Julia Domna's coins are among the better known coins of Ancient Rome but her biographers are not, as they are not numerous or as well known. For the empress we have the Fourth century Historia Augusta, which mentions her, but the author(s) who put together that compilation of stories is not considered reliable by later historians. We do have, however, two historians, both writing in Greek, Herodian and Cassius Dio, who actually lived during her lifetime and both are today considered to be fairly accurate recorders (if possibly melodramatic) of what they saw. Herodian was at one time dismissed as too anecdotal but recent finds and discoveries bolster his reported observations. Cassius Dio also has a reputation of trying to get the story right and he often does. it is probably this historian that most moderns writers cite when writing about our empress, Julia Domna. Julia was born between 160 and 170 AD in the Roman East, possibly Syria. Her family included religious leaders and Roman officials and was both wealthy and influential in that part of the world. She attracted the attention of the Emperor, Septimius Severus who actually traveled to Syria to see about a possible marriage which took place shortly thereafter and this would provide the emperor with a consort much like the later Justinian-Theodora match most are familiar with. She was no mere adornment but like Theodora, or the earlier Livia for Augustus, a definite asset to the rule of Septimius. According to Dio Cassius she was entrusted with real power and used it judiciously and wisely. So valued was her counsel that Septimius took her with him on his campaigns and travels for which she acquired the not commonly awarded title, "Mater Castrorum", Mother of the Camp. But Julia Domna was not just the wife of Septimius but also the mother of his successor, actually both of them, her sons Geta and Caracalla, and this brought her great sadness and heartbreak as she watched her two sons fight over the throne they refused to share. Julia did everything she could to reconcile the two and get them to share power. It was her attempt to reconcile them that brought about the death of the younger Geta, as when the two showed up at a conference brokered by Julia to arrange some kind of power sharing, Caracalla attacked Geta and, according to Dio Cassius had him stabbed to death in his mother's arms, splattering her with Geta's blood. It's pretty difficult to imagine a more traumatic experience than this. For whatever reason she accepted what she could not change and now took upon herself the role of almost a modern prime minister for her son and again assumed great administrative powers which she again handled adroitly. Unfortunately, she lost her second son when Caracalla was murdered by his own troops ( a hardly uncommon happening) and succeeded by an army commander, Macrinus, with whom she had no relationship or attachment. Here the record is somewhat murky. According to some, Macrinus was willing to take on Julia in some capacity but also that Julia was trying to undermine Macrinus herself. Macrinus supposedly found out, ordered her out of Syria and when she realized she had no future anywhere she is alleged to have starved herself, to death. Cassius Dio completed his book on Julia by saying, and I am paraphrasing here, something like, anyone envisioning her life could see that exercising vast powers would not see Fortuna being kind. I think such an assessment sadly true in her case. Now for the coins. Coins of Septimius and Julia are fairly common and often in very nice condition. From the left on top, a chunky sestertius of Septimius Severus weighing 23 grams with Felicitas on the reverse. RIC 692a. a denarius of Julia Domna weighing 3.3 grams with Pudicitia on the reverse, Sear 1848. Next another chunky. greenish hard patina sestertius of Julia herself with Cyble on the well worn reverse. It weighs in at 21.6 grams and is Sear 6628. On the second row a denarius of the unlucky Geta weighing 3.4 grams with Pontifex and consul on the reverse. it is sear1913. Next to it a denarius of Caracalla with a promotional image of his liberality (for the 9th time) on the reverse. it weighs 2.8 grams and is Sear 6814, Then two of the earliest coins of the double denarius denomination. First is of Julia with a seated Venus on the reverse and weighing 4.8 grams. it is Sear 7098. The next double denarius is of Caracalla with a slew of titles on the reverse and weighing in a 5.1 grams, Sear 6772. Following that is a silver tetradrachma of a grimacing Caracalla , one of many thousands issued to pay for his ongoing Parthian War, from the mint of Sidon (cart of Astarte). it is from Sear's Greek Imperial as number 2679. And last is a 13 gram multiple assarion from Nicopolis with Macrinus on it and what I think is "homonoia", harmony or concord on the reverse. By the way I am not that good on Roman provincials. I think the obverse is Sears Greek imperial 2913 but if any reader can provide more information on this coin I would appreciate it. I hope you like the write up and share some of your coins of these people. coins. Any that you have on these characters, please comment and share. Thanks.