Silver Antoninianus. 5.1g, 22.1mm
MINTED: Rome mint, AD 218-222
REF: RIC IV 72f
OBVERSE: IMP ANTONINVS AVG, radiate, draped, cuirassed bust right.
REVERSE: FIDES MILITVM, Fides standing front, head right, holding standard in right hand and vexillum in left hand.
Elagabalus was a 14-year-old youth living in Emesa in Syria when his grandmother, the powerful noblewoman Julia Maesa, successfully engineered the downfall of Emperor Macrinus and the restoration of the Severan dynasty. Elagabalus was made the new emperor and would go on to become one of Rome's most luridly colourful and notorious emperors. He would scandalize his subjects with one outrageous act after another, and apart from openly having a string of male lovers (and declaring himself the wife of a charioteer named Hierocles), he also broke religious taboo by marrying a sacred vestal virgin, Aquilia Severa.
In Emesa, Elagabalus had been the high priest of the sun god, El-Gabal, and when he arrived in Rome, he made the god, renamed Deus Sol Invictus (God the Undefeated Sun), the head of the Roman pantheon of deities. This did not sit well with the largely conservative aristocrats of Rome, and in March 222, having ruled for less than four years, Elagabalus was assassinated by members of the Praetorian Guard, who had themselves grown weary of the emperor's many un-Roman eccentricities.
ELAGABALUS . AD 218-222 . Antoninianus . "Fides"
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