Second Wife of Elagabalus
Julia Aquilia Severa was one of the Vestal Virgins to whom Emperor Elagabalus became very attracted at the time. Such a relationship was not without its risks. The punishment for a Vestal Virgin who broke her vows was death by means of being buried alive for she was married to the gods and thus no human could touch her. Four such executions had taken place during the reign of Caracalla alone. Nonetheless, despite strong opposition from his grandmother Julia Maesa, Elagabalus divorced his wife Julia Paula and married Aquilia in 220 AD amid great outrage.
Elagabalus argued that he was the high priest and Aquilia the high priestess and thus perhaps the son of God might be born from such a union. The above unique medallion was issued showing this union between the two. Aquilia, according to some sources, claimed that she was forced to marry against her will. Others even claimed she was raped by Elagabalus. Most likely, Julia Maesa made sure that the marriage was revoked and Elagabalus then married Annia Faustina., who was related to the senatorial elite of Rome.
Nevertheless, Aquilia was perhaps the forbidden fruit. Elagabalus had divorced Faustina and returned to living with Aquilia, claiming that the original divorce was invalid. It is believed that Aquilia remained with Elagabalus until his assassination in 222 AD. She also did not have any children with Elagabalus.
Mints: Rome, Eastern Mints
IVLIA AQVILIA SEVERA AVG
1) Draped bust right
2) Draped bust right with Diadem
AR Denarius (3.3 grams)
AR Denarius Eastern Mints (2.67 grams)
Æ Billion Tetradrachm (12.47 grams)