Roman Empire, Elagabalus for his Mother Julia Soaemias, Denarius

Julia Soaemias was the mother of Elagabalus, who became emperor of Rome (218-222) at the age of only fourteen. Tradition holds that she advised her juvenile son in governance, and held more influence on Roman politics than a woman was allowed at that time. Hence when Elagabalus was murdered in 222, Julia Soaemias died with him.

Elagabalus dedicated several coins to his mother. Immediately after his accession to the throne he made her 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.