The public image of the Severan women

Clare Rowan*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)
103 Downloads (Pure)


Coinage remains one of the best resources from which to gain an insight into the public image of empresses in the Roman Empire. This article employs a quantitative approach to the coinage of the Severan women, utilizing coin hoards to gain an idea of the frequency of particular coin types. The result offers a nuanced and contextual assessment of the differing public images of the Severan empresses and their role within wider Severan ideology. Evidence is presented to suggest that in this period there was one workshop at the mint dedicated to striking coins for the empresses. The Severan women played a key connective role in the dynasty, a position communicated publicly through their respective numismatic images. By examining the dynasty as a whole, subtle changes in image from empress to empress and from reign to reign can be identified. During the reign of Elagabalus, the divergence in imagery between Julia Soaemias and Julia Maesa is so great that we can perhaps see the influence of these women on their own numismatic image.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)241-273
Number of pages33
JournalPapers of the British School at Rome
Publication statusPublished - 2011


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