Marcus Aurelius Antoninus, known as Heliogabalus or Elagabalus, (born around 203, died March 11, 222) was a Roman emperor of the Severan dynasty who reigned from 218-222. Heliogabalus was the son of Sextus Varius Marcellus and Julia Soaemias Basssiana, niece of Julia Domna (the wife of Septimius Severus). His mother claimed that his actual father was her cousin Caracalla (M. Aurelius Antoninus), and he adopted Caracalla's name during his short reign. The name by which he was popularly known to the Romans, Heliogabalus, was the name of the presiding deity of the Syrian city of Emesa (modern Homs or Hims). Heliogabalus was serving as hereditary high priest of the deity when his mother and grandmother used him as a figurehead against Macrinus, who had succeeded Caracalla. In 220, having settled in Rome, Heliogabalus attempted to make this deity the supreme god of the empire under the name deus Sol invictus ("god the invincible Sun").
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