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Julia Maesa. Augusta, AD 218-224/5. AR Denarius, Rome mint. Struck under Elagabalus, AD 218-220. IVLIAMAESAAVG Draped bust right / FECVNDITASAVG Fecunditas standing left, extending hand over small child
and holding cornucopia.
Julia Maesa (7 May before 160 AD – c. 224 AD) 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 (modern day Homs), Maesa was the daughter of the high priest of Emesa's Temple of the Sun, and the elder sister of Roman empress Julia Domna.
Through her sister's marriage, Maesa became sister-in-law to Septimius Severus and aunt of Caracalla and Geta, who all became emperors. She herself married fellow Syrian Julius Avitus, who was of consular rank. She bore him two daughters, Julia Soaemias and Julia Mamaea, who became mothers of Elagabalus and Severus Alexander respectively.
The Severan dynasty was dominated by powerful women, one of which was Maesa. Politically able and ruthless, she contended for political power after her sister's suicide. She is best known for her plotting and scheming which resulted in the restoration of the Severan dynasty to the Roman throne after the assassination of Caracalla and the usurpation of the throne by Macrinus. Afterwards she held power until she died in Rome. She was later deified in Syria along with her sister. The Severan dynasty ended in 235.