Tiberius Julius Balbillus r. 193–211) and Caracalla (r. 211–217).also known as Julius Balbillus and Aurelius Julius Balbillus (flourished second half of the 2nd century and the first half of the 3rd century) was an Emesene aristocrat from the Emesene dynasty in Roman Syria who served as a priest of the cult of Elagabalus (Latinized Aramaic name for the Syrian Sun God ) in Rome during the reigns of the Severan emperors Septimius Severus (
Little is known on the origins of Balbillus; he was a direct descendant of the king Antiochus I Theos of Commageneand a relation of the Roman empress Julia Domna and her family. According to surviving inscriptions in Rome, Balbillus was a relation to Titus Julius Balbillus, another priest from the cult of Elagabalus in Rome.
Balbillus is known from inscriptions as priest of Elagabalus in Rome during the reigns of Septimius Severus and Caracalla,which are dated before 218. The temple based in Rome devoted to ancient Syrian deities, including Elagabalus was located in Trastevere. A priest in the cult of Elagabalus was called a sacerdos Solis, while Elagabalus’s cult was called the Sol Invictus Elagabal.
The priesthood of Balbillus, began at an unknown date before the end of the second century.From inscriptions at the temple reveals, that Balbillus enjoyed imperial favour and established good cordial relations with the Vestal Virgins. Prior to the reign of Elagabalus, Balbillus represented the cult of Elagabalus in Rome. He probably catered the ritual needs connected with the cult of Elagabalus for Septimius Severus and Caracalla, which may have arisen among the Emesene members of the Severan household.
From a surviving inscription in Rome dated April 4, 215, Balbillus dedicated an inscription in gratitude to the Vestal Virgin Terentia Flavola for the many services she had rendered him.Despite the fact that Balbillus was a Roman citizen from the Constitutio Antoniniana in 212 Balbillus assumed the Roman nomen Aurelius as after 215, Balbillus was also known as Aurelius Julius Balbillius. After this moment, no more is known on Balbillus.
Elagabalus or Heliogabalus, officially known as Antoninus, was Roman emperor from 218 to 222. His short reign was conspicuous for sex scandals and religious controversy. A close relative to the Severan dynasty, he came from a prominent Arab family in Emesa (Homs), Syria, where in his early youth he served as head priest of the sun god Elagabal. After the death of his cousin the emperor Caracalla, Elagabalus was raised to the principate at 14 years of age in an army revolt instigated by his grandmother, Julia Maesa, against Caracalla's short-lived successor, Macrinus. As a private citizen, he was probably named Varius Avitus Bassianus. Upon becoming emperor he took the name Marcus Aurelius Antoninus, and only posthumously became known by the Latinised name of his god.
Lucius Septimius Severus was a Roman emperor from 193 to 211. He was born in Leptis Magna in the Roman province of Africa. As a young man he advanced through the customary succession of offices under the reigns of Marcus Aurelius and Commodus. Severus seized power after the death of Emperor Pertinax in 193 during the Year of the Five Emperors.
The Severan dynasty was a Roman imperial dynasty, which ruled the Roman Empire between 193 and 235, during the Roman imperial period. The dynasty was founded by the emperor Septimius Severus, who rose to power after the Year of the Five Emperors as the victor of the civil war of 193–197, and his wife Julia Domna. After the short reigns and assassinations of their two sons, Caracalla and Geta who succeeded their father in the government of the empire, Julia Domna's relatives themselves assumed power, raising first Elagabalus and then Severus Alexander to the imperial office.
Sextus Varius Marcellus was a Roman aristocrat and politician from the province of Syria.
Elagabalus, Aelagabalus, Heliogabalus, or simply Elagabal was an Arab-Roman sun god, initially venerated in Emesa, Syria. Although there were many variations of the name, the god was consistently referred to as Elagabalus in Roman coins and inscriptions from AD 218 on, during the reign of emperor Elagabalus.
Julia Domna was Roman empress consort from 193 to 211. She was born in Emesa in Roman Syria to an Arab family of priests of the deity Elagabalus. In 187, she married Libyan-born Septimius Severus, who at the time was governor of the Roman province of Gallia Lugdunensis. They had two sons, Caracalla and Geta. A civil war over the Roman throne broke out in 193, and shortly afterwards Severus declared himself emperor. The war ended in 197 with the defeat of the last of Severus's opponents.
Julia Maesa was a member of the Severan dynasty of the Roman Empire who was the major power behind the throne in the reigns of her grandsons, Elagabalus and Severus Alexander, as Augusta of the Empire from 218 to her death. Born in Emesa, Syria, to an Arab family of priests of the deity Elagabalus, she was the daughter of Julius Bassianus and the elder sister of Roman empress Julia Domna.
Julia Soaemias Bassiana was a Syrian noblewoman and the mother of Roman emperor Elagabalus, who ruled over the Roman Empire from 218 to 222. She was one of his chief advisors, initially with the support and accompaniment of her mother Julia Maesa. She and her mother guided the young emperor until growing unrest and a family division led to her son's replacement by her nephew Severus Alexander. Julia Soaemias was killed along with her son by the Praetorian Guard.
Julia Avita Mamaea was a Syrian noble woman and a Roman empress of the Severan dynasty. She was the mother of Roman emperor Alexander Severus and remained one of his chief advisors throughout his reign. This was similar to her aunt Julia Domna. She was killed in 235 by rebel soldiers along with her son.
Sol Invictus was the official sun god of the later Roman Empire and a patron of soldiers. On 25 December AD(source needed) 274, the Roman emperor Aurelian made it an official religion alongside the traditional Roman cults. Scholars disagree about whether the new deity was a refoundation of the ancient Latin cult of Sol, a revival of the cult of Elagabalus, or completely new. The god was favored by emperors after Aurelian and appeared on their coins until the last third-part of the reign of Constantine I. The last inscription referring to Sol Invictus dates to AD 387, and there were enough devotees in the fifth century that the Christian theologian Augustine found it necessary to preach against them.
The Emesenedynasty, also called the Sampsigeramids or the Sampsigerami, were a Roman client dynasty of Arab priest-kings known to have ruled by 46 BC from Arethusa and later from Emesa, Syria, likely until between 72 and 78/79, or at most by the reign of Emperor Antoninus Pius (138–161). Iamblichus, the famous Neoplatonist philosopher of the third century, was one of their descendants, as was empress Julia Domna, matriarch of the Severan dynasty.
Gaius Julius Bassianus or Bassus, also known as Julius Bassianus was an Arab high priest of Elagabalus at the Temple of the Sun in Emesa, Syria, where this solar deity was worshipped in a shape of a black stone. The name Elagabalus derives from Ilāh and gabal, resulting in "the God of the Mountain," the Emesene manifestation of the deity. Bassianus was a member of the Royal family of Emesa, which was a part of the Arab aristocracy in this client kingdom of the Roman Empire. The beginning of his priesthood is unknown, but by 187 he was a high priest at Emesa. Bassianus was a son of a Julius and his paternal uncle was Julius Agrippa, who served as a Primipilaris.
Julius Avitus also known by his full name Gaius Julius Avitus Alexianus was a Syrian nobleman who had an impressive Roman military and political career.
Marcus Julius Gessius Marcianus also known as Gessius Marcianus was a Syrian Roman aristocrat.
Gaius Julius Sohaemus Philocaesar Philorhomaeus, also known as Sohaemus of Emesa and Sohaemus of Sophene was a prince and a Roman Client Priest King from Syria who lived in the 1st century. He ruled the Emesan kingdom from 54 until 73.
Julia Mamaea also known as Mamaea, was a princess from the Syrian Roman Client Emesene Kingdom, queen of Pontus by marriage to King Polemon II of Pontus.
Julius Alexander also known as Julius Alexander of Emesa was prince from the Royal family of Emesa who lived in the 2nd century.
Titus Julius Balbillus was an Emesene aristocrat from the Emesene dynasty in Roman Syria who served as a priest of the cult of Elagabalus in Rome during the reigns of the Severan emperors Septimius Severus and Caracalla.
Marcus Julius Gessius Bassianus was a Magister (master) in the Arval Brethren during the reign of Roman emperor Caracalla who ruled from 212 until 217.
Theoclia was a Syrian Roman noblewoman.