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ElagabalusAKA Varius Avitus Bassianus

Born: 204 AD
Birthplace: Emesa, Syria
Died: 222 AD
Location of death: Rome, Italy
Cause of death: Murder

Gender: Male
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Bisexual
Occupation: Royalty

Nationality: Ancient Rome
Executive summary: Roman Emperor, 218-222 AD

Elagabalus, also known as Heliogabalus, Roman emperor from 218 to 222 AD, was born at Emesa in Syria about 205. His real name was Varius Avitus. On the murder of Caracalla (217), Julia Maesa, Varius's grandmother and Caracalla's aunt, left Rome and retired to Emesa, accompanied by her grandsons (Varius and Severus Alexander). Varius, though still only a boy, was appointed high priest of the Syrian sun-god Elagabalus, one of the chief seats of whose worship was Emesa (Homs). His beauty, and the splendid ceremonials at which he presided, made him a great favorite with the troops stationed in that part of Syria, and Maesa increased his popularity by spreading reports that he was in reality the illegitimate son of Caracalla. Macrinus, the successor and instigator of the murder of Caracalla, was very unpopular with the army; an insurrection was easily set on foot, and on the 16th of May 218 Varius was proclaimed emperor as Marcus Aurelius Antoninus. The troops sent to quell the revolt went over to him, and Macrinus was defeated near Antioch on the 8th of June. Elagabalus was at once recognized by the senate as emperor. After spending the winter in Nicomedia, he proceeded in 219 to Rome, where he made it his business to exalt the deity whose priest he was and whose name he assumed. The Syrian god was proclaimed the chief deity in Rome, and all other gods his servants; splendid ceremonies in his honor were celebrated, at which Elagabalus danced in public, and it was believed that secret rites accompanied by human sacrifice were performed in his honor. In addition to these affronts upon the state religion, he insulted the intelligence of the community by horseplay of the wildest description and by childish practical joking. The shameless profligacy of the emperor's life was such as to shock even a jaded Roman public. His popularity with the army declined, and Maesa, perceiving that the soldiers were in favor of Alexander Severus, persuaded Elagabalus to raise his cousin to the dignity of Caesar (221), a step of which he soon repented. An attempt to murder Alexander was frustrated by the watchful Maesa. Another attempt in 222 produced a mutiny among the praetorians, in which Elagabalus and his mother Soemias (Soaemias) were slain (probably in the first half of March).

Father: Sextus Varius Marcellus (Roman Senator)
Mother: Julia Soaemias Bassiana
Wife: Julia Cornelia Paula
Wife: Aquilia Severa (vestal virgin)
Wife: Annia Faustina
Husband: Hierocles (chariot driver, slave)

    Roman Emperor 16-May-218 to 222 AD

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