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Capitoline Museums , Rome

Elagabal (* 204 probably in Rome , † March 11, 222 in Rome) was a Roman emperor from May 16, 218 until his assassination . Originally it was called Varius Avitus Bassianus . As emperor he called himself Marcus Aurelius Antoninus in order to tie in with the Antonine like his alleged father Caracalla . The name Elagabal , which the god he worshiped , was given to the emperor long after his death.

Elagabal came to power through a military revolt against his predecessor Macrinus, posing as the illegitimate son of Emperor Caracalla, who was murdered in 217. During his rule of around four years, he made himself hated in wide circles. After all, he was politically isolated and murdered by mutinous soldiers. He had no offspring.

For ancient and modern posterity, the name Elagabal became a symbol of the viciousness and decadence of the Roman imperial era, as well as fateful oriental cultural influences. A severe conflict between conservative Romanism and the Syrian religious tradition that the youthful emperor wanted to establish in Rome overshadowed his brief reign.


Origin and childhood

Elagabal was born in 204, probably in Rome, where his parents lived at the time. He was of Syriac origin on both his mother's and his father's side . His father Sextus Varius Marcellus, a Roman knight from Apamea in the province of Syria , had made a career in Rome under Emperor Septimius Severus as an administrative officer and was accepted into the Senate under his son and successor Caracalla and entrusted with high offices. Most recently he was governor of Numidia Province in North Africa. He remained in this office until his death in 217. Elagabal's mother was Julia Soaemias Bassiana , the older of the two daughters of Julia Maesa , the sister of Empress Julia Domna . Julia Domna was the wife of Septimius Severus and mother Caracallas. As a result, Elagabal, the empress's great-nephew, was not a descendant of Septimius Severus, but only of his sister-in-law. When the male descendants of Septimius Severus and Julia Domna died out with the assassination of Caracallas in 217, the sideline descended from Julia Domna's sister could come into play, although she was not related by blood to Septimius Severus, but only by marriage.

Elagabal's great-grandfather, the father of Julia Domna and Julia Maesa, was called Julius Bassianus. In Emesa (now Homs in Syria) he held the hereditary office of priest of the god Elagabal, who was worshiped there. The name Bassianus comes from him (probably derived from the oriental priestly title Basus ), which not only emperor Elagabal wore before his elevation, but also Caracalla and Elagabal's cousin and successor Severus Alexander . The family of Julius Bassianus enjoyed the highest esteem in Emesa, as they were entrusted with the cult of the supreme deity there, and they had considerable influence in the region. The family and the Elagabal cult they cultivated only gained supraregional importance as a result of the marriage of Julius Bassianus' daughter Julia Domna to Septimius Severus, who was not yet emperor at the time (187).

The clan of Bassianus was probably of Arab origin. Apparently, they were descendants of the former Arab princes of Emesa, who had ruled there as vassals of the Roman Empire in the 1st century AD .

Elagabal spent his childhood in Rome at the imperial court. While his father was governor in Numidia, he was raised by his grandmother and mother. His living conditions changed after the Emperor Caracalla, popular in the army, was murdered on April 8, 217 at the instigation of the Praetorian prefect Macrinus . Macrinus, who succeeded Caracalla, banished Julia Maesa to her hometown Emesa. Her daughter Julia Soaemias and her grandson Elagabal had to leave the imperial court with her. This is how the thirteen-year-old Varius Avitus (Elagabal) came to Emesa. There, according to family tradition, he assumed the dignity of Elagabal priest, which he retained until his death. At that time he is said to have made an impression with his extraordinary physical beauty. He himself never carried the name "Elagabal", which was reserved for God, nor did he receive it from his contemporaries. The name form "Heliogabalus", which emerged from a wrong etymology , is only attested for the emperor in sources from the 4th century.

Septimius Severus
Severus Alexander

Uprising and civil war

The exile of Julia Maesa soon turned out to be a grave mistake, because in Emesa she had wealth and influence and had ample opportunity to agitate against Macrinus, who was unpopular with the soldiers because of his austerity measures. Since the army was devoted to Caracalla, Macrinus had to hide his involvement in his murder. Now Elagabal was passed off as the illegitimate son of Caracalla. With this and through financial incentives, a nearby legion , the Legio III Gallica , was persuaded to proclaim Elagabal emperor on May 16, 218, which started the rebellion against Macrinus. In order to emphasize his dynastic legitimacy, Elagabal adopted the official emperor name Marcus Aurel (l) ius Antoninus, which Caracalla had already carried.

Troops of Macrinus under the command of the Praetorian Prefect Ulpius Julianus advanced against the Legio III camp in which Elagabal was staying. Among them were Moors who supported Macrinus because he came from their homeland. A storm attack by the Moors on the camp failed. The besieged insurgents then succeeded in persuading the siege forces to change front by pointing out the alleged descent of Elagabal from Caracalla and offering rewards. The besiegers killed their officers and went over to Elagabal, and the rebellion spread. Macrinus, who was still in the province of Syria because of the recently ended war against the Parthians , tried in vain in Apamea to bind the Legio II Parthica , which was temporarily stationed there, to himself with generous monetary gifts and promises. After the severed head of Ulpius Julianus had been brought to him, he retired to Antiocheia , and the Legio II joined the revolt. When Elagabal's troops advanced in the direction of Antiocheia, Macrinus had to fight. The Praetorian Guard formed the core of his force .

On June 8, 218 there was a decisive battle near Antioch, which Macrinus lost. He was captured and killed during the subsequent escape. Elagabal's grandmother and mother were present on the battlefield and, according to contemporary Cassius Dio, contributed significantly to the victory by persuading the fleeing troops to withstand a critical phase of the battle. Since both armies lacked competent leadership, the battle was chaotic.


After his victory, Elagabal set off for Rome. On the way there was a conflict with his tutor Gannys. Gannys, who was in a marriage-like relationship with Elagabal's widowed mother, had played a major role in organizing the uprising against Macrinus. His attempt to influence the young emperor led to a deadly power struggle; Elagabal is said to have killed Gannys himself.

Elagabal only arrived in Rome in the summer of 219. In view of his age, his grandmother Julia Maesa practically exercised the reign. However, great difficulties arose from the pronounced self-will of the young emperor. Already his demonstrative ties to his alleged father Caracalla brought him into opposition to the senatorial leadership, which had been in opposition to Caracalla. The Senate had cheered Caracalla's death and sided with Macrinus in the civil war and declared Elagabal an enemy of the state. Some of Elagabal's coin portraits show an undoubtedly intentional resemblance to those of Caracalla, and official documents refer to his fictitious descent.

Elagabal tried to create a power base by promoting men of low origin from his environment to high offices, which he was very resentful of in conservative aristocratic circles. These leading personalities of his reign belonged to Publius Valerius Comazon which is to be original dancers and actors have been, then made a military career, played an important role in the uprising against Macrinus and finally Elagabal praetorian prefect , together with the emperor ordinary consul and three times prefect was .

The new ruler was not prepared to take the prerogatives of the Senate and the customs and interests of the leading circles into consideration, but adhered to the customs of his oriental homeland, although he had grown up in Rome. So he snubbed the city Romans by wearing a priestly clothing presumably designed by himself, which was perceived and disapproved of as un-Roman. In 219 he married a distinguished Roman woman, Julia Cornelia Paula , whom he abandoned the following year. He entered into a second marriage with the Vestal Virgin Julia Aquilia Severa , which from the Roman point of view was an unheard of provocation, because traditionally the death penalty was incurred for disregarding the vestal's duty of chastity. At the urging of his grandmother, he separated from the Vestal Virgin in 221 and entered into a third marriage with Annia Faustina , but returned to Aquilia before the end of the year. All three wives of Elagabal bore the title Augusta and are attested on coins as empresses. Elagabal may have had one or two other marriages during his four-year reign.

The emperor tried to make himself popular with the urban Roman population through generous gifts of money and many festivals, competitions and plays. He may have been temporarily successful at this, but he and his mother were hated by the ranks. The rise of a favorite of the emperor named Hierocles caused particular offense . Hierocles, originally a slave from Caria , was noticed by the emperor as a charioteer and then gained great influence at court, which was attributed to a sexual relationship with the ruler. Elagabal is said to have even considered making him Caesar .

The turmoil in Rome seems to have had little effect on the imperial administration, in which Elagabal apparently showed little interest. Foreign policy was calm. However, there were repeated soldiers' revolts, which were quickly put down; the two most important (proclamation of the opposing emperors Verus and Gellius Maximus , both in 219) took place in Syria, where the military power vacuum that had arisen after the death of Caracalla was clearly evident.

Religious politics

Aureus Elagabals. Inscription on the obverse: Imp (erator) C (aesar) M (arcus) Aur (elius) Antoninus P (ius) F (elix)
Aug (ustus)
. Inscription on the back: Sanct (o) Deo Soli Elagabal (o) ("The holy sun god Elagabal")
Religious motifs on Elagabal's denarii

The religious policy of Elagabal was the primary concern of his government activity. It was the most distinctive element of his rule and the most important cause of the rift between him and the people of Rome and the senatorial circles. The contrast was insurmountable, because the emperor not only wanted to add a new cult to the existing cult, but his goal was to introduce the Elagabal cult as the state religion in the capital and throughout the empire. The previous Roman religion with Jupiter as the supreme state god should be pushed back and relegated to second place. All Roman gods were assigned a subordinate function compared to the Syrian sun god.

The emperor brought the holy stone of Emesa , which was the focus of the Elagabal cult, to Rome. So it was planned from the beginning to make Elagabal, who was previously only worshiped in Emesa, an imperial god. A temple was built on the Palatine Hill to house the stone and a priesthood was established. Another Elagabal temple was outside the capital. The high priest was the emperor himself (sacerdos amplissimus dei invicti Solis Elagabali) . Games and popular amusements were associated with a magnificent festival procession in summer. Various reverse motifs of the coins minted under Elagabal refer to the religious ideas he cultivated: An aureus (gold coin) shows the stone of Emesa on the quadriga, other reverse sides with the sacrificing emperor name Elagabal as an invincible priest or as a priest of the sun god.

The emperor also announced and celebrated the “holy wedding” ( hierós gámos ) of the god Elagabal; this should marry with the Carthaginian Urania ( Dea Caelestis , Tinnit ). The wedding of the ruler and high priest with the vestal virgin should represent the perfect divine wedding on the human level. From this connection he hoped for godlike children. In doing so, Elagabal collided with the completely different view of the Romans of the duties of the Vestal Virgins , who were obliged to the strictest chastity . The two sides faced each other with incompatible religious beliefs. His first wife had cast Elagabal out for a body mark, which the Roman felt was tyrannical arbitrariness, but from his point of view a religious necessity, since priestly functions required physical flawlessness.

The Romans hated the fact that the emperor was circumcised according to oriental custom . Against the background of the contrasts between Eastern and Western religious tradition, reports of orgies , homosexuality and transsexuality , (sacred) prostitution , Elagabal's striving for androgyny and even castration can be interpreted. All of this had - as far as it is true - a religious root for which the Roman historians could not muster any understanding. This also applies to Elagabal's habit of ritual dancing and his strange priestly clothing; Dress luxury was deprecated in Rome.

The attempt of the young emperor to decree a new, purely oriental state religion for the empire and to displace the centuries-old religious tradition of the conservative Romans was unprecedented in Roman history. The boldness of the project was heightened by the harsh and radical approach to establishing the new, incomprehensible state cult that was foreign to the Romans. Elagabal's seemingly careless steps and disregard for Roman customs can be explained if one assumes that he actually - as his coinage suggests - considered himself unassailable under the protection of his god as his supreme priest.

Even before Emperor Elagabal, there was a worship of the sun god ( Sol invictus ) in Rome , which particularly promoted Caracalla. Elagabal was able to build on this. This trend, which experienced a great boom in the late 3rd century, may have been influenced by the Orient, but it should not be equated or confused with the Elagabal cult. There was basically no objection to a sun cult in Rome; as a state religion, however, the Romans found the special form that Elagabal had brought from Emesa to be unacceptable.

From the reign of Elagabal nothing is known of government measures against illicit religions such as Christianity.


Julia Maesa realized that Elagabal could not hold on to power in the long term under the given circumstances and prepared an alternative. In addition to Julia Soaemias, she had a younger daughter, Julia Mamaea . She succeeded in getting Julia Mamaea's son Bassianus Alexianus, who now took the name Alexander, adopted by Elagabal on June 26, 221 and was given the title Caesar . Alexander - the future Emperor Severus Alexander - was designated as the successor to his imperial cousin.

The co-regent, born on October 1, 208, was not yet thirteen. Nevertheless, he was already popular with the soldiers, as propaganda was made for him. Like Elagabal, he was also passed off as the illegitimate son of Caracalla. It could not remain hidden from Elagabal that the succession plan was either aimed at his overthrow or at least assumed that his rule would soon end. Therefore he tried to depose the Caesar , but had to realize that his power was no longer sufficient for this. Repeatedly he made attacks on his cousin's life. It became apparent that only one of the two could survive. Since Elagabal lacked military support, the conflict was hopeless for him. Mutinous soldiers, who were controlled by his aunt Julia Mamaea, murdered him and his mother on March 11, 222. The emperor's body was desecrated and thrown into the Tiber , and the Senate - allegedly by Elagabal as mancipia togata ("Slavery in Togen “) Reviled - concluded the damnatio memoriae . Alexander was immediately recognized as emperor. So Julia Maesa was able to secure the continuation of the Syrian dynasty, only in name according to the Severan dynasty, through her other grandson.


Elagabal in denarius with "horn"

More than twenty portrait busts and a number of coin portraits have survived by Elagabal, some of which emphasize his resemblance to Caracalla. In the case of the busts, a distinction is made - in chronological order - between type 1 (youth with short, military haircut, resemblance to Caracalla) and type 2 (round face, long whiskers, fine mustache, no resemblance to Caracalla). The portrait on the coins changes step by step: Type A shows a bearded boy, Type B a youth with slightly elongated sideburns on his cheek; on type C the emperor wears a whiskers reaching to the jaw and usually also a mustache, on type D a full beard.

Some coins from the final phase of Elagabal's reign (221–222) show the emperor with an elongated, forward-curved shape on his laurel wreath or the crown of rays. This headdress was previously interpreted as a horn, but Elke Krengel has put forward the hypothesis that it is the tip of a bull penis. As the coins show, Elagabal wore the object at religious ceremonies and at state acts that were followed by acts of sacrifice. This self-portrayal of the emperor on the coins had a religious symbolic character. According to Krengel's interpretation, it should express fertility and strength. In research, Krengel's interpretation of the object met with some approval and others with strong rejection.



As part of the damnatio memoriae , his name was erased from inscriptions after Elagabal's death, portraits of the overthrown emperor were partly destroyed, partly removed from the public and stored.

The judgment of ancient posterity about Elagabal has been unanimously devastating. The historian Cassius Dio , from whom a relatively detailed account - the most important narrative source - comes, was close to Elagabal's mortal enemy and successor. He reports full of indignation from the point of view of the senatorial class . Herodian's judgment , who, like Cassius Dio, had witnessed Elagabal's time , is more sober, but also very negative . It was not until the late 4th or early 5th century that Elagabal's biography was written in the Historia Augusta . It offers a lot of invented and unbelievable things, but also valuable information from a lost contemporary source (perhaps Marius Maximus ). In the Historia Augusta , Elagabal appears as a sinister counterpart to his idealized successor.

The literature hostile to him portrays the emperor as brutal, barbaric, despotic, unrestrained, cowardly and perverse. A plethora of scandalous stories are presented for illustration. Here one encounters all the stereotypes that, from the point of view of conservative Romans, belonged to the image of a repulsive Oriental, up to and including the sacrifice of children. Therefore, the name Elagabal has become the epitome of late Roman decadence for posterity up to the present day .

Some of the late antique historians ( Aurelius Victor , Epitome de Caesaribus ) assumed that Elagabal was actually a son of Caracalla. Zosimos left this question open. The poet Ausonius, on the other hand, considered Elagabal's descent from Caracalla to be invented.

Middle Ages and Early Modern Times

In the Middle Ages the Latin-speaking scholars of the West obtained their knowledge of Elagabal from the scarce information from late antique sources ( Orosius , Hieronymus , Epitome de Caesaribus ). Accordingly, Otto von Freising and Vinzenz von Beauvais, for example, treat it briefly . In the Byzantine Empire , Cassius Dio or Herodian, unknown in the west, was usually followed.

In the 14th century Giovanni Boccaccio devoted a detailed chapter in his Latin work On Famous Women to Elagabal's mother, in which he treated the subject under the aspect of the unworthiness of a prostitute . In doing so, he addressed a point of view that was also taken up in the subsequent period in Elagabal's reception: the portrayal of Elagabal as the son of a whore, combined with the warning of the consequences of immoral women influencing the government. This was sometimes accompanied by a generally negative attitude towards the exercise of power by women.

The humanist Leonardo Bruni wrote in 1407, when he was papal secretary in Rome, a “speech to the whores of Rome”, which he put into Elagabal's mouth. He was inspired by a story from Historia Augusta , according to which Elagabal called a prostitute meeting. In the speech, the emperor calls for unrestrained promiscuity and promises the prostitute government rewards. With the ironically conceived text, Bruni also wanted to shed light on the Roman sexual morality of his own time.

In the early modern era, the topos of surrender to every imaginable vice was common. Edward Gibbon believed that the shamefulness of Elagabal's vices and madness exceeded anything that had ever happened in any other era or country.

The Venice-based composer Francesco Cavalli created the opera Eliogabalo in 1667 based on a libretto by an unknown author, which was revised by Aurelio Aureli . The theme is the last days of the emperor's life. The monster Elagabal is the opponent of his noble successor Alessandro.


Classical Studies

In the modern era, one aspect first came to the fore that had already resonated with Edward Gibbon in the 18th century and dominated in the 19th and early 20th centuries: the idea of ​​a specifically oriental despotism by Elagabal, which Alfred von Domaszewski represented in particular . At that time there was often talk of a cultural victory of oriental barbarism over traditional Roman dignity and virtue. The ancient scholars largely adhered to the descriptions and evaluations of Cassius Dio and Herodian, while outside the specialist circles the drastic narratives of the Historia Augusta were received uncritically and made an impression. In 1955, Maximilian Lambertz , the author of the Elagabal article in the ancient scholarly encyclopedia Pauly-Wissowa , judged that Elagabal was always a man-faced boy, never a man , only the tool of the strong-willed grandmother .

As with other emperors judged very negatively in the sources, the more recent research is increasingly trying to present a representation free of conventional clichés. This intention is linked to a sometimes strong mistrust of the obviously partisan, literary patterns following ancient historiography (for example in Leonardo de Arrizabalaga y Prado, Martijn Icks and Michael Sommer). Such source criticism , which some researchers consider to be exaggerated, leads to the fact that many statements of the narrative sources are rejected as doubtful or untrustworthy and the factual base shrinks considerably. As a result, the archaeological sources (coins, inscriptions and a figure capital ) come to the fore. They are valuable, but they can only offer a very limited picture.

Simeon Solomon, Heliogabalus, High Priest of the Sun (1866)

Even today it is undisputed that Elagabal had no political talent, acted ruthlessly and brought about the catastrophic end himself. What is valued differently in recent and recent research than in the past are mainly those aspects of his behavior that have most offended contemporaries and posterity: religious and sexual practices and the connection between the two. Much of the traditional scandal stories are of a sexual nature. More recent research has shown that in Elagabal's religion (as in other oriental cults) the sacred and the sexual realms were inseparably connected with each other, even completely mixed. From today's perspective, the emperor's sexual behavior can only be understood against the background of his religious roots and motives. Phenomena, which outside of specialist circles are often only attributed to a Caesarean madness of Elagabal, are familiar to modern religious studies.

Fiction, music and visual arts

The figure of Elagabal has inspired numerous writers, painters and musicians since the second half of the 19th century. This material was particularly fascinating in circles where the consciousness of decadence shaped the basic mood. In the painting Heliogabalus, High Priest of the Sun (1866), the painter Simeon Solomon depicted the emperor as an androgynous youth in oriental clothing. The famous oil painting The Roses of Heliogabalus , created in 1888, was made by the British painter Lawrence Alma-Tadema . It illustrates the story of the Historia Augusta that at a banquet by Elagabal, some of the guests were suffocated under the vast number of fragrant petals that the emperor let fall from the ceiling on them. Stefan George created the volume of poems Algabal in 1892 , carefully studying the historical sources on Elagabal, but ultimately implementing them very freely. His concern was to make the sacred connection between priestly and sovereign dignity perceptible in its dream character and its connection with artistry in the sense of aestheticism . Algabal is an isolated, elitist-minded esthete who acts self-centered and rejects the world of politics. The Dutch writer Louis Couperus wrote the historical novel De berg van licht in three volumes, which caused a scandal when it was published in 1905/06. It depicts the rise and fall of the emperor. Elagabal is initially portrayed as an attractive, artistically gifted, over-civilized youth; after taking power, his character becomes increasingly dark.

Lawrence Alma-Tadema, The Roses of Heliogabalus (1888)

The American satirist Henry Louis Mencken wrote a three-act Heliogabalus (1920) together with George Jean Nathan , in which he freely redesigned the historical material. In 1934, the French playwright Antonin Artaud wrote the essay Héliogabale ou L'anarchiste couronné (German: Heliogabal or The Anarchist on the Throne , Munich 1980), enriched with novel-like elements . In it he deals in particular with the androgyny issue. In 1960 Alfred Duggan published the novel Family Favorites . He describes the reign of Elagabal from the perspective of a Praetorian, who in his memoir conveys an overall favorable image of the emperor.

The most famous modern musical interpretation of the Elagabal material is Hans Werner Henze's 1972 orchestral work (Allegoria per musica) Heliogabalus Imperator . In 1981 Sylvano Bussotti created the ballets Phaidra / Heliogabalus . In 2007 John Zorn produced the album Six Litanies for Heliogabalus . In 2009 the progressive rock band The Void's Last Stand dealt with Elagabal on their debut album A Sun by Rising Set .



Religious politics

  • Leonardo de Arrizabalaga y Prado, Raúl de la Fuente Marcos: Varian Studies. Volume 2: Elagabal. Cambridge Scholars Publishing, Newcastle upon Tyne 2017, ISBN 978-1-4438-7965-1 .
  • Martin Frey: Studies on religion and the religious policy of the emperor Elagabal. Franz Steiner, Stuttgart 1989, ISBN 3-515-05370-0 .
  • Theo Optendrenk: The religious policy of the emperor Elagabal in the mirror of the Historia Augusta. Habelt, Bonn 1969.
  • Michael Pietrzykowski: The religious policy of the emperor Elagabal. In: Wolfgang Haase (Hrsg.): Rise and decline of the Roman world . Volume II 16.3, de Gruyter, Berlin 1986, ISBN 3-11-008289-6 , pp. 1806-1825.


  • Martijn Icks: Heliogabalus, a Monster on the Roman Throne: The Literary Construction of a 'Bad' Emperor. In: Ineke Sluiter, Ralph M. Rosen (Ed.): Kakos. Badness and Anti-Value in Classical Antiquity. Brill, Leiden 2008, ISBN 978-90-04-16624-0 , pp. 477-488.
  • Heinz-Peter Preußer: Elagabal. In: Peter von Möllendorff , Annette Simonis, Linda Simonis (ed.): Historical figures of antiquity. Reception in literature, art and music (= Der Neue Pauly . Supplements. Volume 8). Metzler, Stuttgart / Weimar 2013, ISBN 978-3-476-02468-8 , Sp. 391-404.
  • Samuel Christian Zinsli: Commentary on the Vita Heliogabali of the Historia Augusta. Habelt, Bonn 2014, ISBN 978-3-7749-3856-4 .

Web links

Commons : Elagabal  - album with pictures, videos and audio files


  1. The form of the name Aurellius instead of Aurelius is partly documented in the late Severan period, see Werner Eck : A new military diploma for the Misenische fleet and Severus Alexander's legal status in 221/222. In: Zeitschrift für Papyrologie und Epigraphik 108, 1995, pp. 15–34, here: p. 18 note 7.
  2. Helmut Halfmann : Two Syrian relatives of the Severan imperial family . In: Chiron 12, 1982, pp. 217-235, here: 226f.
  3. ^ For the career, see Helmut Halfmann: Two Syrian relatives of the Severan imperial family . In: Chiron 12, 1982, pp. 217-235, here: 226-234. For the year of death see Justinus Klass : Sextus Varius Marcellus . In: Paulys Realencyclopädie der classischen Altertumswwissenschaft Vol. VIII A 1, Stuttgart 1955, Sp. 407-410, here: 409f.
  4. ^ Anthony R. Birley : Septimius Severus. The African Emperor , London 1999, p. 72; Ray Thompson: Elagabalus: Priest-Emperor of Rome , Lawrence (Kansas) 1972, pp. 65f .; Barbara Levick: Julia Domna, Syrian Empress , London 2007, pp. 14-19.
  5. ^ Martijn Icks: The crimes of Elagabalus , London 2011, pp. 50, 54f .; Barbara Levick: Julia Domna, Syrian Empress , London 2007, p. 17f.
  6. For this sex and its descendants see Richard D. Sullivan: The Dynasty of Emesa . In: Rise and Fall of the Roman World , Volume II 8, Berlin 1977, pp. 198–219; Richard D. Sullivan: Priesthoods of the Eastern Dynastic Aristocracy . In: Sencer Şahin et al. (Ed.): Studies on Religion and Culture of Asia Minor , Volume 2, Leiden 1978, pp. 914–939, here: 928–930; Martijn Icks: Images of Elagabalus , Nijmegen 2008, pp. 26–32.
  7. Herodian 5,3,3.
  8. ^ Karl Gross: Elagabal . In: Reallexikon für Antike und Christianentum , Vol. 4, Stuttgart 1959, Sp. 987–1000, here: 987; Theo Optendrenk: Emperor Elagabal's religious policy in the mirror of Historia Augusta , Bonn 1969, p. 5.
  9. For the preparation and implementation of the uprising, see David S. Potter: The Roman Empire at Bay, AD 180–395 , London 2004, pp. 150f.
  10. On personnel policy, see David S. Potter: The Roman Empire at Bay, AD 180–395 , London 2004, pp. 152f.
  11. On Comazon see Martijn Icks: The crimes of Elagabalus , London 2011, pp. 13, 15f., 20, 22f., 40, 95f.
  12. On the emperor's marriages and their chronology, see Martin Frey: Investigations on Religion and Religious Politics of the Emperor Elagabal , Stuttgart 1989, pp. 87–93, 97f.
  13. See Julia Sünskes Thompson: Aufstands und Protestaktion im Imperium Romanum , Bonn 1990, pp. 122–125; Martijn Icks: The crimes of Elagabalus , London 2011, p. 24f.
  14. Markus Handy: Die Severer und das Heer , Berlin 2009, p. 112f .; Julia Sünskes Thompson: Uprisings and protest actions in the Imperium Romanum , Bonn 1990, pp. 38f., 74–78.
  15. On the temple and the excavations there, see Henri Broise, Yvon Thébert: Élagabal et le complexe religieux de la Vigna Barberini . In: Mélanges de l'École française de Rome. Antiquité 111, 1999, pp. 729-747; Martijn Icks: The crimes of Elagabalus , London 2011, pp. 27–28 (reconstruction: plates 11 and 12). See Filippo Coarelli : Heliogabalus, templum; Heliogabalium . In: Eva Margareta Steinby : Lexicon Topographicum Urbis Romae . Volume 3. Quasar, Rome 1996, pp. 10-11.
  16. Herodian 5, 6, 6. For the localization of the suburban temple see Christer Bruun: Kaiser Elagabal and a new testimony to the cult of the sun god Elagabalus in Italy . In: Tyche 12, 1997, pp. 1–5, here: p. 2 and note 9.
  17. ^ Michael Pietrzykowski: The religious policy of the emperor Elagabal. In: Rise and Fall of the Roman World , Volume II 16.3, Berlin 1986, pp. 1806–1825, here: 1816, 1821f. Regarding the high priesthood, see Ruth Stepper: Augustus et sacerdos , Stuttgart 2003, pp. 81f., 179–181.
  18. Ursula Kampmann: The coins of the Roman Empire , Regenstauf 2004, p. 239, no. 56.51.
  19. Ruth Stepper: Augustus et sacerdos , Stuttgart 2003, pp. 181-183.
  20. Martin Frey: Studies on Religion and the Religious Policy of Emperor Elagabal , Stuttgart 1989, p. 14.
  21. For clothing see Michael Pietrzykowski: Die Religionspolitik des Kaiser Elagabal. In: Rise and Fall of the Roman World , Volume II 16.3, Berlin 1986, pp. 1806–1825, here: 1815f. Cf. Martin Zimmermann : Kaiser and Event , Munich 1999, pp. 224–228. Elke Krengel: Varius' Vestments (conference contribution from 2005 with reconstruction of clothing, online ) sees Elagabal's priestly clothing as a combination of Parthian undergarments and an Arab hip coat. Lucinda Dirven: The Emperor's New Clothes: A Note on Elagabalus' Priestly Dress . In: Sophia G. Vashalomidze, Lutz Greisiger (Hrsg.): Der Christliche Orient und seine Umwelt , Wiesbaden 2007, pp. 21–36, indicates that Elagabal's clothing looks different from the usual Syrian priestly clothing in pictorial representations.
  22. See Martijn Icks: The crimes of Elagabalus , London 2011, p. 37f.
  23. Historia Augusta, Vita Heliogabali , 20.1
  24. For the course of events see Martin Frey: Investigations on Religion and Religious Policy of Emperor Elagabal , Stuttgart 1989, pp. 95–100; Martijn Icks: The crimes of Elagabalus , London 2011, pp. 38–43. For the literary arrangement of the reports on the death of the emperor, see Tobias Arand: The shameful end. The death of the bad emperor and its literary design in Roman historiography , Frankfurt a. M. 2002, pp. 230-232.
  25. See Martin Frey: Studies on Religion and Religious Policy of the Emperor Elagabal , Stuttgart 1989, pp. 81–85; Martijn Icks: The crimes of Elagabalus , London 2011, pp. 63-78; Leonardo de Arrizabalaga y Prado: The Emperor Elagabalus: Fact or Fiction? , Cambridge 2010, pp. 59–105, 131–145 (with numerous illustrations).
  26. Elke Krengel: The so-called "horn" of the Elagabal - the tip of a bull penis. A reinterpretation as the result of interdisciplinary research . In: Yearbook for Numismatics and Monetary History 47, 1997, pp. 53–72 ( online ).
  27. ^ Martijn Icks: The crimes of Elagabalus , London 2011, p. 75 (approving); Lucinda Dirven: The Emperor's New Clothes: A Note on Elagabalus' Priestly Dress . In: Sophia G. Vashalomidze, Lutz Greisiger (ed.): Der Christliche Orient und seine Umwelt , Wiesbaden 2007, pp. 21–36, here: 24f. (rejecting); Wolfram Weiser: "Elagabal with bull penis hat" - Animal phallocation or soft tissue Wolpertinger? In: Geldgeschichtliche Nachrichten 196, 2000, pp. 53–56 (sharply negative). Cf. Leonardo de Arrizabalaga y Prado: The Emperor Elagabalus: Fact or Fiction? , Cambridge 2010, p. 71.
  28. For the implementation of the damnatio memoriae Elagabals see Eric R. Varner: Mutilation and Transformation. Damnatio Memoriae and Roman Imperial Portraiture , Leiden 2004, pp. 189–194.
  29. On the allegation of human sacrifice see Theo Optendrenk: The religious policy of the emperor Elagabal in the mirror of the Historia Augusta. Bonn 1969, pp. 65-70; Martin Frey: Studies on religion and the religious policy of the emperor Elagabal. Stuttgart 1989, pp. 34-42.
  30. For the literary construction of the image of the monster Elagabal see Martijn Icks: Heliogabalus, a Monster on the Roman Throne: The Literary Construction of a 'Bad' Emperor. In: Ineke Sluiter, Ralph M. Rosen (Ed.): Kakos. Badness and Anti-Value in Classical Antiquity , Leiden 2008, pp. 477-488; Michael Sommer: Elagabal - ways to construct a 'bad' emperor . In: Scripta Classica Israelica 23, 2004, pp. 95-110.
  31. ^ Martijn Icks: The crimes of Elagabalus , London 2011, p. 115.
  32. ^ Anton FW Sommer (ed.): Leonardo Bruni Aretinus: Oratio Heliogabali ad meretrices Romanas , Vienna 1990 (critical edition).
  33. On Gibbon's Elagabal picture, see Martijn Icks: The crimes of Elagabalus , London 2011, p. 127f.
  34. Theo Optendrenk: The religious policy of the Emperor Elagabalus as reflected in the Augustan History , Bonn 1969, p 5f, 108f.. (with references).
  35. ^ Maximilian Lambertz: Varius Avitus (Elagabal) . In: Paulys Realencyclopädie der classischen Altertumswwissenschaft (RE), Volume VIII A 1, Stuttgart 1955, Sp. 391–404, here: 403f.
  36. ^ Michael Pietrzykowski: The religious policy of the emperor Elagabal. In: Rise and Fall of the Roman World , Volume II 16.3, Berlin 1986, pp. 1806–1825, here: 1810.
  37. A detailed description of this Elagabal reception is provided by Martijn Icks: The crimes of Elagabalus , London 2011, pp. 155–179.
  38. On Georges' reception of Elagabal, see Volker Riedel : Literarian Antique Reception Between Criticism and Idealization , Jena 2009, pp. 257–276.
predecessor Office successor
Macrinus Roman emperor
Severus Alexander
This article was added to the list of excellent articles on May 7, 2006 in this version .