11 March 222

Roman emperor Elagabalus is murdered alongside his mother, Julia Soaemias. He is replaced by his 14-year old cousin, Severus Alexander

Elagabalus, whose full name was Marcus Aurelius Antoninus Augustus, was a Roman emperor who reigned from 218 to 222 AD. He was born in 204 AD in Emesa, which is modern-day Homs, Syria. Elagabalus is primarily remembered for his controversial reign marked by scandalous behavior, religious innovations, and political instability.

Elagabalus came to power at a young age, around 14 or 15 years old, after the assassination of his cousin, Emperor Caracalla. His reign was heavily influenced by his mother, Julia Soaemias, and his grandmother, Julia Maesa, who were both powerful figures in the imperial court. They promoted the worship of the Syrian sun god, Elagabal (from which the emperor derived his name), and attempted to elevate the deity’s cult to prominence in Rome.

One of the most scandalous aspects of Elagabalus’s reign was his personal behavior. He was known for his extravagance, debauchery, and eccentricities. Elagabalus married and divorced multiple times, often engaging in marriages that were socially and politically inappropriate, such as marrying Vestal Virgins and even allegedly marrying a male athlete named Hierocles. These actions scandalized Roman society and alienated many members of the Senate and the populace.

In addition to his personal behavior, Elagabalus’s religious policies also caused controversy. He attempted to impose the worship of Elagabal as the primary deity in Rome, replacing traditional Roman gods and goddesses. This move was met with resistance from traditionalists and contributed to further unrest during his reign.

Elagabalus’s reign was characterized by political instability and opposition from various factions within the Roman Empire. His disregard for traditional Roman values and his favoritism towards his Syrian entourage further alienated him from the Roman elite. In 222 AD, at the age of just 18 or 19, Elagabalus was assassinated by members of the Praetorian Guard, who then proclaimed his cousin Alexander Severus as the new emperor.