while the second serves as a study of the reception of the image of Elagabalus
that was constructed in antiquity.
11) This atypical disregard for roles occurs again with the emperor Elagabalus
, who also had 'marriages' where he had been both 'husband' and 'wife'.
At one feast, Elagabalus
had several of his guests lashed to a water-wheel, which turned slowly and drowned them as their horrified fellow diners looked on.
For Brent, Callistus' claims are similar "to those of the emperor Elagabalus
, as Pontifex Maximus, of a syncretism that found its final expression in the Baal of Emesa as Sol Invictus.
In this connection, there probably is not a single Roman Emperor left with a bad press in antiquity, whose rehabilitation has not been undertaken by modern scholars, but surely Elagabalus
is an eccentric choice for sentimental treatment.
The tawdry career of Emperor Elagabalus
(218 to 222) demonstrates that publicly known vices and perversions might not be punishable in themselves but could lead to an emperor's brutal assassination if they interfered with sound government.
It is even said that the Roman emperor Elagabalus
imported snow from the mountains on donkey trains and kept a mountain of it in his garden.
15) During the reign of Elagabalus
, colonial status was extended to Sidon (c.
, another exceptionally depraved ruler in the tradition of Nero and Commodus, replaced Jupiter with the Unconquerable Sun, Deus Sol Invictus, as the head of the Roman pantheon, while Aurelian instituted an imperial cult dedicated to the same god.
But history noted some same-sex unions by Elagabalus
and other emperors.
For each tolerable ruler--a Diocletian, Pertinax, Constantine, or Julian--there were a dozen monsters, such as Caracalla, Elagabalus
, Maximin, Valens, and others far too numerous to merit mention.
The desire to be penetrated is often associated with playing a woman's role: the emperors Nero and Elagabalus
are both reported to have pretended they were female in the company of their masculine favorites.