Rome, Elagabalus Tyre mint AE28 218 - 222 AD

Obv: Laureated Head Right Rev: The Ambrosial rocks on a base, with an olive tree between, dog finding murex shell in exergue

. Metal: Bronze 12.1 Grams, 28 mm diameter. Condition: VF

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History of Elagabalus 218 - 222 AD

Elagabaluls was born Avitus Bassiarnus in 204 AD at Emesa Syria. He was the hereditary high priest of the god Elagabal and adopted this name. After his troops defeated Macrius he lingered in the east, first at Antioch and later at Nicomedia. At Nicomedia he executed Gannys, the man who helped him become emperor, because he forced him to live "temperately and prudently". He left for Rome from Nicomedia in the spring of 219 AD bringing with him the famous black stone of the god Elagabalus from the temple at Emesa in Syria. When they arrived at Rome, the black stone was installed on the Palatine Hill where a new temple was built to hold it called the Elagaballium. Elagabalus was deeply devoted and as high priest at dawn everyday he sacrificed cattle and sheep at the altars of the temple as the senators and equestrians stood around. After the sacrifices the entrails of the beasts and spices were carried around in golden bowls not by lower-class people, but by military perfects and important officials wearing tunics in the Phoenician style down to their feet with long sleeves and a single purple stripe in the middle. This caused a stir in Rome, which was compounded by his initiative to make Elagabal the chief and only god of Rome even above Jupiter himself.

A second temple to the sun was built on the edge of the city. Each year at midsummer, the black stone of Elagabalus was brought here from the temple of Elagabalas in a grand procession. The stone itself was carried in a chariot drawn by six white horses, the emperor running backwards in front of the chariot, so as not to turn his back on the god. His aim was to establish a kind of monotheism, wherein the sun-god "Elagabalus" was the principal deity and other gods merely his slaves or attendants.

By the summer of 221, Elagabalus's close family and supporters, dismayed by his behaviour, attempted to rescue the regime by persuadeing Elagabalus to adopt his 13 year old cousin (Severus Alexander) as Caesar and heir, which was popular with the Practorian guard. Alexander backed by his mother Julia Mamaea and grandmother Julia Maesa became a rival to Elagabalus. Elagabalus made several attempts to have Alexander killed, but no one would carryout the order. On 11 March 222, while visiting the praetorian camp, Elagabalus became enraged at the open support of Alexander. He ordered the immediate arrest of the offenders, but the soldiers had enough and killed Elagabalus.