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Elagabalus married Vestal Virgin

This post is also available in: Polish (polski)


Emperor Elagabalus (reigned in 218-222 CE) was famous for scandalous behavior. One of his worst offenses for the public was being in the relation with priestess of the Roman goddess of a home bonfire, Vesta, whose task was to uphold the eternal fire in the temple. During her 30-year-long service, Vestal Virgin had to keep her virginity, otherwise she would be condemned to death. Heliogabal, regardless of the prestigious function of the Vestals, married one of the priestesses – Aquila Severa.

Elagabalus boasted that he married her in order to give a birth of divine children. Worst of all, then he divorced her and after that he married her again. In this way, Elagabalus shed the spell of bitterness and died from swords of Praetorians. Cassius Dio mentioned in his work, that when the emperor reported the impending coup, locked himself in the chest and ordered his slaves to take it out of the palace. The trunk, however, was revised. Elagabalus and his mother were cut off their heads, and their bodies were pulled down, wandered around the city, and finally thrown into the river.

  • Cassius Dio, Roman History, LXXX.9

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