"Each part of the world recapitulates, shares in and experiences the history of the world as a whole"
Fernand Braudel

Coin of Julia Domna

This is a Roman coin inscribed with the name of Julia Domna the Great. Julia Dumna was a Syrian woman from the city of Homs. In 187 AD, she was married to the leader of the fourth division of the Roman army which was camped in Syria at the time. His name was Septimius Severus and he was a North African man born in Libya. Julia Domna’s father was Julius Basiannus the head priest of the pagan deity (Elagabalus) in Homs.

In 188 AD, Julia Domna gave birth to her first son Caracalla. For several years she, her husband and child moved to various locations within the Roman Empire as part of her husband’s military role. In 193 AD, the soldiers of Rome were dissatisfied and in a state of revolt, they called on their leader Septimius Severus to be the Caesar of Rome. Thus, in 193 AD, the army overthrew the government and Septimius Severus entered Rome as the new emperor. His wife, Julia Domna, became empress of Rome and received the title of “The Great”.

After the death of Septimius Severus in 211 AD, and according to his will, his sons Caracalla and Geta were to rule the country. But Caracalla, being the elder son, wanted to have the final word, and after many internal conflicts, his brother Geta was killed. This incident left a deep wound in the heart of the empress mother Julia Domna and her relationship with Caracalla was forever torn. In spite of her pain as a bereft mother, she continued to be a source of wisdom and respect for the Empire’s leadership. She was responsible for the administrative affairs of the Empire and also showed deep interest in literature, philosophy and the arts.

The object presented here is a silver coin with a profile picture of Julia Domna, her name in Latin letters is inscribed around the face, while the other side of the coin shows an image of a seated goddess with an animal by her side.

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