IMP ANTONINVS PIVS AVG, laureate draped bust right / P M TR P III COS III P P, Sol, radiate, advancing left raising right hand and holding whip, star to left. 18mm, 2.85 grams. Rome mint. RIC 28; BMC 179; RSC 154.
Elagabalus (c. 203 11 March 222), also known as Heliogabalus, was Roman Emperor from 218 to 222. A member of the Severan Dynasty, he was Syrian, the second son of Julia Soaemias and Sextus Varius Marcellus. In his early youth he served as a priest of the god Elagabal (in Latin, Elagabalus) in the hometown of his mother's family, Emesa. Later historians suggest Elagabalus showed a disregard for Roman religious traditions and sexual taboos. He replaced the traditional head of the Roman pantheon, Jupiter, with the deity of whom he was high priest, Elagabal. He forced leading members of Rome's government to participate in religious rites celebrating this deity, over which he personally presided. Elagabalus was married as many as five times to women and one or twice to men, lavished favors on male courtiers popularly thought to have been his lovers, employed a prototype of whoopee cushions at dinner parties, and was reported to have prostituted himself in the imperial palace. His behavior estranged the Praetorian Guard, the Senate, and the common people alike. Amidst growing opposition, Elagabalus, just 18 years old, was assassinated and replaced by his cousin Alexander Severus on 11 March 222, in a plot formulated by his grandmother, Julia Maesa, and carried out by disaffected members of the Praetorian Guard.