This emperor had numerous names. He was born Varius Avitus Bassianus, later took the name M. Aurelius Antoninus, and was known for all of his life as Elagabalus, the name of the sun-god, and the name he was given when he was made a priest in that cult. The Julia’s of the Roman Empire were powerful, fanatical women, in service to the sun-god Elagabalus.
Elagabalus’ mother was Julia Soaemias, daughter of Julia Maesa who was the sister of Julia Domna who had been the wife of Septimius Severus. Elagabalus was declared emperor at the age of 13 by the rebellious troops stationed in and around his hometown of Emesa. Interestingly the instigator of this rebellion was Elagabalus’ grandmother, Julia Maesa, who spread the (untrue) rumor that Elagabalus was the son of the soldiers’ much beloved Caracalla. The religious fervor that fueled the women in Elgabalus’ family was notorious in his reign, resulting in rebellion against him four years later, and his death and that of his mother.