Julia MamaeaJulia Mamaea
Mother of Alexander Severus
180 – 235 A.D.

Julia Mamaea, afterwards famous as Julia Domna, became the wife of Lucius Septimius Severus between 185 and 190 A.D. She had two sons, Alexander (known as Caracalla) and Geta. The former succeeded to the throne after the murder of Elagabalus.

Julia trained her son for the throne and did it well, for he proved to be a ruler of noble character and administrative ability. His reign of thirteen years was a calm in the storm, an oasis in the desert, a pure breeze in a fetid atmosphere, a pause in the downward rush of Roman degeneracy, and for most of this the word is indebted to his mother, Julia. Hers was the power behind the throne.

Under the counsel of his mother, Alexander encouraged a general reform in all departments of his government. To the shame of Rome be it related that one of the causes leading to his death was the enmity aroused by his attempt to eliminate corruption from civil military circles. He conciliated the professors of Christianity by adopting the golden rule and having it inscribed in letters of gold in many parts of his palace.

In his private chapel he had statues of the virtuous and great of all times and countries, to which he offered divine honors; Abraham and Jesus were among theses.

He was, of course, not a Christian, for he openly professed the religion of the state, which was pagan. It is uncertain whether Julia was a Christian, though she was much interested in the person and work of Origen, the famous Christian scholar.

Alexander and his mother were assassinated while on a campaign in Germany to drive back the invaders. The mother tried to save her son as the assassins entered the tent to slay him. She received the death blow, but it did not save him. As we have intimated, they were the martyrs of the reforms they instituted. The corrupt soldiery was unaccustomed to the leadership of a pure and wise sovereign.


Reference: Woman: Her Position, Influence and Achievement Throughout the Civilized World. Designed and Arranged by William C. King. Published in 1900 by The King-Richardson Co. Copyright 1903 The King-Richardson Co.