Alcune testimonianze documentarie e letterarie sull’opposizione politico-militare a Elagabalo


  • Martina Bono

Parole chiave:

Civil war, Macrinus’ supporters, Heliogabalus’ legitimation strategy, Political opposition, Military turmoil, Senatorial weakness


This contribution aims at scrutinising the opposition to Heliogabalus’ principate by focusing on its initial phase, the succession to Macrinus, using both literary as well as documentary sources, whose value has so far not been fully appreciated. During 218-219 AD many military revolts broke out mostly in the Syrian areas of the Empire, compromising Heliogabalus’ affirmation. Heliogabalus’ rule was later threatened also while he resided in Nicomedia, before his arrival in Rome: among the rebellions burst out during this period, worth noticing is the revolt of the στρατιῶται Κελτικοί – mentioned only by the contemporary senator and historian Cassius Dio (LXXIX, 4, 5) – whom we try here to identify with more accuracy. The military turmoil has been flanked by an albeit weak movement of senatorial opposition in Rome. The instability of Heliogabalus’ principate since its beginning betrays the faintness of imperial auctoritas, a condition Heliogabalus never managed to overcome.