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Julia Cornelia Paula

Roman empress
The basics
Date of birth Syria
The details

Julia Cornelia Paula or Julia Paula was a distinguished Roman noblewoman who became Empress of Rome as the first wife of the Roman emperor Elagabalus.


Julia Cornelia Paula was Empress of Rome from 219-220.Cornelia Paula was a member of the gens Cornelia through her maternal line. Her father, Julius Paulus, was a Roman Nobleman of Greek descent and a historically noted jurist active throughout the Severan Dynasty becoming a praetorian prefect in Rome. She was thus of both Patrician Roman and Greek descent and was therefore part of the established upper Roman aristocracy.

In early 219, Julia Maesa, eldest sister of Roman Empress Julia Domna, arranged for Cornelia Paula to marry her grandson, the new emperor Elagabalus. Their wedding was lavishly celebrated in Rome. Cornelia Paula became Elagabalus' first wife and was given the honorific title of Augusta and the family name "Julia".

In late 220, Elagabalus divorced Julia Cornelia Paula to marry the Vestal Virgin Aquilia Severa in a union that was considered scandalous because she was still a Vestal. Apart from falling in love with Severa, Elagabalus married Severa as a part of the religious process of worshiping the Syrian Sun God El-Gabal and integrating El-Gabal into Roman religion.

After the divorce, Elagabalus removed Paula's Augusta title. As they had no children, she withdrew from public life and her fate afterwards is unknown.

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