarius (reverse)

Julia Soaemias was the mother of Elagabalus (218-222), who at the age of only fourteen became emperor of Rome. Tradition holds that she advised her juvenile son in governance, and altogether had higher influence on Roman politics than a woman was allowed at that time. Hence when Elagabalus was murdered in 222, Julia Soaemias had to die with him. Elagabalus dedicated different coins to his mother: instantaneously after his accession to the throne, Elagabalus had made Julia Soaemias augusta – a nomination which would have made her immortal, if not for the fact that the Senate passed the damnatio memoriae upon her and her son after their death. Which meant their effigies and statues would be destroyed, and their names deleted from documents and inscriptions. Fortunately, however, some coins have survived. This one depicts Julia Soaemias as a young woman with elaborate hair and an opulently draped dress. On the reverse sits Venus on a throne, Cupid at her feet.

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