Julia Domna: Mother Of The Camps


This article is meant to be a brief introduction to the life of Julia Domna. We will cover Julia Domna’s early life, accomplishments, personality, coinage, and death. Roman Empress Julia Domna was the wife of Septimius Severus and a member of the Severin dynasty.

Early Life

Julia Domna was born in 160 CE in Emesa (Homs), Syria. Julia Domna’s family came from a royal Lineage and was considered Royalty within Emesa up until the 1st century CE. The family name “Domna” is an archaic Arabic word that translates to the word black. Many of her family members were High priests of the sun god El-Gabal.

Because of her family’s connections, they had access to immense wealth. This wealth would later help them gain power in the Roman Senate. During her early life, she had a prophecy or prediction that said she would go on to marry a king. This prophecy would be fulfilled when Septimius Severus came to Emesa looking for a wife.


The Wife of Septimius Severus

Julia Domna married Septimius Severus and had a successful marriage. She regularly accompanied her husband, Septimius Severus, while he was on military campaigns. This was vastly different when compared to other Empresses of the Roman Empire. Julia would eventually give birth to two sons with her husband. Both of which would grow up to become the Roman emperors that we know as Geta and Caracalla.

Caracalla and Geta started co-ruling the empire after Septimius passed away. During this time, she acted as a mediator between the two of them until a tipping point was reached, and Caracalla had Geta assassinated. She would later accompany her Son Caracalla while he was out on campaigns, similar to how she would travel with Septimius.


Decision and Character

Roman Empress Julia Domna is known for her strong influence over politics and social matters. She was exceptionally well-read and surrounded herself with artists, philosophers, historians, and many others. She dealt with a lot of correspondence on behalf of the empire. All of this gave her a significant amount of political and social influence.

Throughout her life, she received many titles. One of her titles was “Mother of the Camps.” She received this title while out on a campaign with Septimius. She also influenced Roman fashion by wearing wigs, a standard Assyrian custom. Later in the empire, other Empresses would go on to copy her hairstyle and wig choices.


Julia Domna Coins

Ancient Roman coins bearing the portrait of Julia Domna offer a fascinating glimpse into the reign of this influential Roman Empress. These coins, such as the Roman silver Denarius and the gold Aureus, showcase Julia Domna’s regal presence and offer a tangible connection to the history of the Roman Empire. Whether in silver or gold, these coins are treasured artifacts that provide valuable insights into the legacy of this remarkable Empress.

Collectors and enthusiasts worldwide appreciate these coins’ beauty and historical significance, which serve as lasting reminders of Julia Domna’s prominent role in ancient Roman society. Many minted denarii were done so during the reigns of Geta and Caracalla. There is a debate about when Julia Domna’s title changed from “Mother of The Camps” to “Mother of The Fatherland.” The latter mostly appeared on coins minted after Septimius Severus’s death.

Julia Domna Aures
Gold Aureus with Julia Domnas port

Julia Domna’s Death

Her son Caracalla began a military campaign in Parthia. Julia Domna traveled with him until they reached Antioch. This is where the two parted ways, with Julia remaining in Antioch and her Son Caracalla continuing with the military campaign. During this time, a Roman soldier assassinated Caracalla. Upon hearing of Caracalla’s assassination, Roman Empress Julia Domna committed suicide in 217 CE.

With the loss of her influential presence, the political landscape shifted, and the power dynamics within the imperial family changed. Her death profoundly impacted the empire’s trajectory and the subsequent reigns of her sons, Caracalla and Geta, and marked a turning point in Roman history, which would shape the course of the empire for years to come.


Roman Denarius

Each coin has a unique history attached to it. Coin collectors love the Roman Denarius. Coin collectors worldwide adore it. We carry Roman Denarius from various periods in the Roman Republic/Empire. Click the link below to see if a Roman Empress Julia Domna denarius is currently in stock.

Wife of septimius severus
Roman Denarius from the reign of Septimius Severus. The Roman denarius displays the Wife of Septimius Severus – Julia Domna.

Published by Invest in History Co.

We specialize in high-quality gold and silver coins. Focusing on Middle East, Eastern European, and Ancient coins. We carry Roman, Greek, Parthian, Phoenician, Celtic, Byzantine, Russian, Jewish, Islamic, and many other culture's coins.

%d bloggers like this: