Sestertius of Iulia Paula, early 3rd century AD


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Obverse head to the right, IULIA PAULA AUG(usta). Iulia Paula was the first wife of the quite young emperor Elagabal (218-222 AD), who married her in 219 AD. A little over a year later, however, he already divorced her because she allegedly had a physical flaw. This caused a scandal in Rome, as it was interpreted as tyrannical despotism. Elagabal, however, insisted on the divorce because he was the chief priest of the Syrian deity Elagabal (from where he also got his name) and this religious cult also required his wife to be incorporeally immaculate. After her divorce, she withdrew into private life; we have no knowledge of her further fate, just as we do of her life before her marriage.

Reverse CONCORDIA, seated to the left with cornucopia and patera.

Sestertius, brass, diameter 30mm, minted in Rome, 219/220 AD.



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